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The intention of these pages is to help educate you about adjustable beds. This is the information we discuss when we give seminars to the local clubs and gated communities. We will discuss the benefits of an adjustable bed and the different types of electric bases and mattresses. We will attempt to answer the many questions we have been asked in our 20 years in the adjustable bed business. IT MAY BE A LITTLE LONG BUT IT CAN BE OF IMMENSE HELP IN UNDERSTANDING YOUR PURCHASE.

The easiest people to explain the benefits of an adjustable bed to are people who have been in the military. One of the first things that they teach you is to not lock your knees when you are standing at attention. If you lock your knees, you will eventually faint. You may have also seen the same thing happen at a wedding, someone in the wedding party will faint in the middle of the ceremony. Locking your knees puts a strain on your back, tightening your lower body muscles and reducing the ability of blood to flow freely.

The same thing happens when you lay flat on your back in your bed. Your knees are hyper extended. That is why most everyone rolls onto their side, into the fetal position,  when they get in bed, to relieve the pressure on their backs. An adjustable bed will allow you to obtain that comfortable fetal position on your back.

At our store, we give the following demonstration to illustrate this concept:
We put the adjustable bed flat and ask the customer to lay down on it.
It will feel just like they are used to when lying on their bed at home.
Next we raise the foot of the bed three or four inches.
Then we raise the head of the bed about 15 inches, putting the customer in a position as if they were reading.
After a moment or two in this position, we lower the bed back to the flat position.
The customer will feel like they have gone past the flat position and that their head is pointing downhill and they will feel a pressure on their lower back.
Now we raise the foot of the bed just two inches. WOW, the customer is amazed at how the pressure is taken off their lower back.
Then we raise the head of the bed and the customer is again amazed at how the pressure comes off their upper back.
Its hard to go back to a regular bed after experiencing the comfort of an adjustable bed.

Takes the pressure off of your lower back.  
Aids in the relief of cardio problems.  
Aids in the relief of  sinus problems.  
Aids in reducing reflux.  
Aids with snoring - At the manufacturer’s expo last year, they debuted a prototype adjustable bed that automatically raises the head of the bed when it detects snoring.  
An adjustable bed is the most comfortable way to watch TV - Propping a bunch of pillows behind your back to raise your upper body causes you to curve your upper back, increasing stress on your back and  putting added pressure on your lungs, making it harder to breath. An adjustable bed bends you at the waist, preventing pressure on your back and lungs.

Aids in the relief of poor circulation in the feet and lower legs. Your feet don’t have to be way up in the air, they just need to be positioned so that the blood is flowing downhill. How high they have to be will vary with each person.
Reduces pressure on your lower back.  Again, you only have to raise your legs just a few inches to enjoy the benefit.

The first thing to know about adjustable beds is that adjustable bed base manufacturers don’t make mattresses and the mattress companies don’t make adjustable bed bases.  Either the base companies sells their bases to a mattress company and it is retailed in the name of the mattress company or, the base companies buy a mattress from a mattress company and sells the whole bed under the base companies name. In the latter case, their  tends to be a limited number of mattresses available for these beds.

Most base companies are considered “Assemblers”. They have someone make the metal frame parts for them, someone else makes the control systems and another the motors. Then the base companies puts all of the parts together and they call it their bed. The problem with this system is that suppliers can change over time and parts can be hard to find for older beds.

The best base companies are considered “Manufacturers”. They cut, bend, paint and assemble the metal frames. They have motors made to their specifications. They design and develop their own operating systems. All of this enables them to have access to parts for a longer time period and a much larger selections of models.

On the majority of adjustable beds on the market today, it is the head and foot that are adjustable, the overall bed height does not adjust. Height adjustment is for the benefit of transferring in and out a wheelchair or scooter.  There are adjustable beds that can be purchased that have the ability to adjust the overall height of the base but they can cost three to four times as much as a regular adjustable bed. None are currently available with remote controls, only with corded controls.

