Title:
Apparatus and method for placement of a water closet fitting
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A water closet fitting allows placement of a water closet flange in fluid communication with a waste pipe of a plumbing system. The water closet fitting includes a cap with a removable, pressure resistant cap portion sealing off an inlet. The cap portion may be removed to permit fluid to flow through the inlet. The water closet flange is sealably mounted to the water closet fitting once the cap portion is removed. The waste pipe is sealably connected to the water closet fitting below the cap.



Inventors:
Reier, Matthew D. (Eagan, MN, US)
Decker, Dana A. (Woodbury, MN, US)
Application Number:
11/026211
Publication Date:
07/06/2006
Filing Date:
12/30/2004
Assignee:
3M Innovative Properties Company
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E03D11/00; E03D11/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
TRIGGS, ANDREW J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
3M INNOVATIVE PROPERTIES COMPANY (ST. PAUL, MN, US)
Claims:
1. A method for placing a water closet flange in fluid communication with a waste pipe of a plumbing system, the method comprising: providing a channel; capping the channel with a water closet fitting; pouring concrete around the channel to form a floor thereabout; sealing an inlet end of the waste pipe to the water closet fitting; removing a cap portion of the water closet fitting to permit fluid flow through the water closet fitting and into the waste pipe; and sealing a water closet flange to the water closet fitting.

2. The method of claim 1, and further comprising: pressurizing the waste pipe before removing the cap portion of the water closet fitting.

3. The method of claim 1, and further comprising: forming the water closet fitting from a base member and a top member.

4. The method of claim 3, and further comprising: sealing the base member and the top member together.

5. The method of claim 4, wherein the base member is sealed to the inlet end of the waste pipe before sealing the base member to the top member.

6. The method of claim 1, wherein the first sealing step comprises: aligning the inlet end of the waste pipe relative to the water closet flange.

7. An adaptor insert for placement inside a channel body to allow a water closet flange to be mounted relative to the channel body after pouring a concrete floor around the channel body, the adaptor insert comprising: a cap mountable on an end of the channel body, the cap including a removable, pressure-resistant cap portion that, upon removal, permits fluid flow through the cap; and an annular mating surface attached to the cap and adapted to extend inside the channel body.

8. The adaptor insert of claim 7, and further comprising: a riser body defining a fluid passage and having an inlet end and an outlet end, wherein the inlet end of the riser body is formed to mate with the annular mating surface.

9. The adaptor insert of claim 8, wherein the outlet end of the riser body has an exterior surface including a male surface adapted to sealably mate with a female surface on an inlet end of the waste pipe.

10. The adaptor insert of claim 9, wherein an exterior stop is provided on the exterior surface of the riser body to abut the inlet end of the waste pipe when the riser body and waste pipe are fully mated.

11. The adaptor insert of claim 10, wherein the exterior surface of the riser body is an annular surface, and wherein the exterior stop comprises an enlarged diameter portion of the exterior annular surface of the riser body.

12. The adaptor insert of claim 8, wherein the outlet end of the riser body has an interior surface including a female surface adapted to sealably mate with a male surface on an inlet end of the waste pipe.

13. The adaptor insert of claim 12, wherein an interior stop is provided on the interior surface of the riser body to abut the inlet end of the waste pipe when the riser body and waste pipe are fully mated.

14. The adaptor insert of claim 13, wherein the interior surface of the riser body is an annular surface, and wherein the interior stop comprises a reduced diameter portion of the interior annular surface of the riser body.

15. The adaptor insert of claim 7, wherein the removable cap portion is connected to the cap by a frangible connection.

16. The adaptor insert of claim 7, wherein the cap mechanically engages the end of the channel body.

17. The adaptor insert of claim 16, wherein the cap mechanically engages the end of the channel body by an interference friction fit therebetween.

18. A water closet fitting for placement inside a channel body providing a passage through a concrete floor of a structure, the water closet fitting comprising: a flow path comprising: an inlet adapted to sealably mate with a collar of a water closet flange; an outlet adapted to sealably mate with a waste pipe of a plumbing system; and a cap attached to the flow path adjacent the inlet and sized to seal off the flow path, the cap including a removable, pressure-resistant cap portion that, upon removal, permits fluid flow from the inlet to the outlet.

