Title:
Wall vent screen
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A small screen is used for blocking insects from entry into vent holes provided in brick walls. The screen has a frame with an aperture. A mesh of screen material is located over the aperture. A retainer is connected with the screen for retaining the screen over the vent hole. The retainer has resilient fingers that extend forward from the screen for frictionally engaging opposite sides of the vent hole.



Inventors:
Cavazos, Matthew E. (Cypress, TX, US)
Application Number:
09/953837
Publication Date:
07/18/2002
Filing Date:
09/17/2001
Assignee:
CAVAZOS MATTHEW E.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B1/70; (IPC1-7): A47G5/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LEV, BRUCE ALLEN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
James E. Bradley (Bracewell & Patterson, L.L.P. PO Box 61389, Houston, TX, 77208-1389, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A screen for covering a hole, comprising: a frame having an aperture; a mesh of screen material located over the aperture; and a retainer carried by the screen for retaining the screen over a hole, the retainer having at least two resilient fingers that extend from the screen, the fingers having ends that are biased apart from each other for frictionally engaging opposing sides of the hole.

2. The screen according to claim 1, wherein the screen has two side edges, and the retainer further comprises a base from which the fingers extend, the fingers joining the base in a central area between the two side edges.

3. The screen according to claim 1, wherein the screen has two side edges and top and bottom edges, and the retainer further comprises abase from which the fingers extend, the fingers joining the base in a central area between the two side edges and between the top and bottom edges.

4. The screen according to claim 1, wherein a distance from the ends of the fingers to the mesh material is more than one-fourth a distance from a top edge of the frame to a bottom edge of the frame.

5. The screen according to claim 1, wherein the frame has oppositely facing side edges, and the retainer is secured to the side edges.

6. The screen according to claim 1, wherein the retainer comprises: a base having first and second lateral ends that are secured to the frame; and wherein the fingers extend from a central portion of the base located between the first and second lateral ends.

7. The screen according to claim 1, wherein the retainer comprises: a base having first and second lateral ends, each lateral end having a clip portion formed thereon that releasably engages a side edge of the frame; and a plate extending generally orthogonally from the base, the plate having at least one slit formed therein that defines the fingers.

8. The screen according to claim 1, wherein the retainer is formed of a single piece of metal and comprises: a plate having a forward portion with at least one slit formed therein that defines the fingers, the fingers being bent out-of-plane from the plate in opposite directions and one of the fingers being lower than the other of the fingers; the plate having a rearward portion with a slit formed therein that defines a pair of base portions, each base portion being bent out-of-plane with the plate in opposite directions, with one of the base portions being located lower than the other of the base portions; and a clip member bent on each end of each base portion that releasably engages a side edge of the frame.

9. The screen according to claim 1, wherein the frame is rectangular.

10. The screen according to claim 1, wherein the aperture is rectangular.

11. In a brick wall having a vent hole defined by opposing side surfaces of adjacent bricks, a screen for blocking entry of insects into the vent hole, comprising: a frame having an aperture; a mesh of screen material located over the aperture and secured to the frame; and a retainer carried by the screen and having at least two resilient fingers that extend into the vent hole from the screen and frictionally engage the opposing side surfaces of the adjacent bricks.

12. The screen according to claim 11, wherein the frame has a top, a bottom and two side edges, and the retainer is secured to the side edges substantially midway between the top and the bottom of the frame.

13. The screen according to claim 11, wherein the retainer comprises: a base having first and second lateral ends that are secured to the frame; and wherein the fingers extend from a central portion of the base located between the first and second lateral ends.

14. The screen according to claim 11, wherein the retainer comprises: a base having first and second lateral ends, each lateral end having a clip portion formed thereon that releasably engages a side edge of the frame; and a plate extending generally orthogonally from the base, the plate having at least one slit formed therein that define the fingers.

15. The screen according to claim 11, wherein the retainer is formed of a single piece of metal and comprises: a plate having a forward portion with at least one slit formed therein that defines the fingers, the fingers being bent out-of-plane from the plate in opposite directions, and one of the fingers being lower than the other of the fingers; the plate having a rearward portion with a slit formed therein that defines a pair of base portions, each base portion being bent out-of-plane with the plate in opposite directions, with one of the base portions being located lower than the other of the base portions; and a clip member bent on each end of each base portion that releasably engages a side edge of the frame.

16. The screen according to claim 11, wherein the frame is rectangular.

17. The screen according to claim 11, wherein the aperture is rectangular.

18. A method of blocking entry of insects to a vent hole, comprising: providing a frame having an aperture, a mesh of screen material located over the aperture, and a retainer carried by the screen, the retainer having at least two resilient fingers that extend from the screen; then inserting the fingers into the vent hole and pressing the frame against the wall, causing ends of the fingers to move apart from each other to frictionally grip opposing sides of the vent hole to retain the screen material over the vent hole.

