Title:
ADJUSTABLE SHOWERHEAD ASSEMBLY
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An example adjustable showerhead assembly includes a shroud and a showerhead movable between a first position attached to the shroud and a second position detached from the shroud. A flexible conduit communicates fluid to the showerhead. The shroud contains the flexible conduit when the showerhead is in the first position.



Inventors:
Patterson, Charles A. (Durango, CO, US)
Pan, Wie-hin (Canton, MI, US)
Giggs, Julian (Hillsdale, MI, US)
Hoernig, Victor (Lowell, IN, US)
Nathan, Philip (West Hartford, CT, US)
Miller, Michael A. (Portage, MI, US)
Application Number:
12/195657
Publication Date:
02/25/2010
Filing Date:
08/21/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
YOUNKINS, KAREN L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Carlson, Gaskey & Olds/Masco Corporation (400 West Maple Road Suite 350, Birmingham, MI, 48009, US)
Claims:
1. An adjustable spray assembly, comprising: a spraying device moveable between a docked position an undocked position; and a conduit for communicating fluid to said spraying device, wherein said conduit moves to a stored position upon docking.

2. The adjustable spray assembly of claim 1, including a shower arm mountable adjacent a bathing area wall, and a shroud mounted to said shower arm, said shroud containing said conduit when in the stored position.

3. The adjustable spray assembly of claim 2, wherein said conduit does not extend through said bathing area wall.

4. The adjustable spray assembly of claim 2, wherein said shroud is adjustable relative to said shower arm.

5. The adjustable spray assembly of claim 2, wherein said spraying device and said conduit are connected to a cover plate for enclosing said shroud.

6. The adjustable spray assembly of claim 5, wherein said spraying device is pivotably adjustable relative to said cover plate.

7. The adjustable spray assembly of claim 1, comprising a shroud that establishes an aperture, said conduit visible through said aperture when said spraying device is in the docked position.

8. The adjustable spray assembly of claim 1, wherein a magnet holds said spraying device in the docked position.

9. The adjustable spray assembly of claim 1, wherein a twist-lock connection holds said spraying device in the docked position.

10. An adjustable showerhead assembly, comprising: a base mountable adjacent a bathing area; a shroud secured relative said base; a showerhead moveable between an extended position and a retracted position, said showerhead fixed relative said shroud when said showerhead is in the retracted position; and a conduit for communicating fluid from a position adjacent said base to said showerhead, said conduit positioned within said shroud when said showerhead is in the retracted position.

11. The adjustable showerhead assembly of claim 10, wherein said conduit comprises a flexible conduit.

12. The adjustable showerhead assembly of claim 10, wherein said conduit coils within said shroud when said showerhead is in the retracted position.

13. The adjustable showerhead assembly of claim 12, wherein said conduit is biased toward a coiled position.

14. The adjustable showerhead assembly of claim 13, wherein said conduit biases said showerhead toward the retracted position.

15. The adjustable showerhead assembly of claim 10, wherein said conduit comprises a spring that moves said conduit to a coiled position within said shroud.

16. The adjustable showerhead assembly of claim 10, wherein said conduit comprises a first material composition and a second material composition, said first material composition defining a passageway for communicating fluid, said second material insulating a portion of said first material.

17. The adjustable showerhead assembly of claim 16, wherein said first material is coextruded with said second material.

18. The adjustable showerhead assembly of claim 10, including at least one of a mechanical lock and a magnetic lock removeably securing said shroud relative the base.

19. The adjustable showerhead assembly of claim 10, wherein said showerhead and said conduit are connected to a cover plate for enclosing said shroud.

20. The adjustable showerhead assembly of claim 19, including a swivel for pivotably securing said cover plate relative to the base.

21. The adjustable showerhead assembly of claim 10, including a retraction wire that retracts said conduit to the position within the shroud.

22. 22-24. (canceled)

25. The adjustable spray assembly of claim 1, wherein said conduit is coiled when in the stored position.

26. The adjustable spray assembly of claim 1, including a shroud mounted to said shower arm, said shroud containing said conduit when in the stored position and moveable with said spraying device between the docked position and the undocked position.

