Water heater
United States Patent 2230085

My invention relates generally to water heaters, and more particularly it relates to an improved stock watering tank heater of the electric type and normally adapted to draw electric 9 current only during "off peak" or "low-rate" daily seasonal periods. Objects of my invention are to provide:...

Ortgiesen, Charles D.
Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Ortgiesen, Charles D.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
119/73, 392/377, 392/441, 392/448, 392/456, 392/497
International Classes:
F24H1/20; H05B3/06
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My invention relates generally to water heaters, and more particularly it relates to an improved stock watering tank heater of the electric type and normally adapted to draw electric 9 current only during "off peak" or "low-rate" daily seasonal periods.

Objects of my invention are to provide: A water tank heater unit in which loss of heat by conduction, convection, and radiation, will be reduced to a minimum; An improved electric heater which is adapted to be completely immersed below the water level of a stock-watering tank which it is adapted to heat; A completely immersible heater having means for supporting it in spaced relation to the floor or base of the watering tank in which it is disposed; An improved heater including a sealed container in which a non-freezing solution having heat retaining properties is in direct contact with means for heating such solution to provide means within the container for the storage of heat over extended periods of time; Improved means for electrically connecting heating elements which are disposed within a sealed and submerged container to a convenient source of electric power; Automatic means for disconnecting the energizing current when the heater has obtained a predetermined temperature and means for protecting the device from undue pressure build up or expansion of the heat retaining material.

Other objects and advantages of my invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon examination of the drawings, description and the claims appended thereto.

In the drawings: Figure 1 is a cross sectional view of a conventional stock-watering tank or trough showing my improved water heater supported on the bottom thereof.

Figure 2 is a fragmentary cross sectional view of my improved water heater.

Figure 3 is an end view of the heater shown in Figure 2.

Figure 4 shows in fragmentary section the heating element employed in the tank as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 5 is a diagrammatic view of my invention showing the electrical hookup between the heating elements and the source of power.

Figure 6 shows in fragmentary section an alas ternate embodiment of the invention.

Like parts are identified by the same reference characters throughout the several views.

An embodiment of the invention as exemplified in the heat storing unit shown in Figure 1 includes a closed receptacle 10, which may be supported by a pair of brackets II at a position below the water level 13 of tank 12, and preferably at a position near the bottom of the tank.

Receptacle 10 contains a quantity of heat storing material, as hereinafter described, and at least one heating element 14 provided with means whereby to electrically insulate it from the heat storing material.

Element 14 has a continuous casing extending through a water-proof housing 15 to a junction box 16 located above the water level of tank 12.

A source of electrical energy 18, which may be controlled by a time switch 19 or the like, is connected through a conductor 17 to a heating element at a point within junction box 16. The heat retaining material with which container 10 may be substantially filed is preferably a liquid, such as oil, but a non-liquid material such as soapstone may be employed, if desired. The function of this material is to retain heat within the "peak-load" or "high-rate" current periods, during which periods a switch 19 shuts off the current, and to store heat therein during "off-peak" load or "low-rate" during which the current is connected to element 14. Specifically the device is constructed as follows.

Receptacle 10, as best shown in Figure 2, includes a cylindrical portion 21 which has at least one reduced end portion 22 flanged at 23 to receive a complementary flanged portion 24 of a fitting 26, gasket 25 being interposed therebetween to provide a fluid seal. Fitting 26 has a generally cylindrical body portion and is provided at the opposite end with a diagonally disposed flange 27 which has secured thereto a companion flange 28 of a second fitting 29, gasket 30 being interposed between the flanges to provide fluid sealing relation therebetween. Fitting 29 is provided with an aperture 31 in right angular relation to the cylindrical portion of the fitting 26, said aperture being threaded at 32 to receive the lower threaded end of the tubular conduit 15 which is supported thereby.