There are two types of control systems -
    1.  Hard wired systems that are connected to the bed by a cord.
           2. Wireless remote control systems which can operate either by radio frequency or an infrared beam.

In a hard wired systems, the hand control is attached to the bed by an electrical cord. This is called “hard wired”. They can be either high voltage (110 volt) or low voltage (12 volts),though most new beds now offer only low voltage corded hand controls. Hard wired hand controls are generally offered as a method to keep the price on  a base down.

You can’t lose a hand control connected to the bed by a cord.
There are never any signal reception problems.
Most new beds have low voltage hand controls. This lessens the chance of a dangerous shock should there be a problem with the hand control or if a liquid is spilled on the hand control.

You can trip on the cord.
The cord tends to pull the hand control out of the bed and onto the floor increasing the chance of damage to the hand control.
Some beds still have high voltage running through the hand control, increasing the danger of an electrical shock in case of a faulty hand control or if a fluid gets spilled on the hand control.

Most companies now offer their beds with a wireless remote control to operate the bed. They can be either radio frequency systems or they can be infrared systems.

No cord to trip on.
Remote doesn't get pulled out of the bed by the cord.
Can be operated by a second party out of the bed or a short distance away.
Only 6 to 12 volts in your hand with very low amperage. No danger of electrocutions in case of a faulty hand control or when liquid is spilled onto the hand control.

Can be lost.
There are batteries to replace.
Chance of reception problems.
Infrared remote controls require a small, separate, exposed box to receive the signal from the hand control. If the box is accidentally blocked by bed linens or another object, the bed won’t operate.

You can expect most adjustable bases to last 15 to 20 years before you have to start replacing parts. The only time you put wear and tear on the motors or control system is when you are operating the bed. The rest of the time it is just sitting there. The average user only puts 1 to 2 hours of actual use time on the bed each year.

All bases have a parts warranty from the manufacturer. Beds with A/C motors may have a longer warranty than beds with D/C motors. Many companies offer a lifetime warranty on the frame.

Not all manufacturers offer a labor warranty or have a repair network. They expect the retailer to provide a labor warranty and repair services. This can be a problem if you move to an area away from the retailer or you have the bed shipped to an area away from the retailer.

Most labor warranties only cover the first year.  

There are four basic types of mattresses that will work on an adjustable bed base:
1. Innerspring mattress
2. Solid core latex mattresses
3. Solid core visco elastic memory foam mattresses
4. Air support mattresses

An innerspring mattress for an adjustable bed is very similar to an ordinary innerspring mattress except that it has to have a flexible border wire or no border wire. As a general rule, you cannot use your existing innerspring mattress on an adjustable bed.

To provide proper support, the springs in a quality mattress are generally very firm. The comfort comes from the layers that are placed on top of the spring unit. The higher your body weight, the more layers required to provide proper muscle cushioning.

Lower priced that other types of mattresses.
Usually lighter than solid core mattresses.
Manufacturers are able to make a firmer edge in an innerspring mattress, making it easier to get in and out of a mattress and allowing you to sleep closer to the edge of the mattress.

You can expect to see body impressions in an innerspring mattress. That is because innerspring mattresses are generally topped with different types of poly foams, which are closed cell foams. Closed cell foams consist of little bubbles of air which give the foam its shape and support. As you compress the foam, these tiny bubbles burst. When enough of the bubbles burst, the foam starts to sag. Most factories allow an impression of up to 2 inches before they considered it a defect. Poly foam will lose up to 35% of its height over 10 years.

The plusher the mattress the more body impressions will show.

The closed cells act in poly foam act like little thermos bottles. They hold your heat and make a bed warmer.

The life expectancy of an innerspring mattress is 7 to 10 years before it loses it comfort. That does not mean that the springs will start to break, just that it will not offer the same comfort as a new mattress.

For the best life expectancy, an innerspring mattress should be turned every three months, which can be a struggle. The more frequently you turn a mattress, the longer it will take to show the body impressions.

They do make no-turn innerspring mattresses but the disadvantage is that you have to put up with deeper body impressions right away.

