Title:
Faucet quick install nut
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The mounting nut includes a first segment and a second segment attached by a hinge portion. The hinge portion provides for expansion of the mounting nut to bend onto itself in a clamshell like manner. The hinged mounting nut is slidable over a water connection fitting such that the mounting nut can be slid over the water connection fitting and up against the bottom-mounting surface to secure a faucet assembly to a sink deck.



Inventors:
Rhodes, Stephen Miles (Mustang, OK, US)
Application Number:
10/992423
Publication Date:
05/18/2006
Filing Date:
11/18/2004
Assignee:
Masco Corporation of Indiana
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E03C1/042; E03C1/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WALCZAK, DAVID J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Carlson, Gaskey & Olds/Masco Corporation (Birmingham, MI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A faucet assembly comprising: a threaded water inlet; and a mounting nut comprising a flexible portion providing for sliding over a water connection fitting, wherein said mounting nut engages threads on said threaded water inlet for securing the faucet assembly.

2. The assembly as recited in claim 1, wherein said flexible portion comprises a hinge connecting a first segment to a second segment, wherein said first and second segments are movable relative to each other to adjust an area defined between said first segment and said second segment.

3. The assembly as recited in claim 2, wherein said first and second segments include inner threads corresponding to threads of said threaded water inlet.

4. The assembly as recited in claim 3, wherein abutment of said mounting nut against a surface causes contraction of said first segment relative to said second segment to engaged said threads of said threaded water inlet.

5. The assembly as recited in claim 1, wherein said mounting nut includes a flange for abutting an underside of a mounting surface.

6. The assembly as recited claim 2, wherein said hinge comprises a first hinge disposed 180 degrees from a second hinge.

7. The assembly as recited in claim 2, wherein said first segment is a substantially identical to said second segment.

8. The assembly as recited in claim 2, wherein said hinge provides for said mounting nut to fold.

9. A mounting nut for a faucet assembly including a threaded water inlet tube, said mounting nut comprising: a first segment and a second segment defining an internal bore therebetween; and a hinge portion connecting said first segment to said second segment, wherein said first segment is movable relative to said second segment.

10. The mounting nut as recited in claim 9, wherein said first and second segments are movable relative to each other to adjust an area defined between said first segment and said second segment.

11. The mounting nut as recited in claim 10, wherein said first and second segments include inner threads corresponding to threads of a water inlet pipe.

12. The mounting nut as recited in claim 9, wherein said mounting nut includes a flange for abutting an underside of a mounting surface.

13. The mounting nut as recited in claim 12, wherein abutment of said mounting nut against a surface causes contraction of said first segment relative to said second segment to engage the threads of the threaded water inlet.

14. The mounting nut as recited claim 9, wherein said hinge comprises a first hinge disposed 180 degrees from a second hinge.

15. A method of installing a faucet assembly comprising the steps of: (a) connecting a water connection fitting to a water inlet tube of the faucet assembly above a mounting surface; (b) inserting the water connection fitting and the water inlet tube of the faucet assembly through an opening in the mounting surface; (c) sliding a mounting nut over the water connection fitting onto the water inlet tube; and (d) securing the faucet assembly to the mounting surface.

16. The method of claim 15, including the step of threading the mounting nut onto a water supply hose attached to the water connection fitting.

17. The method of claim 15, wherein step (c) includes bending the mounting nut to an open position to slide over the water connection fitting.

18. The method of claim 15, wherein step (d) includes abutting a flange of the mounting nut against an under side of the mounting surface and compressing a first segment of the mounting surface against a second segment to engage threads of the water inlet tube.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention is generally related to a mounting nut for securing a faucet to a mounting surface. More particularly, this invention is directed towards a flexible mounting nut that simplifies installation of a faucet assembly.

Typically, a faucet assembly includes at least one threaded pipe for connection to a water source. The threaded pipe is connected to a water hose with a water connection fitting. The faucet is then secured to a mounting surface by a mounting nut. The mounting nut typically includes a flange that is larger in diameter than the opening through which the threaded pipe is installed. Because the mounting nut has a flange that is greater than the outer diameter of the opening through the mounting surface, the water connection along with any other connections must be performed under the sink.

