Title:
Heat pump for a manufactured building
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A heat pump is provided for a manufactured building wherein the outside heat exchanger unit contains a compressor, a condenser coil with a fan, and an evaporator coil. The system further has an air handler that is connected to the heat exchanger and the building by ducts and contains a blower and an electric heater. The air handler is installed beneath the building and at least partially between a pair of adjacent joists.



Inventors:
Sterner, William K. (Ringgold, VA, US)
Application Number:
09/815469
Publication Date:
09/26/2002
Filing Date:
03/23/2001
Assignee:
STERNER WILLIAM K.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
237/2B
International Classes:
F24F3/00; F24F3/044; (IPC1-7): F25B29/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CIRIC, LJILJANA V
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Michael Reinemann (Boston, MA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A heat pump for use with a manufactured building, comprising: a) a heat exchanger for installation remote from the building and including a compressor with a cooling pipe and a return pipe connected thereto, an evaporator coil connected to the cooling pipe and to a heating pipe, a condenser coil connected to the return pipe and the heating pipe to establish a heat transfer loop for circulation of a fluid; b) an air handler for installation beneath the building, including a blower and a heater; c) an inlet duct for conducting air from the air handler to the building; d) an outlet duct for conducting air from the building to the heat exchanger; and e) a transfer duct for conducting air from the heat exchanger to the air handler.

2. The heat pump as described in claim 1, wherein the heat exchanger further comprises a fan for forcing air through the condenser coil.

3. The heat pump as described in claim 1, wherein the air handler is configured for installation beneath the manufactured building in a space between a pair of adjacent joists in a manner to enable assembly of the air handler to the building at the time of manufacture.

4. The air handler as described in claim 3, wherein the inlet and the outlet are substantially coaxial.

5. The air handler as described in claim 3, wherein the air handler protrudes less than 3 inches beneath a beam on which the building is constructed.

6. The air handler as described in claim 5, wherein the air handler does not protrude beneath the beam.

7. An air handler for use in a heat pump system and configured for installation beneath a manufactured building to be recessed at least partially in the space between a pair of adjacent joists in a manner to enable assembly of the air handler to the building at the time of manufacture, the air handler comprising a blower, a heater, an air inlet and an air outlet.

8. The air handler as described in claim 7, wherein the inlet and the outlet are substantially coaxial.

9. The air handler as described in claim 7, wherein the air handler protrudes less than 3 inches beneath a beam on which the building is constructed.

10. The air handler as described in claim 9, wherein the air handler does not protrude beneath the beam.

11. A manufactured building, comprising a building and an air handler assembled thereto and having a blower, a heater, an air inlet and an air outlet in coaxial alignment.

12. The manufactured building as described in claim 11, wherein the air handler is configured for installation beneath the manufactured building in a space between a pair of adjacent joists in a manner to enable assembly of the air handler to the building at the time of manufacture.

13. The manufactured building as described in claim 12, wherein the inlet and the outlet are substantially coaxial.

14. The manufactured building as described in claim 12, wherein the air handler protrudes less than 3 inches beneath a beam on which the building is constructed.

15. The manufactured building as described in claim 14, wherein the air handler does not protrude beneath the beam.

16. The manufactured building as described in claim 11, further comprising a heat exchanger installed remote from the building and including a compressor with a cooling pipe and a return pipe connected thereto, an evaporator coil connected to the cooling pipe and to a heating pipe, a condenser coil connected to the return pipe and the heating pipe to establish a heat transfer loop.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to a heat pump for use in connection with a factory manufactured building, and more particularly to such a heat pump divided into a heat exchanger unit and an air handler unit.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] A heat pump is a machine that is capable of heating or cooling the interior of a home or other building, according to the climactic conditions. The heat pump contains a heat exchanger that operates on a standard refrigeration cycle and an air handler that circulates the resultant warmed or cooled air through the building. When cooling the inside of a building, the heat removed from the interior is exhausted outside, and when heating, the heat extracted from the outside air is conducted into the building to warm the inside. Switching from heating to cooling is accomplished by reversal of the flow of a temperature-modified fluid.

