Title:
Pool skimmer apparatus and method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A pool skimmer apparatus and method for maintaining continued flow of pool water through a pool skimmer intake opening and a pool skimmer basket when debris clogs the skimmer intake opening and/or the skimmer basket. A conduit device extends from an outer end beneath the pool water surface adjacent the skimmer intake opening and extends adjacent to, connects to or extends through the skimmer basket, preferably to a lower end adjacent to the bottom or side of the skimmer basket. The conduit device may be removably connected to the skimmer basket. In another embodiment, the conduit device may comprise a first conduit section connected to the skimmer basket and one or more additional conduit sections removably connected to the first conduit section.



Inventors:
Foley, Kevin T. (US)
Application Number:
11/524312
Publication Date:
03/27/2008
Filing Date:
09/21/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
210/167.13, 210/167.19
International Classes:
E04H4/16
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PRINCE JR, FREDDIE GARY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NIXON & VANDERHYE, PC (901 NORTH GLEBE ROAD, 11TH FLOOR, ARLINGTON, VA, 22203, US)
Claims:
1. Pool skimmer apparatus for maintaining continued flow of pool water through the opening of the pool skimmer intake and the skimmer basket, said skimmer apparatus comprising a conduit device having an outer end disposed adjacent to the skimmer intake opening and being disposed beneath the surface of the pool water, said conduit device extending along said skimmer intake to a position adjacent to said skimmer basket, thereby enabling flow of pool water through said conduit device to the skimmer basket.

2. The pool skimmer apparatus of claim 1 wherein said conduit device extends into said skimmer basket.

3. The pool skimmer apparatus of claim 1 wherein said conduit device has an inner end disposed adjacent to the bottom or side of said skimmer basket.

4. The pool skimmer apparatus of claim 1 wherein said conduit device is removably connected to said skimmer basket.

5. The pool skimmer apparatus of claim 4 wherein said conduit device is removably connected to the bottom or side of said skimmer basket.

6. The pool skimmer apparatus of claim 1 wherein said conduit device comprises a first conduit section connected to said skimmer basket, and one or more additional conduit sections removably connected to said first conduit section.

7. The pool skimmer apparatus of claim 6 wherein said first and additional conduit sections are tubular in shape.

8. The pool skimmer apparatus of claim 6 wherein said first conduit section is fixedly connected to the bottom of said skimmer basket.

9. The pool skimmer apparatus of claim 8 wherein said first conduit section extends through the bottom of said skimmer basket.

10. The pool skimmer apparatus of claim 6 wherein said first conduit section extends upwardly from said skimmer basket, and said one or more of said additional conduit sections has an inner end extending downwardly into said skimmer basket and is removably connected to said first conduit section.

11. The pool skimmer apparatus of claim 6 wherein said first conduit section extends upwardly from the bottom of said skimmer basket and terminates in a laterally extending upper end portion disposed above the upper surface of said skimmer basket, and said one or more additional conduit sections is removably connected at its inner end to said upper end portion of said first conduit section.

12. The pool skimmer apparatus of claim 1 wherein the outer end of said conduit device extends below the lower portion of said pool skimmer intake opening.

13. The pool skimmer apparatus of claim 6 wherein said one or more additional conduit sections is further connected to said first conduit section by a tether to prevent said one or more additional conduit sections from falling into the pool in the event it is unintentionally separated from said first conduit section.

14. The pool skimmer apparatus of claim 6 wherein said first conduit section and said one or more additional conduit sections are adjustably connected.

15. The pool skimmer apparatus of claim 1 comprising a plurality of said conduit devices.

16. A method of maintaining continued flow of pool water through a pool skimmer intake opening and a pool skimmer basket, comprising providing a conduit device that extends from an outer end beneath the pool water surface adjacent the skimmer intake opening to an inner end adjacent to the skimmer basket.

17. The method of claim 16 wherein the outer end of the conduit device is disposed below the lower portion of the skimmer intake opening.

18. The method of claim 16 wherein the conduit device is removably connected to the skimmer basket.

19. The method of claim 16 wherein the conduit device comprises a first conduit section connected to the skimmer basket, and one or more additional conduit sections removably connected to the first conduit section and extending to said outer end beneath the pool water surface.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a new and improved pool skimmer apparatus and method, and more particularly, to a pool skimmer apparatus which is constructed to provide for a continued flow of water from beneath the pool water surface and through the bottom of the skimmer basket even when debris blocks the skimmer opening and/or fills the skimmer basket.

2. Description of the Background Art

In most swimming pools, leaves and other debris in the pool can enter the pool skimmer intake and fill the pool skimmer basket to block the flow of water back to the pump. In such cases, the pump fills with air and ceases to pump water. If this continues, the pump motor can burn up. Also, if a pool owner runs the pool during colder weather, the pool equipment (pump, heater, valves, etc.) can freeze and sustain significant damage when the flow of water ceases.

