Title:
Spa fittings
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A suction fitting for a spa bath or pool comprising a pipe member with an externally threaded sleeve adapted to extend through an aperture in the wall of the bath or pool, a connector having a flange with a rearwardly extending internally threaded sleeve that screws onto the externally threaded sleeve of the pipe member to extend through and engage the aperture and hold the fitting against the wall, and a cover that is secured to the connector.



Inventors:
Berry, Desmond John (Victoria, AU)
Mcnab, Robert Kenneth (Victoria, AU)
Application Number:
10/464842
Publication Date:
02/12/2004
Filing Date:
06/19/2003
Assignee:
BERRY DESMOND JOHN
MCNAB ROBERT KENNETH
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K3/00; A47K3/022; A47K3/10; A61H33/00; (IPC1-7): E03C1/042
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PHILLIPS, CHARLES E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STITES & HARBISON PLLC (1800 Diagonal Road SUITE 325, ALEXANDRIA, VA, 22314, US)
Claims:

The claims:



1. A auction fitting for a spa bath or pool comprising a pipe member with an externally threaded sleeve adapted to extend through an aperture in the wall of the bath or pool, a connector having a flange with a rearwardly extending internally threaded sleeve that screws onto the externally threaded sleeve of the pipe member to extend through and engage the aperture and hold the fitting against the wall, and a cover that is secured to the connector.

2. The suction fitting according to claim 1 wherein the externally threaded sleeve has a lower wall portion that extends downwardly towards the front of the sleeve at the level below the lowest portion of the pipe member.

3. The suction fitting according to claim 2 wherein a cutout is provided adjacent the front portion of the lower portion of the wall to effect drainage of water in the pipe member into the bath or pool.

4. The suction fitting according to claim 1 wherein the externally threaded sleeve has a radially extending flexible flange that is adapted to abut the outer surface of the spa or pool.

5. The suction fitting according to claim 4 wherein the flexibility of the flange results from a tapered cross section and conical profile.

6. The suction fitting according to claim 1 wherein the cover has an inner wall with a plurality of arcuate ribs that are adapted to locate within slots formed on the periphery of the connector so that to assemble the cover to the connector the cover is placed against the connector and then turned relative to the connector so that the ribs extend behind the walls of the slots.

7. The suction fitting according to claim 6 wherein one of the walls of the slots comprises an outwardly extending flexible leaf, and a locking lug being provided on the cover to, in use, ride up the leaf as the cover is turned on the connector to sit behind the extreme end of the leaf to prevent reverse rotation of the cover relative to the connector, release of the cover from the connector being effected by insertion of a tool through the front face of the cover to depress the leaf to allow the locking lug to rotate past the leaf to effect release.

8. The suction fitting according to claim 1 wherein the cover has a front face and an annular side wall, a plurality of small apertures being positioned in the front face with elongate channels formed down the annular side wall.

9. The suction fitting according to claim 8 wherein the elongate channels are divided into small apertures by a pair of radial ribs formed to extend across the elongate channels of the side walls.

10. A cover for a suction fitting, the cover being moulded in plastics to define a front face and an annular side wall, a plurality of small apertures being positioned in the front face with elongate channels down the annular side wall, the elongate channels being divided into small apertures by a pair of radial ribs formed to extend across the elongate channels of the side walls.

11. A suction fitting for a spa bath or pool comprising a pipe member with an externally threaded sleeve adapted to extend through an aperture in the wall of the bath or pool, a connector having a flange threadedly located on the threaded sleeve to, in use, hold the pipe member in position and a cover that is secured to the connector, the cover having an inner wall with a plurality of arcuate ribs that are adapted to locate within slots formed on the periphery of the connector so that to assembly the cover to the connector the cover is placed against the connector and then turned relative to the connector so that the ribs extend behind the walls of the slots, whereby one wall includes an outwardly extending flexible leaf, a locking lug being provided on the cover to, in use, ride up the leaf as the cover is turned on the connector to sit behind the extreme end of the leaf to prevent reverse rotation of the cover relative to the connector, release of the cover from the connector being effected by insertion of a tool through the front face of the cover to depress the leaf to allow the locking lug to rotate past the leaf to effect release.

12. A method of fitting a suction fitting according to claim 4 to a spa bath or pool comprising, applying a silicon sealant to the external thread and adjacent surface of the radially extending flexible flange, positing the externally threaded sleeve through a hole in the wall of the bath or pool with the flange abutting the exterior of the wall, screwing the connector onto the externally threaded sleeve until the rearwardly extending sleeve passes through and engages the aperture and pushes the silicon sealant into compression between the exterior wall of the bath or pool and the flexible flange.

Description:
[0001] This invention relates to spa fittings and in particular relates to a suction fitting for use in spa baths or pools.