27. The adjustable showerhead assembly of claim 10, wherein said shroud establishes a track configured to hold said conduit when said showerhead is in the retracted position.

28. The adjustable showerhead assembly of claim 10, including a center post, said conduit coiled around said center post when said showerhead is in the retracted position.

Description:

BACKGROUND

This application relates generally to an adjustable, handheld showerhead.

Handheld showerheads or handshowers are known. Manipulating the position of the handheld showerhead allows a bather to direct a spray of water to a desired portion of a bathing area. A hose typically attaches to the handheld showerhead and communicates water to the handheld showerhead from a fixed water supply pipe. The handheld showerhead is typically secured near the fixed water supply pipe when the bather is not manipulating the handheld shower location.

When the handheld showerhead is secured, the hose often undesirably dangles within the bathing area. The dangling hose undesirably affects the bathing area appearance. The dangling hose can also interfere with the bather when bathing. Some hoses retract behind the water supply pipe to a position on an opposite side of a bathing wall surrounding a portion of the bathing area. These assemblies are undesirably complicated and difficult to install within existing plumbing systems due in part to the required modifications to the bathing area.

SUMMARY

An example adjustable showerhead assembly includes a shroud and a showerhead movable between a first position attached to the shroud and a second position detached from the shroud. A flexible conduit communicates fluid to the showerhead. The shroud contains the flexible conduit when the showerhead is in the first position.

Another example adjustable showerhead assembly includes a base mountable adjacent a bathing area and a shroud secured relative to the base. A showerhead is moveable between an extended position and a retracted position. The showerhead is fixed relative to the shroud when the showerhead is in the retracted position. A conduit communicates fluid from a position adjacent the base to the showerhead. The conduit is positioned within the shroud when the showerhead is in the retracted position.

An example method of using a showerhead includes the steps of separating a showerhead from a shroud and moving fluid to the showerhead through a conduit. The method also includes securing the showerhead to the shroud and moving the conduit within the shroud.

These and other features of the example disclosure can be best understood from the following specification and drawings, the following of which is a brief description:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows an example showerhead assembly having a showerhead in an extended position;

FIG. 2 shows another example showerhead assembly having the showerhead in a retracted position;

FIG. 3 shows a partial cutaway view of another example showerhead assembly having the showerhead in the retracted position;

FIG. 4 shows yet another example showerhead assembly having the showerhead in another extended position;

FIG. 5A shows an example sectional view through line 5-5 of FIG. 4;

FIG. 5B shows another example section view through line 5-5 of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 shows another example showerhead assembly having a spring loaded wire;

FIG. 7 shows another example showerhead assembly having a spring loaded reel;

FIG. 8 shows an exploded view of the FIG. 7 showerhead assembly

FIG. 9 shows another exploded view of the FIG. 7 showerhead assembly;

FIG. 9A shows a close-up view of the stop of the FIG. 7 reel;

FIG. 9B shows a close-up view of the locking mechanism of the FIG. 7 reel; and

FIG. 10 shows the reel and hose portion of the FIG. 7 showerhead assembly.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

As shown in FIG. 1, an example adjustable showerhead assembly 10 includes a shroud 14 and a showerhead 18. A conduit 22 communicates fluid from a fixed base portion 26, such as a shower arm, to the showerhead 18. The fixed base 26 is secured to a bathing area 30, such as, for example, a shower wall or tub wall.

In this example, the showerhead 18 is shown in an extended position or a position where the showerhead 18 is detached from shroud 14. In the extended position, a bather may use the showerhead 18 as a handshower. The conduit 22 is a flexible conduit, which permits movement of the showerhead 18 relative to the shroud 14. As shown, the conduit 22 has a generally coiled arrangement in this example.

