Title:
Flushing plug for water control valve
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A water control valve has a plurality of ports and a mixing chamber and a removable cartridge in the chamber for controlling water flow. A flushing plug is receivable in the chamber in place of the cartridge for enabling flushing and pressure testing of the ports. A retainer removably holds either the cartridge or the flushing plug in the chamber. A method of pressure testing and/or flushing a water control system includes the steps of removing a clip that holds a mixing cartridge in a valve body; removing the mixing cartridge from an opening in the valve body; inserting a flushing plug into the opening in the valve body; and replacing the clip to hold the plug in the opening in the valve body.



Inventors:
Coll, David James (Brunswick, OH, US)
Application Number:
10/610223
Publication Date:
12/30/2004
Filing Date:
06/30/2003
Assignee:
COLL DAVID JAMES
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E03C1/02; (IPC1-7): E03C1/01
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LEE, KEVIN L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP (Cleveland, OH, US)
Claims:

Having described the invention, I claim:



1. Apparatus comprising: a water control valve having a valve body with a plurality of ports and a chamber interconnecting said ports and a removable cartridge receivable in said chamber for controlling water flow through said valve body between said ports; and a flushing plug receivable in said chamber in place of said cartridge for enabling flushing and pressure testing of said ports.

2. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1 further comprising a retainer engageable between said valve body and said cartridge to retain said cartridge on said valve body, said retainer being engageable between said valve body and said plug to retain said plug on said valve body.

3. Apparatus as set forth in claim 2 wherein said retainer is a clip, said valve body and said cartridge and said plug having respective grooves, said clip being receivable in said grooves of said valve body and said cartridge to retain said cartridge on said valve body, said clip being receivable in said grooves of said valve body and said plug to retain said plug on said valve body.

4. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein said plug is insertable into said chamber to replace said cartridge and said plug has an overall configuration similar to that of the cartridge that it replaces.

5. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein said plug has a generally tubular cylindrical configuration with inner and outer ends, and said plug has an inner wall that blocks fluid flow along the interior of said plug between said inner and outer ends of said plug.

6. Apparatus as set forth in claim 5 wherein said plug has a seal engageable with a wall surface of said valve body to block fluid flow along the exterior of said plug between said inner and outer ends of said plug.

7. Apparatus comprising: a water control valve having a plurality of ports, a chamber interconnecting said ports, a removable cartridge receivable in said chamber for controlling water flow through said valve between said ports, and a retainer that removably holds said cartridge in said chamber; and a flushing plug receivable in said chamber in place of said cartridge; said retainer being operative to removably hold said flushing plug in said chamber.

8. Apparatus as set forth in claim 7 wherein said retainer is engageable between a valve body of said valve and said cartridge to retain said cartridge on said valve body, said retainer being engageable between said valve body and said plug to retain said plug on said valve body.

9. Apparatus as set forth in claim 8 wherein said retainer is a clip, said valve body and said cartridge and said plug having respective grooves, said clip being receivable in said grooves of said valve body and said cartridge to retain said cartridge on said valve body, said clip being receivable in said grooves of said valve body and said plug to retain said plug on said valve body.

10. Apparatus comprising: a valve body with a chamber and a plurality of ports that open into said chamber; a cartridge insertable into said chamber through an opening for controlling fluid flow through said chamber between said ports; a retainer engageable between said valve body and said cartridge to retain said cartridge on said valve body; and a plug for plugging said opening when said cartridge is not inserted in said chamber, said retainer being engageable with said valve body and said plug to retain said plug on said valve body.

11. Apparatus as set forth in claim 10 wherein said retainer is a clip, said valve body and said cartridge and said plug having respective grooves, said clip being receivable in said grooves of said valve body and said cartridge to retain said cartridge on said valve body, said clip being receivable in said grooves of said valve body and said plug to retain said plug on said valve body.

12. Apparatus as set forth in claim 10 wherein said valve body has hot and cold water inlet ports and two outlet ports and wherein said cartridge is operable to direct water from either said hot inlet port or said cold inlet port or both said hot and cold inlet ports to one or the other of said two outlet ports.

13. Apparatus as set forth in claim 10 wherein said plug is insertable into said chamber to replace said cartridge and said plug has an overall configuration similar to that of the cartridge that it replaces.

14. Apparatus as set forth in claim 10 wherein said plug has a generally tubular cylindrical configuration with inner and outer ends, and said plug has an inner wall that blocks fluid flow along the interior of said plug between said inner and outer ends of said plug.