19. The water closet fitting of claim 18, wherein the removable cap portion is connected to the cap by a frangible connection.

20. The water closet fitting of claim 18, wherein the outlet of the flow path has an exterior surface including a male surface adapted to sealably mate with a female surface on an inlet end of the waste pipe.

21. The water closet fitting of claim 20, wherein an exterior stop is provided on the exterior surface of the outlet to abut the inlet end of the waste pipe when the outlet and waste pipe are fully mated.

22. The water closet fitting of claim 21, wherein the exterior surface of the outlet is an annular surface, and wherein the exterior stop comprises an enlarged diameter portion of the exterior annular surface of the outlet.

23. The water closet fitting of claim 18, wherein the outlet end of the flow path has an interior surface including a female surface adapted to sealably mate with a male surface on an inlet end of the waste pipe.

24. The water closet fitting of claim 23, wherein an interior stop is provided on the interior surface of the outlet to abut the inlet end of the waste pipe when the outlet and waste pipe are fully mated.

25. The water closet fitting of claim 24, wherein the interior surface of the outlet is an annular surface, and wherein the interior stop comprises a reduced diameter portion of the interior annular surface of the outlet.

26. The water closet fitting of claim 18, wherein the cap mechanically engages an end of the channel body.

27. The water closet fitting of claim 26, wherein the cap mechanically engages the end of channel body by an interference friction fit therebetween.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to accommodations for plumbing fittings. More specifically, the present invention relates to water closet fittings for use in connecting water closets to plumbing systems.

A common method for installing water closets involves forming a channel through a concrete floor upon which a water closet is to be installed. The channel accommodates fluid connection means for connecting the water closet to a waste pipe of a plumbing system. Various methods are used for forming such channels through concrete floors. In one method, concrete is poured around either a cast-in-place channel device or a sleeve. In another method, the channel is formed after pouring the concrete floor by core drilling through the concrete floor to form the channel.

After a channel has been provided through the concrete floor, a water closet flange is installed near an inlet end of the channel. The water closet flange is typically sealed to an inlet end of a waste pipe and secured to the concrete floor with fasteners drilled into the concrete. When secured to the concrete floor, the water closet flange provides a stabile platform for anchoring a water closet to the floor and placing the water closet in fluid communication with a waste pipe of a plumbing system.

Before placing a water closet in fluid communication with a waste pipe, the waste pipe is typically pressurized to check for leaks in the waste pipe or associated plumbing system. To allow the waste pipe to be pressurized, the inlet end of the waste pipe is sealed off. This is typically accomplished by sealing a water closet flange equipped with a sealing means, such as a pressure cap, to the waste pipe. Alternatively, a plug may be positioned inside the waste pipe.

Current methods for placing water closet flanges in fluid communication with waste pipes are labor intensive and/or prone to error. Water closet flanges are often installed early in a structure's construction process to allow waste pipes and/or associated plumbing systems to be pressurized and checked for leaks. Such installations and testing often occurs before any partition walls, or other notable landmarks, have been constructed inside the structure, which can make it difficult to align the water closet flange for subsequent proper orientation of a water closet on the flange. Although most water closet flanges offer some degree of flexibility for orienting water closets relative to the water closet flange, the alignment of a water closet flange dictates the general orientation of its water closet. As a result, care must be taken when installing a water closet flange to avoid an incorrect alignment, which will be costly and time-consuming to correct.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a method for placing a water closet flange in fluid communication with a waste pipe of a plumbing system. The method includes providing a channel, and capping the channel with a water closet fitting. Concrete is poured around the channel to form a floor thereabout. An inlet end of the waste pipe is sealed to the water closet fitting. A cap portion of the water closet fitting is removed to permit fluid flow through the water closet fitting and into the waste pipe. A water closet flange is sealed to the water closet fitting.

In another embodiment, the present invention is directed to an adaptor insert for placement inside a channel body to allow a water closet flange to be mounted relative to the channel body after pouring a concrete floor around the channel body. The adaptor insert includes a cap mountable on an end of the channel body. The cap includes a removable, pressure-resistant cap portion that, upon removal, permits fluid flow through the cap. An annular mating surface is attached to the cap and adapted to extend inside the channel body.

