Title:
Vertical dehumidifier
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A portable dehumidifier comprising a crossflow fan supported in a chassis for rotation about a vertical axis. The compressor and heat exchanger are oriented vertically. The vertically-oriented configuration enables the size of the heat exchanger and fan to be increased to increase the dehumidifying rate without the need for an increase in the footprint.



Inventors:
Wu, Guolian (St. Joseph, MI, US)
Litch, Andrew D. (St. Joseph, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/025519
Publication Date:
03/16/2006
Filing Date:
12/29/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F25B27/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
CIRIC, LJILJANA V
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WHIRLPOOL CORPORATION - MD 3601 (2000 NORTH M63, BENTON HARBOR, MI, 49022, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A dehumidifier comprising: a housing comprising a peripheral wall, an inlet formed in one portion of the peripheral wall, an outlet formed in another portion of the peripheral wall, an air flow path extending through the housing from the inlet to the outlet, with the housing, inlet, outlet, and air flow path all having an elongated and vertically extending orientation; an evaporator coil located within the air flow path; a condenser coil located within the air flow path downstream of the evaporator coil; a crossflow blower located within the air flow path for moving air along the air flow path, from the inlet to the outlet and through the evaporator coil and condenser coil; and a compressor fluidly connected to the condenser coil and the evaporator coil.

2. A dehumidifier according to claim 1, wherein the crossflow blower is vertically oriented within the air flow path.

3. A dehumidifier according to claim 2, wherein the crossflow blower has an elongated configuration.

4. A dehumidifier according to claim 1, and further comprising a scroll located within the housing and defining at least a portion of the air flow path.

5. A dehumidifier according to claim 4, wherein the scroll extends at least from the crossflow blower to the outlet.

6. A dehumidifier according to claim 4, wherein the scroll is downstream of the evaporator.

7. A dehumidifier according to claim 1, wherein the housing defines a first internal chamber in which the compressor is enclosed.

8. A dehumidifier according to claim 7, and further comprising a collection bucket removably mounted within the first internal chamber.

9. A dehumidifier according to claim 8, wherein the collection bucket forms a recess in which the compressor is received when the collection bucket is mounted within the first internal chamber.

10. A dehumidifier according to claim 9, and further comprising a fan located in the first internal chamber for cooling the compressor.

11. A dehumidifier according to claim 10, wherein the fan is coupled to a drive shaft of the crossflow blower such that rotation of the crossflow blower rotates the fan.

12. A dehumidifier according to claim 7, and further comprising a blower motor coupled to the crossflow blower drive shaft for rotation of the crossflow blower.

13. A dehumidifier according to claim 12, and further comprising a second internal chamber housing the blower motor.

14. A dehumidifier according to claim 13, wherein one of the first and second internal chambers is located above the cross flow blower, and the other of the first and second internal chambers is located beneath the cross flow blower.

15. A dehumidifier according to claim 14, wherein at least one of the first and second internal chambers is separated from air flow path.

16. A dehumidifier according to claim 1, wherein at least one of the evaporator coil and the condenser coil has an arcuate configuration complementary to the cylindrical surface of the crossflow blower.

17. A dehumidifier according to claim 16, wherein the evaporator coil is upstream of the condenser coil.

18. A dehumidifier according to claim 17, wherein the condenser coil is upstream of the evaporator coil.

19. A dehumidifier according to claim 16, wherein the peripheral wall comprises a front cover having the inlet and a rear cover having the outlet.

20. A dehumidifier according to claim 19, and further comprising a base in supporting registry with the peripheral wall.

21. A dehumidifier according to claim 20, and further comprising a cap in supported registry with the peripheral wall.

22. A dehumidifier according to claim 19, wherein the front cover comprises an arcuate portion complementary to the surface of one of the evaporator coil and the condenser coil.

23. A dehumidifier according to claim 23, wherein the inlet is located in the arcuate portion.

24. A dehumidifier according to claim 19, wherein the rear cover comprises a planar portion.

25. A dehumidifier according to claim 24, wherein the outlet is located in the planar portion.

26. A dehumidifier according to claim 1, and further comprising an air filter located within the air flow path.

27. A dehumidifier according to claim 26, wherein the air filter is located upstream of the outlet.

28. A dehumidifier according to claim 1, wherein the evaporator coil, the condenser coil, and the crossflow blower comprise an integrated module.