15. Apparatus as set forth in claim 14 wherein said plug has a seal engageable with a wall surface of said valve body to block fluid flow along the exterior of said plug between said inner and outer ends of said plug.

16. A method of pressure testing and/or flushing a water control system that includes a hot and cold mixing valve, said method comprising the steps of: removing a clip that holds a mixing cartridge in a valve body; removing the mixing cartridge from an opening in the valve body; inserting a flushing plug into the opening in the valve body; and replacing the clip to hold the plug in the opening in the valve body.

17. A method as set forth in claim 16 wherein said step of removing a clip includes removing a clip that is engaged in a first groove in the valve body and in a second groove in the cartridge, and wherein said step of replacing the clip includes replacing the clip in the first groove in the valve body and simultaneously engaging the clip in a third groove in the plug.

18. A method as set forth in claim 16 wherein said step of inserting a flushing plug includes inserting a flushing plug having an overall configuration similar to that of the cartridge.

19. A method as set forth in claim 18 wherein said step of inserting a flushing plug includes inserting a flushing plug having a generally tubular cylindrical configuration with inner and outer ends and an inner wall that blocks fluid flow along the interior of the plug between the inner and outer ends of the plug, the plug also having a seal engageable with a wall surface of the valve body to block fluid flow along the exterior of the plug between the inner and outer ends of the plug.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The present invention relates to apparatus for use in the installation, flushing and pressure testing of a water control valve. In particular, the present invention relates to a flushing plug for use in the installation, flushing and pressure testing of a shower and tub control valve.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] When a shower and tub water control valve is installed by a plumber, a cartridge is located in a central chamber in the valve body. The cartridge is insertable and removable through an opening in the valve body, for installation and replacement purposes. The chamber is open to the room through the opening in the valve body, when the cartridge is not in place. A horseshoe clip normally holds the cartridge in place in the valve body. When the cartridge is in place in the chamber in the valve body, the cartridge blocks flow of water out of the valve body through the opening, allowing fluid flow only along the flow paths established by the open or closed and hot or cold position of the cartridge. If the cartridge is not in place in the chamber in the valve body, water can flow out of the valve body through the opening and into the room in which the valve is being installed.

[0003] The valve body has four ports that open into the chamber in which the cartridge is located. Four water pipes are soldered or otherwise connected to these four ports—hot and cold water inlets, a tub spout drop, and a shower riser.

[0004] After the valve body is installed, the system is pressure tested. If the pressure test is conducted with the cartridge installed and in the closed position, only the hot and cold solder joints are tested; there is no water flow to the shower riser and the tub drop, and they are not pressurized. If the pressure test is conducted with the cartridge installed and in the open condition, so that the riser and the drop are pressurized, then water flows through the cartridge, which allows line trash in the cartridge.

[0005] The system should also be flushed. If flush testing is done with the cartridge in place, line trash can accumulate inside the cartridge, causing friction, incorrect valve operation, etc.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] In one embodiment the present invention relates to an apparatus comprising a water control valve having a plurality of ports and a chamber interconnecting the ports and a removable cartridge receivable in the chamber for controlling water flow through the valve between the ports. The apparatus also includes a flushing plug receivable in the chamber in place of the cartridge for enabling flushing and pressure testing of the ports.

[0007] In another embodiment the invention relates to apparatus comprising a water control valve having a plurality of ports, a chamber interconnecting the ports, a removable cartridge receivable in the chamber for controlling water flow through the valve between the ports, and a retainer that removably holds the cartridge in the chamber. A flushing plug is receivable in the chamber in place of the cartridge. The retainer is operative to removably hold the flushing plug in the chamber.

[0008] In another embodiment the invention relates to apparatus comprising a valve body with a mixing chamber and a plurality of ports that open into the mixing chamber. A cartridge is insertable into the chamber through an opening for controlling fluid flow through the mixing chamber between the ports. A retainer is engageable between the valve body and the cartridge to retain the cartridge on the valve body. The apparatus includes a plug for plugging the opening when the cartridge is not inserted in the chamber, the retainer being engageable with the valve body and the plug to retain the plug on the valve body.

