This invention relates to swimming pools, and more particularly, to a swimming pool circulation system.
The problem to which the invention is addressed arises out of the need to remove unusually great quantities of water from a swimming pool gutter without the expense of a large number of gutter drains spaced around the perimeter of the pool. That problem of unusually great quantities of water which the gutter must accommodate arises in part from a demand for "faster" pools, that is, pools in which there is a minimum of splash-back of water resulting from waves created by swimmers, the waves crashing into the pool walls and splashing back into the paths of the swimmers. The splash-back problem has been alleviated in part by the design of a swimming pool gutter as shown in Ogden U.S. Pat. No. 2,932,397. There, a peripheral gutter is formed by an inner wall which serves as an inlet for water from the pool filter. The back wall of the gutter includes an upwardly and inwardly inclined coping which, when engaged by water splashed out of the pool, directs the splashed water downwardly into the gutter, thereby minimizing the splash-back into the pool.
Conventionally, a pool with this gutter construction is operated with the level of the water being slightly below the inner gutter wall. In this mode of operation, the gutter has sufficient capacity to accommodate the water splashed into it as an incident of pool activity and to cause it to flow back to the filter.
In a competitive swim meet, however, it is found desirable to raise the level of the pool water to a point of just overflowing the inner gutter wall so that there is no upwardly projecting gutter wall to cause any splash-back. Under those swim meet conditions, however, the capacity of the gutter may be strained to the point of continuously overflowing, thereby creating even a less desirable, or "slower," pool than the pool operating conventionally.
In addition to the splash-back considerations, health officials are concerned that surface-born contaminates, if collected in a gutter and thereafter splashed back, can create health hazards in a pool. This can occur not only during a swim meet but also during an excessively hot day when a larger number of people are in a swimming pool displacing more water and causing turbulence, the waves making surges of water into the gutter.
It has been an objective of the invention to reduce splash-back from pool walls and to reduce splash-back of water collected in gutters by increasing the capability of the pool circulation system to remove water from gutters. More particularly, it is a feature of the invention to provide means for positively pumping water out of the gutters by connecting a conduit forming a wall adjacent the gutter to a pump and providing ports in the conduit to receive water from the gutter.
Another objective of the invention has been to provide a pool circulation system which permits water to be introduced into the pool via the main drain, to overflow the gutter walls and to be pumped back to the filter out of the gutter walls through a conduit forming one of the gutter walls.
It has been another objective of the invention to provide a pool circulation system in which the water may be circulated in the pool in a conventional manner wherein the water is withdrawn from the main drain and returned to the filter and in which the circulation system can be reversed to provide for introduction of filtered water into the pool via the main drain and return to the filter via the gutter and conduit adjacent the gutter. Preferably, a dual flow system as described above is achieved by providing the conduit, which forms the inner gutter wall, with two sets of one-way valves spaced around the perimeter of the pool. The first set, on the pool side, permits water to flow only from the conduit into the pool. The second set, located on the gutter side, permits water to flow only from the gutter into the conduit. A pumping system is provided to drive water from the filter into the conduit, the water then being directed into the pool from the conduit. When the pumping system is reversed, water is positively withdrawn from the conduit, the source of water being that which has flowed into the gutter as by splashing and/or raising the pool level so that there is a constant overflow into the gutter. The filtered water is then introduced from the filter into the pool through the main drain.
It is a further feature of the invention to provide sensors and regulatable valves controlled by the sensors to control the level of the water in the filter as well as the level of the water in the gutter so that proper levels can be maintained to avoid drawing air into the pumping system.
Another desirable feature of the invention resides in the fact that it can be applied to existing pools constructed in accordance with Ogden U.S. Pat. No. 2,932,397 without major structural changes. Thus, the pools may be economically converted to the dual flow system of the present invention .
The several objectives and features of the invention will become more readily apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic view of a circulation system in accordance with the present invention. The lines and valves which are normally employed in a circulation system but which are not involved in the operation of the present invention have been omitted for the sake of clarity;
FIG. 2 is a view similar to FIG. 1 illustrating the condition of the valves for conventional circulation operation;
FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 1 showing the condition of the valves for reverse flow operation;
FIG. 4 is a plan view of a pool employing the invention particularly illustrating a main drain structure;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary perspective view of a gutter section employing one-way valves in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary perspective view of the gutter section of FIG. 5 viewed from the opposite side but with the screening removed; and
FIG. 7 is a disassembled perspective view of a one-way or poppet valve.