The heating unit 14 is preferably axially disposed within tank 21, being positioned therein by means of a heat insulating member 37 which is in turn secured within fitting 26 by means of screws or rivets 38. Heating element 14, as shown in the detail view, Figure 4, comprises a tubular casing 40 which houses a low resistance current conducting wire 41, a high resistance heating wire 42, and an electrical insulating substance 43 which is unaffected by the heat to which the element is subjected. Wire 42 is preferably brazed to wire 41 as shown at 44. Housing 40 may be continuous from a point adjacent a connector block 50 within the junction box 16 throughout a loop which extends through conduit 15 and fittings 29 and 26 and thence into receptacle 10 and back through said fittings and conduit to the block 50. Wire 42 is, however, only provided in the portion which is disposed within receptacle 10, and it preferably extends only from points 52 to points 53 within said receptacle, the remainder of the housing having disposed therein only conductor 41 and insulation 43. This construction provides the heating element with a fluid-proof casing which extends from a point above the water level of tank 12 down through the heating unit and back to a point above said water level.

It is desirable to provide within container 10 a heat-storing material which has properties of low freezing point, and as heretofore mentioned, I prefer to use oil, although other liquids having the desired properties may be used. I have found that under certain conditions the device will give satisfactory results with the container filled with water. An advantage gained by the use of water resides in the elimination of the necessity for tightly sealing the housing parts against leakage of liquid from the heat storage tank 21 into the water in which the tank is submerged. When water is used, it may be introduced therein from the stock tank by the provision of a small aperture or port through each of the plugs 33 shown in Figure 1, the right hand plug being illustrated in section in Figure 2. By 0() employing one or more of these ported plugs a slow circulation is permitted between the water in the chamber 10 and that in the stock watering tank 12, to allow for expansion and contraction of the water in the chamber 10. The parts ,5 in the plugs 33 must, obviously, be closed when oil or a material other than water is used as the heat storing medium within the tank 21.

When container 10 and its associated conduit housings are made of current conducting ma,0 terial, provision is' made for grounding the unit through conduit 17 and plug 170, which carry an extra conductor for this purpose, thereby eliminating the danger of subjecting animals to an electric shock in the event of a short circuit a5 in the device.

While only one heating element has been described, as disclosed in detail in Figure 2, I prefer to provide one at each end, as shown in Figure 1, the element being connected by a conduit tio which is encased in housing 150.

An alternate embodiment of the invention is shown in Figure 6 wherein a heating unit 100 includes a receptacle 2 10, which is adapted to be filled with water from the stock tank through ii5 at least one aperture 330, and has projected therein at least one smaller container 60 which contains oil or the like. Container 60 may be removably secured within receptacle 210 by having a flanged portion 61 bolted or otherwise seo7 cured to a. reduced annular shoulder 220 which is provided at the end of the receptacle adjacent an aperture adapted to receive container 60. A supporting and closure wall 370 and an elbowed type housing 290 are also secured to the ends of tank 210. Wall 370 provides support for a heating element 140 which is similar in construction to element 14 heretofore described, and it also provides means for retaining the heat retaining material within the container. Housing 290 is provided with a threaded aperture 291 which is adapted to receive and to provide support for a vertically positioned tubular conduit 51 which has a junction box 6S0 attached to the upper end thereof. Portions of heating element i40 extend through conduit 151 and into junction box 160 as heretofore described with reference to Figure 2.

Flange portion 61 of container 60 has an upper portion thereof provided with a bore 63 which leads from the interior of the housing through said flange. Bore 63 may have an outer portion interiorly threaded to receive a pipe 64 which is supported by the flange portion. Pipe 64 is positioned vertically to communicate with an enlarged chamber which is provided within a housing 65. A pipe 66 which may be considered a continuation of pipe 64 leads from an upper portion of housing 65 into junction box 160. A pressure actuated switch 67 is positioned within junction box 160 and has an apertured plug-like portion 68 disposed within the mouth of pipe 66 to provide a closure therefor. Switch 67 is provided to control electric energy from line 18 to heating element 140. Housing 65 is provided with a filler plug 69 and a safety valve 70.

The operation of the embodiment shown in Figure 6 and above described is as follows. The lower portion of unit 100 including tank 210 is submerged in a stock watering tank or the like, with upper portions of the unit including housing 65 and junction box 160 being positioned substantially above the water level in said tank.