Various types of screen or filter devices have been disclosed or used in the prior art for preventing leaves and other debris from entering a pool skimmer basket or the like. While they have generally served their purpose, they have been subject to one or more of the following disadvantages:

1. They have been complicated in construction;

2. They have been expensive to manufacture;

3. They have been large and unsightly;

4. They have easily become clogged if not frequently emptied of debris;

5. They have not been durable;

6. They have been difficult to install in a pool; and/or

7. They have not maintained a flow of water through the pool pump if blocked by debris.

The new and improved pool skimmer apparatus of the present invention is not subject to any of the above-listed disadvantages and possesses certain advantages not found in the prior art devices.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A principal object of the present invention is to provide a simple and practical apparatus for a pool skimmer which is constructed to insure a continued flow of water from beneath the pool water surface and through the bottom of the skimmer basket even when debris blocks the skimmer opening and/or fills the skimmer basket.

A conduit device extends from an outer end beneath the pool water through the skimmer intake opening and into the skimmer basket. Depending on its construction, the conduit device may be removably or fixedly connected to the skimmer basket.

In accordance with one embodiment, the conduit device comprises a first conduit section extending upwardly a predetermined distance from the bottom or other portion of the skimmer basket. The first conduit section may extend upwardly above the upper end of the skimmer basket and terminate in a laterally extending end portion which can be aligned with the pool skimmer intake. In a second embodiment, the first conduit section terminates in an upwardly extending end portion disposed within the skimmer basket.

In the one embodiment, a generally laterally extending second conduit section extends inwardly from the pool skimmer intake opening and is removably connected in any suitable manner at its inner end to the first conduit section. The outer end of the second conduit section is adjacent to the pool skimmer intake opening and terminates below the level of the pool water surface. The outer end may extend outwardly and downwardly from the intake opening to a point below the bottom of the intake opening.

In the second embodiment, the inner end of the second conduit section may be bent to extend downwardly into the skimmer basket and is removably connected to the upwardly extending first conduit section within the skimmer basket.

In the event the pool skimmer intake becomes clogged with debris and/or the skimmer basket becomes filled with debris, the pool water will continue to circulate through the skimmer basket by flowing through the conduit device or through the second conduit section from the outer end thereof to the first conduit section and to the bottom or other portion of the skimmer basket. The conduit device and the first and second conduit sections of the above-described embodiments may be of any suitable, solid or perforated construction and may be made of any suitable water-resistant material, such as plastic. Also, the first and second conduit sections may be formed as a one piece conduit device or of more than two sections, with the inner end thereof being secured to the skimmer basket in any suitable manner. Also, more than one conduit device may be provided to insure continued flow of water from beneath the pool surface at the skimmer intake opening and through the pool skimmer basket.

When it is necessary to empty the skimmer basket, the first and second conduit sections of the conduit are separated, or the one-piece conduit device is separated from the skimmer basket to enable it to be removed from the pool and emptied. Thereafter, the skimmer basket is again positioned within the pool and re-connected to the conduit device or the second conduit section extending outwardly to the pool skimmer intake opening and beneath the pool water surface.

The first and second conduit sections may be fixedly or adjustably connected to each other or the conduit device may be connected to the skimmer basket in any suitable manner, such as by a friction fit, a snap fit, a threaded connection, a telescoping arrangement, a VELCRO connection or the like.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing one embodiment of the conduit device of the present invention connected to a pool skimmer basket;

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view showing the one embodiment of the conduit device of the present invention positioned in a pool skimmer and extending into the skimmer basket;

FIG. 2a is a view similar to FIG. 2 showing another embodiment of the conduit device of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a pool skimmer basket having a first conduit section of the conduit device connected thereto or mounted therein;

FIG. 4 is a plan view of the bottom of the skimmer basket shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a side elevational view of a further embodiment of a pool skimmer basket with an upstanding first conduit section connected to the bottom or other portion thereof and the depending end of a second conduit section of the conduit device connected to the first conduit section;

FIG. 6 is a side elevational view, with parts broken away, of a further embodiment of the conduit device of the present invention showing a snap fit connection between the first and second conduit sections thereof; and

FIG. 7 is a side elevational view, with parts broken away, of a conduit device of the present invention showing removable tethers for connecting the first and second conduit sections together and preventing the second conduit section from separating from the first conduit section and falling into the pool.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

As shown in FIG. 1, a conduit device 10 is removably secured in any suitable manner to the bottom or other portion of a pool skimmer basket 12 having a handle 14. The purpose of the conduit device 10 is to provide for a continued flow of water from beneath the pool water surface and through the bottom of the skimmer basket when debris blocks the pool skimmer intake opening and/or fills the skimmer basket.

