BACKGROUND OF INVENTION
The present invention relates in general to a swimming pool and, more particularly, to a swimming pool having associated therewith an aerated basin for therapeutic and/or relaxation purposes. This basin may be located either within or externally of the confines of the pool itself, and normally overflows into the pool.
Still more specifically, the invention relates to a circulation system for such a swimming pool and aerated basin combination. Conventionally, such a circulation system includes a circulating pump which draws water from the swimming pool and returns it to the pool through a filter, and preferably a heater, some of the returned water preferably being delivered to the aerated basin to insure continuous circulation through the basin.
The aerated basin is equipped with one or more aerating devices or means to which the filtered water from the circulating pump can be delivered when it is desired to utilize the aerated basin. The circulation system includes selector valves or valve means for selectively connecting the circulating pump inlet to the pool and the aerated basin, and for selectively connecting the circulating pump outlet to the pool and the aerating device or devices. Preferably, the two selector valves are ganged together for simultaneous operation. Thus, if the user of the pool desires to utilize the aerated basin, it is merely necessary to shift the selector valves from a setting wherein they take water from and return it to the pool to a setting wherein they take water from and return it to the aerated basin.
As further background, the invention contemplates a circulation system which includes a water operated pool cleaner or cleaning means, such as that shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,295,540, issued Jan. 3, 1967 to Robert Ortega. The pool cleaner is provided with filtered water by a cleaning pump having its inlet connected to the return side of the circulating pump downstream from the filter. The cleaning pump normally has a considerably higher discharge pressure then the circulating pump to operate the pool cleaner properly.
When the aerating device or devices in the aerated basin are placed in operation, the resulting back pressure on the return side of the circulating pump results in considerable bypassing of water to the pool through the pool cleaner. This is undesirable because it curtails the flow of water to the aerating device or devices, and thus reduces their effectiveness in producing an aerated stream or streams of water into the aerated basin.
SUMMARY AND OBJECTS OF INVENTION
With the foregoing background in mind, the primary object of the invention is to prevent bypassing of return water to the pool through the pool cleaner when the aerating device or devices are in operation. Consequently, maximum delivery of aerated water to the basin is insured, which is an important feature of the invention.
More particularly, an important object of the invention is to prevent bypassing of return water through the pool cleaner by interposing between the cleaning pump and the pool cleaner a pressure relief valve or valve means which is normally closed and which is openable automatically upon actuation of the cleaning pump. Thus, this pressure relief valve prevents bypassing of return water to the pool cleaner as long as the cleaning pump is not in operation, thereby insuring maximum water flow to the aerating device or devices. Upon actuation of the cleaning pump to operate the pool cleaner, the pressure relief valve opens automatically.
The foregoing automatic system completely eliminates any necessity for manually operated valving to prevent bypassing to the pool cleaner when use of the aerated basin is desired. Not only is such manual valving a nuisance, but it can result in burning out the motor of the cleaning pump if the latter is actuated, either manually, or by timer, with a closed valve in series with the cleaning pump. Thus, the automatic operation which the present invention provides not only makes for convenience, but also provides a safety feature preventing damage to the motor of the cleaning pump.
The foregoing objects, advantages, features and results of the present invention, together with various other objects, advantages, features and results which will be evident to those skilled in the swimming pool field in the light of this disclosure, may be achieved with the exemplary embodiment of the invention illustrated in the accompanying drawing and described in detail hereinafter.
DESCRIPTION OF DRAWING
FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic view of a circulation system of the invention for a swimming pool having an aerated basin and equipped with a water operated pool cleaner; and
FIG. 2 is a sectional view of a pressure relief valve or valve means incorporated in the circulation system of the invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENT OF INVENTION
Referring initially to FIG. 1 of the drawing, designated generally by the numeral 10 is a swimming pool having associated therewith an aerated basin 12 for therapeutic and/or relaxation purposes. In the particular construction illustrated, the basin 12 is located externally of the boundaries of the pool 10 itself. However, it may be located within the pool boundaries where space limitations dictate. In either case, a wall separates the basin 12 from the pool 10, any overflow from the basin entering the pool over this wall.
