Title:
Fitting-assembly and fitting-block for a central heating system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention provides a fitting-assembly for a central heating system which comprises substantially a heat source, a plurality of heater units, in particular radiators, and a system of supply and return conduits between the heat source and the heater units, characterised in that it comprises one or more first fitting-units that are incorporated into the system of supply and return conduits, each comprising a connection point to a supply conduit and a connection point to a return conduit of the supply and return conduit system between the heat source and the heater units, and one or more second fitting-units (“fitting-block”) that each are functionally connected to a respective first fitting-unit and each enclose a housing in which is contained at least one supply chamber having a connection for a supply conduit from the first fitting-unit and a return chamber with at least one connection for a return conduit to the first fitting-unit, said supply chamber further comprising a connection for coupling to the inlet of a heater unit of the central heating system, and the return chamber further comprising a connection for coupling to the outlet of a heater unit of the central heating system. The invention also provides a separate second fitting-unit which is preferably directly fitted to the outlet of a heater unit, and preferably provided with a flow changeover device.



Inventors:
Piest, Egbert (Nieuwegein, NL)
Application Number:
10/472637
Publication Date:
06/03/2004
Filing Date:
09/19/2003
Assignee:
PIEST EGBERT
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F24H9/12; (IPC1-7): F23J11/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
FOX, JOHN C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Kalow & Springut (19th Floor 488 Madison Avenue, New York, NY, 10022, US)
Claims:
1. A fitting-assembly for a central heating system which comprises a h at source, a plurality of heater units such as radiators, and a system of supply and return conduits between the heat source and the heater units, characterised by (a) at least one fitting-unit incorporated into the system of supply and return conduits, each comprising a connection point to a supply conduit and a connection point to a return conduit of the supply and return conduit system between the heat source and the heater units, and (b) at least one fitting-block that is functionally connected to a respective said fitting-unit and each includes a housing in which is contained at least one supply chamber having a connection for a supply conduit from the fitting-unit and a return chamber with at least one connection for a return conduit to the said fitting-unit, said supply chamber further communicating with a connection for coupling to the inlet of a heater unit of the central heating system, and the return chamber further communicating with a connection for coupling to the outlet of a heater unit of the central heating system.

2. A fitting-block for a central heating system comprising a housing defining a supply chamber having at least one connection for a supply conduit from the central heating system and a return chamber defining at least one connection for a return conduit to the central heating system, said supply chamber further comprising a connection for coupling to the inlet of a heater unit of the central heating system, and the return chamber further comprising a connection for coupling to the outlet of a heater unit of the central heating system.

3. The fitting-block as defined in claim 1 or 2, characterised in that said fitting-block is directly connected to the inlet and/or outlet of a heater unit of the central heating system.

4. The fitting-block of claim 3, characterised in that said fitting-block is directly fitted to the outlet of said heater unit.

5. The fitting-block of claim 3 or 4, characterised in that said fitting-block is fitt d crosswise to the heater unit.

6. The fitting-block of any one of the claims, characterised by further comprising a flow changeover device enabling the reversal of the flow direction within said block, control of the flow rate and a complete cut-off of the flow.

7. The fitting-block of any one of the preceding claims, characterised by further comprising one or more measuring and/or control means for controlling one or more physical parameters in said block.

8. The fitting-block of any one of the preceding claims, characterised in that one or more supply and return conduits are connected to said block by push-in fittings or compression fittings.

9. The fitting-block of any one of the preceding claims, characterised in that said fitting-block is surrounded by an enclosure having one or more recesses for connecting pipes.

10. The fitting-unit as claimed in claim 1, characterised in that said connecting points are arranged such that connections to and from the at least one fitting-unit and to and from the at least one fitting block are made by push-in fittings or compression fittings.

11. The fitting-unit as claimed in claim 1 or 10, characterised by a cover plate optionally having one or more recesses for connecting pipelines with said fitting-block.

12. A fitting-assembly for a central heating system, constructed and arranged substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to and as illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

13. A fitting-unit for a central heating system, constructed and arranged substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to and as illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6 of the accompanying drawings.

14. A fitting-block for a central heating system, constructed and arranged substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to and as illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 4 of the accompanying drawings

Description:
[0001] The present invention relates to a fitting assembly for a central heating system which comprises substantially a heat source, a plurality of heater units such as radiators, and a system of supply and return conduits between the heat source and the heater units.

