Title:
Toilet with clog removal means
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An improved toilet assembly incorporating a supply water passage 400 and supply water mechanical assembly 500 into the design to provide means to deliver a pressurized jet of water to remove clogs. This jet is actuated via an independent flush valve 506, fed directly from the pressurized water supply, and located within a drain passage 300.



Inventors:
Fucito, Dominick Joseph (Sagamore Beach, MA, US)
Application Number:
12/072223
Publication Date:
08/27/2009
Filing Date:
02/25/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E03D5/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CRANE, LAUREN ASHLEY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Dominick j. Fucito (8 Jones Iane, Sagamore Beach, MA, 02562, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An improved toilet wherein the improvement comprises the addition of means to deliver at least one pressurized water jet to a drain passage wherein the jet is: a) actuated via an independent flush mechanism at the discretion of the user, b) fed directly from the water supply system, and c) located within the drain passage.

2. The improved toilet assembly of claim 1 wherein the toilet assembly is of the gravity flush type.

3. The improved toilet assembly of claim 1 wherein the toilet assembly is of the pressure-assist type.

4. The improved toilet assembly of claim 1 wherein the toilet assembly is of the siphon-jet type.

5. The improved toilet assembly of claim 1 wherein the means to deliver at least one pressurized water jet to the drain passage consists of: a) a supply water mechanical assembly consisting of an isolation valve, an anti-siphon valve, a flush control valve, interconnecting pipe or hose, with a first end attached to the water supply and a second end attached to a hollow support strut which is integral with the toilet structure, b) a supply water passage integral with the toilet structure with a first end connected to the hollow support strut and a second end attached to the drain passage.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not applicable

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not applicable

REFERENCE TO SEQUENCE LISTING, A TABLE, OR A COMPUTER PROGRAM LISTING COMPACT DISC APPENDIX

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of Invention

This invention generally relates to an improved toilet, specifically the incorporation of clog removal means into the toilet design.

2. Prior Art

The standard of living has increased dramatically in the US over the last several decades and nowhere is this more apparent than in the home. Personal computers, high definition televisions and other electronics which are now commonplace in the home had not yet been invented just thirty years ago. Other items such as dishwashers, central air conditioning, and garage door openers, once reserved for the relatively affluent, are now household staples. Standards of cleanliness in the home have also improved. Increased awareness of airborne pathogens has led to the widespread use of antibacterial soaps and cleansers. In some modern day homes, HEPA filtration is employed to remove these pathogens and to improve overall air quality. In the bathroom, recent studies identifying elevated levels of e coli bacteria from toilet flushing have resulted in such practices as the use of paper towels rather than cloth towels after hand washing, and the use of steam cleaning devices for sterilizing toothbrushes before use. In stark contrast to these improvements in cleanliness however, the most unsanitary of all household tools, the toilet plunger, can still be found in the typical bathroom. Out of necessity, the plunger remains a fixture in most homes of today. This is because the improvements made in residential toilet design in recent years do not include a means to unclog the toilet when such a clog is encountered.

The typical residential toilet is of the gravity single flush type, meaning that a fixed quantity of water flows into a bowl via gravity to evacuate its contents. A typical gravity single flush toilet design is illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. This type is most commonly used because it is relatively quiet and inexpensive. It is the least effective in removing clogs however, since the water pressure developed at the clog is small.

Gravity dual flush type toilets are also commercially available. They are generally similar to the single flush design, except that the user can choose between two different volumes of water when flushing the toilet. The intent of the dual flush feature however, is to save water by providing the option of a low volume flush or a high volume flush. Similar to the single flush design, neither flush is effective at removing clogs since the water pressure developed at the clog is small. An example of this type is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 7,219,375. In that design, an open-topped housing is incorporated into the tank. The user may choose between flushing only the water contained inside the housing, or the water inside AND outside the housing.

Another example of a dual flush toilet is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,561,131. In that design, two types of flush are provided which can be used independently or together: the first type of flush is intended to evacuate the contents of the bowl, and the second type of flush is intended to rinse the bowl. This design merely allows independent control of two flush paths which, when used concurrently, constitute the flushing action of prior art designs.

Siphon jet flush toilets are also commercially available. This design initiates a flush by directing a pressurized stream of water across the base of the bowl towards the drain. This stream pushes water into the drain and this flow initiates a siphon which clears the contents of the bowl. This type of toilet is marginally more effective at removing clogs since the water pressure developed at the clog is usually greater than the pressure developed in a typical gravity type flush. However, this pressure is still limited due to the positioning of the jet at the bottom of the bowl across from the drain opening. As the jet travels across the bottom of the bowl, there is a significant loss of energy, and thus the pressure developed in the trap opening is marginal. Moreover, siphon jet designs are relatively noisy and for this reason, are not commonly used in residential applications.

