Title:
Bathtub drain adapter
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A drain adapter assembly for joining an overflow pipe to a side wall of a bathtub for permanently sealing the overflow pipe to the tub prior to the installation of a suitable overflow trim plate. The present assembly is capable of compressing the overflow pipe to the side wall of the tub while compressibly capturing a foam gasket, thus effectively preventing water seepage between the bathtub side wall and gasket and thereby enabling the tub to be filled above its overflow opening for suitable water testing.



Inventors:
Lewis, Stephen W. (Sebastopol, CA, US)
Application Number:
09/494265
Publication Date:
03/21/2002
Filing Date:
01/28/2000
Assignee:
LEWIS STEPHEN W.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E03C1/24; (IPC1-7): E03C1/24
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
FETSUGA, ROBERT M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Doyle B Johnson (San Francisco, CA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A drain adapter comprising: a threaded member; a capture nut; and a gasket.

2. The drain adapter of claim 1, wherein the threaded member comprises an elbow and threaded section formed as a single unitary piece.

3. The drain adapter of claim 1, wherein the threaded member comprises a threaded insert formed to attach to a drain pipe.

4. The drain adapter of claim 2, wherein the single unitary piece further comprises protrusions.

5. The drain adapter of claim 3, wherein the drain pipe further comprises protrusions.

6. The drain adapter of claim 2, wherein the single unitary piece further comprises a flange.

7. The drain adapter of claim 3, wherein the drain pipe further comprises a flange.

8. The drain adapter of claim 1, wherein the gasket comprises a foam gasket.

9. The drain adapter of claim 1, wherein the capture nut comprises a flange having holes formed thereon.

10. The drain adapter of claim 1, wherein the capture nut comprises a flange having at least two thumb tabs formed thereon.

11. The bathtub drain adapter of claim 1, further comprising a test plug.

12. The drain adapter of claim 1, further comprising a face plate.

13. A bathtub overflow drain test assembly comprising: a drain pipe having a threaded member; a gasket having an opening formed to receive the threaded member; a capture nut configured to thread onto the threaded member; and a test plug formed to seal the drain pipe.

14. The bathtub overflow drain test assembly of claim 13, wherein the gasket forms a water-tight seal between the drain pipe and a backside of a bathtub, as the capture nut is tightened on a front side of the bathtub.

15. The bathtub overflow drain test assembly of claim 14, wherein the drain pipe comprises an elbow and threaded section formed as a single unitary piece.

16. The bathtub overflow drain test assembly of claim 14, wherein the threaded member comprises a threaded insert formed to attach to the drain pipe.

17. The bathtub overflow drain test assembly of claim 14, wherein the capture nut comprises a flange having holes formed thereon.

18. The bathtub overflow drain test assembly of claim 14, wherein the capture nut comprises a flange having at least two thumb tabs formed thereon.

19. A method for leak testing a bathtub overflow drain, the method comprising: installing a gasket over a threaded member on a backside of the bathtub, the threaded member connected to a drain pipe; installing a capture nut on the threaded member such that the drain pipe and gasket are drawn to the backside of the bathtub, compressing the gasket and thereby forming a water-tight seal; installing a test plug in the capture nut to seal the drain; and filling the bathtub with water above an overflow drain level.

20. The method of claim 19, further comprising: removing the test plug once the test is complete; and installing a face plate over the capture nut.

Description:

[0001] The present application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent application serial No. 06/117,781, filed Jan. 29, 1999, entitled “BATHTUB DRAIN ADAPTER.”

TECHNICAL FIELD OF INVENTION

[0002] The present invention deals with an adapter for incorporation in a bathtub overflow for the permanent connection of the overflow assembly to the overflow outlet of the bathtub. When the overflow is secured to the bathtub with the adapter, a test plug is inserted into the overflow outlet, and a test plug is inserted into the drain outlet in the bottom of the bathtub. Likewise, all of the other drain outlets in the building, such as showers, sinks and lavatories, will be plugged to allow the entire waste system to be filled with water to the level required. At this time, water can be added to the bathtub to a point that is above the overflow, to test the permanent connection of the overflow assembly to the bathtub overflow outlet for leaks.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] When plumbing a structure such as a house, the piping is subjected to at least two waste water tests, and inspection by a building official. The first test is done after the under floor or slab rough in is completed and requires ten feet of head pressure. A second test is required on “top out” before close in, meaning that after the plumbing vents are piped through the roof, and the bathtubs are set, the waste system must be filled to the level required and inspected for leaks by the building official before insulation, sheetrock or plaster can be installed. Changes to the building code over the years regarding test procedures for plumbing waste systems now require the vents as well as the drainage piping be tested. The current system of testing does not allow the overflow to be secured to the bathtub while it is plugged off to allow testing of the building waste system. The only way of securing the current design is by installing the overflow trim plate. The present invention alleviates the problem and allows for a leak proof overflow connection where there was no mechanical connection before.

