How to Disassemble a Waterbed

Whether you bought a new bed, you're moving or you simply want to rearrange your bedroom, one thing stands in the way of your plans: your waterbed. But moving a waterbed isn't as simple as a conventional mattress-foundation-and-frame bed. The main thing is the water. It has to go somewhere, after all. Considering that your waterbed likely holds about a ton, or 1,500 pounds, of water, it's not moving an inch without draining. Fortunately, disassembling your waterbed is more of a hassle than anything. Set aside several hours for the task.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose
  • Waterbed drain adapter (optional)
  • Waterbed drain pump (optional)
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Instructions

    • 1

      Unplug the waterbed heater from the electrical outlet. Move the cord to where you will not step on or trip over it.

    • 2

      Strip the bedding. Remove pillows, sheets, blankets or comforters and place out of the way. Clear the area immediately surrounding the waterbed to allow room to work.

    • 3

      Route a garden hose through the room's window, starting at an outside faucet and ending at the waterbed mattress fill valve. Connect the hose to the outside faucet. Alternatively, run the garden hose from the waterbed to your bathtub and skip connecting it to a faucet.

    • 4

      Uncap the waterbed mattress valve, and pop out the stem as if you are filling the mattress with water. Attach the hose to the fill valve. If the fill valve doesn't allow the hose to attach, add a special connector to enable attachment.

    • 5

      Turn on the faucet, if attached to the garden hose, and force water to flow into the waterbed mattress for 20 or 30 seconds. This pushes out the air that's in the hose into the mattress instead where it forms a pouch that helps expel the water during draining.

    • 6

      Disconnect the hose from the faucet immediately, and drop the end to the ground. The water will begin to siphon from the bed, pouring out the loose hose end. Move it to wherever you want the water to drain. Alternatively, if you are draining into your bathtub, once you connect the hose to the waterbed's fill valve, allow the water to flow into the bathtub drain instead. Either way, as long as the end of the hose is lower than the height of the water in the waterbed, gravity will make the water leave the bed.

    • 7

      Once the water level drops sufficiently, lift the end of the mattress opposite of the fill valve with the help of at least one other person. This might be an hour or several hours, so keep an eye on the bed to determine when it's ready. If the mattress contains inner baffles (used in motionless sleep systems), hold them in place as you lift to prevent them getting bunched up or moving toward the center of the mattress. It's much easier to prevent disturbing the baffles than to fix them once they are.

    • 8

      Roll up the mattress, slowly squeezing the water toward the fill valve, as the last of the water continues to siphon from the bed. Force the air from the mattress last of all, then unhook the hose and immediately recap the fill valve to create a slight vacuum. The mattress should look wrinkled like a prune at this point. Sealing the mattress this way helps protect it and keep inner baffles in place for motionless waterbeds.

    • 9

      Lift the now-empty waterbed mattress from the bed frame. Set it aside where it will not get in the way or become damaged. Remove the waterbed heater from the waterbed base. Disassemble the waterbed frame according to the way it is designed. Look for obvious nuts, bolts and screws. Drop each into a jar or similar container and seal to ensure you don't lose the pieces.

Tips & Warnings

  • Add waterbed conditioner treatment two or three weeks before draining to leave the mattress in the best condition possible once it's drained. This will also help prevent odors from short-term storage. Store the mattress in a cool, dark, dry place protected from the environment and accidental puncture.

  • If you have a motionless waterbed mattress and the baffles move out of place, ask a friend to help you shake it out. First add a little air, using an air pump, and immediately replace the fill valve cap. Lift one end of the mattress, making sure to hold the baffle layers securely, and shake it vigorously. The baffle should begin to straighten out on the opposite end. Reach into the mattress as necessary to poke and prod it into place. Continue until the mattress is ready to fill.

  • You can also use a pump to drain your waterbed mattress. Following the manufacturer's instructions precisely, connect one end of a garden hose to the pump and allow the other end to drain where you wish. Next, connect the opposite side of the pump to the mattress. Turn the pump on, and let it work. This is quicker than siphoning the water, but you must keep an eye on it while it works to prevent the hose coming loose from the bed and the pump sucking air as a result. You can rent a pump at many moving companies and rental stores, or check with a waterbed store in your area.

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