The under sink environment is typically a confined space that complicates assembly of the required connections. Typically the order of installation includes inserting the faucet assembly and threaded pipe through an opening then securing the faucet within the opening with a mounting nut. After the mounting nut has been assembled to the threaded pipe can the water fitting connected. The water fitting is an important connection and often must be leak tested prior to completion of the assembly task. The faucet is installed behind the sink and is therefore in a very difficult location in which to manipulate a wrench and make the desired water connection. The confined space complicates and adds difficulty to the job.

Some devices have been developed to aid in the mounting of a faucet assembly. Several of these devices allow mounting of the faucet assembly with much of the assembly conducted above the mounting surface. One such device includes a collapsible nut that can be fitted through the opening in the mounting surface and then is tightened to expand flanges to a diameter greater than the opening. However this device requires a special rotatable threaded member that is rotatable from above the mounting surface. Conventional faucet assemblies typically do not include such a feature. Therefore, to include such a mounting aid, the faucet assembly itself must be entirely redesigned.

Another device that addresses this problem includes the use of a threaded mounting nut without a flange. The threaded mounting nut is installed to the water tube and left there during installation of the water fitting. The mounting nut portion is of a diameter that allows the nut to be inserted through an opening in the mounting deck. Once the water connections have been and the faucet assembly has been inserted into the openings within the mounting deck a c-shaped washer is inserted between the mounting nut and the bottom of the mouthing surface. The mounting nut is then tightened upwards against the c-shaped washer through the faucet assembly to the mounting surface. This device has the disadvantage of requiring manipulation of not only the nut, but of the washer within the cramped under sink environment.

Accordingly, there is a need for a simplified mounting device that is adaptable for use on current faucet assemblies and that aids mounting of a faucet assembly to a mounting surface.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention is a mounting nut with an expandable opening providing for sliding of the mounting nut over a water connection fitting and onto a threaded water pipe for securing a faucet assembly to a mounting surface.

A faucet assembly includes a threaded water pipe that is connected to a water supply by a water connection fitting. The water connection fitting includes an outer diameter smaller than an opening in a mounting deck such that the water connection fitting may slide through the mounting deck. Prior to installation or attachment of the water fitting to the threaded water tube, the mounting nut is dropped or fed over the water tube. The hinged nut is of such a diameter that it may not extend through the opening within the mounting surface.

During installation the water connection fitting is fed through the opening and attached to the threaded water tube of the faucet assembly. The connection to the faucet assembly can then be tested to ensure watertight integrity. This step is conducted above the mounting surface to ease installation of the faucet assembly and limit the installation steps required under the mounting surface. Once the integrity of the water connection has been verified, the faucet assembly, along with the water connection fitting is inserted through the opening. The hinged nut is then slid over the water connection fitting onto the threaded water pipe.

Once the mounting nut approaches the bottom surface of the mounting deck the sides that have been extended from each other due to the hinge of the nut are compressed against each other. Further engagement with the bottom surface of the mounting deck compresses the sides of the mounting nut to provide positive engagement against the threaded water pipe. The mounting nut includes features providing for hand tightening or for tightening with a tool. The now collapsed and tightened mounting nut secures the faucet to the mounting surface.

Accordingly, the mounting nut of this invention provides for quick mounting of a faucet that can be accomplished quickly and easily in the under sink environment.

These and other features of the present invention can be best understood from the following specification and drawings, the following of which is a brief description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a schematic view of a faucet assembly prior to mounting to the deck.

FIG. 2A is a side view of a threaded water pipe with a water connection fitting and a mounting nut.

FIG. 2B is a side view of a threaded water pipe with the mounting nut over the water connection fitting.

FIG. 2C is a side view of a threaded water pipe with the mounting nut expanded over the water connection fitting.

FIG. 2D is a side view of a threaded water pipe with the mounting nut over the water connection fitting and against the mounting deck.

FIG. 2E is a side view of a threaded water pipe with the mounting nut against the mounting deck.

FIG. 2F is a side view of a threaded water pipe with the mounting nut tightened against the mounting deck.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the faucet assembly with the mounting nut secured against the underside of the mounting deck.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the mounting nut.