[0002] The suction fitting of a spa bath or pool draws water from the bath/pool to be then pumped to mix with air to return to the spa/pool as an aerated jet. In recent years health regulations have dictated that when the spa feature is not operational there should not be stagnate pools of water collecting in the pipework and fittings. The suction fitting includes a pipe member that is mounted externally of the bath pool, a threaded locking flange that screws onto an internally projecting sleeve of the pipe member and a removable cover that covers the locking flange and is perforated to facilitate entry of water but reduce the likelihood of entry of debris, especially human hair.

[0003] Fittings of the kind described above are often sealed through the use of silicon. The silicon can, if sloppily applied, block the self drainage characteristics of the assembly. The efficiency of the fitting is also dependant on its diameter and the cross section of the perforations in the cover. The fittings must also be aesthetically pleasing and this places constraints on the ultimate dimensions of the fitting.

[0004] It is these issues that have brought about the present invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] In accordance with one aspect of the present invention there is provided a suction fitting for a spa bath or pool comprising a pipe member with an externally threaded sleeve adapted to extend through an aperture in the wall of the bath or pool, a connector having a flange with a rearwardly extending internally threaded sleeve that screws onto the externally threaded sleeve of the pipe member to extend through and engage the aperture and hold the fitting against the wall, and a cover that is secured to the connector.

[0006] Preferably, the lower portion of the wall of the externally threaded sleeve extends downwardly towards the front of the sleeve and a cutout is provided adjacent the front of that portion of the wall to effect drainage of water in the pipe member into the bath or pool.

[0007] The suction fitting described above wherein the externally threaded sleeve has a radially extending flexible flange that is adapted to abut the outer surface of the spa or pool. Preferably, the flexibility of the flange results from a tapered cross section and conical profile.

[0008] In accordance with a further aspect of the present invention there is provided a cover for a suction fitting, the cover being moulded in plastics to define a front face and annular side wall, a plurality of small apertures being positioned in the front face with elongate channels down the annular side wall of the cover, the elongate channels being divided into small apertures by a pair of radial ribs formed on the side wall to extend across the elongate channels.

[0009] In accordance with a still further aspect of the present invention there is provided a suction fitting of the kind described above characterised in that the inner wall of the cover has a plurality of arcuate ribs that are adapted to locate within slots formed on the periphery of the connector so that to assemble the cover to the connector the cover is placed against the connector and then turned relative to the connector so that the ribs extend behind the walls of the slots, characterised in that one of the walls comprises an outwardly extending flexible leaf, a locking lug being provided on the cover to, in use, ride up the leaf as the cover is turned on the connector to sit behind the extreme end of the leaf to prevent reverse rotation of the cover relative to the connector, release of the cover from the connector being effected by insertion of a tool through the front face of the cover to depress the leaf to allow the locking lug to rotate past the leaf to effect release.

[0010] An embodiment of the present invention will now be described by way of example only with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

[0011] FIG. 1 is a cross sectional view of a suction fitting for use in a spa bath or pool,

[0012] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a pipe member that forms part of the suction fitting,

[0013] FIG. 3 is a rear perspective view of a connector forming part of the fitting,

[0014] FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of the connector,

[0015] FIG. 5 is a cross sectional view of a cover that forms part of the fitting, and

[0016] FIG. 6 in a cut-away perspective view showing the interior of the cover.

[0017] The suction fitting 10 illustrated in the accompanying representations comprises a pipe member 20 that is in the form of an elongate piece of pipe 21 joined to a laterally extending connector pipe 22 that terminates in an externally threaded sleeve 23. The connector pipe 22 also includes a radially extending location flange 24 that is inclined forwardly as shown in FIG. 1 and of a tapering cross section reducing towards the radial edge 25.

[0018] The connector pipe 22 has a downwardly inclined lower surface 27 that terminates in a dish shaped cutout 28 as shown in FIG. 2. The lower surface 27 is below the lowest level of the pipe member 20 so that the combination of the dish shaped cutout 28 and the downwardly inclined lower surface 27 ensures that any water in the pipe member 20 drains out through the suction fitting 10. With a bath wall angled up to 17.5°, the lower surface 27 continues to ensure water drains from the pipework.

[0019] The externally threaded sleeve 23 is designed to mate with internal threading formed on an extension sleeve 31 of a connector 30. The connector 30 is shown in greater detail in FIGS. 3 and 4 and comprises an annular outer member 32 with three radially extending ribs 33 joining a central support 34. The outer rib 32 has three arcuately spaced slots 35, 36, 37 positioned between spaced radial flanges 38 &39. The internally threaded sleeve 31 extends rearwardly of the connector and is arranged to screw onto the externally threaded sleeve 23 of the pipe member 20 in a manner that the thickness of the operative part of the connector is kept to a minimum.