[0009] In yet another embodiment, the invention relates to a method of pressure testing and/or flushing a water control system including a hot and cold mixing valve. The method includes the steps of removing a clip that holds a mixing cartridge in a valve body; removing the mixing cartridge from an opening in the valve body; inserting a flushing plug into the opening in the valve body; and replacing the clip to hold the plug in the opening in the valve body.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] The foregoing and other features of the present invention will become apparent to one skilled in the art to which the present invention relates upon consideration of the following description of the invention with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

[0011] FIG. 1 is a schematic view of a tub and shower water supply system including a control valve in accordance with the present invention;

[0012] FIG. 2 is a sectional view of the control valve of FIG. 1, taken through the hot and cold water inlets, with the valve cartridge installed;

[0013] FIG. 3 is a sectional view of the control valve of FIG. 1, taken through the tub drop and shower riser, with the valve cartridge installed;

[0014] FIG. 4 is a sectional view of the control valve of FIG. 1, taken through the hot and cold water inlets, with a flushing plug installed; and

[0015] FIG. 5 is a sectional view of the control valve of FIG. 1, taken through the tub drop and shower riser, with the flushing plug installed.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0016] The present invention relates to apparatus for use in the flushing and pressure testing of a water control valve. In particular, the present invention relates to a flushing plug for use in the flushing and pressure testing of a shower and tub control valve. The invention is applicable to various flushing plug constructions. As representative of the invention, FIGS. 1 and 4-5 illustrate a flushing plug 10 in accordance with a first embodiment of the invention.

[0017] The plug 10 is shown in use with a shower and tub control valve 12 that is part of a tub and shower water supply system 14. The valve 12 includes a valve body 20 of a known type. The valve body 20 has a hot water inlet port 22. A hot water supply pipe 24 is connected with the hot water inlet port 22 by a solder joint 26. The hot water supply pipe 24 connects the valve body 20 with a hot water supply shown schematically at 28. The hot water supply pipe 24 can alternatively be connected with the hot water inlet port 22 in another manner, for example, with a threaded connection.

[0018] The valve body 20 also has a cold water inlet port 30. A cold water supply pipe 32 is connected with the cold water inlet port 30 by a solder joint 34. The cold water supply pipe 32 connects the valve body 20 with a cold water supply shown schematically at 36. The cold water supply pipe 32 can alternatively be connected with the cold water inlet port 30 in another manner, for example, with a threaded connection.

[0019] The valve body 20 has a shower outlet port 40. A shower riser 42 is connected with the shower outlet port 40 by a solder joint 44. The shower riser 42 connects the valve body 20 with a shower head shown schematically at 46. The shower riser 42 can alternatively be connected with the shower outlet port 40 in another manner, for example, with a threaded connection.

[0020] The valve body 20 also has a tub outlet port 50. A tub drop 52 is connected with the tub outlet port 50 by a solder joint 54. The tub drop 52 connects the valve body 20 with a tub spout shown schematically at 56. The tub drop 52 can alternatively be connected with the tub outlet port 50 in another manner, for example, with a threaded connection.

[0021] The four ports 22, 30, 40 and 50 in the valve body 20 are interconnected by a central chamber 60 (FIGS. 2 and 3) in the valve body. The central chamber 60 is defined by a cylindrical inner surface 62 of the valve body 20. The surface 62 is centered on an axis 64 of the valve 12.

[0022] The valve body 20 also includes a cartridge port 66 defined by a cylindrical wall 68 having at its outer end an opening 70. At its inner end the cartridge port 66 opens into the central chamber 60 of the valve body 20. The interior of the cartridge port 66 is defined by the same cylindrical inner surface 62 as the central chamber 60. A retaining clip groove 74 (FIG. 3) is formed on the outer side surface 76 of the wall 68 of the cartridge port 66.

[0023] The valve 12 also includes a cartridge 80. The cartridge 80 is received in the cartridge port 66 and extends into the central chamber 60 of the valve body 20. The cartridge 80 is operable to direct hot water, cold water, or a mixture of hot and cold water, in a known manner, to either the tub drop 52 or the shower riser 42. The valve cartridge 80 fits closely within the cylindrical inner surface 62 of the valve body 20.

[0024] The valve 12 also includes a retainer for holding the cartridge 80 in the valve body 20. In the illustrated embodiment, the retainer is a retaining clip 82, although other form of retainer could be used in other embodiments, for example a screw. The clip 82 is a thin metal piece having an upside down U-shaped configuration when viewed in elevation. The clip 82 is received in the retaining clip groove 74 of the valve body 20 and also in a retaining clip groove 84 (FIG. 3) of the cartridge 80. The engagement of the retaining clip 82 in the grooves 74 and 84 blocks removal of the cartridge 80 from the valve body 20.