29. A dehumidifier according to claim 28, wherein a plurality of integrated modules can be vertically interconnected to increase the dehumidifying capacity of the dehumidifier.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 60/522,293, filed Sep. 13, 2004, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention relates generally to dehumidifiers for removing humidity from the ambient air, and more particularly to a compact dehumidifier having its component parts in a vertical configuration to provide a small footprint.

2. Description of the Related Art

Dehumidifiers are a common consumer product for use in the home and office for extracting moisture from the ambient air. Conventional dehumidifiers are typically configured in a manner such that they have a relative squat configuration that results in a relatively large footprint. For the average consumer, dehumidifiers are also large, heavy, and difficult to move from location to location. The need to accommodate the refrigeration system and a collection bucket for the collected water tend to create the bulkiness.

More specifically, conventional dehumidifiers typically comprise a compressor located in a lower portion of a chassis behind a condensate collection bucket, with the condenser and evaporator located above the collection bucket so that the collected water will fall by gravity to the collection bucket. An air flow system draws in ambient air which is dehumidified and expelled from the dehumidifier. The air flow system typically comprises an axial fan which draws air through evaporator and condenser coils before being expelled. The air flow system is typically mounted in an upper portion of the chassis above the condensate collection bucket and the compressor. This configuration results in a wide profile having a relatively large footprint. As a result, the dehumidifier occupies a relatively large space, which may be inconvenient for smaller or crowded rooms. The traditional configuration also tends to require an increase in the footprint size if the dehumidifying rate is increased.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A dehumidifier comprises a housing comprising a peripheral wall, an inlet formed in one portion of the peripheral wall, an outlet formed in another portion of the peripheral wall, an air flow path extending through the housing from the inlet to the outlet, with the housing, inlet, outlet, and air flow path all having an elongated and vertically extending orientation, an evaporator coil located within the air flow path, a condenser coil located within the air flow path downstream of the evaporator coil, a crossflow blower located within the air flow path for moving air along the air flow path, from the inlet to the outlet and through the evaporator coil and condenser coil, and a compressor fluidly connected to the condenser coil and the evaporator coil.

The crossflow blower can be vertically oriented within the air flow path, and can have an elongated configuration. The dehumidifier can further comprise a scroll located within the housing and defining at least a portion of the air flow path. The scroll can extend at least from the crossflow blower to the outlet, and can be downstream of the evaporator.

The housing can define a first internal chamber in which the compressor is enclosed. The dehumidifier can further comprise a collection bucket removably mounted within the first internal chamber. The collection bucket can form a recess in which the compressor is received when the collection bucket is mounted within the first internal chamber.

The dehumidifier can further comprise a fan located in the first internal chamber for cooling the compressor. The fan can be coupled to a drive shaft of the crossflow blower such that rotation of the crossflow blower rotates the fan. The dehumidifier can further comprise a blower motor coupled to the crossflow blower drive shaft for rotation of the crossflow blower.

A second internal chamber can house the blower motor. One of the first and second internal chambers can be located above the cross flow blower, and the other of the first and second internal chambers can be located beneath the cross flow blower. At least one of the first and second internal chambers can be separated from air flow path.

At least one of the evaporator coil and the condenser coil can have an arcuate configuration complementary to the cylindrical surface of the crossflow blower. The evaporator coil can be upstream of the condenser coil, or the condenser coil can be upstream of the evaporator coil.

The peripheral wall can comprise a front cover having the inlet and a rear cover having the outlet. The dehumidifier can further comprise a base in supporting registry with the peripheral wall, and a cap in supported registry with the peripheral wall. The front cover can comprise an arcuate portion complementary to the surface of one of the evaporator coil and the condenser coil. The inlet can be located in the arcuate portion. The rear cover can comprise a planar portion, and the outlet can be located in the planar portion.

An air filter can be located within the air flow path, upstream of the outlet.

The evaporator coil, the condenser coil, and the crossflow blower can comprise an integrated module. A plurality of integrated modules can be vertically interconnected to increase the dehumidifying capacity of the dehumidifier.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a vertical dehumidifier according to the invention.

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the vertical dehumidifier illustrated in FIG. 1 illustrating a fan assembly, an airflow assembly, and a heat exchanger assembly.