[0020] Although not shown in FIG. 1, the pipe member 20 locates outside the bath with the threaded sleeve 23 extending through an aperture within the bath. The connector 30, once screwed on to the pipe member 20 causes the wall of the bath to be firmly engaged between the forward surface of the mounting flange 24 on the pipe member 20 and the rearward surface of the connector 30. The forwardly inclined and tapered cross section of the flange 24 on the pipe member introduces a degree of resilience into that member to accommodate the rather rough and uneven profile of reinforced fibreglass bath structures.

[0021] In assembly, a small amount of silicon sealant is positioned on the inside of the flange 24 against the external thread of the sleeve 23. The sleeve is extended through the aperture in the bath, or spa, and when the connector is screwed onto the end of the threaded sleeve 23, the forward end of the connector extends through the aperture pushing the silicone back up against the flange 24. The resilience of this flange keeps the silicon trapped between the tapered surface of the flange and the rough exterior surface of the bath structure. Thus, the silicon is placed under a degree of compression to thereby fill all voids and form a watertight seal between the flange 24 and the wall of the bath. The smooth exterior of the rearward portion of the connector also improves the fit of the assembly in the circular aperture of the bath or spa wall.

[0022] The flexibility of the flange 24 and the pushing effect of the extension sleeve 31 reduces the need for large amounts of silicon to ensure a watertight join. Thus the inside face of the connector 30 presses against the surface of the bath or pool and a cover 40 clips onto the surface of the connector to cover the connector 30 as shown in FIG. 1.

[0023] The design of the connector 30 and the pipe member 20 is such that the outwardly extending externally threaded sleeve 23 on the pipe member 20 is extended to cooperate with an rearwardly extended internally threaded sleeve 31 on the connector 30. This combination allows an increase in diameter of the assembly to improve the rate of water flow as well as maintaining the low profile of the connector. The flexible tapered and conical flange 24 on the pipe member 20 improves the contact against the rough surface of the bath or pool and reduces the likelihood of point loads and use of excessive amounts of silicon sealant.

[0024] The cover 40 has a perforated front face 41 that prevents a slightly convex profile to the exterior. The front face merges into a rearwardly extending annular wall 42 which is also perforated. The rearward portion of the interior 43 of the cover has an annular recess 44 that terminates in an annular shoulder 45. The cover 40 clips onto the connector 30 with the front face of the connector abutting the shoulder 45. As shown in FIG. 6, the inner surface of the rear edge of the cover includes three spaced arcuate ribs 46 which are adapted to slid into the arcuate slots 35, 36, 37 defined by the spaced radial flanges 38, 39 on the exterior of the connector. In this way the cover 40 is placed on the connector 30 and then turned so that the ribs 46 extend behind the flanges 38, 39 which holds the cover firmly in position. As a safety feature, one of the flanges 38 in the connector is formed as a resilient arcuate leaf 49 shown in FIG. 3. This arcuate leaf 49 is inclined rearwardly of the connector 30 and when the cover 40 is turned on the connector 30 it abuts a small locking lug 48 that is formed on the interior surface 43 of the cover 40. The end of the resilient leaf 49 and the lug 48 are in the same plane so that as the cover is turned into the locked position, the locking lug slides past the leaf to sit against the end of the leaf to prevent rotation in the reverse direction which would release the cover 40 from the connector 30. To release the cover from the connector it is thus necessary to insert a special tool (not shown) through the front face 41 of the cover 40 to engage the free end of the resilient leaf 49 and to push the leaf out of line with the locking lug 48 thereby allowing relative rotation of the cover 40 and the connector 30 to effect release. This means that the cover 40 cannot be removed without a special tool that can extend through the front face 41 of the cover 40 and engage the resilient leaf 49.

[0025] As shown in FIG. 6 the front 41 of the cover 40 has a series of annular array of small circular holes 50. The annular array radiate outwardly to cover the whole of the front face 41. The holes SO are sufficiently small to prevent through flow of debris yet the total cross sectional area of the holes is such that there is adequate water flow. Unfortunately, tooling constraints do not allow the placement of circular holes of that diameter in the annular wall 42 of the cover 40. Thus, as shown in FIG. 6, the external surface of the wall of the cover is provided with axially extending elongate channels 51 that run from the front to the rear of the wall 42 along the whole depth of the annular wall 42. A pair of annular ribs 53, 54 are located on the inside of the wall 42 of the cover 40 to divide the elongate channels into three separate smaller rectangular apertures 55, 56, 57. In this way the cross section of the apertures is minimised yet the percentage of the apertures to solid material is maintained to ensure adequate water flow.

[0026] In the claims which follow and in the preceding description of the invention, except where the context requires otherwise due to express language or necessary implication, the word “comprise” or variations such as “comprises” or “comprising” is used in an inclusive sense, i.e. to specify the presence of the stated features but not to preclude the presence or addition of further features in various embodiments of the invention.