In another embodiment, the present invention is directed to a water closet fitting for placement inside a channel body providing a passage through a concrete floor of a structure. The water closet fitting includes a flow path having an inlet adapted to sealably mate with a collar of a water closet flange and an outlet adapted to sealably mate with a waste pipe of a plumbing system. A cap is attached to the flow path adjacent the inlet and sized to seal off the flow path. The cap includes a removable, pressure-resistant cap portion that, upon removal, permits fluid flow from the inlet to the outlet.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a bottom perspective view of a cast-in-place channel body for forming a channel through a concrete floor.

FIG. 2 is a sectional view as taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a top perspective view of a water closet fitting of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a bottom perspective view of the water closet fitting of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a sectional view as taken along line 5-5 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 6 is a bottom perspective view of a riser body for use with the water closet fitting of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a sectional view as taken along line 7-7 of FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 is an exploded top perspective view of a water closet flange installation of the present invention including a water closet flange, a water closet fitting having a removable cap portion and a separate riser body, a channel body, and a waste pipe.

FIG. 9 is a sectional view of the water closet fitting of FIG. 3 capping a channel formed in a concrete floor.

FIG. 10 is a sectional view of the riser body of FIG. 6 sealed to an inlet end of a waste pipe.

FIG. 11 is a sectional view of the waste pipe and riser body of FIG. 10 mated to the water closet fitting and channel body of FIG. 9.

FIG. 12 is a sectional view of a water closet flange sealed to the riser body of FIG. 11, once the cap portion has been removed from the water closet fitting of FIG. 11.

While the above-identified drawing figures set forth one illustrative embodiment of the invention, other embodiments are also contemplated, as noted in the discussion. In all cases, this disclosure presents the invention by way of representation and not limitation. It should be understood that numerous other modifications and embodiments can be devised by those skilled in the art, which fall within the scope and spirit of the principles of the invention. The figures may not be drawn to scale. Like reference numbers have been used throughout the figures to denote like parts.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention includes a water closet fitting for mounting to a channel extending through a concrete floor upon which a water closet is to be installed. The channel accommodates fluid connection means for connecting the water closet to a waste pipe of a plumbing system. FIGS. 1-2 show an example of a caste-in-place channel body 16 configured to form such a channel, with FIG. 1 showing a perspective view of channel body 16 and FIG. 2 showing a sectional view of channel body 16 taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1.

Channel body 16 includes annular sidewall 18 that defines passage 20 having inlet 22 and outlet 24. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, sidewall 18 of channel body 16 includes a series of bands 26 which may be selectively removed to alter the length of passage 20. This variable length feature allows channel body 16 to be installed in floors of different thickness. Further description of channel bodies similar to channel body 16 is included in U.S. Pub. No. 2004/0016190, which is incorporated herein by reference. When concrete is poured around channel body 16, passage 20 provides a channel extending through the concrete floor.

In addition to channel body 16, any other means known in the art for forming a channel through a concrete floor may be used in conjunction with the present invention. For example, the channel may also be formed by core drilling through a concrete floor or pouring a concrete floor around a sleeve or other channel-forming device.

FIGS. 3-5 show water closet fitting 30 of the present invention for mounting to channel body 16 of FIGS. 1-2. Water closet fitting 30 includes cap 32, collar 34, inlet 36, and outlet 38. Cap 32 includes removable cap portion 40 connected to rim 42. In a first condition (shown in FIGS. 3-5), inlet 36 is sealed off by removable cap portion 40, which prevents fluid flow through water closet fitting 30. In a second condition (not shown in FIGS. 3-5), removable cap portion 40 is removed from cap 32, and thus inlet 36 is unsealed, which allows fluid to flow through water closet fitting 30 from inlet 36 to outlet 38.

Removable cap portion 40 is connected to rim 42 by frangible connection 44. Frangible connection 44 is a line of weakness in cap 32 that may be formed by any means known in the art including, for example, scoring, notching, creasing, and molding or machining cap 32 to have a reduced thickness region. Frangible connection 44 allows removable cap portion 40 to be dislodged from cap 32 to unseal inlet 36, yet, while unbroken, serves to sealably connect cap portion 40 to rim 42.

As shown in FIG. 4, removable cap portion 40 includes optional ribs 46 to impart additional strength to removable cap portion 40. In addition, removable cap portion 40 includes one or more rockers 47 (or other protrusions) on its underside adjacent frangible connection 44 to facilitate removal of removable cap portion 40 from inside water closet fitting 30 after breaking frangible connection 44.