Referring now to the example adjustable showerhead assembly 10 of FIG. 2, a cover plate 28, which is attached to the showerhead 18 in this example, encloses the shroud 14 when the showerhead 18 is in a retracted position as shown. In some examples, the shroud 14 includes an aperture 34. The conduit 22 is visible through the aperture 34, even when the showerhead 18 is in the retracted position. Thus, although the showerhead 18 is shown here in a retracted position secured to the shroud 14, the conduit 22 is still viewable through the aperture 34. After viewing the conduit 22, a bather (not shown) unfamiliar with the showerhead 18 may understand that the showerhead 18 is an adjustable showerhead and can be used as a handshower.

In the retracted or fixed position shown in this example, the showerhead 18 does not move relative to the shroud 14. In some examples, the magnets 38 secure the showerhead 18 to the shroud 14. The magnets 38 attract the showerhead 18 toward the shroud 14 to contain the showerhead 18 when the showerhead 18 is in the retracted position. Other examples may include locking tabs, opposing threads, or similar structures for retaining the showerhead 18 relative to the shroud 14 in the retracted position.

Referring now to the FIG. 3 example, in the retracted position, the conduit 22 is coiled within the shroud 14. Coiling the conduit 22 facilitates containing a substantial length of the conduit 22 within the shroud 14. In this example, the conduit 22 is biased toward the coiled position, which facilitates moving the conduit 22 within the shroud 14 when moving the showerhead 18 to the retracted position. Although shown as coiled, other arrangements of the conduit 22 within the shroud 14 are possible.

In this example, the shroud 14 is adjustable relative to the base 26 about the pivot 42. Adjusting the shroud 14 manipulates the fixed position of the showerhead 18 within the bathing area. The position of the showerhead 18 relative to the shroud 14 is also adjustable in this example. The showerhead 18 pivots relative to the cover plate 28 and the shroud 14 about a pivot 43. Other examples of the showerhead assembly 10 include one or none of the pivots 42, 43. That is, in another example, the showerhead 18 is pivotable relative to the cover plate 28 when the showerhead 18 is in the retracted position while the shroud 14 remains fixed relative to the base 26.

Referring now to the example of FIG. 4, in the extended position shown, the showerhead 18 extends further from the shroud 14 than the showerhead 18 in FIG. 1. Accordingly, the conduit 22 is shown as less coiled in the FIG. 4 position than the FIG. 1 position.

In this example, the showerhead 18 includes a threaded portion 45 that engages a corresponding threaded portion 47 defined by the shroud 14. The threaded portion 45 engages the threaded portion 47 to hold the showerhead 18 relative to the shroud 14 when the showerhead 18 is in the retracted position forming a twist-lock type connection.

Biasing the conduit 22 toward the retracted position, where the conduit 22 is within the shroud 14, facilitates returning the showerhead 18 to the retracted position without the conduit 22 interfering with the connection between the showerhead 18 and the shroud 14. The example conduit 22 comprises a polymeric hose with recoiling memory. Example polymers include polyamide-11 and polyamide-12, which typically provide recoiling memory even after many uses. Other example polymers include polyamide 6, 10, polyamide 6, 12, polyurethane, polyvinylchloride, polyester or cross-linked polyethylenes. The example conduit 22 is formed by extruding the chosen polymer into a tubing shape and then coiling the tubular extrusion around a mandrel (not shown). The tubular extrusion on the mandrel is heat treated to set the polymer. Setting the polymer when the conduit 22 is in the coiled position around the mandrel biases the conduit 22 toward the coiled position after removing the conduit 22 from the mandrel.

In some examples, modifications to the polymer conduit 22 facilitate biasing the conduit 22 toward the retracted position. Modifications may include introducing additives to the polymer composition to lower the hardness of the conduit 22. Adjusting the hardness of the conduit 22 to an appropriate level facilitates the appropriate coiling tension of the conduit 22.

Referring now to FIG. 5A example with continuing reference to FIG. 4, in the extended position, the conduit 22 is biased toward the coiled position of FIG. 3. In this example, the conduit 22 includes a spring 46, such as a metallic spring within a portion of the conduit 22 as illustrated in FIG. 5A, to bias the conduit 22. Other examples may utilize a spring loaded wire or thread in place of the spring 46.