The swimming pool with which the present invention is used is diagrammatically illustrated in FIG. 4. It includes the pool area 10 enclosed by pool walls 11. Positioned on top of the pool walls is a peripheral gutter 12 whose inside wall 13 forms a conduit normally employed for the distribution of water into the pool. Spaced around the perimeter of the conduit 13 are valved openings 14, each provided with a one-way valve which premits discharge of water into the pool when water is pumped under pressure into the conduit 13.
The pool has a main drain 16 at its deep end. The main drain preferably extends transversely over a substantial portion of the width of the pool and is provided with suitable baffles so as to permit water to be introduced, during reverse flow operation, over substantially the entire area of the main drain, thereby minimizing the possibility of creating an area of high turbulence in the center of the pool during the reverse flow operation.
A filter 20 and pump room 21 are located alongside the pool, the filter in the illustrated embodiment being a vacuum diatomite system. The filter and pump room are connected to the pool by a pool supply line 23 which is in communication with the peripheral conduit 13; a gutter return conduit 24 which is in communication with the peripheral gutter 12 and a main drain line 25 in communication with the main drain 16.
The manner in which the conduits 23, 24 and 25 are connected to the pumps and filters for conventional and reverse flow operation is illustrated in FIG. 1. There, a filter tank 28 normally filled with water at a level 29 contains a plurality of diatomaceous earth-covered filter elements 30. The filters are connected through a line 32 to the low pressure side 33 of a circulating main pump 34. The high pressure side of the pump 34 is connected through lines 35, 36 and 23 to the conduit 13. The conduit 13 has one-way valved ports 14, spaced around its perimeter. The ports 14 permit water to be directed into the pool only when water is delivered under pressure from pump 34. A series connected valve 37, normally open for conventional operation, is connected in the line 36. Line 35 contains a series connected modulating valve 39 which is controlled by a sensor 40, such as a float, located at approximately the desired water level in the filter tank 28. The valve 39 functions to regulate the flow from the pump to maintain a proper level of water covering the filter elements.
The gutter 12 is connected by the gutter return line 24 through a modulating valve 42 to the tank 28. The modulating valve is connected to a sensor 43, such as a float-operated sensor, the sensor 43 being located in the gutter 12 at approximately the maximum level of water in the gutter. The sensor 43 and modulating valve 42 function to maintain a proper level of water in the gutter during a reverse flow operation.
The pool main drain 16 is connected through the line 25 and a line 45 to the tank 28. A normally open valve 46 is series connected in line 45. The pool main drain and line 25 are adapted to be connected to the high pressure side of the pump 34 by a line 47 which is connected between the line 35 and the pool main drain. The line 47 has a series connected valve 50 which is closed during conventional operation.
The pump room contains an auxiliary circulating pump 51 having a low pressure side 52 connected through a line 53 to the pool supply line 23 and conduit 13. A series connected valve 54 is in line 53 and is normally closed during conventional operation.
The conduit 13 has a plurality of one-way valved ports 55 spaced around the perimeter of the conduit 13, the valves 55 communicating with the gutter 12. The one-way valves permit water to flow only from the gutter into the conduit 13 when the gutter is filled and the conduit 13 is connected to the low pressure side of the pump 51. The high pressure side of the pump 51 is connected by a line 56 to the filter tank.
One form of gutter and valve construction is illustrated in FIGS. 5-7. The gutter section 12 has a conduit 13 forming its inside wall. A plurality of the valved ports 14 are mounted on the inside wall of the conduit 13. While the spacing and size of the valves will vary depending upon the particular pool structure, pump size and the like, a spacing of ports 14 on three foot centers with the port size being equivalent to a 3/16 inch diameter hole will normally prove satisfactory. As shown in FIG. 6, similar ports 55 with substantially the same spacing are employed in the conduit 13 in communication with the open portion of the gutter 12. The ports 55 should be placed closely adjacent the bottom wall of the gutter so as to provide additional assurance of their being completely covered with water at all times during the reverse flow operation.
The one-way valve forming the valved port 14 is preferably of a poppet valve construction, as shown in FIG. 7. The valve includes a sleeve 60 having angulated vanes 61 secured to its outwardly facing end 62. The vanes 61 serve two valuable functions. In the ports 14 which direct water into the pool, the vanes are oriented to direct the flow of water at approximately 45° downwardly into the pool so as to provide assurance that the filtered water introduced into the pool is directed forcibly downwardly to bring the newly chlorinated water well below the surface of the pool water.