An innerspring mattress is a haven for dust mites.

As the poly foam ages, it disintegrates and turns to dust, aggravating allergies.

The highest quality mattresses on the market today are solid core latex mattresses. They can be either natural latex from the rubber tree or synthetic latex. Natural latex made with the Talalay Process is considered the best.

A solid core latex mattress is the same whether it is used on an adjustable bed or as a standard flat bed.

The comfort from a latex mattress comes from the entire block of latex, not just the layers on the top. Latex is available in a large range of firmness, from very soft to very firm.

Solid core latex mattresses conform to your body, no matter what shape it is. This reduces pressure points, reducing tossing and turning.

Latex rubber is an open cell material. When you compress it, you do  not break any support structures. Latex will only lose 1 to 3 percent of its height over its lifetime.

The open cell structure allows air to move in and out of the mattress each time you move, keeping the mattress cooler than a closed cell foam mattress.

Because the comfort comes from the whole block of latex, a latex mattress does not require a lot of layers of material on top of it.  Theses thin top layers are the only place you will see body impressions. You can built a no turn latex mattress and not end up with deep body impressions.

A quality solid core latex mattress has a life expectancy of 20 to 30 years and its comfort does not change over time.

A solid core latex mattress is dust mite resistant and hypo allergenic.

Solid core latex mattresses are generally more expensive that innerspring mattresses because you are paying for 6  to 15 inches of material. Innerspring mattresses consist mostly of air and just a few inches of materials.

Solid core latex mattresses tend to be heavier than innerspring mattresses.  

Our experience shows that, like adjustable air mattresses, you will either love your memory foam mattress or hate it.

Just like people refer to tissue paper as Kleenex (a brand name) Memory foam mattresses are commonly referred to as Temper-Pedic mattresses but that also is just a brand name. Any mattress manufacturer can buy visco elastic foam.

Memory foam is an oil based foam.

A memory foam mattress usually consist of one or more layers of the visco elastic memory foam on top of a solid core of high density foams. If you built a mattress out of solid memory foam, you would sink in to the bottom and not be able to get out of it. The comfort comes mainly from the top layers of memory foam.

Visco elastic memory foam is heat sensitive. The warmer it gets, the softer it becomes and the slower it responds. The colder it gets, the harder it becomes and the less it conforms to your body shape.
Most manufacturers are now using second generation memory foam. It has been developed for use in Earth’s gravity whereas first generation memory foam was design for use in space.

Forms to your body with no pressure points.
Due to its construction in layers, with the memory foam on top and the very thin quilting in the cover, you don’t have to turn them. In fact, you can’t turn them.
Because the top quilting layer is so minimal, unless there is a defect in the memory foam or the support layers underneath it, you should never see body impressions.

The biggest complaint about  memory foam mattresses is that they are hot!

The lack of lift makes them hard to get out of in the morning. This is the second biggest complaint about memory foam mattresses. Think “Help, I’ve fallen in a hole and I can’t get out!”

Even though memory foam conforms to your body, it can still feel very firm.

Air support mattresses were originally developed as an alternative to heavy waterbed mattresses and as a way to provide couples a method to choose their individual firmness level in one mattress.

The concept behind an air support mattress is that its surface will conform to your body without forming pressure points. This works best when there are as few layers on top of the air bag as possible. Too many layers on top of the air bag defeat the whole purpose of an air support mattress.

Never need to be turned.
Two people in one bed can each have a different firmness level.
You can change the firmness whenever you want.
Lightest of all mattresses.
If there is an air leak or quilting defect, you can generally swap the part out via the mail system, you don’t have to send the whole mattress back to the manufacturer.

Because you can’t turn the mattress, unless the top padding is latex, they are prone to body impressions.
Possibility of leaks from air bag, hoses and pump.
More mechanical parts to have possible problems with.
They can sag in the middle if the pressure is too low.
Mattress is so light, it can move around on the base. Many models are physically fastened to the base.
If you don’t change the firmness each  night, you are better off with an innerspring or solid core mattress of the correct firmness.