19. The method according to claim 18, further comprising: prior to inserting the fingers in the vent hole, initially forming ends of the fingers apart from each other by permanent deformation a greater distance that a width of the vent hole, then pressing the ends of the fingers toward each other with elastic deformation while inserting the fingers into the vent hole.

Description:

[0001] This application claims the priority date of provisional application Serial No. 60/233,525, filed Sep. 19, 2000.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] This invention relates in general to insect screens, and in particular to an insect screen for preventing access to vent holes formed in brick walls.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART

[0003] Many residential homes are built with brick veneer walls. The frame of the house comprises wooden studs, with a brick veneer being built on the outside of the frame. Vent or breather holes are commonly formed in the brick wall or veneer to allow moisture that may accumulate within the wall to vent. Normally the vent holes are located at the base of the brick wall at the upper surface of the concrete foundation. A vent hole is formed by leaving a vertical space between two of the bricks free of mortar, resulting in a rectangular opening that is the depth of the brick. The opening leads to the wood frame behind the brick and is typically about one-half inch wide. Vent holes are spaced apart a selected distance, such as ten feet. The vent hole communicates with the spaces between the brick veneer and the wooden free, allowing for passage of air and drainage of water.

[0004] While vent holes are useful for reducing moisture content within the wall, they have the disadvantage of allowing insects to enter. This can be especially detrimental with insects that damage wood, such as termites.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] In this invention, a screen is provided that is particularly suited for vent holes in walls. Each screen is sized slightly larger than an average vent hole. Each screen has a frame with an aperture. A mesh of screen material is located over the aperture. A retainer is carried by the screen for retaining the screen over the vent hole. The retainer has at least two resilient fingers that extend from the screen and frictionally engage opposing sides of the vent hole.

[0006] In the preferred embodiment, the retainer is a resilient metal member having a base portion that secures over side edges of the frame. The fingers extend from the base portion and are initially formed with a distance between them that is greater than the width of the vent hole. When inserting the fingers into the vent hole, the user will press into the fingers slightly toward each other, then insert the fingers into the vent hole. The resiliency of the fingers tends to move them back to the initial position, thus exert a bias force against the sides of the vent hole.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0007] FIG. 1 is perspective view showing a screen aligned for positioning over a vent hole in a brick wall.

[0008] FIG. 2 is a sectional view of the screen of FIG. 1, taken along the line 2-2 of FIG. 1 and shown installed over the vent hole.

[0009] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the retainer for the screen of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0010] Referring to FIG. 1, a brick wall 11 is shown having rows of bricks 13 laid on top of each other with mortar 14 between the horizontal and vertical interfaces. Vent holes 17 (only one shown) are provided in wall 11 at selected distances apart from each other. Vent holes 17 are normally located on the first or lowest row of bricks 13, which typically are laid on a concrete foundation 15 of the building. Each vent hole 17 is formed by omitting mortar 14 in the vertical gap between two of the adjacent bricks 13 on the lowest row. Vent hole 17 is rectangular, about one-half inch wide, and extends the full thickness and height of the adjacent bricks 13.

[0011] A screen 19 is adapted to be placed over vent hole 17 to block the entry of insects, but still allow air and moisture flow. Screen 19 has a frame 21, which is rectangular in the preferred embodiment. Frame 21 has a pair of parallel side edges 23,25, a top edge 27 and a bottom edge 29, both of which are also parallel. The height from bottom edge 29 to top edge 27 is slightly greater than the height of vent hole 17. The width of screen 19 from side edge 23 to side edge 25 is slightly greater than the width of vent hole 17, thus considerably smaller than a width of one of bricks 13.

[0012] Frame 21 defines an aperture 31, which is rectangular in this embodiment. Aperture 31 is covered with a mesh material 33. Mesh material 33 is preferably aluminum screen mesh, doubled two or three times over to provide multiple layers. Mesh material 33 may be secured to frame 21 in a variety of manners. In a preferred embodiment, frame 21 is formed of a thermoplastic material, and mesh material 33 is bonded by a suitable adhesive at the corners of mesh material 33. Alternately, applying heat and pressure to the corners of mesh material 33 causes slight melting of the thermoplastic material of frame 21, and adheres mesh material 33 to frame 21.