FIG. 6 illustrates another example showerhead assembly 10 having a spring loaded wire or thread 44 extending through the coils of the coiled conduit 22. In one example, the spring loaded wire 44 is a retractable straight wire retractable or biased toward the base 26. Other examples may include using a retractable coiled metal spring in place of the retractable spring loaded wire 44.

The example spring loaded wire 44 is attached near the base 26 at one end and to the shower head 18 at the other end and biases the shower head 18 toward the coiled position shown in FIG. 3, which facilitates moving the conduit 22 within the shroud 14 by biasing the conduit 22 toward a position within the shroud 14. The biasing force provided by the spring loaded wire 44 facilitates retracting the conduit 22, especially when material of low coiling memory is used, for example polyvinylchloride.

In another example, the conduit 22 uses a second polymer material 50, as shown in FIG. 5B. In such an example, the conduit 22 comprises a polymer with less coiling memory than the polymer of the second material 50. Such a configuration can be achieved by a co-extrusion process. The embedded material 50 is insulated by the conduit 22 from any high temperature fluid flowing through conduit 22. In this manner, the coiling memory of material 50 is not compromised or reduced by repeated exposure to the warm or hot fluid passing through conduit 22. As known, heating the conduit 22 may hinder the recoiling memory of the conduit 22. Thus, insulating a portion of the conduit 22 facilitates maintaining substantial recoiling memory in at least a portion of the conduit 22.

In the examples of FIGS. 5A and 5B, the spring 46 and the second material 50 are located radially inside the portion of the conduit 22 carrying water when the conduit 22 is in the retracted position. Such arrangement decreases the heat influence of water passing through the conduit on the spring 46 or the second material 50, which can enhance the effectiveness of the spring 46 or the second material 50.

Referring to FIG. 4, in another example, the conduit 22 comprises multiple materials. Here, the conduit 22 includes a tubing comprised of co-extrusion of two plastic materials. The outer layer of the conduit 22 includes polyamide 11, while the inner layer includes a foamable plastic material. The foamed inner layer of conduit 22 provides some insulation such that when warm liquid flows through the conduit 22, the outer layer of conduit 22 made of the polyamide 11 is not exposed to the heat from the warm liquid, which can lessen the recoiling memory of the conduit 22.

Referring now to FIGS. 7-10, another example showerhead assembly 54 includes a reel 58 rotatably held within a housing 62 or shroud. In one example, when the showerhead 18 is attached to the housing 62 at least some of the conduit 22 coils around the reel 58. The conduit 22 uncoils from the reel 58 as the showerhead 18 moves away the housing 62. A spring 66 biases the rotation of the reel 58 in the rotational direction shown, which facilitates coiling the conduit 22 around the reel 58. The spring 66 is a clock, or power spring in this example.

The reel 58 defines an aperture 76 that, in this example, accommodates one end of the conduit 22. A water supply 80 provides water to the conduit 22 near the aperture 76. The example reel 58 thus rotates about an axis defined by the aperture 76.

The reel 58 also includes a locking mechanism 70 and a plurality of stops 74, which together hold the rotational position of the reel 58 in a known manner. In one example, the bather tugs the conduit 22 to release the reel 58 from the lock mechanism 70 and the plurality of stops 74. The reel 58 is then free to rotate to provide more conduit 22 to the bather, or to rotate in the direction shown to withdraw the conduit 22 into the housing 62.

The housing 62 attaches to the showerhead 18 when the showerhead 18 is in the retracted position. In this example, a portion 82 of the housing 62 defines a slot 86 that holds the showerhead 18 when the housing 62 and the showerhead 18 are attached.

Although a preferred embodiment has been disclosed, a worker of ordinary skill in this art would recognize that certain modifications would come within the scope of this invention. For that reason, the following claims should be studied to determine the true scope and content of this invention.





 
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