In other embodiments, removable cap portion 40 is removably connected to cap 32 using any other means known in the art for forming a removable seal. For example, in one embodiment, cap 32 and removable cap portion 40 are removably sealed together in a threaded relationship. In still other embodiments, cap 32 and removable cap portion 40 are removably sealed together with clamps or other fasteners.

Cap 32 includes snap connectors 48 formed in rim 42 for securing cap 32 to channel body 16. In the embodiment of FIGS. 3-5, snap connectors 48 are openings formed in rim 42, which is resilient. In other embodiments, any fastening means known in the art may be used to secure cap 32 to channel body 16.

Collar 34 extends from cap 32 and includes exterior surface 50 and interior surface 52. As shown in FIGS. 3-4, exterior surface 50 of collar 34 includes optional ribs 56, which impart additional strength to collar 34. Water closet fitting 30 is configured so that collar 34 extends inside passage 20 of channel body 16 when cap 32 is secured to channel body 16 (see, e.g., FIG. 9). Interior surface 52 of collar 34 includes annular mating surface 54 formed to mate with a waste pipe or other plumbing device positioned within channel body 16. In an alternate embodiment, exterior surface 50 includes an exterior annular mating surface formed to mate with a waste pipe.

FIGS. 6 and 7 show riser body 60 for mating with water closet fitting 30 to form an aggregate water closet fitting, with FIG. 6 showing a bottom perspective view of riser body 60 and FIG. 7 showing a sectional view of riser body 60 taken along line 7-7 of FIG. 6. Riser body 60 includes sidewall 62 that has annular interior surface 64 and annular exterior surface 66. Interior surface 64 defines flow path 68 (FIG. 6), which includes inlet 70 and outlet 72. In this embodiment, interior surface 64 is an annular surface that includes female inlet surface 74 and female outlet surface 76. Exterior surface 66 includes male surface 78, which is also an annular surface in this embodiment.

Riser body 60 further includes interior stop 80 and exterior stop 82. Interior stop 80 is provided as a reduced diameter portion of annular interior surface 64 between female inlet surface 74 and female outlet surface 76. Specifically, interior stop 80 has a smaller diameter than female outlet surface 76. Exterior stop 82 is provided on exterior surface 66 as an enlarged diameter portion adjacent male surface 78. Specifically, exterior stop 82 has a larger diameter than annular exterior surface 66. In other embodiments, interior stop 80 comprises one or more projections (such as, for example, knobs) extending radially inward from annular interior surface 64 into flow path 68 and exterior stop 82 comprises one or more projections extending radially outwards from exterior surface 66. In still other embodiments, interior stop 80 and exterior stop 82 may comprise any type of stop known in the art in any number and combination.

FIGS. 8-12 illustrate a method for using an embodiment of the water closet fitting of the present invention to place a water closet flange in fluid communication with a waste pipe of a plumbing system. The method allows the waste pipe to be installed, pressurized, and then tested for leaks without having to first install a water closet flange. In addition, the method does not require any screwing or drilling into a cement floor to anchor a water closet flange or any other associated plumbing component.

FIG. 8 shows an exploded view of an embodiment of water closet fitting installation 90 of the present invention. Water closet flange installation 90 includes water closet flange 92 sealed to riser body 60. Riser body 60 is sealed on opposite ends to waste pipe 94 and water closet fitting 30, which mechanically engages and caps off channel body 16 (via, for example, snap connectors 48—FIG. 3). Water closet fitting 30 is shown with removable cap portion 40 removed to allow for passage of mating collar 100 of water closet flange 92 (see, e.g., FIG. 12).

Thus, when located inside channel body 16, water closet fitting 30 and riser body 60 function together as an adaptor insert to anchor water closet flange 92 relative to channel body 16 and place water closet flange 92 in fluid communication with waste pipe 94. In one embodiment of the present invention, water closet fitting 30 and riser body 60 are integral with one another and constitute a unitary water closet fitting.