As is conventional, the pool 10 is equipped with a circulation system which includes a circulating pump 16 driven by an electric motor 18. Connected to the inlet or inlet side of the circulating pump 16 is an inlet or suction line 20. In one of its positions, a selector valve or valve means of any suitable construction 22 connects the suction line 20 to a suction line 24 leading to the usual pool skimmer 26 and pool drain 28. The flow path through the selector valve 22 in this position of the selector valve is shown schematically by a solid line.
In the other position of the selector valve 22, the flow path is shown schematically by a broken line. In this position, the selector valve 22 connects the suction line 20 to a suction line 30 connected to a drain or drain outlet 32 in the basin 12.
Connected to the outlet or outlet side of the circulating pump 16 is a filter 34, and downstream of the filter is a heater 36. Connected to the outlet side of the heater 36 is a return line 38 which extends to the inlet side of a second selector valve or valve means 40, again of any desired construction. In one position of this selector valve, the flow path is as shown schematically by the solid line, and the selector valve 40 connects the return line 38 to a return line 42 having branches 44 discharging filtered water into the pool 10. Preferably, another branch return line 46 discharges into the basin 12 to maintain continuous water circulation through the basin even if the main return flow from the filter 34 is directed into the pool 10.
In the other position of the selector valve 40, the flow is shown schematically by a dotted line, and this selector valve connects the return line 38 to an aerating line 48 having branches 50 respectively leading to aerating means or devices 52 communicating with and discharging into the basin 12 below the water level therein.
As is well known, each aerating device 52 may comprise a venturi through which water flows to aspirate air into the stream or water. The resulting air and water mixture is discharged below the water level in the basin 12 as a bubble filled jet or stream having desirable therapeutic and relaxing effects on a person or persons in the basin. Since the aerating devices 52 are conventional, they are not shown in detail.
The two selector valves 22 and 40 are preferably ganged together by a shaft 54 for simultaneous operation by a handle or lever 56 connected to this shaft. The solid line showing of the handle 56 corresponds to the solid line flow paths through the selector valves 22 and 40, while the broken line position of the handle 56 corresponds to the broken line flow paths.
With the foregoing construction, when normal pool circulation is desired, the handle 56 is placed in the solid line position. Under such conditions, the circulating pump 16 draws water from the pool 10 and returns it to the pool, by way of the filter 34 and the heater 36. As previously pointed out, some of the return flow is directed into the basin 12 to maintain circulation therein. When the handle 56 is placed in its broken line position, all of the return flow from the circulating pump is directed into the basin 12 through the aerating devices 52 to produce bubble filled jets or streams of water within the basin. (If desired, the handle 56 may be set in an intermediate position to deliver only part of the return flow to the aerating devices 52. For example, this may be done if bubble filled streams of lesser intensities are desired.)
The pool circulation system illustrated in FIG. 1 of the drawing also includes a pool cleaning pump 58 driven by an electric motor 60 and having its inlet or inlet side connected to the circulating pump return. In the particular construction illustrated, the cleaning pump inlet is connected to the circulating pump return downstream from the heater 36.
The outlet or outlet side of the cleaning pump 58 is connected by a line 62 to a water operated pool cleaner or cleaning means designated generally by the numeral 64. This pool cleaner may be of any suitable construction, such as that shown in the aforementioned patent, and serves generally to wash down the water level tile in the pool 10 and to keep foreign matter on the bottom of the pool in suspension. Thus, any foreign materials in the pool 10 are eventually removed by the circulating pump strainer and by the filter 34. Since the pool cleaner 64 is conventional, it need not be described in detail herein.