[0003] Manufactured buildings, for instance homes or commercial buildings, are more economical to produce in a factory than buildings that are built on site. By constructing a building in a manufacturing facility, savings of transporting raw materials, availability of specialized labor, and the mass-production of components are realized. Of course, the finished building must be transported to the site at which it is to be used. The heating and air conditioning system is typically installed, or partly installed in the building, at the factory. The constant conflict in manufactured buildings is the desire to increase the useful space and not limit the floor plan within the building and the need to keep the outside size of the building within acceptable limits for highway transport.

[0004] Building codes and governmental regulations typically require that manufactured homes, at a minimum, are provided with a source of heat. Air cooling is optional. Known heating and air conditioning systems for use in manufactured buildings are of two types: a split system in which an outside unit contains a compressor, a condenser coil and a fan and an inside unit contains an evaporator coil, a blower, and an auxiliary heater; or a package system in which all the above named components reside in a single housing. When a known split system is used, a plumbing connection must be made from the compressor in the outside unit to the evaporator coil in the inside unit, requiring skilled labor on site. Typically, the inside unit of the split system or the combined system are located within the building structure, consuming space within the building. When a package system is used, the system is installed outside the building.

[0005] Condenser coils cool the air passing therethrough, which act lowers the dew point of the air and causes condensed water vapor, or liquid water, to form. The water drips into a pan that is connected to a drain. If the drain is not working properly or the pan is broken, the water can leak and damage the building, since the known split systems are normally located with the condenser coil located inside the building,

[0006] Therefore, it is an object of the present invention to provide a heat pump for use with a manufactured building in which the heat pump equipment does not occupy space within the building.

[0007] It is another object of the present invention to provide a heat pump for use with a manufactured building in which at least a portion that is able to provide heat to the interior of the building is connected to the building at the factory where the building is built.

[0008] It is a further object of the present invention to provide a heat pump for use with a manufactured building in which the condenser coil is located external to the building.

[0009] These and other objects of the present invention will become apparent through the disclosure of the invention to follow.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] The invention provides a hybrid split and package system heat pump for use with a manufactured building in which the noise generated inside the building is minimized and no interior space is consumed. The heat pump is divided into an exterior heat exchanger having a compressor, a condenser coil with a fan and an evaporator coil, the heat exchanger being connected via ducts to an air handler that is installed on the bottom of the building between a pair of joists. The air handler has a blower and an electric heat unit which can be operated as an auxiliary source of heat when the heat exchanger is in heat mode or as an independent source of heat for the building. The air handler is sized to protrude no more than a small amount below the metal support beams on which the building is built and transported.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] In order for the invention to become more clearly understood it will be disclosed in greater detail with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

[0012] FIG. 1 is a side elevation view of a manufactured building with the heat pump of the invention connected.

[0013] FIG. 2 is a top plan view of a heat exchanger component of the invention heat pump with its top removed.

[0014] FIG. 3 is a bottom plan view of an air handler component of the invention installed beneath the manufactured building between a pair of wood joists.

[0015] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the air handler component of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0016] FIG. 1 illustrates a manufactured building 10 installed at its permanent site on a pair of concrete piles p. Building 10 is typically constructed at a factory facility on a pair of metal beams 32 for structural rigidity, particularly during transport to its installation site. Beams 32 are typically between 254 mm (10 inches) and 305 mm (12 inches) in height according to the length and weight of the building. The floor of building 10 is based on a plurality of wooden joists 30, which are typically 140 mm (5.5 inches) in height and which rest on beams 32. Thus, the total height H of beams 32 and joists 30 amounts to approximately 394 mm (15.5 inches) to 445 mm (17.5 inches).

[0017] Heat exchanger 12 is installed at the site on an approved pad b at a convenient location exterior to building 10. Air handler 14 is preferably installed at the manufacturing facility beneath the floor of building 10, between a pair of adjacent joists 30. Air handler 14 is sized so as not to protrude beneath beams 32 or to protrude only a slight distance h. In the preferred embodiment distance h is 76 mm (3 inches) or less so as to allow building 10 with an installed air handler 14 to be transported to the installation site.