[0004] As further background, reference is made to FIG. 1 which shows, in perspective, the cutaway of a typical bathtub installation including water service lines 1 and 2 feeding hot and cold service and selector knob 15 for directing water either through tub spigot 16 or, optionally, through pipe 3 to a shower overhead outlet (not shown).

[0005] To drain water from tub 10, assembly 11 is provided including down pipe 19 and tee 19A which in turn is fed both from tub drain assembly 17 and overflow elbow 18.

[0006] As further background, reference is made to FIG. 2 which shows, in perspective, an assembly employed by the prior art for temporarily blocking overflow elbow 18 during those water tests as described above. In use, foam gasket 9 is applied to elbow 18. Elbow 18 is typical of such products offered by AB+A characterized by having pegs 4 symmetrically disposed upon face 26 on elbow 18 for centering foam gasket 9 thereon. Once the gasket is in place, test plug 8 having center screw 5 and wing nut 7 are applied to mating threads 6 to temporarily block elbow 18 and prevent the passage of water therethrough.

[0007] Despite the seeming acceptability of the assembly shown in FIG. 2, the prior art cannot maintain water-tight integrity of the overflow assembly to the tub during testing. Specifically, once the assembly has been completed, it is the assembly trim plate (not shown) which is employed to draw elbow 18 to the inner side wall of tub 10. It is virtually impossible to install a trim plate while test plug 8 is in place. As such, one cannot test the water integrity of a tub installation including not only inspecting the installation for leakage through elbow 18 but also between the inner wall of tub 10 and foam gasket 9.

[0008] It is thus an object of the present invention to provide a means of permanently creating a water impervious seal between an overflow pipe tub side wall in order to enable water testing of the tub plumbing during a suitable waste water test.

[0009] This and further objects of the present invention will be more readily appreciated when considering the following disclosure and appended drawings.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] The present invention broadly is directed to an adapter assembly for joining an overflow pipe to the side wall of a bathtub for permanently sealing the overflow line to the tub prior to the installation of a suitable overflow trim plate. The present expedient is capable of compressing the overflow pipe elbow to the side wall of the tub while compressibly capturing a foam gasket thus effectively preventing water seepage between the bathtub side wall and gasket enabling the tub to be filled above its overflow opening for suitable water testing.

[0011] In a first embodiment, the pipe elbow can be configured with a threaded length which could be threadably joined to a nut capturing the tub side wall and gasket. In a second embodiment, a standard, unmodified pipe elbow can be fit with an adapter which again can be made to threadably receive a capture nut for compressibly joining a suitable gasket with a bathtub side wall. In a second embodiment, the adapter can be solvently welded to the elbow. In each instance, once the capture nut has been tightened, an effective water-tight seal is created between the gasket and tub side wall without the need for installation of the decorative overflow plate at that time.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] FIGS. 1 and 2 represent perspective views of prior art as discussed above.

[0013] FIG. 3a is an exploded view of one embodiment of the present invention.

[0014] FIG. 3b depicts, in perspective, the assembly of FIG. 3a in use.

[0015] FIGS. 4 and 5 are perspective views of two embodiments of the present invention, again, in exploded view.

[0016] FIG. 6 is a side plan view of the present invention.

[0017] FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of the assembly of FIG. 6 shown in use.

[0018] FIG. 8 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the present invention in exploded view.

[0019] FIG. 9 is an illustrative view showing the hand operation of the alternative embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0020] Turning first to FIG. 3a, down pipe 19 is shown being connected to overflow elbow 20 modified to enable the practice of the present invention. In comparing elbow 20 with elbow 18 of the prior art, it is seen that threaded member 23 is shown protruding from elbow 20 within the confines of protrusions 4 emanating from elbow 20 as shown. Threads 23 can be produced by extruding elbow 20 as a single unitary plastic part or, alternatively, an insert such as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5 as element 41 can be solvent welded to element 20 as desired. In continuing the practice of the present invention, foam gasket 9 is then placed upon elbow 20 being centered by protrusions 4 located thereon. As noted in FIG. 3b, foam gasket 9 is intended to reside on the backside of tub 30 which, in turn, is provided with an opening enabling access to threaded member 23. Working from the inner side wall of tub 30, capture nut 21 can then be screwed down upon threaded member 23 using threads 22 to match therewith. Alternatively, the threaded member 23 could be formed with interior threads, and the capture nut 21 with outer threads.