[0002] Installing and connecting central heating systems in private houses and industrial buildings is, generally speaking, time-consuming and expensive. During the building process the supply and return conduits of the central heating are as far as possible incorporated into floors and walls, after which further installation takes place, for example, by fitting pipes or hoses through and along floors and walls, fitting heater units, such as radiators, and eventually connecting the pipes or hoses to the heater units, possibly via additional devices, such as stop cocks, valves, etc.

[0003] Following a typical method in accordance with the state of the art, the supply and return conduits are incorporated into the finishing floors during the building of a private house or an industrial building and, at suitable places, fitted with connector pipes that are connected to the main conduits for example, via tees. Then the finishing floor is poured and further finished. The connection pipes for the central heating that at a later stage must be connected to the heater units often protrude from the floor of a private house or building in progress. These pipes often cause problems, because they are not noticed during the building process, people trip over them or they are damaged in other ways, with detrimental consequences. The connection of the pipes to the various heater units is time-consuming and, therefore, expensive, too, as all individual connections must be made to size. Furthermore, group distributors are used in this system, i.e. several connections to heater units must be led to these group distributors, which demands relatively a lot more additional material and, moreover, increases the risk of leakage, etc.

[0004] In the literature several solutions are reported to solve the abovementioned problems. European document EP-B-0934492, for example, describes a connector box for heating installations, such as radiators and, in particular, under-floor heating, which comprises a housing with a cover element that is provided with holes for the connection of supply and return conduits for the central heating installation. Furthermore, the described device comprises a bypass, and control elements to control the branching of the flow through the heater unit or to short-circuit the flow when no heating effect is required of the heater unit.

[0005] EP-A-0695916 disclos s a m tal or plastic distributor body which is able to be mounted in a twin conduit (flow and return) central heating system so as to allow the out and return flows to pass through the distributor block, and this block includes two tapping passages for flow pipes to and from a heater unit such that one of the tapping pipes communicates with the nearer of the two (flow and return) conduits while the other is able to pass in sealed manner through that nearer conduit and communicate with the remote one of the two (flow and return) conduits to permit flow linking the flow and the return conduits by way of the heater unit and the control valve which will be at the heater unit. This is a fixed configuration distributor block. AT-B-0392829, DE-A-197 13 953, DE-A-36 32 223, EP-A-0441761, EP-A-0862026 and U.S. Pat. No. 5,111,875 all illustrate valved connector blocks for twin conduit (flow and return) type central heating systems.

[0006] It is an object of the present invention to supply a fitting-assembly for a central heating system, which considerably simplifies the construction of such a system, saves material, is environmentally friendlier and reduces the risk of failures (such as leakage) as compared with existing systems and, furthermore, has an aesthetic appearance.

[0007] In accordance with a first aspect of the present invention a fitting-assembly is now provided which comprises (a) at least one fitting-unit incorporated into the system of supply and return conduits, the or each said fitting unit comprising a connection point to a supply conduit and a connection point to a return conduit of the supply and return system between the heat source and the heater units, and (b) at least one “fitting-block” that is functionally connected to a respective said fitting-unit and includes a housing in which is contained at least one supply chamber having a connection for a supply conduit from the fitting-unit and a return chamber with at least one connection for a return conduit to said respective fitting-unit, said supply chamber further comprising a connection for coupling to the inlet of a heater unit of the central heating system, and said return chamber further comprising a connection for coupling to the outlet of a heater unit of the central heating system.

[0008] In a second aspect of the present invention there is provided a fitting-block for a central heating system, comprising a housing with a supply chamber having at least one connection for a supply conduit from the central heating system and a return chamber with at least one connection for a return conduit to the central heating system, the supply chamber further comprising a connection for coupling to the inlet of a heater unit of the central heating system, and the return chamber further comprising a connection for coupling to the outlet of a heater unit of the central heating system. This fitting-block can be part of the complete fitting-assembly of the first aspect defined above, by connecting it to a fitting-unit of this assembly. The fitting-block can, however, also be used separately by connecting it in a different way to the supply and return conduits of th central heating syst m.

[0009] In a preferred embodiment of the invention the fitting-block is connected directly to the inl t and/or outlet of a heater unit of the central heating system. More pr ferably, the fitting-block is fitted to the outlet of a heater unit. Then the connection between the fitting-block and the inlet of the heater unit can be realised easily, too, and can also be standardised. If desired, the fitting-block on the heater unit can be prefabricated, after which the supply and return conduits of the fitting-block need only be connected to the first fitting-unit of the fitting-assembly according to the first aspect of the invention, or otherwise. Most preferably, the fitting-block is fitted crosswise to the heater unit, with the result that the connections to the supply and return conduits of the central heating system are in principle always short, without the need to arrange the pipes in an untidy X-shaped crossover between a fitting unit and a fitting block. Moreover, the fitting-assembly according to the invention allows replacement of the pipe system incorporating group distributors, which is predominantly used up to now, and the resulting multiple connections, by a double ring conduit system along the walls or windows where the heater units, such as radiators, are intended and to provide these ring conduit systems at the locations of the intended connections with tees, in order to form in this way the fitting-units as defined above.

