Title:
Refrigerator with Hot Air Blow Type Condensate Removing Device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A refrigerator includes an enclosure that is adapted to store and cool down food, a refrigeration circuit that cools down the inside of the enclosure and a condensate evaporation device. The refrigeration circuit includes an evaporator that evaporates coolant to cool down the inside of the enclosure and a condenser that condenses coolant. The condensate evaporation device includes a drain case into which condensate generated is collected, and a heating device that provides heat to the drain case to evaporate the condensate. The heating device includes a hot air guide device that guides air heated with heat generated by the condenser into the drain case. The hot air guide device includes an air duct that is provided between the drain case and the condenser.



Inventors:
Kim, Brian S. (Carson, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/243961
Publication Date:
04/01/2010
Filing Date:
10/01/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
62/440, 62/498, 62/426
International Classes:
F25D21/14; F25B1/00; F25D11/00; F25D17/06
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
SOULE, IAN B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PARK LAW FIRM (3255 WILSHIRE BLVD SUITE 1110, LOS ANGELES, CA, 90010, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A refrigerator with hot air blow type condensate removing device comprising: a) an enclosure that is adapted to store and cool down food; b) a refrigeration circuit that cools down the inside of the enclosure; and c) a condensate evaporation device; wherein the refrigeration circuit comprises: 1) an evaporator that evaporates coolant to cool down the inside of the enclosure; 2) a condenser that condenses coolant; and 3) a compressor that compresses coolant; wherein the condensate evaporation device comprises: 1) a drain case into which condensate generated is collected; and 2) a heating device that provides heat to the drain case to evaporate the condensate, wherein the heating device comprises a hot air guide device that guides air heated with heat generated by the condenser into the drain case.

2. The refrigerator of claim 1, wherein the hot air guide device comprises an air duct that is provided between the drain case and the condenser.

3. The refrigerator of claim 2, wherein the condenser comprises a condenser pipe inside which the coolant flows and a condenser fan that blows air toward at least part of the condenser pipe, wherein the condenser fan blows hot air into the air duct.

4. The refrigerator of claim 3, wherein the enclosure has a rectangular shape and comprises a front wall, a back wall, a top wall, a bottom wall and two side walls, wherein the condenser is positioned on the top wall, wherein the drain case is positioned on the back wall.

5. The refrigerator of claim 4, wherein the air duct is attached on the back wall.

6. The refrigerator of claim 4, wherein the evaporator is positioned below the top wall and inside the enclosure, wherein a drain pipe is provided through the back wall and connects the inside of the enclosure with the drain case, wherein the drain pipe collects the condensate into the drain case.

7. The refrigerator of claim 6, wherein the drain case comprises one or more vent holes that communicate inside of the drain case with ambient air.

8. The refrigerator of claim 7, wherein part of the condenser pipe pass through inside of the drain case whereby the condensate contact the condenser pipe.

9. The refrigerator of claim 7, wherein the compressor is fixed on the top wall and positioned between the air duct and the condenser fan.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a condensate removing device for a refrigerator. More particularly, the present invention relates to a condensate removing device that utilizes hot air blown from the condenser for a refrigerator.

Operation of a refrigerator generates condensate by condensation of water vapor from the cooled down air around an evaporator inside the refrigerator. Such condensate is guided to flow out of the refrigerator. Removing the condensate may be performed by periodically emptying a reservoir, installing a piping to a drain, or by heating to condensate to vaporize it.

Space requirement for a commercial refrigerator is very strict, and there is a difficulty to allocate a space for a condensate heater or remover. In many cases, a condensate remover is provides on the bottom of a refrigerator, which is prone to damage when the refrigerator needs to be moved.

When the cooling mechanism is installed on the top of a refrigerator, and an evaporator is installed at the upper end inside the refrigerator, most prior art refrigerators drain the condensate water through the wall or insulate layer of the refrigerator.

There has long been a need for compact condensate remover that is installed on a non-interfering position of a refrigerator.

The present invention contrives to solve the disadvantages of the prior art.

An objective of the invention is to provide a condensate evaporation device that is compact and efficient.

Another objective of the invention is to provide a condensate evaporation device that does not require an additional step or device.

In order to achieve the above objective, the present invention provides a refrigerator with hot air blow type condensate removing device comprising an enclosure that is adapted to store and cool down food, a refrigeration circuit that cools down the inside of the enclosure and a condensate evaporation device.

The refrigeration circuit comprises an evaporator that evaporates coolant to cool down the inside of the enclosure and a condenser that condenses coolant.