With the pool circulation system of the invention as thus far described, it is possible for water discharged by the circulating pump 16 to flow into the pool 10 through the pool cleaner 64, bypassing the return line 42 when the handle 56 is in its solid line position, and bypassing the aerating line 48 when the handle 56 is in its broken line position. Such bypassing of the aerating devices 52 is highly undesirable because it can severely curtail the water flow to the aerating devices 52, and thus reduce the intensities of the bubble filled jets or streams discharged thereby. In fact, with the elevated back pressure the aearating devices 52 tend to create, the bypassing of the return flow through the pool cleaner 64 can be severe enough to make the aerating devices nearly useless.
The present invention provides means for preventing the foregoing bypassing of the aerating devices 52 through the pool cleaner 64. Further, the invention provides means for doing this automatically, without any necessity for manual valving, which is another important feature.
The present invention prevents bypassing of the aerating devices 52 through the pool cleaner 64 by interposing between the cleaning pump 58 and the pool cleaner 64 a pressure relief valve or valve means 66, an illustrative embodiment being shown in detail in FIG. 2 of the drawing. While the relief valve 66 may be located anywhere between the cleaning pump 58 and the pool cleaner 64, it is convenient to mount it on the side of the pool at the end of the line 62, utilizing the fitting at the end of the line 62 for connection of the pool cleaner to this line. With this in mind, the pressure relief valve 66 is provided with an inlet nipple 68 adapted to be threaded into the aforementioned fitting in the side of the pool 10 at the end of the line 62. The pressure relief valve 66 is provided with an outlet elbow 70 to which the pool cleaner 64 is connected. (For convenience in FIG. 2 of the drawing, the outlet elbow 70 is shown in the same horizontal plane as the inlet nipple 68. Actually, however, the outlet elbow 70 is preferably directed downwardly to reduce the amount it projects into the pool 10.)
The inlet and outlet 68 and 70 of the pressure relief valve 66 are connected by a passage encircled by an annular valve seat 72 facing upstream. Engageable with this seat is a valve member 74 carried by a piston 76 in a cylinder 78. A compression coil spring 80 seated in the piston, which is cup shaped, and against the outer end of the cylinder 78, biases the valve member 74 into engagement with the seat 72 to prevent flow through the relief valve 66.
Whenever the cleaning pump is not operating, the valve member 74 is seated to close the relief valve 66. Thus, when the aerated basin 12 is in use, bypassing of the aerating devices 52 through the pool cleaner 64 is prevented, and this is done automatically with no necessity for manual valve manipulation, which are important features of the invention. (It will be understood that the pool cleaner 64 is not intended to be in operation when the aerated basin 12 is in use.)
When the cleaning pump motor 60 is energized, either manually, or by a timer, the discharge pressure of the cleaning pump 58 acts on the left end of the piston 76, as viewed in FIG. 2, to unseat the valve member 74, there being enough clearance around the valve member for water to enter the left end of the cylinder 78. (It will be understood that the discharge pressure of the cleaning pump 58 is considerably higher than that of the circulating pump 16, the force exerted by the spring 80 being sufficient to resist the discharge pressure of the circulating pump, but not that of the cleaning pump.) Thus, the pressure relief valve 66 opens automatically, in response to energization of the cleaning pump motor 60, to permit the delivery of water by the cleaning pump 58 to the pool cleaner 64.
As will be apparent from the foregoing, the present invention automatically prevents bypassing of the aerating devices 52 to the pool cleaner 64, and automatically permits flow to the pool cleaner in response to actuation of the cleaning pump 58. Not only does this automatic operation dispense with any necessity for manual valve manipulations, but it serves to protect the cleaning pump motor 60 from the damage that might occur if it were to start, and operate for any length of time, with a closed manual valve on its discharge side. Thus, the present invention not only eliminates any need for manual intervention, but also serves as a safety feature.
As previously indicated, the selector valves 22 and 40 may be of any suitable types, and may even be combinations of gate valves, or the like.
Although an exemplary embodiment of the invention has been disclosed for purposes of illustration, it will be understood that various changes, modifications and substitutions may be incorporated in such embodiment without departing from the spirit of the invention as defined by the claims hereinafter appearing.