On the gutter side of the conduit 13 where water is drawn from the gutter through the valve into the conduit 13, the vanes serve a different function of screening out debris as the water is drawn into the conduit, thereby avoiding fouling the pumps associated with the system.
The poppet valve includes poppet body 63 having a semi-cylindrical bore 64 therethrough. A flexible plastic flapper 65 is secured by means of a screw 66 and washer 67 to the body to cover the bore 64. The body has an outside diameter substantially the same as the inside diameter of the sleeve 60 to enable the body to be press-fitted into the sleeve. The body has a collar 59 intermediate its ends which bears against the end of the sleeve 60 to space the flapper away from the vaned end of the sleeve, thereby permitting the flapper to swing to open position when water is directed through the bore 64. The flapper will close when the water pressure is in the opposite direction, thereby blocking flow of water through the bore 64. The valve when assembled has an O-ring 68 slid over the sleeve and the valve is press-fitted into a hole in the conduit 13.
The valve 55 communicating with the gutter is similar to the valve 14 communicating with the pool except that the orientation of the poppet body and flapper is reversed so as to control the flow of water in the opposite direction. The flapper is surrounded by a cup-shaped housing (not shown) having holes therein to permit the flow of water.
As viewed in FIG. 5, the gutter 12 is preferably covered with a perforated plate or mesh 80 which, along with the vanes 61 of the poppet valve, serves to screen out debris from entering the gutter. The screening 80 is particularly useful in outdoor pool construction but would not normally be required for an indoor pool.
The conventional operation of the system is illustrated in FIG. 2. There, as illustrated by the bold lines and arrows, water is returned to the filter from the main drain through the normally open valve 46 and is returned to the filter from the gutter through the modulating valve 42. Since under the conventional condition of operation the water in the gutter will be low, the sensor 43 will maintain the valve 42 in a wide open condition.
Water is drawn from the tank through the filter elements and into the pump 34 through the line 32. Water exiting from the pump 34 under high pressure flows to the conduit 13 via the lines 35, 36 and pool supply line 23. The one-way valved port 14 in the conduit 13 permits the water to be discharged into the pool, preferably in the form of downwardly directed jets. In this condition of operation the valve 37 is open to permit flow to the pool supply line 23 and the valve 50 is closed to block flow to the pool drain line 25.
When it is desired to operate in a reverse flow condition, the level of the pool is raised until there is a slight amount of water flowing over the conduit 13 into the gutter 12. The condition of the valves and direction of flow is illustrated in FIG. 3. The water in the gutter will be returned by gravity flow through the gutter return 24. Its rate of return will be governed by the sensor 43 which controls valve 42 in the line 24 to maintain the level of the water in the gutter high enough to provide assurance that the one-way valved ports 55 are covered, for otherwise the valves might draw air into the pump 51 and cause it to cavitate.
Water is also returned to the tank through the pool supply line 23, line 53, valve 54, pump 51 and line 56. Under this condition of operation, the valve 54 is open. The water is drawn into the line 23 from the gutter 12 through the one-way valved ports 55. Thus, water splashed and flowing into the gutter during times of high activity as, for example, a competitive swim meet, is withdrawn from the gutter at a much higher rate than normal through the conventional gravity flow to the gutter return line 24 and through the pumping action drawing it out of the gutter through the valved ports 55 to the line 23. It is returned to the pool under the conditions of reverse flow through the pool main drain via line 25, line 47, valve 50, line 35, valve 39 and the first pump 34. In this condition of operation the valve 46 is closed, the valve 50 is open and the valve 39 is regulated by the sensor 40 on the tank to provide assurance that the water level in the tank is maintained above and covering the filter elements 30. The two sensors 40, 43, as indicated above, function to balance the flow of water in the system, and more importantly, to maintain the level of the water in the gutter and tank above the valved ports 55 and filter elements 30, respectively, to eliminate the possibility of drawing air into the pumps.
It can be seen from the foregoing that a principal element of the combination is the conduit 13 with its one-way valved ports permitting flow from the conduit into the pool through ports 14 during "conventional" operation, and from the gutter into the conduit through ports 55 during "reverse flow" operation.
It can also be seen that if it is desired to operate the pool continuously on a reverse flow condition, the ports 14 could be eliminated.
The conduit 13 does not necessarily have to form the inner wall of the gutter as illustrated, but it should be adjacent the gutter to permit flow of gutter water through the ports 55.