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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a waterbed?
A waterbed consists of a poly-vinyl bladder (the “mattress”) that holds water and maintains enough surface tension to support the sleeper(s). The mattress must be contained in a supporting frame which allows the mattress to be filled to it’s designed dimensions resulting in the proper surface tension that allows the sleeper to “float” on the mattress. Hence the term “flotation” bed.

What is the difference between a “softside" waterbed and a “hardside" waterbed?
“Hardside” waterbed frames are made of wood, have drawer “pedestals” underneath that offer support and storage, and bookcase style headboards (sometimes with mirrors and lights). This type of waterbed is what most people picture when they think of a waterbed. Hardside waterbeds typically use specially designed and sized sheets.

A “soft-side” waterbed has a frame made of high-density foam and has upholstered sides and a cover designed to look like a conventional mattress. There can also be an upholstered “foundation” designed to look like a conventional box-spring but built to support the extra weight of the waterbed. The “soft-side” waterbed typically utilizes a heavy duty metal frame making the waterbed look exactly like a regular mattress and box spring. Most conventional beds like 4-post beds or sleigh beds can also be used as long as the existing slat system is augmented and reinforced. Soft side waterbeds are sized and shaped like regular beds so they use conventional bedding.

What is a waveless waterbed?
Early waterbeds did not have any wave control. As waterbeds became more mainstream in the 1970’s and 1980’s designers started to create waterbed mattresses with wave reduction, appealing to a wider segment of the population. The “original” waterbed mattresses came to be known by the terms “full wave”, “full motion”, or “free flow”. Alternatively, waterbed mattresses with wave reduction came to be known as “waveless” or “motionless”. Waterbeds that are “waveless” have materials inside the waterbed mattress sometimes called “baffles”. These baffles can consist of box shaped or cylinder shaped “hydraulic cells” which control the flow of water through the cells or (most effectively and simply) layers of marine polyester fiber matts. The amount of fiber layers dictates the amount of wave control and ultimately allows sleepers to choose their ideal comfort level. There can even be extra fiber layers in the mid-body section of the mattress to create additional lumbar support.

Do waterbeds use heaters?
Yes, and they have thermostats so you can accurately dial in the most comfortable temperature for your bed. You can make it warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Waterbeds are the only bed available that can effectively deliver this feature.

Can I turn off my heater?
We don’t recommend it. If the mattress gets very cool the sleeper’s warm bodies can cause condensation to occur. A heater (even set on low) will keep this from happening. Keep in mind that a heater’s thermostat keeps the waterbed at a desired temperature for your comfort. Not using the waterbed heater can affect the mattress warranties.

Do I need special sheets/linens?
For hardside waterbeds we do recommend specially sized waterbed sheets. They typically have triangular shaped corners designed to stay on the waterbed mattress and they often have a flat sheet that is attached to the fitted sheet (at the foot of the bed) so the the flat sheet doesn't have to be tucked under the mattress to stay put! Mattress pads for hardside waterbeds are also specially sized. Softside waterbeds are the same size as conventional beds so regular sheets and mattress pads can be used. Know your mattress height when shopping for conventional bedding as fitted sheets have different height “profiles”.

What’s the deal with bed sizes?
Hardside waterbeds have sizes unique to them (except for California King). Softside waterbeds come in the same sizes as conventional beds (including California King). As you can see below, the only size common to both types of waterbed is California King. Sometimes hardside waterbeds are known only as “King” or “Queen” because of their singular measurements (as is “Queen” in conventional bedding).

California King - 72x84
California King - 72x84

Eastern/Regular King - 76x80
California Queen - 60x84
Queen - 60x80

Full/Double - 54x74
Super Single - 48x84
Twin/Single - 38x74

How do I fill my waterbed mattress?

Start with:
A clean, standard garden hose (if the hose comes from your yard you may need to run water through the hose to rinse out any bacterial or algal growth).
A Waterbed Fill and Drain Kit.  
A bottle of Waterbed Conditioner  
Clean, dry towels
Insert your waterbed mattress into it’s frame and unfold with the valve (or valves) at the foot of the bed. Dual chamber mattresses need to have the valves with the law tag placed towards the outside edges of the bed. If it’s a waveless mattress, open the valve (or valves) for a short time to allow the air pressure inside to equalize. This will make it easier to straighten any folds in the mattress and to properly place the corners of the mattress into the corners of the frame. Make sure your waterbed heater is correctly installed but don’t plug it in until the filling process is completed. Always unplug your waterbed heater when filling or draining your waterbed!                  

Remove the aerator from an inside faucet by unscrewing it and attach the faucet adaptor in it’s place. Be careful not to “cross thread” this plastic faucet adaptor.
Attach the garden hose to the side of the Venturi pump and then thread the top of the Venturi pump onto the faucet adaptor. Make sure the bottom of the Venturi pump is in the closed position.
At this point, pour your bottle of waterbed conditioner into the mattress through the open valve.
Attach the hose adaptor to your garden hose and insert it all the way into the waterbed valve. Screw the adaptor onto the valve threads, securing the adaptor. This will be easier if the valve is pulled out of the waterbed mattress.
Double check your connections to make sure they are secure and turn on the water! Using lukewarm water will help the heater reach it’s desired temperature much faster as well as making the bed comfortable right away.
Double check the position of the mattress in the frame very shortly after beginning the fill process. If the waterbed mattress is slightly out of position it’s much easier to shift the mattress when there’s only an inch or two of water in it. Monitor the filling process and do not leave the room for long. A king waterbed can fill in 30-40 minutes with average water pressure. Some waterbed mattresses are equipped with a second valve to be able to easily release the air that builds up in the waterbed mattress during the filling process. Waterbed mattresses that do not have this feature may need to have the filling process interrupted to be partially burped before the desired fill level is achieved.
Fill the waterbed mattress to a point approximately 1-2 inches below the level of the frame and burp as much air out as you can by pushing the air towards the valve. Removing the air from the mattress eliminates any “sloshing” noises. This may need to be done periodically. Have the sleepers lay on the mattress and gauge the comfort level. Add a small amount of water if necessary. The mattresses are designed to feel most comfortable when their fill level is below the top of the frame.
Burp out any remaining air and install the seal and the cap. The seal is an important component causing the softer vinyl valve to expand allowing the cap to screw on to the valves threads securely, making it watertight. Plug in the heater and set it to medium. Allow 2-3 days for it to reach the medium temperature (approximately 85 degrees), then adjust accordingly.
Filling dual system or dual chamber waterbed mattresses is essentially the same process with a few extra steps. Namely:
1) Make sure the valves with the law tag are placed towards the outside edges of the bed.
2) Install the thermal divider with it’s “wings” pulled out completely and the divider itself at the bottom of the frame cavity.
3) Fill each chamber alternatively with a few inches of water at a time. Filling one chamber completely makes it more difficult to position the second chamber