When the current is turned on, heating element 160 heats the surrounding oil or other material with which tank 60 is substantially filled. Some of the heat from said oil is conducted outwardly through the walls of container 60 to heat the water within tank 210 which has entered through aperture 330. With the resulting rise in temperature of the water within the tank 210, heat flows through the walls thereof by conduction to raise the temperature of the water in the stock-watering tank.

While my invention resides in the provision of 60 a stock watering tank heater which is primarily adapted to draw current during the "off-peak" or "low rate" seasonal daily periods, it is not however necessary or desirable to allow the current to remain on after the liquid in the heat storage tank has reached a predetermined temperature. As the temperature of the oil in container 60 rises, pressure is built up in the vertical column leading to switch 67. This pressure may result from the air within the column being compressed by expansion of the heat retaining material, or it may be due to gas which results from a partial vaporization thereof, especially where material other than oil is employed.

To protect the device against injury in the event that switch 67 fails to turn the current off in response to the proper pressure build-up, a safety valve 70 is provided. The filler plug 69 permits replenishment of liquid into the housing 60.

While switch 19 may be a conventional time switch as heretofore mentioned, it may also incorporate switch selecting means as shown diagrammatically in Figure 5. The heating elements may be connected as shown, whereby to provide means for connecting either one or two elements, as conditions warrant. Hence further economies in the operation of the device may be effected by manually governing the amount of heat introduced within the tank in accordance with atmospheric temperature changes.

Time switch 19 will ordinarily be set to turn the current on at night during the "low rate" period, whereby to accumulate heat in the storage tank for gradual dissipation to the water in the stock tank during the daytime or "high rate" period during which the current will be turned off.

It will be observed that my improved heater and heat distributing chamber is entirely submerged in the water of the stock watering tank 12, out of contact with the walls thereof, and that it provides for heat storage in chamber 10 and a slow distribution of the stored heat through the walls of that chamber into the drinking water in the tank 12, regardless of whether circulation is permitted between water contained in chamber 10 and the surrounding water, or whether heat distribution is obtained wholly by conduction through the chamber walls. The liquid contained in that chamber may have a considerable variation in temperature between the time the heater is deenergized to the time when further heat is required to keep the water in the stock watering tank at the desired temperature, usually a little above the freezing point. Because of this stepdown transmission of heat from the heater to the drinking water in the tank 12, loss of heat by vaporization of the latter is at all times kept at a minimum. Chamber 10 is preferably cylindrical in form and its axis is substantially horizontal, whereby its heat may be distributed longitudinally to the tank 12, near the bottom thereof.

As shown in Figure 1, the walls of the tank 12 may be heat insulated, material loss of heat occurring only at the surface of the drinking water.

I claim: 1. A portable heater for use in an open stock watering tank and comprising a heat distributing chamber provided with base means adapted to rest on the bottom of the tank, said chamber having a diameter smaller than the normal depth of water in said tank, whereby said chamber is adapted to be wholly submerged in the water of the tank, a heat distributing liquid in the chamber, an electrical heater immersed in said liquid within the chamber and adapted when energized to deliver heat to the distributing liquid of the chamber at a rate in excess of the rate at which said heat will be delivered off from said chamber to the water of the tank in which the chamber is immersed, and an electrical connection to said heater provided with a housing extension from said chamber to a point above water level in said tank.

2. A portable heater for use in an open stock watering tank, comprising the combination of a horizontally elongated chamber of such dimensions as to provide adequate capacity for heat storage while being adapted to be wholly submerged in the water of said tank, said chamber being provided with means for removably supporting it in a submerged position in a tank in which it is adapted to be used, a heat distributing and heat storing liquid in the chamber, an electrical heating element immersed in said liquid in the interior of the chamber, a conduit extending from said chamber to a point above the water level of the tank in which the chamber is used, and electrical connections extending through said conduit to said element, said connections including time controlled means for periodically energizing said element.