FIG. 3 is a sectional view of the vertical dehumidifier taken along view line 3-3 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a sectional view of the vertical dehumidifier taken along view line 4-4 of FIG. 1 illustrating the fan assembly, the airflow assembly, and the heat exchanger assembly.

FIG. 5 is an exploded view of a scroll and scroll foam comprising a portion of the vertical dehumidifier illustrated in FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the scroll and scroll foam illustrated in FIG. 5 in an assembled configuration.

FIG. 7 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 3 except that an optional filter module is located at the air outlet.

FIG. 8 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 4 comprising a pair of fan assemblies, airflow assemblies, and heat exchanger assemblies assembled vertically to form a modular vertical dehumidifier.

DESCRIPTION OF AN EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

Referring to the figures, and in particular to FIG. 1, a vertical dehumidifier 10 according to the invention comprises a front cover 12 and a rear cover 18 adapted for cooperative registry to form a housing enclosing component parts of the vertical dehumidifier 10 as hereinafter described. The front cover 12 has an inlet grille 14 extending along a substantial portion thereof. Beneath the front cover 12 is a condensate collection bucket 16. The rear cover 18 comprises an outlet grille 20 extending along a portion thereof. The ends of the vertical dehumidifier 10 are closed by a base 22 and a cap 24. The base also serves as a support for the covers 12, 18 and the component parts of the vertical dehumidifier 10.

Referring now to FIGS. 2-4, the vertical dehumidifier 10 comprises a fan assembly 30, an airflow assembly 32, and a heat exchanger assembly 34. The fan assembly 30 comprises a cylindrical crossflow fan 40 oriented with its longitudinal axis in a vertical direction parallel to a longitudinal axis of the vertical dehumidifier 10. The crossflow fan 40 is coaxially interconnected with a generally cylindrical fan motor 42 for driving the fan. In a preferred embodiment, the fan motor 42 is positioned above the fan 40. A pair of circular motor plates 46, 48 having apertures coaxially therethrough support the fan motor 42 in a sandwiching configuration.

The fan 40 is supported from below by a fan bearing 52 which is held in a bearing housing 50. An optional cooling fan 54 is attached to the fan 40 through a stub shaft or similar connector to extend below the fan 40.

The airflow assembly 32 comprises a chassis 60 having an upper flange 62 with a motor shaft aperture 64 extending therethrough, and an opposed lower flange 66 having a fan opening 68 extending therethrough and coaxial with the motor shaft aperture 64. The upper flange 62 and the lower flange 66 are in spaced parallel relationship and extend perpendicularly from a planar back wall 70. The chassis 60 is adapted for supporting the fan motor 42 above the upper flange 62, and with a length suitable for rotationally supporting the fan 40 between the flanges 62, 66. The chassis 60 is mounted in an upper portion of the vertical dehumidifier 10 so that the lower flange 66 defines with the base 22, and the lower portions of the front cover 12 and rear cover 18, a lower chamber 26. The chassis 60 is also mounted in the dehumidifier 10 so that the upper flange 64 is spaced away from the cap 24 to define an upper chamber 28. The upper chamber 28 houses the fan motor 42.

A cylindrical compressor 44 having a diameter approximately equal to the fan 40 is housed in the lower chamber 26 below the fan 40, and mounted to the base 22 through rubber mounting grommets 56. The compressor 44 can be cooled by rotation of the cooling fan 54 as the fan 40 rotates.

A scroll foam 72 is an irregularly shaped body having an arcuate face 74 transitioning to a flange 76, and an opposed rear face 78. The rear face 78 is adapted for cooperative registry with the back wall 70 of the chassis 60. The scroll foam 72 is a preferably fabricated of somewhat dense, closed-cell foam suitable for attenuating wind noise and vibration.

A scroll 80 is a shell-like body having a top wall 84 with a fan opening 86 therethrough, an opposed, parallel bottom wall 88 with a fan opening 90 therethrough, and an arcuate wall 92 joining the walls 84, 88. The arcuate wall 92 extends away from the walls 84, 88 to terminate in a longitudinal flange 94. The fan openings 86, 90 are adapted for slidably receiving the crossflow fan 40. The scroll 80 defines in large part an air flow path between the inlet 14 and the outlet 20. As illustrated in FIG. 3, an inlet chamber 36 is defined in the region of the heat exchanger assembly 34 upstream of the crossflow fan 40, and an outlet chamber 38 is defined in the region downstream of the crossflow fan 40 to the outlet grille 20.

