How to Move a Waterbed

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A waterbed requires considerably more time and effort to disassemble and pack than a standard bed. Since you can't just hoist a mattress full of water onto your moving trailer (it weighs about 600 pounds), you will need to drain and prepare the bed prior to moving day. Since your water bed is a costly investment in your comfort and health, you will want to ensure that you follow the proper procedures to ship your bed safely. This guide will provide you with the information on how to properly disassemble, drain and pack your waterbed for your move.

Draining and disassembly

The preferred method of draining your mattress will depend on the size and type you own. Contact the manufacturer or a waterbed retailer if you are unsure.

  • Be sure to allow sufficient time for draining your mattress. Most movers will require you to drain your mattress prior to moving day. Since certain methods can take several hours, draining your mattress at least 24 hours before the day of your move is a good idea.
  • Unplug your mattress heater and allow it to fully cool before beginning to drain. If it is still hot, it can scorch or melt your mattress.
  • If you plan on placing your mattress in storage after you move, you should apply mattress conditioner to prevent the growth of mold and mildew inside your mattress. You should also apply a vinyl cleaner to the outside surface.

Draining methods

There are several methods for draining your mattress, which vary by convenience, cost, and the type of mattress you have.

  • Straight-siphon method: If you have a tube-type mattress, this is a suitable method. You should simply open the valve and let the water drain out by running a hose into your sink or tub. This method will usually take about an hour to empty your mattress.
  • Drain pump: If you have a one or two-piece baffled mattress, you can use a drain pump. It is only recommended for baffled mattress with a single layer of fiber. This method can take about three hours to complete.
  • Electric pump: For baffled mattresses with multiple layers of fiber, it is recommended that you use an electric pump. This is because the layers of fiber need to be pumped until they are completely flat so they do not shift during transport and ruin your mattress. You can either purchase the pump or rent it from your moving company. Make sure to stay in the room while the mattress drains if using this method--you will need to turn off the pump immediately after it is finished draining. Otherwise, the pump-head can burn up. This method usually takes about an hour to remove all the water from your mattress.
  • If there is any remaining liquid inside your mattress after draining, you can use a Wet-Vac to remove the left-over water.

Elevate the mattress

When draining the mattress, you can make water removal a bit easier by elevating the mattress. After it has been draining for awhile, prop up the head of the bed with boxes to pool the remaining fluid towards the foot of the mattress. After draining is complete, disconnect the hose and immediately replace the cap and seal on your valve. You will want to avoid allowing any air too seep inside--this will keep your padding in place during your move.

Packing the mattress

After your mattress is completely drained and dry, you will need to either fold or roll it depending on the type you own.

  • Baffled Mattress: A baffled mattress should be rolled for packing. Make sure all the water has been removed before you begin by using a vacuum--if not, the fiber could shift and your mattress will be ruined. Begin by rolling it like you would a rug, from head to foot. Take two wardrobe boxes and slide each one onto one end of the rolled-up mattress. Tape the two boxes together securely with packing tape, ensuring that you don't allow the tape to come in direct contact with the surface of the mattress.
  • Free-Flow (Non-baffled) Mattress: A free-flow mattress should be folded rather than rolled. Fold the mattress end-to-end at the middle. Next, fold it one-third of the way from the top. Finish by folding the remaining one-third of the mattress. Wrap and tape the mattress (don't let the tape come in direct contact with the mattress) or tie it to keep it securely folded. Next, pack it inside a box--use a wardrobe box if you have an especially large mattress.
  • Bed Hardware: Place all nuts, bolts and screws removed from your bed's frame in a zip-lock bag and pack it with your mattress. Wrap any wooden pieces from your bed's frame with packing paper to protect it from scratches or chips. Secure the packing paper with tape, making sure you don't allow the tape to come in direct contact with the surface of the wood--the adhesive could severely damage the finish.
  • Heating pad: Roll-up, don't fold, your heating pad. Pack inside a separate box and tape securely.

Nicole La Capria  Posted by Nicole La Capria on April 9, 2013

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