[0010] In a preferred embodiment of the present invention the fitting-units are placed into a box, a cabinet or a similar enclosure that is preferably incorporated into the floor and provided with a cover plate in which, if required, one or more recesses are made for connecting conduits with a fitting-block.

[0011] In another preferred embodiment the supply and return conduits of the central heating system are fitted with jacket pipes, for example, protected ribbed pipes, which are connected to the boxes, cabinets, etc. of the fitting-units. In this way it is possible that the conduits connected to fitting-units are relatively short and can be detached from the tees and if necessary replaced. The conduits are preferably connected to the tees of the fitting-unit by means of push-in fittings or compression fittings. This also applies to the connections to the fitting-block, usually except the tailpiece, which is, for example, connected to the bottom (outlet) of the heater unit by means of a compression fitting joint.

[0012] According to a further preferred embodiment of the invention the fitting-block comprises a changeover device enabling reversal of the flow direction within the block. This allows fitting of the heater units with the fitting-blocks turned either “clockwise” or “anticlockwise”, obviating the n ed for complicated facilities or crossover connection pipelines. Generally speaking the changeover device is fitted in the housing of the fitting-block in such a way that it can b rotated, and preferably in such a way that the device can easily be operated from the outside, for example, by one or several setscrews that are connected to the changeover device by means of a spindle. Preferably, the changeover device is implemented in such a way that the flow can be not only reversed, but also stopped, or that the flow rate can be controlled by rotation.

[0013] According to a further preferred embodiment the fitting-block further comprises one or more measuring and/or control means for controlling one or more physical parameters in the block, such as, for example, the flow rate and/or temperature.

[0014] The invention will now be further illustrated based on the following drawings, in which:

[0015] FIG. 1 is a front elevation of a fitting-block according to the invention.

[0016] FIG. 2 is an end elevation of the fitting block of FIG. 1.

[0017] FIG. 3 is a schematic cross section of a fitting-block embodiment according to the invention, taken on the line III-III of FIG. 2.

[0018] FIG. 4 is a schematic cross section of a fitting-block embodiment according to the invention, taken on the line IV-IV of FIG. 1.

[0019] FIG. 5 is a sketch of a fitting-block according to the invention, connected to the bottom part of a central heating unit.

[0020] FIG. 6 is a sketch of an embodiment of a first fitting-unit (“poured-in box”) that is part of a fitting-assembly according to the invention.

[0021] It is to be noted that the same reference numbers in the various Figures refer to the same elements, which, however, are sometimes shown in a different view.

[0022] With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2 there is shown an embodiment of a fitting-block, also called “bottom block”, which comprises a housing 1 with openings 2 and 3 for connection to a supply pipeline and a return conduit respectively of the central heating system. Housing 1 furthermore comprises an opening 4 for connection to the inlet of the heater unit associated with the bottom block, as well as at the rear a tailpiece with an opening 6 for preferably direct connection of the bottom block to the outlet of its heater unit. The bottom block is preferably fitted crosswise to the heater unit, as can be seen best in FIG. 5. Furthermore, two cover caps 5 are indicated that are fixed detachably to the housing and that provide access to the control elements that control a flow changeover device 7 (please refer to FIGS. 3 and 4).

[0023] FIG. 3 provides a clear schematic view of the most essential parts of the fitting-block. Besides the already discussed parts—i.e. housing 1, op nings 2, 3 and 4 for connection to the various conduits, and cover caps 5—there is here shown the rotatable flow changeover device 7 having a c ntral chamber partitioned by a separating wall 11, which allows reversal of the flow direction in the housing 1. Rotation is achieved by means of a control element 28, for example a setscrew, which is connected to the changeover device 7 by means of a spindle 8. Furthermore, there are shown in FIG. 3 the various connection conduits 21 that are connected to housing 1 preferably by means of push-in fittings 22, a supply chamber 31, and a supply chamber 32, which are functionally connected to the inlet of a heater unit and to the outlet of a heater unit respectively.