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the mounting nut in an open position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIG. 1, a faucet assembly 10 includes a faucet 12 having a threaded water pipe 20. The threaded water pipe 20 is attached to an inlet hose 22 by way of a water connection fitting 24. The water connection fitting 24 secures to the threaded water pipe 20 and supplies water to the faucet 12. The faucet 12 is mountable to a sink deck 11. The sink deck 11 includes a top-mounting surface 14 and a bottom-mounting surface 16. The inlet hose 22 is attached at an end opposite the water connection fitting 24 to a water supply source. Although a flexible hose attached to the connection fitting 24 is shown other types of water connection conduits such as a rigid pipe or plastic pipe will also benefit from this invention. The sink deck 11 includes an opening 18 for the threaded water pipe 20. The threaded water pipe 20 extends through the opening 18 and allows the faucet 12 to sit on the top-mounting surface 14.

The water connection fitting 24 provides a secure and watertight seal to the threaded water pipe 20. A mounting nut 26 secures the faucet 12 to the sink deck 11. The mounting nut 26 includes a hinge 32. The hinge 32 provides for expansion of the mounting nut 26 to provide for sliding over the water connection fitting 24. In this way the water connection fitting 24 can be installed to the faucet 12 at a location above the top-mounting surface 14. Installation of the water connection fitting 24 above the top mounting surface 14 eases and simplifies installation. As is appreciated, manipulation of tools required to tighten the water connection fitting 24 to the threaded inlet pipe 20 is difficult in the confined under sink environment typical of such installations. The mounting nut 26 of this invention allows the water connection to be accomplished entirely above the top-mounting surface 14.

If hose 22 is connected to the water supply source first, then nut 26 must be slide over hose 22 before fitting 24 is fed through the opening 18. If the hose 22 not connected to the water supply source, the nut 6 can be slide over the hose 22 from the water supply source end.

Installation of the faucet assembly 10 according to this invention proceeds by first feeding the water connection fitting 24 through the opening 18 in the sink deck 11. The distal end of the inlet hose 22 is already connected to the water supply source. The water connection fitting 24 disposed above the top-mounting surface 14 is threaded onto the threaded water pipe 20. When this connection is complete water can be turned on to provide for testing of the water connection. Testing is desirable to assure a proper watertight seal and faucet functionality.

Once the water connection has been established and tested, the faucet 12 is mounted to the top mounting surface 14. This is accomplished by inserting the water connection fitting 24 and threaded pipe 20 through the opening 18 in the sink deck 11.

Referring to FIG. 2A, the threaded water pipe 20 is shown inserted through the opening 18 such that the faucet 12 is sitting on the top-mounting surface 14 in an unsecured condition. The mounting nut 26 is then moved upward along the inlet hose 22 towards the bottom-mounting surface 16. The mounting nut 26 includes a flange 30. The flange 30 is larger than the opening 18 for securing the faucet 12 against the sink deck 11. The mounting nut 26 includes the hinge 32 that provides for bending along a center line and increasing an inner opening to a size large enough to slide over the water connection fitting 24.

Referring to FIGS. 2B, 2C and 2D, the mounting nut 26 is shown slid over the water connection fitting 24. Once the mounting nut 26 has been slid over the water connection fitting 24 it is slid upward towards the bottom-mounting surface 16. The mounting nut 26 may still be bent about the hinge 32 in order to speed assembly. The mounting nut 26 does not need to be engaged to the threads until the flange 30 abuts the bottom mounting surface 16. As appreciated, the threaded water pipe 20 includes a plurality of threads along its entire length. The entire length of the threaded water pipe 20 is often longer than required to accommodate different sink deck configurations. Accordingly, the mounting nut 26 can be quickly moved upwards to the bottom-mounting surface 16 before engaging any of the threads of the threaded water pipe 20.

Referring to FIGS. 2E and 2F, once the mounting nut 26 engages the bottom mounting surface 16, the flange 30 abuts the bottom mounting surface 16 and drives the mounting nut 26 to a collapsed or installed and secured position. A force applied by the operator may be required to initially engage the threads 28 with the threaded water pipe 20. In this collapsed position the sides of the mounting nut 26 compress about the threaded water pipe 20. As the sides compress about the threaded water pipe 20 internal threads 28 of the mounting nut 26 engage threads of the threaded water pipe 20 and allow the mounting nut 26 to be threaded upward toward the faucet 12. The mounting nut 26 is increasingly tightened against the bottom mounting surface 16 such that portions of the mounting nut 26 are compressed further. The compression of the mounting nut 26 produces the desired engagement with threads of the threaded water pipe 20.