As best seen in FIGS. 5 and 6, the scroll 80 is adapted for cooperative register with the scroll foam 72 so that the arcuate wall 92 is in communication with the arcuate face 74. Thus, the airflow assembly 32 comprises a layered configuration of the chassis 60, the scroll foam 72, and the scroll 80.

A pillar tongue 82 is an elongated member having an irregular cross-section, and comprising a pillar body 97 and a flange piece 96. The pillar tongue 82 is adapted to be mounted between the top wall 84 and the bottom wall 88 of the scroll 80 to define with the flange 94 a flow channel opening through the outlet grille 20.

The heat exchanger assembly 34 comprises an arcuate condenser 102 and an arcuate evaporator 104 adapted for layered communication as illustrated in FIG. 3. Except for their arcuate configuration, the condenser 102 and the evaporator 104 are generally conventional in structure and operation, and are operably interconnected with the compressor 44 in a well-known manner. A pair of headers 98, 100 is in operative registry with the ends of the assembled condenser 102 and the evaporator 104 to facilitate the mounting of the condenser 102 and the evaporator 104 to the chassis 60.

The condensate collection bucket 16 and bucket cover 106 have an arcuate shape adapted for circumferential registry with the compressor 44 when the condensate collection bucket 16 is inserted into the vertical dehumidifier 10 beneath the front cover 12. Preferably the condensate collection bucket 16 and bucket cover 106 are fabricated of a material able to withstand the heat generated by the compressor 44 without deformation or destruction.

As best illustrated in FIG. 3, the fan 40 rotates in a counterclockwise direction as viewed from above. Rotation of the fan 40 draws air through the inlet grille 14, the evaporator 104, and the condenser 102, and into the scroll 80. Passage of the air through the evaporator 104 and the condenser 102 removes moisture from the air in a well-known dehumidification process. The dehumidified air is brought around the fan 40 along the arcuate wall 92 of the scroll 80 to be expelled along the passageway defined by the pillar tongue 88 and the flange 94 and through the outlet grille 20.

FIG. 7 illustrates an alternative configuration for the dehumidifier 10 that includes a filter module 120 located adjacent the outlet grille 20. The filter module can filter and/or purify the air using any of the currently known techniques. For example, the filter element could be a traditional fiber or foam filter. It also could be an ionic filter, such as a passive or active electrostatic precipitator.

FIG. 8 illustrates an embodiment of the dehumidifier 10 wherein the fan assembly 30, the airflow assembly 32, and the heat exchanger assembly 34 are integrally interconnected to form a dehumidifier module. Two or more dehumidifier modules can be longitudinally oriented in a “stacked” configuration in order to increase the dehumidifying capacity of the dehumidifier 10 in multiples of a single module dehumidifying capacity. The housing would be lengthened in order to accommodate a selected number of modules. However, the footprint of the dehumidifier 10 would remain unchanged, defined by the base 22.

Other embodiments of the vertical dehumidifier 10 are possible. For example, the condenser 102 and the evaporator 104 can comprise separate plates or segments forming a somewhat arcuate shape around the fan. The scroll 80 can be eliminated or reconfigured to optimize or manipulate the direction of the airflow. For increased dehumidification capability, the various components, such as the chassis, scroll, condenser, evaporator, and fan can be elongated. This will result in a taller dehumidifier, but with the same relatively small footprint. To increase the condensate capacity, an auxiliary condensate collection bucket can be added beneath the vertical dehumidifier. The auxiliary collection bucket can have a diameter approximately equal to the diameter of the vertical dehumidifier to maintain the same basic footprint, or can have a greater diameter if footprint size is of lesser concern.

In addition to providing a high-capacity dehumidifier having a small footprint, the vertical dehumidifier described herein has improved aesthetic features due to its slim design. Additionally, the cooling fan below the crossflow fan provides direct cooling of the compressor, which improves the efficiency and performance of the compressor.

While the invention has been specifically described in connection with certain specific embodiments thereof, it is to be understood that this is by way of illustration and not of limitation. Reasonable variation and modification are possible within the scope of the forgoing disclosure and drawings without departing from the spirit of the invention which is defined in the appended claims.