Pressure assisted single flush designs are also available. This design uses a storage tank which is pressurized to quickly release its contents when actuated. Similar to the designs discussed above, this design is only marginally effective at clearing clogs since the water pressure developed at the clog is relatively small.

Vacuum flush designs are also available. As the name implies, this design utilizes a vacuum developed downstream of the bowl to ‘pull’ the contents from the bowl. This design is more effective in removing clogs since the vacuum pressure applied to the clog is considerably higher than the water pressure developed in the gravity or siphon jet toilets. However, incorporation of a vacuum design into a residential system is relatively expensive. In addition, vacuum systems are noisy and for this reason, they are seldom used in residential applications.

Various types of tools and equipment have been designed to remove toilet clogs, with limited success. One such design is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,205,594. As indicated therein, this device utilizes a wand to direct a pressurized water jet at the clog. However, this device is not integrated into the toilet design and therefore would presumably be stored alongside the toilet. Its use would simply replace one unsanitary device (the plunger) with another and would provide no net benefit.

OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES

The object of the present invention is to provide an improved toilet which incorporates a clog removal means into the design, thus eliminating the need to store and use a plunger or other unsanitary device to remove clogs.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention incorporates into a toilet design the means to deliver a pressurized jet of water to remove clogs. This jet is:

a) actuated via a mechanism independent of the normal flush mechanism, only when required to unclog the toilet

b) fed directly from the pressurized water supply line

c) located within the drain passage to maximize its effectiveness in removing clogs.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is a top view of a typical prior art toilet design.

FIG. 2 is a side view of a typical prior art toilet design.

FIG. 3 is a top view of the preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a side view of the preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a sectional view of the preferred embodiment taken along line 5-5 in FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is a sectional view of the preferred embodiment taken along line 6-6 in FIG. 3.

FIG. 7 is a side view of an alternate embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION—FIGS. 3 THROUGH 6—PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The preferred embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in FIGS. 3 through 6. As illustrated therein, the present invention is comprised of a bowl 100, a rim 200, a drain passage 300, a supply water passage 400, a supply water mechanical assembly 500, and an outer support structure 600. With the exception of the supply water mechanical assembly 500 illustrated in FIG. 5, these elements are each portions of a single porcelain casting.

As illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4, the bowl 100 has a substantially oval upper perimeter which is integral with the rim 200. It also has a drain opening 101 at its lowest point which is integral with the drain passage 300.

The rim 200 consists of a substantially straight portion 210 which is integral with the outer support structure 600, and a substantially oval portion 220 which is integral with the upper perimeter of the bowl 100. The straight portion 210 is hollow, forming a first interior passage 211, and has a cross section which is substantially ‘T’ shaped. The straight portion 210 also has a substantially circular opening 212 at the top which is connected to the first interior passage 211.

The oval portion 220 is also hollow, forming a second interior passage 221, and has a cross section which is substantially rectangular. The first interior passage 211 is open to and contiguous with the second interior passage 221. As illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4, the oval portion 220 of the rim 200 is outfitted with a plurality of holes 222 along its lower surface 223. The oval portion 220 is also outfitted with a single, larger hole 224 on its lower surface 223. This larger hole 224 is located to provide a passage to an annulus 225 between the outside of the bowl 100 and the interior of the support structure 600. The lowest point on the annulus 225 is outfitted with another hole 226 which provides passage into the drain 300.

As illustrated in FIG. 4, the drain passage 300 has a first end 301 which is integral with the drain opening 101, and a second end 302 which is connected to a sewage system (shown in phantom). The drain passage 300 includes a baffle opening 303 through a portion of the support structure 600. The drain passage 300 also incorporates a goose neck 304, wherein the invert of an uppermost portion 305 is higher in elevation than the drain opening 101.

As illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 6, the supply water passage 400 is hollow, forming a 3rd interior passage 401. It has a first end 402 and a second end 403. The first end 402 is integral with a hollow support strut 610, which is part of the support structure 600. The second end 403 is connected to the drain passage 300. It is supported by a web 602 which is part of the support structure 600.

As illustrated in FIG. 5, the supply water mechanical assembly 500 has a first end 501 and a second end 502. The first end 501 is connected to a water supply (shown phantom). The second end 502 is connected to the support strut 610. The assembly 500 also includes an anti-siphon valve 503, an isolation valve 504, a supply hose 505, a spring loaded flush valve 506, a feed pipe 507 and a cap 508. The feed pipe 507 passes through a first hole 611 and second hole 612 of the support strut 610. The feed pipe 507 is outfitted a plurality of holes 512 located within the support strut 610. The feed pipe 507 is also outfitted with external threads 509 to allow threading of a nut 510, and non-metallic washers 511 on either side of the support strut 610. The second end 502 of the assembly 500 is rigidly connected to the support strut 610 by tightening the nut 510 until bearing forces are developed in the non-metallic washers 511.

As illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, the support structure 600 is integrally connected to the bowl 100, rim 200, drain passage 300, and supply water passage 400. It consists of a bowl support post 601, a web 602, a support base 603, and the support strut 610. The bowl support post 601 is hollow and substantially rectangular in cross section at its lower end. The web 602 is solid with a substantially plate-shaped cross section. The support base 603 is hollow and substantially channel-shaped in cross section.

Operation of Preferred Embodiment

The preferred embodiment is a gravity flush toilet system, wherein the geometry has been modified to incorporate means to deliver a pressurized jet of water to the drain passage 300 when required to eliminate a blockage. Accordingly, operation of the novel features of the preferred embodiment is initiated when a blockage is encountered by actuating the spring loaded flush valve 506. This allows pressurized supply water to travel into the hollow interior of the support strut 610 via the holes 512 in the feed pipe 507. This water then travels through the supply water passage 400 and into the drain passage 300. The resulting pressurized jet of water into the drain passage 300 will effectively remove the blockage without the need to use a plunger or other unsanitary device. Use of a spring loaded flush valve 506 allows precise control of the duration of the flush so that water is released only for the time necessary to clear the blockage. Thus, the possibility of accidentally overflowing the bowl is eliminated.

As illustrated in FIG. 5, siphon protection is provided via the anti-siphon valve 503. In the event that supply water pressure is lost, this valve prevents back flow of water from the toilet into the supply water system. Such a situation is possible, for example, if the supply water system is isolated and drained to facilitate a repair. Under these circumstances, draining the system could create a vacuum or siphon which could pull water from the toilet into the system. In reality, this would not occur since the flush valve would prevent this back flow. However, presence of the anti-siphon valve 503 provides additional assurance that this will not occur, and in any case, may be a requirement of the jurisdictional plumbing code.

As indicated earlier, the preferred embodiment incorporates the means to deliver a pressurized jet of water to remove obstructions into a gravity flush toilet design. Accordingly, other features corresponding to the gravity flush portion of the present invention are described in the following paragraph. Since this portion of the system is similar to the prior art, description of this mode of operation will be abbreviated.

Referring to FIG. 6, operation of the gravity flush mode of operation is performed by initiating the flow of water from a storage tank (shown in phantom) into the circular hole 212 of the straight portion 210 of the rim 200. This water then flows through the first interior passage 211 and into the second interior passage 221. This water then drops through holes 222 in the oval portion 220 and into the bowl 100. Concurrently, water drops through the hole 224 into the annular space 225 and out through hole 226 into the first end 301 of the drain passage 300. As a result of these two flows, water level in the bowl 100 and drain 300 increases until it is higher than the invert 305. Water then flows through the goose neck 304 and into the drain system. This flow of water creates a siphon which pulls the content of the bowl 100 into and through the drain passage 300.

FIG. 7—Alternate Embodiments

A number of alternate embodiments of the present invention are possible. For example, the location of the second end 403 of the supply water passage 400 could be moved either closer to or further from the goose neck 304 to optimize its effectiveness in clearing obstructions. Likewise, the shape of second end 403 could be adjusted to provide an optimum spray pattern.

The shape of the supply water passage 400 could also be varied. As illustrated in FIG. 7, the supply water passage 400 could be split into multiple jets. Alternatively, the supply water passage 400 could be eliminated altogether, in which case the supply water mechanical assembly 500 could be connected directly to the drain passage 300.

Changes could also be made to the supply water mechanical assembly 500. For example, a ball valve or other type valve could be used in lieu of a spring loaded angle valve 506 to initiate the flow of water. If permitted by local plumbing codes, the use of the anti-siphon valve 503 could be eliminated. Likewise, the use of the isolation valve 504 could also be eliminated, since isolation could be provided by the flush valve 506.

Finally, incorporation of this clog eliminating feature is not limited to a gravity flush toilets. This feature could likewise be incorporated into a siphon jet, power-assisted, vacuum flush, or other toilet design.

Operation of Alternate Embodiments

In the alternate embodiment which eliminates the anti-siphon valve 503, the flush valve 506 is relied upon for siphon protection. Similarly, in the alternate embodiment which eliminates the isolation valve 504, the flush valve 506 is relied upon for isolation of the water from the toilet.

Other than the differences described in the preceding paragraph, operation of the alternate embodiments is essentially identical to the operation of the preferred embodiment. In all cases, an alternate flush means is provided to supply one or more jets of water to the drain passage 300 to clear obstructions.

The alternate embodiments described above may be implemented singly or in any combination to suit the specific needs of the end user, and although the descriptions above contain many specifics, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention, but merely providing illustrations of some of the presently preferred embodiments. Thus, the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents, rather than by the examples given.