3. A portable heater for use in an open stock watering tank, comprising a heat distributing chamber having uninsulated heat conducting walls and provided with means for removably supporting it in a position wholly surrounded by the water in said tank, a heat distributing liquid in said chamber, and a time controlled electrical heater enclosed in said chamber.

4. A stock watering tank heater including a casing adapted to be submerged in a water tank out of contact with the walls thereof, said casing having ports permitting limited circulation of water between the interior thereof and the tank water, an electrical heater located in said casing, and time controlled electrical means for periodically energizing the heater.

5. In a stock tank heater, the combination with a substantially closed casing adapted for mounting removably in the tank below normal water level and provided with independent supports whereby it is spaced from the tank walls, said casing being provided with an aperture to allow restricted communication between the tank water and the casing interior, of a second and smaller casing having its major portion disposed within the first mentioned casing in sealing relation to the walls thereof, and an electrical heater located within the smaller casing and surrounded by heat storing material adapted for heat transfer through the casing walls and the liquid contained in the enclosing casing to the water in the stock tank. 15 6. The combination with a stock watering tank of a cylindrical chamber supported in the lower portion of said tank out of contact with its bottom and ported for slow communication between the tank water and the interior of said chamber, a tubular connection leading downwardly through the tank water and through one end of said chamber, an electrical heater within the chamber, insulated conductors leading through the tubular connection to the electrical heater, and a time controlled switch regulating delivery of electrical current to said heater.

7. A heater for open stock watering tanks including in combination a heat storing chamber adapted to be submerged in the tank water, means for supporting said chamber out off contact with the walls of the tank, a casing enclosed in said heat storing chamber, a tubular passage extending downwardly from above the tank to said casing, an electrical heater located within the casing and having energizing connections leading thereto through said tubular passage, and heat storing material within the casing and in which the electrical heater is embedded, 8. A heater as set forth in claim 7, having switch means disposed above the level of the tank water and connected by conduit means to the interior of said heat storing chamber for actuation by expansion and contraction of the heated material to control delivery of electrical current to the heater.

9. The combination with a stock watering tank having submerged concentric receptacles filled with heat transferring material, an electrical heater embedded in the material contained in the inner receptacle, a tubular passage leading downwardly to the inner receptacle from a point above the tank, and electrical connections leading through said passage to the heater, said electrical connections including a pressure actuated switch exposed to variations in pressure due to changes in temperature of the material contained within said casings, and timing devices cooperatively controlling delivery of electrical energy to said heater.

10. In a submersible water tank heater, the combination with,a casing provided with an aperture to allow a restricted communication between the tank water and the interior of the casing, of an electrically energizable heating element disposed within the casing in electrically insulated relation to the water, and means for periodically energizing said element.

11. A stock watering tank heater including a sealedreceptacleadaptedfor disposition below the water level of a stock watering tank, said receptacle being substantially filled with a liquid having properties of high heat retentivity, a heating element within the receptacle adapted to be excited by an electric current and of such characteristics as to deliver heat to said liquid at a rate exceeding the rate of radiation therefrom to the water of said tank, and time switch means connected with the heating element whereby the element may be excited during periods of low current cost and disconnected therefrom during periods of high current cost, and said receptacle and the liquid therein will continue to give off heat during the disconnected period.

310 12. A heating device including the combinaallow restricted communication without substantial circulation between the water and the casing interior, of a secona ana smaller casing at least partially disposed within said first mentioned casing in sealing relation thereto and provided interiorly thereof with an electric heater, 10 heat storing means disposed within said second casing, electric means for periodically heating said material, a pressure actuated switch disposed above the water in the watering tank, and conduit means between said switch and the in- 15 terior of said second casing, whereby pneumatic pressure from within the casing may actuate the switch, said switch being in operative association with said electric heating means, whereby said heating means is responsive to certain pres- 20 sure changes in the second casing.

13. A device as described in claim 12, provided with a spring biased safety valve positioned above the water tank level in a position to be contacted by said gas pressure intermediate said 25 switch and said second casing, whereby to relieve abnormal gaseous pressures within said casing and conduit.