Installation of the mounting nut 26 is aided by a plurality of tabs 34 disposed about the mounting nut 26. The tabs 34 provide for hand tightening of the mounting nut 26 to the mounting surface 16. In some applications, the mounting nut 26 may be sufficiently tightened against the bottom-mounting surface 16 by hand. However, the mounting nut 26 is also configured to receive a fastening tool to tighten the mounting nut 26 beyond that possible by hand.

Referring to FIG. 3, the example faucet 12 is shown secured to the sink deck 11. The mounting nut 26 is secured and abuts against the bottom mounting surface 16. The flanges 30 of the mounting nut 26 are fully engaged to the bottom mounting surface 16. Further, the compression against the bottom mounting surface 16 has provided compression of the internal threads of the mounting nut 26 to produce the desired securing engagement with the threaded water pipe 20.

Referring to FIG. 4, a cross section of the mounting nut 26 is shown and illustrates the internal threads 28. Preferably, the mounting nut 26 is fabricated from a flexible plastic material. The mounting nut 26 includes the hinge portion 32. The hinge 32 is of wall thickness less than the remaining portions of the mounting nut 26. The hinge 32 connects a first side 40 to a second side 42. The first side 40 and the second side 42 are essentially identical. The hinge 32 provides for the bending of the first side 40 relative to the second side 42. As appreciated, the specific configuration of the plastic hinge for the mounting nut 26 that attaches the first and second sides 40, 42 can vary from the example illustrated for a specific application.

FIG. 4 shows the mounting nut 26 in a position where the threads 28 would engage the threaded water pipe 20. In the secured position an inner diameter 38 of the internal threads 28 is in a position to engage the threaded water pipe 20. This inner diameter can be modified to meet the requirements of a specific threaded water pipe. However, as appreciated the faucet 12 typically includes a commonly sized water pipe 20. This commonly sized water pipe 20 is standard in order to fit the standard inlet water connection fitting 24.

Typically, the water connection fitting 24 is a standard known size compatible with most faucet assemblies 12. The water connection fitting 24 is an industry standard size. However, the mounting nut 26 can be modified to provide the beneficial and advantageous features of this invention to other applications. Further, although this invention is being shown and described for installation of a faucet, other applications that require the mounting of a water control fixture to a surface along with attachment of a water source connection will also benefit form the inventive mounting nut 26 of this invention.

Referring to FIG. 5, the mounting nut 26 is shown in an open position for sliding over the water connection fitting 24 (not shown). In the open position the inner opening 36 is greater than the inner opening 38 shown in FIG. 4. The inner opening 36 provides the additional space required for sliding the mounting nut 26 over the water connection fitting 24. The inner opening 36 is a threaded diameter and the inner opening 36 is a hexagon shaped opening within an elliptical hole. Further, the flexible configuration of the hinge 32 and the plastic material with which it is connected provides some flexibility for the mounting nut 26 to squeeze over and around the water connection fitting 24. The mounting nut 26 will slide over the water connection fitting 24 either all at once or by a rocking motion where one of the first and second sides 40, 42 is passed over the water connection fitting 24 followed by the other side.

The mounting nut 26 of this invention is preferably fabricated from a plastic material and provides a clamshell configuration that is flexible enough to vary the inner opening 36, 38 and squeeze or slide over a water connection fitting and then threaded onto the threaded water pipe 20. This provides for above the sink deck 11 assembly and testing of the water connection to the faucet assembly 12. This reduces the time required and actions needed within the confined under sink environment. The reduction of time in the confined under sink environment eases installation and produces greater efficiencies for professional installers.

Although a preferred embodiment of this invention has been disclosed, a worker of ordinary skill in this art would recognize that certain modifications would come within the scope of this invention. For that reason, the following claims should be studied to determine the true scope and content of this invention.