[0021] As further noted in reference to FIG. 3a, capture nut 21 is provided with flange 24 further optionally being configured with holes 25 enabling a suitable wire tool (not shown) to be inserted within holes 25 for increasing torque rotation of capture nut 21 to enable the capture nut to compressively draw elbow 20 to tub 10 as shown in FIG. 3b to, in effect, tightly draw foam gasket 9 to the side wall of tub 10 creating, for the first time, a waterproof seal prior to the attachment of the later to be installed trim plate. In completing the assembly, test plug 8 is then screwed down upon elbow 20 as shown and described with reference to FIGS. 3A and 3B.

[0022] FIGS. 4 and 5 show variations to the assembly of FIGS. 3a and 3b.

[0023] FIGS. 4 and 5 differ only in the configuration of elbow 40 (FIG. 4) and elbow 80 (FIG. 5). The remaining elements being virtually identical between the embodiments of the two figures and thus have been numbered with like numerals.

[0024] Elbow 80 shown in FIG. 5 is provided with protrusions 4 such as those shown in the previously discussed figures. Elbow of this nature are commercially available from AB+A. By contrast, elbow 40 of FIG. 4 is provided with flange 46 emanating from face 48. Elbows of this nature are commercially available from Watco, Rapidfit, New Style AB+A (January, 1999).

[0025] In operation, threaded insert 41 is provided for insertion within either elbow 40 or elbow 80. Threaded insert 41 is shown having reduced diameter section 43 which is inserted within inner side wall 44 (FIG. 4) or 84 (FIG. 5) and the ridge created thereby acts as a natural stop for threaded insert 41. As noted previously, threaded insert 41 can be solvent welded.

[0026] Once threaded insert 41 has been applied to a suitable elbow, foam gasket 9 is placed upon the elbow and centered. As shown in FIG. 5, gasket 9 would reside upon face 26 and be centered by protrusions 4. Similarly, gasket 9 could be placed upon elbow 40 and centered by flange 46. As noted previously, foam gasket 9 is inserted to reside behind the side wall of tub 10 as best shown by reference to FIG. 7.

[0027] Once the assembly comprising down pipe 19, threaded insert 41 and foam gasket 9 have been installed behind the side wall of tub 10, capture nut 21 is compressively screwed down mating screw threads 22 with threads 42 and tightened by use of a suitable wire wrench whose ends are inserted within holes 25 configured within flange 24 of capture nut 21. In so doing, down pipe 19, and elbows 40-80 are compressively drawn to the side wall of tub 10 compressing foam gasket 9 thus preventing leakage of water 60 (FIG. 7) when the tub is filled above its overflow line. To complete the assembly, test plug 8 is inserted such that threaded screw 5 is caused to mate with threaded opening 51 (FIG. 6) and tightened by the application of wing nut 7.

[0028] As noted previously, FIG. 6 shows the present invention in side plan view. In reference thereto, elbow 40, being of a standard off the shelf configuration, is provided with face 48 and flange 46 for accepting and centering foam gasket 9 thereon. Threaded insert 41 is fit within elbow 40 at opening 52 whereby reduced cross-sectional section 43 can be solvent welded to elbow 40. Capture nut 21 is then screwed down upon the threaded section of threaded insert 41 to draw foam gasket 9 against the inner side wall of tub 10. Such an assembly, once in place, is shown in FIG. 7 creating a water-tight installation through the application of test plug 8 screwed down within elbow 40 by mating screw 5 within threaded opening 51 supported within elbow 40 by extruded protrusion 50.

[0029] Once water testing has been completed, test plug 8 can be removed by counter-clock rotation of wing nut 7. Thereupon, a suitable trim plate (not shown) can be inserted against the finished surface of tub 10 without disturbing any of the remaining components as described above. In use, none of the additional elements employed to create a water-tight installation will be visible to the user in light of the decorative application of the trim plate.

[0030] Another alternative embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIG. 8. FIGS. 8 and 3a differ only in the configuration of the capture nut. The remaining elements being virtually identical between the embodiments of the two figures and thus have been numbered with like numerals. As discussed with reference to FIG. 3a, the capture nut 21 may optionally be configured with holes 25 enabling a suitable wire tool (not shown) to be inserted within holes 25 for increasing torque rotation of capture nut 21 to enable the capture nut to compressively draw elbow to tub 10 as shown in FIG. 3b to, in effect, tightly draw foam gasket 9 to the side wall of tub 10. As shown in FIG. 8, the capture nut 100 may alternatively be configured with thumb tabs 101, 102 to allow for easy assembly and disassembly. As illustrated in FIG. 9, an installer can use the thumb tabs 101, 102 to tighten or loosen the capture nut 100, with no special tools required. Additional thumb tabs or configurations may be added as desired.

[0031] Upon reading the subject application, various alternative constructions and embodiments will become obvious to those skilled in the art. These variations are to be considered within the scope and spirit of the subject invention. The subject invention is only to be limited by the claims and their equivalence.