The most important thing to remember about mattress warranties is that they only cover problems from defects. They are not a guarantee of how long the mattress will retain its original comfort or appearance.

It is normal for a polyfoam mattress to loss 20 to 30 percent of its height over its lifetime (7 to 10 years). This is not a defect!

Solid Core Latex mattresses will only lose 1 to three percent of its height over its lifetime (20 to 30 years).
Lower quality and priced mattresses will generally have a prorated warranty ranging from 5 to 15 years. Prorated means that if there is a defect, you will have to pay for a portion of the cost of the repair equal to the amount of time that you have owned in relation to its warranty period. For example, on a mattress that  cost  you $100 and has a 10 year prorated warranty, if there is a covered defect after 3 years, you will pay for  those three years (30% of the warranty period) that you have used the mattress. You will be responsible for paying $30 toward the repair.

Higher quality and priced mattresses generally have a non prorated warranty. that means that if there is a covered defect during the warranty period, the manufacturer will repair or replace it at no cost to you for the actual repair.

It is also important to  note that a warranty only covers the cost of the repair or replacement of the mattress, it does not cover the cost to get the mattress back to the manufacturer. Many retailers will pick up and return the mattress to you at no coast if you are still in their delivery area. If you are out of their delivery area, you may have to pay transportation cost to get the mattress back to the manufacturer.

You may also be left without a mattress to sleep on while yours is being repaired.

Depending on the type of mattress and the type of defect, the manufacturer has the right to either repair or replace the mattress.

In any type of mattress, a seam that opens up may be considered a defect if it occurs early in the warranty period of a mattress. Most manufacturer will not cover a split seam that occurs late in the warranty period because they feel that if a seam was incorrect, it would have shown up right away and you would have discovered it earlier if your were rotating the mattress as required.

Torn or ripped handles are also not covered under most warranties as they are designed for positioning of the mattress and not carrying the mattress.

A defect in an innerspring mattress is usually a broken spring (rare), excessive body impressions or sagging. These defects can occur at any time in the life of a mattress.  

In the case of a broken spring the manufacturer may either replace the spring unit and replace your old cover on it or they may just give you a new mattress.

In the case of excess body impressions or sagging, the manufacturer can just open up the mattress and replace the defective layers or they may replace the whole mattress, at their discretion.

A defect in a solid core latex mattress is usually the result of a bad core. If the core is bad, it will usually present itself in the first year. If it does not go bad in the first year,  it will usually not go bad. That is why some of the most expensive latex mattresses only have a 10 year warranty. If it last 10 years, it will last for 10 or 20 more.

High quality memory foam should last 15 to 20 years. Like latex, if there is a defective, it will  usually show up in the first year.

Most defects in memory foam mattresses are not in the memory foam but in the support layers under the memory foam. You can expect 7 to 15 years of life out of those layers, depending on the quality of the material.
Because the top quilting layer is so minimal, unless there is a defect in the memory foam or the support layers underneath it, you should only ever see very slight body impressions in a memory foam mattress.

The advantage of an air support mattress is that if there is a problem, the defective part can usually be exchanged via mail instead of having to send the mattress back to the factory.

The disadvantage of an air support mattress is that compared to other types of mattresses, they have many more parts that can have possible defects. More parts mean more chances of problems.

In addition to the quilting packing down, defects can occur in the air bags, the pumps, the hoses and the hand controls.

1. Quilting - The quilting that makes up the top layer of an air support mattress is subject to the same problems that are faced in innerspring mattresses. Because air mattresses are no turn mattresses, they are more prone to body impressions.

2. Air bags - Just like a waterbed, you can expect 10 to 15 years of life from an air bag before the seams start to leak. The warranty on the air bags may be different than the warranty on the quilting.

3. Pumps, hoses and hand controls - These parts can have air leaks from defective seals. Also, like any mechanical part, the pumps and hand controls can have a problem at any point in their life span. Their life expectancy is 10 to 15 years.