How do I drain my waterbed mattress?
Remember! Always unplug your waterbed heater before draining your waterbed! Also “burp” any air bubbles out as they may interfere with the draining process.

Electric Siphon Pump
- The easiest and fastest way to drain a waterbed mattress is with an electric siphon pump. Using an electric pump is especially important when draining waveless mattresses as the extra siphoning power will get more water out of the wave reducing materials in a waveless waterbed mattress. Water is heavy (over 8.3 lbs per gallon) so every extra gallon drained makes folding and moving the waveless mattress easier. Follow the pump manufacturer's instructions for best results. Some require priming (adding water before plugging in the pump), some are “self-priming”. It’s important to let the pump drain as much water as possible before lifting the mattress. Lifting at the corner with even a small amount water left in the mattress can result in shifting of the wave reducing materials. Once the mattress starts to “dimple” there will be little chance the materials will shift so, at this point, the mattress can be lifted and tilted so that water may flow to the area of the valve. When the pump is no longer “pulling” water the draining process is complete. Seal the mattress quickly after undoing the connection to the pump to minimize air going back into the mattress. This allows the mattress to be flatter and easier to fold. We recommend folding in thirds, from head to toe.

Venturi (Faucet) Pump - In the absence of an electric siphon pump, the Venturi Pump is a good alternative. It attaches to an indoor faucet via a faucet connector and, once the drain hose is attached and linked to the waterbed mattress, the pump uses water pressure from the faucet to begin and maintain the siphon. For the siphon to be established the hose must be filled with water and this can be easily done once everything is connected. Water pressure from the faucet must be maintained throughout the draining process. The principles outlined above still apply regarding lifting and folding the mattress.

General Siphoning - Though there are many methods to begin this type of draining process, the key to success is to make sure the drain hose’s exit is lower than than the bed. The lower the better. As far as beginning the siphon, an easy method is to temporarily hook up the drain end to a faucet and begin filling. Once water is going into the bed, kink the hose (at the faucet end) tightly enough to cut off the flow of water, turn off the faucet, unscrew the hose from the faucet - all the while kinking the hose. Releasing the kinked hose will cause a “backwash” and if the now open end of the hose is lower than the bed, gravity will take over. This type of method is only recommended with “Free Flow” waterbed mattresses.

What if I’m Moving or Storing a waterbed?

Follow the instructions above for draining the waterbed mattress. If moving, transport with care as the mattress may still be heavy and unwieldy. Make sure to protect the mattress with moving blankets and do not set anything heavy or sharp on it as you move. Don’t forget to add conditioner upon refilling! If you have to store your waterbed mattress, do so in a dry, climate controlled environment.

What if I have a leak?
It’s not often that a waterbed suffers a leak, but when it does it can be irritating. The first thing to do is to determine the source of the water. If the bedding is damp but there isn’t any water in the liner, the source could be condensation. If conditions are right (typically meaning heater is off or not present) an ample amount of condensation can occur, making people think they have a leak. If the waterbed liner has a considerable amount of water in it, the mattress may have a leak. The water will usually find it’s way down to the liner leading to the assumption that the leak is on the bottom. It can be coming from the top or sides as well. There are three areas to examine (just use your fingers to gently probe) for the leak. Check the valve area where the cap (and seal) is located. Next check any accessible seams. Lastly, check the body of the mattress for punctures or cuts. A puncture or small cut on a waterbed mattress can usually be repaired easily with a patch kit. The area to be repaired must be clean and dry so if it’s located on top or the upper side you may not even have to drain the mattress. Leaks further down the side or underneath require draining the mattress for repair. Leaks due to seam separation are typically not repairable with a patch kit. Most manufacturers warranties cover seam separation (in the valve area as well). Check out the warranties on our waterbed mattresses here - (LINK)

Do you have expedited shipping options?
On some items. Complete Softside Waterbeds and Waterbed Linens are produced as they are ordered and require a certain amount of “build” time. This is typically just a few days and our manufacturers are located in the USA so shipping times on these items is rarely longer than 10-14 days. Items such as Hardside Waterbed Mattresses, Softside Waterbed Mattresses, and Waterbed Accessories are typically stocked so they are quickly shipped from a warehouse in California. These items are shipped via UPS Ground which is 5-7 business days upon UPS’s receipt of merchandise. These are the items that would have expedited shipping options. Costs and approximate delivery times are shown on that particular product’s information page or in the shopping cart. Please call, text or email us if you have a question about your order!

Do you carry the furniture shown on your site?
Unless otherwise specified, the furniture on our website is for illustrative purposes only.