[0024] In the embodiment shown, the central heating water flows from the conduit system into the housing 1 through inlet opening 2 to supply chamber 31. Changeover device 7 occupies such a position that the water flows further past separating wall 11 and leaves the housing at outlet opening 4. Opening 4 is functionally connected to the inlet of a heater unit, as can be seen best in FIG. 5. From this heater unit the water arrives again back at the housing 1 through the tailpiece opening 6. Then it flows through changeover device 7 to return chamber 32 and leaves the housing via opening 3 to a return conduit of the central heating system. When the change-over device is rotated to a different position the flow direction can be reversed, so that the water does not flow into housing 1 at 2, but at 3, and then flows through the changeover device to leave the housing at opening 4. As in the case described above, opening 4 is functionally connected to the inlet of a heater element and the water arrives again in the housing 1 via the outlet of the heater element and the rear opening 6 of the fitting-block, and then flows through the changeover device 7 out to the return conduit of the central heating system via the opening 2, which now functions as an outlet opening. Thanks to the changeover device 7 the fitting-block is able to function both in the “clockwise” and the “anticlockwise” direction and there is no need for adaptations to the conduits.

[0025] Changeover device 7 can also be set to such a position (FIG. 4) that the flow through the device is completely stopped, i.e. in both flow directions, or only blocked from the tailpiece or only blocked to the inlet of a heater unit. In all these cases it is possible to uncouple the heater unit without the need to drain the entire central heating system (in case of a complete shut-off by changeover device 7, the stop cock at the heater unit inlet or—as the occasion arises—at the heater unit outlet must be closed as well). Changeover device 7 is preferably fitted at both sides with a spindle 8 and a control element 28 (for example, a setscrew), so that the changeover device can be easily controlled from one of both sides. However, it is also possible to fit only one side with a spindle, so that one of the control elements 28 can be omitted and the relevant side of housing 1 can be kept closed instead of fitted with a removable cap 5.

[0026] FIG. 4 provides a further illustration in side view of the functioning of the changeover device 7, the embodiment of separating wall being illustrated in more detail. FIG. 4 shows the changeover device 7 rotated through 90° with respect to the configuration shown in FIG. 3 in that whereas FIG. 3 shows on the one hand the inlet opening 2 communicating with the outlet opening 4 to the heater unit and on the other hand the outlet opening 3 communicating with the return opening of the tailpiece 6 which communicates with the outlet from the heater unit, the separating wall shown in FIG. 4 is arranged vertically and the diametrically opposed openings in the core of the changeover device 7 are no longer in register with either the outlet opening 4 or the elbow from the tailpiece 6. In other words FIG. 4 shows a situation where the heater unit is isolated from the central heating system whereas FIG. 3 shows the heater unit in full communication with the central heating system. Rotation of the changeover unit core 7 from the FIG. 4 position through less than a right angle will provide the desired communication between the inlet openings 2 and 3 on the one hand and the respective openings of the outlet opening 4 and the tailpiece 6 on the other hand but with a reduced flow cross-section so that some degree of flow control is achieved.

[0027] FIG. 5 shows an embodiment of a fitting-block fitted to the bottom of a central heating heater unit. Opening 4 of the fitting-block is connected to inlet 14 of the heater unit by means of a pipe, this inlet usually being governed by a control valve (for example, a thermostat valve).

[0028] It is conceivable for the flow changeover device to be modified to allow for other shut-off and/or flow-permitting modes. Such a possibility is not illustrated in the drawings.

[0029] In FIG. 6 the location and the function of the first fitting-unit is illustrated in more detail. Tee 15, preferably in a twin version (alternatively two single tees can be used), is fitted in a so-called pour-in box to be embedded in the cast floor and connected to the main supply and return conduits 19 and 20 of the central heating system. These conduits preferably run through fixed outer casings, as a result of which the entire system is very flexible and, if necessary, allows easy fitting and replacing of the pipes. The connection of conduits 19 and 20 to tee 15 can be made in any desired way, for example, by means of compression fittings or, preferably, by quick release push-in fittings. Tee 15 is usually connected to fitting-block 1 by connecting pipes between the inlet and outlet openings 16 and 17 of the tee and the respective inlet and outlet openings 2 and 3 of the fitting-block. These connection pipes are preferably short and more preferably openings 2 and 3 of the fitting-block are above and perpendicular to the inlet and outlet openings 16 and 17 of the tee and the connection pipes run substantially vertically. The connection of the pipelin s to the tee and the fitting block can be made in any desired way, as described above. The pour-in box is preferably covered with a cover plate 18.