Title:
Method and Apparatus for Mounting a Faucet
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus for mounting a faucet to a sink that can be quickly and easily incorporated into new and existing faucet assemblies and that will allow for the attachment of water supply tubes to the faucet shanks before the faucet is mounted to the sink.



Inventors:
Kozacki, James V. (Waco, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/877431
Publication Date:
04/23/2009
Filing Date:
10/23/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E03C1/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CRANE, LAUREN ASHLEY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JAMES V.KOZACKI (511 IH 35 N., APT. 218, WACO, TX, 76705, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. An apparatus for mounting a faucet comprising: A cylindrical sleeve, said cylindrical sleeve further comprised of a hole about its center axis, said hole having threads about its surface such that the threads will mate with the threads of a typical faucet shank, said sleeve further comprising threads about its outside surface; and A mounting nut, said nut having threads that mate with the threads about the outside surface of the cylindrical sleeve.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising: Said cylindrical sleeve contains two or more substantially flat surfaces about its outer surface wherein said flat surfaces permit an installer to grip and turn the cylindrical sleeve without contacting the exterior threads of the cylindrical sleeve.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising: Said threads about said outer surface of the cylindrical sleeve cover less than the entire outer surface of said cylindrical sleeve.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of Invention

The present invention relates to a method and apparatus for quickly and easily mounting a faucet to a sink basin.

2. Background

Faucets are constantly being removed, replaced, or installed. This can result because an existing faucet is damaged and needs to be repaired. A faucet can also be replaced simply to update or remodel the faucet and sink. A faucet can also be installed as part of new construction.

A common method for installing a faucet uses the faucet shanks. Faucet shanks are tubes that protrude from the bottom of the faucet assembly. The faucet shanks typically have threads along their outer surfaces and are open along their inner surfaces. The inner openings act as piping that allows water to flow from a source, such as a water supply tube, to the faucet spout. The threaded outer surface of the faucet shanks serve as the means for attaching the faucet to a counter top by a sink basin. The same threads also serve as the means for attaching the water supply lines to the faucet.

The installation of a typical faucet utilizing faucet shanks requires several steps. First the faucet assembly is placed on a counter top near a sink basin. The counter top will have holes located to align the faucet to the sink basin. The faucet shanks protrude through the holes in the counter top and extend to the area below the counter top and behind the sink basin. Plastic mounting nuts, which have internal threads that mate with the threads on the outside surface of the faucet shanks, are then threaded onto the faucet shanks and hand-tightened. The tightened mounting nuts secure the faucet to the counter top, which holds the faucet in place. Once the faucet is mounted in place by the mounting nuts, water supply nuts are attached to the faucet shanks. The water supply nuts have internal threads that also mate with the threads on the outside surface of the faucet shanks. As the water supply nuts join the water supply tubing to the faucet shanks so that water may pass from the water supply tubing to the faucet shanks, the water supply nut must be sufficiently tight to prevent leaks.

It should be noted that a typical faucet shank has an outside diameter of ¾ of an inch and has 14 threads per inch. Also a typical water supply nut will have a maximum outside dimension of 1 inch.

The removal of a typical faucet requires a reversal of these steps. First the water supply nuts must be loosened and removed from the faucet shanks. Then the mounting nuts must be removed from the faucet shanks. Finally, the faucet can be lifted free of the counter top.

This common mounting process requires the installer to work in very confined spaces. Because the mounting nuts and water supply nuts attach to the same threads on the faucet shanks, the faucet must be mounted to the counter top before the water supply nuts can be attached. When the faucet is mounted to the counter top, the faucet shanks extend into the confined space below the counter top and behind the sink basin. This confined space makes it extremely difficult to get a standard wrench on the water supply nuts.

The confined space has resulted in the creation of a specialized tool called a basin wrench. A basin wrench allows an installer to reach into the confined space and apply a tightening or loosening force to the supply nuts. The design and operation of a basin wrench makes it difficult to operate which in turn makes it difficult for the installer to quickly and easily attach the water supply nuts. The design and operation of the basin wrench also makes it difficult for the installer to know if the water supply nuts have been tightened sufficiently to prevent leaks.