[0018] Heat exchanger 12 converts air at an undesirable temperature to a desirable temperature, whether cooling or heating mode. The temperature-modified air is conveyed from heat exchanger 12 through transfer duct 28 and air handler 14, and is further conveyed through inlet duct 18 to register 20 where the air enters the interior of building 10. Air at a less desirable temperature is exhausted from building 10 at return 24 through outlet duct 22 to heat exchanger 12. Transfer duct 28 and inlet duct 18 are configured to reside between an adjacent pair of joists 30 with air handler 14. By placing air handler 14 beneath building 10, the level of noise within building 10 is less than if this component were inside building 10. It is also recognized that by having both heat exchanger 12 and air handler 14 outside building 10, more inside space is available for other uses with more versatile floor plans.

[0019] Referring now to FIG. 2, heat exchanger 12 of the invention is shown in top plan view with its cover removed for clarity. Heat exchanger 12 is broken into compartment X and compartment Y by barrier 38. Heat exchanger 12 receives air in compartment X through outlet duct 22 from building 10, as illustrated at arrow O. The air that was removed from building 10 at an undesirable temperature is pushed in the direction indicated by arrow f to pass through evaporator coil 36 and continue in the direction of arrow g to provide air at a desirable temperature to building 10 through duct 28, as shown by arrow I. Barrier 38 keeps the movement of air along arrows f and g confined to compartment X.

[0020] Evaporator coil 36 is connected to compressor 40 by cooling pipe 50. Compressor 40 is connected to condenser coil 42 by return pipe 52. Condenser coil 42 is connected to evaporator coil 36 by heating pipe 54 to complete a heat transfer loop in which a fluid is circulated. In practice, an additional set of pipes are used, so as to enable the switch from a heating cycle to a cooling cycle to be effected by valves. A fan 46 is located for drawing ambient air through condenser coil 42. Evaporator coil 36 and condenser coil 42 are illustrated with irregular lines across their respective top surfaces to indicate the presence of multiple fins to improve the heat exchange efficiency, as is known.

[0021] As mentioned above, air handler 14 is sized to be installed between a pair of adjacent joists 30 and 30′ as seen in bottom plan view in FIG. 3. The distance D between joists 30 and 30′ is typically 368 mm (14.5 inches) when joists 30 and 30′ are installed on the standard 406 mm (16 inch) center-to-center spacing. The width W of the upper portion of air handler 14 is preferably not greater than 356 mm (14.0 inches), more preferably 343 mm (13.5 inches) to fit between joists 30 and 30′. In a case when greater air flow capacity is needed, a larger blower 58 can be used, requiring a partial recess between joists 30 and 30′, still maintaining a bottom height no more than 76 mm (3 inches) below beam 18.

[0022] Referring now to FIG. 4, air handler 14 is shown in perspective view with its internal components shown in dashed lines. Air handler 14 comprises an elongate, closed, rectangular housing with an opening at each end for the connection of ducts. Blower 58 is preferably of the cylindrical impeller type, commonly known as a squirrel cage blower. A large variety of squirrel-cage units, such as depicted by blower 58, are available in different capacities and dimensions. Air is drawn into air handler 14 in the direction of arrow K by blower 58 through transfer duct 28, and conveyed to building 10 (see FIG. 1) via inlet duct 18, as shown by arrow L. A heater, for example a fossil fuel or electric heater 60, is positioned adjacent the exit end of blower 58. Heater 60 is employed when the heat required in building 10 is greater than heat exchanger 12 (FIGS. 1 and 2) can reasonably supply. In addition, manufactured building 10 may be produced with a heat system and no cooling system. In such a case, heater 60 is the sole source of heat, no heat exchanger 12 is needed, and transfer duct 28 is connected directly from return 24 (FIG. 1) to air handler 14. This arrangement of providing only air handler 14 with blower 58 and heater 60 conforms to the building code requirement of supplying heat to every manufactured building 10. As will be understood, the configuration of air handler 14 can be reversed so that return 24 is connected directly to the inlet side of blower 58.

[0023] The invention provides an air handler 14 which is configured to encompass blower 58 and electric heater 60, with no evaporator coil, and no space provided for an evaporator coil therewithin.

[0024] The above detailed description of a preferred embodiment of the invention sets forth the best mode contemplated by the inventor for carrying out the invention at the time of filing this application and is provided by way of example and not as a limitation. Accordingly, various modifications and variations obvious to a person of ordinary skill in the art to which it pertains are deemed to lie within the scope and spirit of the invention as set forth in the following claims.