[0025] The cartridge 80 is removable from the valve body 20, through the opening 70, by removing the clip 82 and pulling the cartridge out, in a direction along the axis 64. When the cartridge 80 is not present in the valve body 20, the central chamber 60 of the valve body 20 is open to the exterior of the valve 12, through the opening 70 of the cartridge port 66.

[0026] The cartridge 80 when located in the valve body 20 controls, in a known manner, the flow of water between the various ports of the valve body. The cartridge 80 blocks flow of water out of the valve body 20 through the opening 70, allowing fluid flow only along the flow paths established by the open/closed and hot/cold position of the cartridge. If the cartridge 80 is not in place in the chamber 60 in the valve body 20, water can flow out of the valve body through the opening 70, and into the room in which the valve 12 is being installed.

[0027] After the valve body 20 is installed and the solder joints 26, 34, 44 and 54 (FIG. 1) (or other form of connection) are made, the system 14 is pressure tested to check the integrity of the four solder joints (or other form of connection). If the pressure test is conducted with the cartridge 80 installed and in the closed position, only the hot and cold solder joints 26 and 34 are tested. This results because with the cartridge 80 in the closed position, there is no water flow to the shower riser 42 and the tub drop 52, so those lines are not pressurized and their solder joints 44 and 54 are not tested.

[0028] If the pressure test is conducted with the cartridge 80 installed and in the open position, so that the riser 42 and the drop 52 are pressurized to test their solder joints 44 and 54, the water must flow through the cartridge to reach the riser and the drop. Line trash in the water can accumulate in the small openings and passages in the cartridge 80. Accumulation of line trash in the cartridge 80 can cause damage to the cartridge, or friction in or improper operation of the valve.

[0029] After the valve body 20 is installed and the solder joints 26, 34, 44 and 54 are made, the system should also be flushed. Flush testing involves flowing water through all the joints and pipes and the valve body 20, and flushing that water out through the shower riser 42 and the tub drop 52. If the flush testing is conducted with the cartridge 80 in place in the valve body 20, line trash can again accumulate inside the cartridge.

[0030] Use of the flushing plug 10 facilitates pressure testing and flushing of the system without damaging the cartridge 80. The flushing plug 10 (FIGS. 4 and 5) is preferably made from plastic, but could be made from another material, and may be molded as one piece. The plug 10 has a configuration adapted to replace the cartridge 80 in the valve body 20 and seal the opening 70.

[0031] Specifically, the plug 10 has a configuration similar to that of the cartridge 80 that it replaces. The illustrated plug has a cylindrical configuration including a cylindrical side wall 90 centered on the axis 64. The side wall 90 has inner and outer side surfaces 92 and 94.

[0032] Specifically, the plug 10 has a generally cylindrical configuration including a cylindrical side wall 90 centered on the axis 64. The side wall 90 has inner and outer side surfaces 92 and 94.

[0033] A tubular first section or outer end portion 96 of the plug 10 extends for about 50% of the length of the plug. An annular positioning flange 98 extends radially outward from the first section 96 of the plug 10.

[0034] A tubular second section 100 of the plug 10 extends from the first section 96 and has a thicker wall section than the first section. The outer diameter of the second section 100 of the plug 10 is selected so that the second section fits closely within the cartridge port 66 of the valve body 20. A retaining clip groove 102 is formed in the outer surface of the second section 100 of the plug 10. A tubular third section or inner end portion 104 of the plug 10 extends from the second section 100. The outer diameter of the third section 104 of the plug 10 is selected so that the third section fits closely within the cartridge port 66 of the valve body 20.

[0035] A seal groove 106 is formed in the outer side surface 110 of the third section 104 of the plug 10. The seal groove 106 is adapted to receive a suitable seal, such as the illustrated O-ring 108, to seal between the inner surface 62 of the valve body 62 and the outer side surface 110 of the third section 104 of the plug 10.

[0036] The plug 10 has an inner wall 112. The inner wall 112 extends radially within the second section 100 of the plug 10. The inner wall 112 blocks fluid flow between the inner end portion 104 of the plug 10 and the outer end portion 96 of the plug, through the second section 100 of the plug.

[0037] To use the flushing plug 10, the cartridge 80 is first removed from the valve body 20 by removing the retaining clip 82 and pulling the cartridge out of the valve body through the opening 70, in a direction along the axis 64. The central chamber 60 of the valve body 20 is then open to the exterior of the valve 12, through the opening 70.