This typical faucet mounting method creates several problems. First this method requires the faucet to be mounted to the sink before the water supply tubing is attached. This occurs because the mounting nuts and the water supply nuts attach to the same faucet shanks. Thus the mounting nuts must be threaded onto the faucet shanks before the water supply nuts and water supply tubing are attached. That requires the faucet to be in place on the top of the sink and the mounting nuts in place on the faucet shanks below the sink before the water supply nuts are attached. That requires the installer to attach the water supply nuts in the confined space below the counter top and behind the sink basin.

Because the mounting nuts and the water supply nuts have inside threads of the same diameter, the mounting nuts cannot be removed while the water supply nuts are in place. Similarly, the mounting nuts cannot be installed while the water supply nuts are in place. Thus the faucet cannot be lifted from the counter top without first detaching the water supply nuts.

Alternative apparatuses for installing a faucet to a counter top exist. However, these apparatus either involve complicated attachment methods, specialized tools, or both. Many of the alternative methods and apparatuses often involve completely re-designing the faucet shanks. This requires the construction of the faucet shanks to be changed by the manufacturer.

Additional problems exist with many of these alternatives because the faucet shanks are an integral part of the faucet assembly. Thus any design changes to the faucet shanks must be completed as part of the original construction of the faucet. Changing the way faucets are constructed in turn requires manufacturers to change part or all of the manufacturing process.

Further, the faucet shanks cannot be removed and replaced by an end user. That means that a new faucet shank design cannot be added to an existing faucet. Thus an end user wishing to take advantage of many of the alternative mounting methods must purchase a completely new faucet.

The disclosed invention is advantageous in that it provides a simple and convenient method for attaching a faucet to a sink.

Another advantage is that it allows the water supply nut to be connected to the faucet shank before the mounting nut is attached to the faucet shank. This permits the user to install the water supply nut before the faucet is mounted to the sink and eliminates the need for specialized tools or for the installer to attach the water supply nut while in a confined space.

A further advantage of the invention is that it can be incorporated into and used with any existing faucet shank that has typical threaded shanks.

Additional advantages and novel features of the invention will be set forth in part in the description which follows, and in part will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon examination of the following or may be learned by practice of the invention. The objects and advantages of the invention may be realized and attained by means of the instrumentalities and combination particularly pointed out in the appended claims.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention discloses an apparatus for mounting a common faucet to a counter top through the use of a cylindrical sleeve containing internal and external threads and a mounting nut of a sufficiently large inside diameter. The internal threads of the cylindrical sleeve are such that they mate with the external threads of a common faucet shank. The internal threads of the mounting nut mate with the external threads of the cylindrical sleeve. Further, the internal diameter of the mounting nut is sufficiently large as to allow the water supply nut to pass completely through the mounting nut.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the external threads on the outer surface of the cylindrical sleeve cover the entire outer surface of the cylindrical sleeve.

In accordance with an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the outside surface of the cylindrical sleeve contains at least two substantially flat surfaces on opposing sides of the sleeve. The substantially flat surfaces allow an installer to grip the cylindrical sleeve by hand and tighten it onto or loosen it from the faucet shank.

In accordance with an alternative embodiment of the invention, the cylindrical sleeve contains external threads along only a portion of its outer surface with the remainder of the outer surface having no threads.

In accordance with an alternative embodiment of the invention, the mounting nut is shaped to allow easy hand-tightening of the mounting nut after the water supply nut has been attached and the faucet has been lowered into place.

The described invention thus eliminates the limitations and problems caused by the typical faucet mounting method because it allows an installer to attach the water supply nut to the faucet shank before the faucet is mounted to the counter top. The described invention further eliminates the cost and manufacturing issues created by other more complex devices because the elements making up the apparatus are minimal and can be readily applied to an existing faucet having a typical faucet shank mounting system. The described invention further eliminates the need for a person to purchase an entirely new faucet to use the disclosed mounting method and apparatus because they can be applied to and used with an existing typical faucet shank.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an exploded three-dimensional view of the present invention as it fits with a faucet.