FIG. 2 illustrates the conduit device 10 and pool skimmer basket 12 installed in a pool having a pool skimmer intake opening 16. The outer downwardly extending end 18 of the conduit device 10 is disposed outside of the pool skimmer intake opening 16 and extends below the pool water surface S and, preferably, below the lower surface 20 of the pool skimmer intake. It is noted that the outer end 18a of the conduit device 10 need not be downwardly extending and could be positioned adjacent to the intake opening 16 near the lower surface 20 of the pool skimmer intake below the pool water surface S, as shown in FIG. 2a. The conduit device 10 extends inwardly into the pool skimmer intake and is connected to the bottom 22 or other portion of the skimmer basket 12 in accordance with the different embodiments described hereinafter.

It will be readily understood that the conduit device 10 provides for a continued circulation of pool water from the pool skimmer intake and through the skimmer basket 12 even when the entrance to the pool skimmer intake is clogged with debris and/or the skimmer basket is filled with debris. The pool water continuously flows into the outer end of the conduit device disposed beneath the pool water surface, through the conduit device 10 and downwardly through the skimmer basket to the pool water return 24, as shown in FIG. 2. This prevents the pool pump (not shown) from losing its “prime” if debris should block the skimmer basket and/or the skimmer intake opening. It also protects against the loss of pump prime if the pool water level falls below the lower surface 20 of the pool skimmer intake when the outer end 18 of the conduit device 10 extends into the pool water below the lower surface 20 of the pool skimmer intake.

FIGS. 1 and 3 illustrate one embodiment of the conduit device 10 wherein a first conduit section 26 is connected to the bottom 22 or other portion of the skimmer basket 12 and terminates upwardly in a laterally extending end that can be positioned to face the pool skimmer intake opening 16. A second laterally extending conduit section 28 is removably connected in any suitable manner to the first conduit section 26 and terminates at its outer end in the downwardly extending end portion 18 or other end portion, such as 18a, of the conduit device 10.

As shown in FIG. 4, the lower end of the first conduit section 26 may be connected in any suitable manner to the bottom 22 or other portion of the skimmer basket 12. For example, the lower end of the first conduit section may be provided with a laterally extending fan-shaped section (not shown) that is connected to the sides of the skimmer basket. In accordance with a further embodiment, the bottom 22 of the skimmer basket 12 may be provided with an open or screened aperture (not shown) that is aligned with the adjacent end portion of the first conduit section 26.

FIG. 5 discloses a further embodiment of a conduit device 10a wherein a first conduit section 26a extends upwardly from the bottom 22a or other portion of the skimmer basket 12a, and the inner end of a second conduit section 28a extends downwardly into the skimmer basket 12a and is removably connected in any suitable manner to the first conduit section 26a. The lower conduit section 26a may extend upwardly any suitable distance from the bottom 22a of the skimmer basket 12a.

The first conduit sections 26, 26a and the second conduit sections 28, 28a of the conduit devices 10, 10a may be removably connected together in any suitable manner such as by a friction fit, snap fit, threaded connection, telescoping connection or any other suitable connection. As an illustrative embodiment, FIG. 6 illustrates a snap fit connection wherein detents 30 on the first conduit section 26, 26a are snap-fitted over a rim 32 on the second conduit section 28, 28a.

FIG. 7 discloses a further embodiment wherein one or more tethers 34 of any suitable type or construction are removably connected to the first conduit section 26, 26a and the second conduit section 28, 28a to prevent the second conduit section from falling into the pool in the event it becomes separated from the first conduit section.

In accordance with the present invention, the conduit device 10 may be located in any suitable position within the skimmer basket 12, may terminate at or near the bottom or side of the skimmer basket, and may be formed of any suitable flexible or rigid, water-resistant material, such as a suitable plastic. Also, if desired, more than one conduit device may be positioned in the skimmer basket. The conduit device may be of any suitable cross-sectional shape.

When it is desired to empty the skimmer basket 12, 12a, the conduit device 10 is separated therefrom or the first conduit section 26, 26a and second conduit section 28, 28a are separated to enable the skimmer basket to be removed from the pool. Thereafter, the skimmer basket is again positioned within the pool and is re-connected to the conduit device, or the first and second conduit sections are re-connected.

It will be readily seen that the new and improved pool skimmer apparatus of the present invention serves to provide for continued flow of water from beneath the pool water surface from the skimmer intake opening to the skimmer basket even when debris blocks the skimmer opening and/or fills the skimmer basket. In this manner, the pool pump (not shown) is prevented from losing its “prime”.

While the invention has been described in connection with what is presently considered to be the most practical and preferred embodiments, it is to be understood that the invention is not to be limited to the disclosed embodiments, but on the contrary, is intended to cover various modifications and equivalent arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.