[0038] The flushing plug 10 is inserted into the cartridge port 66 through the opening 70. The flushing plug 10 moves into the valve body 20 until the positioning flange 98 on the plug engages the side wall 68 of the cartridge port 66. This engagement blocks further inward movement of the plug 10 into the valve body 20.

[0039] The plug 10 is then in the position shown in FIGS. 4 and 5. The inner end portion 104 of the flushing plug 10 is located in the chamber 60 in the valve body 20. The outer end portion 96 of the plug 10 projects from the valve body 20 through the opening 70. The distance between the retaining clip groove 102 in the plug 10, and the positioning flange 98, is selected so that when the plug is inserted in the valve body 20 in place of the cartridge 80, the retaining clip groove 102 in the plug aligns with the retaining clip groove 74 in the valve body, just as the retaining clip groove 84 in the cartridge 80 does when the cartridge is inserted. The retaining clip groove 102 on the plug 10 is thus located radially inward of (is aligned with) the retaining clip groove 74 on the side wall 68 of the cartridge port 66 when the flushing plug is installed in the valve body 20.

[0040] The retaining clip 82 is then inserted into the retaining clip groove 74 on the side wall 68 of the cartridge port 66 and into the retaining clip groove 102 on the flushing plug 10. The engagement of the retaining clip 82 in the grooves 74 and 102 blocks removal of the flushing plug 10 from the valve body 20. The positioning flange 98, at the same time, blocks further movement of the flushing plug 10 into the valve body 20.

[0041] With the flushing plug 10 thus installed in the valve body 20, the inner wall 112 of the flushing plug blocks fluid flow out of the central chamber 60 of the valve body 20 through the center of the flushing plug. The O-ring 108 on the exterior of the plug 10 blocks fluid flow out of the central chamber 60 of the valve body 20 along the exterior of the flushing plug 10. The opening 70 in the valve body 20 is thereby sealed.

[0042] A pressure test can then be conducted to check the integrity of the four solder joints 26, 34, 44 and 54, (FIG. 1) in the system 14. The pressure test is conducted with the flushing plug 10 in the valve body 20. The shower riser 42 and the tub drop 52 are plugged or capped, in a known manner (not shown).

[0043] Both the hot and cold water supplies 28 and 36 are turned on. Hot water under pressure flows into the valve body 20 through the hot water inlet port 22. Cold water under pressure flows into the valve body 20 through the cold water inlet port 30. The central chamber 60 is open, even though the flushing plug 10 is installed, because the plug does not cover any of the four ports in the valve body 20. Therefore, the mixture of hot and cold water flows out of the central chamber 60 through the shower riser port 40 and the tub drop port 50.

[0044] Because the tub drop 52 and the shower riser 42 are plugged or capped, the water flowing into the system 14 is trapped and pressure builds up. The integrity of the hot and cold inlet solder joints 26 and 34 is tested, as well as the integrity of the riser and drop solder joints 44 and 54. Since the cartridge is not in the valve body during this pressure testing, there is no possibility of line trash getting into the cartridge.

[0045] Flushing of the parts after installation, to clear any line trash, is likewise conducted with the flushing plug 10 in the valve body 20. The shower riser 42 and tub drop 52 are open (not plugged). Both the hot and cold water supplies 28 and 36 are turned on. Hot water under pressure flows into the valve body 20 through the hot water inlet port 22. Cold water under pressure flows into the valve body 20 through the cold water inlet port 30. The central chamber 60 is open, even though the flushing plug 10 is installed. Therefore, the mixture of hot and cold water flows out of the central chamber 60 through the shower riser port 40 and the tub drop port 50.

[0046] Because the tub drop 42 and the shower riser 52 are open, the water flowing into the valve body 20 flows through the central chamber 60 of the valve body and through all four ports 22, 30, 40 and 50, past all four solder joints 26, 34, 44 and 54. The water flows out of the valve body 20 through the shower riser 42 and the tub drop 52. Thus, the valve body 20 and the associated pipes, are all flushed. Since the cartridge 80 is not in the valve body 20 during this flushing, there is no possibility of line trash getting into the cartridge.

[0047] From the above description of the invention, those skilled in the art will perceive improvements, changes; and modifications in the invention. Such improvements, changes, and modifications within the skill of the art are intended to be included within the scope of the appended claims.