[0013] A retainer 35, shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, is used to retain screen 19 over vent hole 17. Retainer 35 also provides support to mesh material 33 in this embodiment. Retainer 35 in the preferred embodiment is formed from a single plate 37 of bendable and resilient metal. Plate 37 has one horizontal slit 39 that extends forward from its rearward edge and is parallel to the bottom and top edges of plate 37. Slit 39 defines upper and lower strips that are then bent at right angles to plate 37 and in opposite directions. One of the strips comprises a base upper lateral portion 41, and the other strip comprises a base lower lateral portion 43. Base portions 41,43 have the same lengths and heights, but base portion 43 is lower than base portion 41. Base portions 41, 43 are in the same vertical plane and orthogonal to plate 37.

[0014] A clip 45 is formed at the end of base portion 41. Clip 45 is formed by bending the end of base portion 41 at a right angle and forming a concave portion to provide a detent. Clip 45 will push or snap over side edge 23, as shown in FIG. 1, to releasably secure retainer 35 to frame edge 23. Another clip 47 is formed on the end of base portion 43. Clip 47 is formed by bending the end into a doubled over hook for engaging side edge 25 of frame 21.

[0015] Plate 37 has in this embodiment two horizontal slits 49, 51 formed parallel to each other and extending rearward from the forward edge a selected distance. Slits 49, 51 are parallel to the upper and lower edges of plate 37, defining three strips or fingers 53, 55 and 57. The upper finger 53 and lower finger 57 are bent out of plane of plate 37 to the left. The central finger 55 is bent out of plate 37 to the right. After being initially bent and released, the distance between the ends of fingers 53, 57 on the left and finger 55 on the right is slightly greater than the width of vent hole 17. The dotted lines indicate fingers 53 and 55 being bent outward. The degree of bending of fingers 53, 55 and 57 depends upon the lengths of slits 49, 51, but will normally less than 45 degrees relative to plate 37.

[0016] The distance from the ends of fingers 53, 55 and 57 to base portions 41, 43 after being bent into the initial configuration, is still sufficient to extend a considerable distance into vent hole 17, preferably from one-fourth to one-half the depth of vent hole 17. The distance from mesh material 33 to the ends of fingers 53, 55, 57 while in the out-of-plane initial position is in the range from about one-fourth to one-half or more the height of screen 19 from bottom edge 29 to top edge 27.

[0017] In operation, screen mesh material 33 is adhered to frame 21. Retainer 35 is placed on the forward side of screen 19 with clip 47 engaging side edge 25 and clip 45 engaging side edge 23. Fingers 53, 55 and 57 will be bent into an initial configuration with a distance between ends of fingers 53, 57 and finger 55 being initially greater than the width of vent hole 17. While being initially bent, the yield strength of the metal of fingers 53, 55 and 57 will be exceed so as to provide a permanent out-of-plane deformation. Clips 45,47 will be located approximately midway between the top edge 27 and bottom edge 29 of frame 21. This positions the bases of fingers 53, 55 and 57 in a central area midway between side edges 23, 25 and between top and bottom edges 27, 29 of frame 21.

[0018] As the user places screen 19 near vent hole 17, he will flex fingers 53 and 57 slightly toward finger 55 so that the fingers 53, 55 and 57 can enter vent hole 17. The amount of deflection required is slight, and the resiliency of fingers 53, 55 and 57 urges them to return to the initial configuration. This resiliency causes them to exert a bias outwardly against the opposing side surfaces of bricks 13. The amount of inward squeeze on fingers 53, 55 and 57 will not exceed the yield strength, thus this deflection is elastic. As the user releases the squeezing pressure, fingers 53, 55 and 57 tend to spring back outward to their initial configuration. As the user inserts fingers 53, 55 and 57 into vent hole 17, he pushes screen 19 in a forward direction until frame 21 abuts bricks 13, completely enclosing vent hole 17. The friction exerted by the outward bias of fingers 53, 55 and 57 against the sides of the adjacent bricks 13 retains screen 19 in abutment against brick wall 11.

[0019] Screen 19 can be readily removed simply by pulling outward on frame 21. If desired, frames 21 could be made decorative with coloring, lettering, or drawings, particularly for various seasons.

[0020] The invention has significant advantages. The screens are small, lightweight and inexpensive to manufacture. The screens can be readily placed over vent holes to prevent entry of insects into the area between the brick veneer and the wooden frame. Air and moisture are free to flow through the screens.

[0021] While the invention has been shown in only one of its forms, it should be apparent to those skilled in the art that it is not so limited but is susceptible to various changes without departing from the scope of the invention. For example, rather than rectangular, the screen aperture could be circular, and more than one aperture could be used. The frame could be other shapes rather than rectangular. The retainer could be of different types. It could be secured to the screen mesh material rather than to the frame. It could be made of a resilient plastic material rather than metal, if desired. The clips on the ends of the retainer base could be formed in other configurations. The fingers could be wires rather than strips of metal. Two fingers could be used rather than three. The screen could be utilized for blocking other holes in addition to those in brick veneer walls.