The condensate evaporation device comprises a drain case into which condensate generated is collected and a heating device that provides heat to the drain case to evaporate the condensate. The heating device comprises a hot air guide device that guides air heated with heat generated by the condenser into the drain case.

The hot air guide device comprises an air duct that is provided between the drain case and the condenser.

The condenser comprises a condenser pipe inside which the coolant flows and a condenser fan that blows air toward at least part of the condenser pipe. The condenser fan blows hot air into the air duct.

The enclosure has a rectangular shape and comprises a front wall, a back wall, a top wall, a bottom wall and two side walls. The condenser is positioned on the top wall. The drain case is positioned on the back wall.

The evaporator is positioned below the top wall and inside the enclosure. A drain pipe is provided through the back wall and connects the inside of the enclosure with the drain case. The drain pipe collects the condensate into the drain case.

The drain case comprises one or more vent holes that communicate inside of the drain case with ambient air.

Part of the condenser pipe pass through inside of the drain case whereby the condensate contacts the condenser pipe.

The advantages of the present invention are: (1) the condensate that is inevitably generated during the cooling process is removed by evaporation thereby eliminating the necessity of periodic removal of condensate; (2) bacteria is removed since the condensate is evaporated; and (3) the condensate does not spill to the ground.

Although the present invention is briefly summarized, the fuller understanding of the invention can be obtained by the following drawings, detailed description and appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a condensate removing device for a refrigerator according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a schematic cross-section view showing a refrigeration circuit installed in the refrigerator; and

FIG. 3 is a partial elevation view of a condensate evaporation device and a condenser 20.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The disclosure of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/113,775 filed on May 1, 2008 by the inventor is incorporated by reference as if it is fully set forth herein.

FIG. 1 shows a refrigerator 10 with hot air blow type condensate removing device comprising an enclosure 12 that is adapted to store and cool down food, a refrigeration circuit 14 that cools down the inside of the enclosure 12 and a condensate evaporation device 16.

FIG. 2 shows that the refrigeration circuit 16 comprises an evaporator 18 that evaporates coolant to cool down the inside of the enclosure 12, a compressor 17 that compresses coolant and a condenser 20 that condenses coolant.

The condensate evaporation device 16 comprises a drain case 22 into which condensate generated is collected and a heating device 24 that provides heat to the drain case 22 to evaporate the condensate. The heating device 24 comprises a hot air guide device 26 that guides air heated with heat generated by the condenser 20 into the drain case 22.

The hot air guide device 26 comprises an air duct 28 that is provided between the drain case 22 and the condenser 20.

FIG. 3 shows that the condenser 20 comprises a condenser pipe 30 inside which the coolant flows and a condenser fan 32 that blows air toward at least part of the condenser pipe 30. The condenser fan 32 blows hot air into the air duct 28.

The enclosure 12 has a rectangular shape and comprises a front wall 34, a back wall 36, a top wall 38, a bottom wall 40 and two side walls 42. The condenser 20 is positioned on the top wall 38. The drain case 22 is positioned on the back wall 36. The air duct 28 is installed along and attached to the back wall 36. In this way, the refrigeration circuit 14 and the condensate evaporation device 16 are received in a compact space over and behind the enclosure 12, and they do not protrude out of the refrigerator 10. Also, since such mechanical parts are located behind and over the enclosure 12, they are less prone to damage when the refrigerator 10 is moved.

The evaporator 18 is positioned below the top wall 38 and inside the enclosure 12. A drain pipe 44 is provided through the back wall 36 and connects the inside of the enclosure 12 with the drain case 22. The drain pipe 44 collects the condensate into the drain case 22.

The drain case 22 comprises one or more vent holes 46 that communicate inside of the drain case 22 with ambient air. The hot air guided into the drain case 22 by the air duct 28 is exhausted via the vent holes and gap between the air duct 28 and the drain case 22. This forced hot air flow forms turbulence on the water surface of the condensate and enhances heat transfer and thereby evaporation of the condensate.

Part of the condenser pipe 30 pass through inside of the drain case 22 whereby the condensate contacts the condenser pipe 30. The compressor 17 is fixed on the top wall 38 and positioned between the air duct 28 and the condenser fan 32. Therefore the compressor is positioned in the path of air flow from the condenser to the air duct. In this way heat generated by the condenser 20 and the compressor 17 are effectively used to evaporate condensate.

While the invention has been shown and described with reference to different embodiments thereof, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that variations in form, detail, compositions and operation may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the accompanying claims.