FIG. 2 is an exploded two-dimensional view of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a side view of the present invention on a mounted faucet.

FIG. 4 is an alternative embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a further alternative embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring now to the drawings, FIG. 1 shows an embodiment of the present invention. In the illustrated embodiment, the faucet 1 contains faucet shanks 2 and 22. The faucet shanks 2 and 22 are of a type typically encountered with a typical outside diameter and thread. Two cylindrical sleeves 3 and 23 contain cylindrical openings along each cylindrical sleeve's 3 and 23 vertical center axis about which are threads 4 and 24 that mate with the threads of the faucet shank 2 and 22. The cylindrical sleeves 3 and 23 are threaded to the faucet shanks 2 and 22 by means of the interior threads 4 and 24 until the cylindrical sleeves 3 and 23 contact the underside of the faucet 1.

The mounting nuts 8 and 28 can then be passed over the water supply nuts 7 and 27 and the water supply tubes 10 and 30. The water supply nuts 7 and 27 and water supply tubes 10 and 30 are then passed through the counter top 6. The water supply nuts 7 and 27 are then threaded to the faucet shanks 2 and 22. The faucet 1 is then placed on the counter top 6 with the faucet shanks 2 and 22, with cylindrical sleeves 3 and 23 attached, passing through the counter top 6 and extending into the space below. The mounting nuts 8 and 28 are then threaded to the cylindrical sleeves 3 and 23 by means of interior threads 9 and 29 on the interior of the mounting nuts 8 and 28, which mate with exterior threads 5 and 25 on the exterior surfaces of the cylindrical sleeves 3 and 23. The mounting operation is identical for both faucet shanks 2 and 22.

FIGS. 2 and 3 show partial views of one embodiment of the invention in that these figures only display one side of the faucet, which displays only a single faucet shank 2. FIG. 2 shows an exploded view of one embodiment of the present invention, while FIG. 3 shows an assembled view of the same embodiment of the present invention.

Referring solely to FIGS. 2 and 3, the mounting process is the same as that described above. The cylindrical sleeve 3 is threaded onto the faucet shank 2, until the cylindrical sleeve 3 contacts the base of the faucet 1. The mounting nut 8 is then passed over the water supply nut 7 and water supply tube 10. The water supply nut 7 is passed through the counter top 6 and threaded onto the faucet shank 2. Then the faucet shank 2 with the cylindrical sleeve 3 and water supply nut 7 attached passes through the counter top 6. Once the faucet 1 is resting on the counter top 6, the mounting nut 8 is threaded onto the cylindrical sleeve 3 to secure the faucet 1 in place.

FIGS. 4 and 5 demonstrate additional embodiments of the present invention. In FIG. 4, the exterior threads 5 of the cylindrical sleeve 3′ encompass less than the entire outer surface of the cylindrical sleeve 3′. In FIG. 5, the cylindrical sleeve 3″ contains two substantially flat surfaces 11 and 12 along a portion of the outer surface of the cylindrical sleeve 3″. In the shown embodiment, the flat surfaces 11 and 12 are located directly opposite one another. The flat surfaces 11 and 12 permit the installer to grip and turn the cylindrical sleeve 3″ without disturbing or marring the exterior threads 5. It should be noted that FIG. 5 represents just one embodiment and means for providing a gripping surface on the cylindrical sleeve 3″. Additional embodiments of the cylindrical sleeve 3″ with gripping surfaces could incorporate multiple flat or substantially flat surfaces or other surface shapes that permit an installer to grip and turn the cylindrical sleeve 3″ without contacting the exterior threads 5.

It should be noted that despite the thread pitch and diameter of the faucet shanks 2, the inner diameter of the mounting nut 8 must be sufficiently large as to allow the mounting nut 8 to pass completely over the water supply nut 7. Thus, with the typical water supply nut 7 noted above, the inner diameter of the mounting nut 8 must be larger than 1 inch.