FIG. 9 shows water closet fitting 30 of FIGS. 3-5 and channel body 16 of FIGS. 1-2 installed in concrete floor 96. Prior to pouring concrete floor 96 around channel body 16, collar 34 of water closet fitting 30 is first inserted into inlet end 22 of channel body 16 and positioned inside passage 20. Water closet fitting 30 is then secured relative to channel body 16 by mechanically engaging inlet end 22 by an interference friction fit therebetween. This is accomplished by mechanically engaging rim 42 with inlet end 22 so that snap connectors 48 secure rim 42 to inlet end 22. Concrete is then poured around channel body 16 to form concrete floor 96. Cap 32 of water closet fitting 30 prevents concrete from entering passage 20. Once the concrete has cured, both water closet fitting 30 and channel body 16 are anchored in place by concrete floor 96. Even if the top level of concrete floor 96 is higher than channel body 16, cap 32 prevents concrete from entering passage 20 within channel body 16.

Riser body 60 and waste pipe 94 are sealed together either before or after pouring concrete floor 96. FIG. 10 shows riser body 60 of FIGS. 6-7 sealed to waste pipe 94, which includes inlet end 96, inner female surface 98, and outer male surface 100. In this embodiment, male surface 78 of riser body 60 and female surface 98 of waste pipe 94 are both annular, with male surface 78 sized to have a diameter that is smaller than the diameter of female surface 98. As such, riser body 60 can be adhered and sealed to waste pipe 94 (using suitable sealant materials) by inserting outlet 72 of riser body 60 inside inlet end 96 of waste pipe 94 so that male surface 78 sealably engages female surface 98. Inlet end 96 abuts exterior stop 82 when riser body 60 and waste pipe 94 are fully mated.

In an alternate embodiment, riser body 60 is configured so that female outlet surface 76 has a diameter that is larger than the diameter of male surface 100 of waste pipe 94. This feature allows inlet end 96 of waste pipe 94 to be inserted into outlet 72 of riser body 60 so that male surface 100 can be adhered and sealed to female outlet surface 76 (using suitable sealant materials). Interior stop 80 is provided adjacent to female outlet surface 76 so inlet end 96 abuts exterior stop 82 when riser body 60 and waste pipe 94 are fully mated.

In still another embodiment, riser body 60 is configured so that female outlet surface 76 is sized to sealably mate with one size of waste pipe and male surface 78 is sized to sealably mate with a different size of waste pipe. In an exemplary embodiment, female outlet surface 76 is sized to sealably mate with an outer surface of three-inch-inner-diameter waste pipe and male surface 78 is sized to sealably mate with an inner surface of four-inch-inner-diameter waste pipe.

As illustrated in FIG. 11, after riser body 60 and waste pipe 94 have been sealed together, riser body 60 is then sealably mated to water closet fitting 30 of FIG. 9. To accomplish this mating, inlet 70 of riser body 60 is first inserted into outlet end 24 of channel body 16. Riser body 60 is then positioned within passage 20 so that male surface 78 can be adhered and sealed to annular mating surface 54 of water closet fitting 30 (using suitable sealant materials). When riser body 60 and water closet fitting 30 are fully mated, outlet 38 of water closet fitting 30 abuts exterior stop 82 of riser body 60. Exterior stop 82 prevents riser body 60 from being inserted further into water closet fitting 30 and contacting removable cap portion 40, and thus ensures that gap 97 is retained between removable cap portion 40 and inlet 70 of riser body 60.

Once the components have been sealably assembled as in the configuration of FIG. 11, water closet fitting 30 seals off inlet 70 so that waste pipe 94 can be pressurized to check for leaks in the plumbing system. In an alternate embodiment of the method of the present invention, water closet fitting 30 and riser body 60 are sealed together before sealing waste pipe 94 to riser body 60. In an exemplary embodiment, removable cap portion 40 and frangible connection 44 are sufficiently pressure resistant so that waste pipe 94 can be pressurized without fracturing either frangible connection 44 or removable cap portion 40.

Before sealing water closet flange 92 to riser body 60, removable cap portion 40 must be removed to expose inlet 36. In this embodiment, removable cap portion 40 may be removed by striking the top of removable cap portion 40 to break frangible connection 44 and cause removable cap portion 40 to dislodge into gap 97 and come to rest against inlet 70 of riser body 60. In one embodiment (see, e.g., FIG. 4), a pair of opposing rockers 47 are provided on the underside of removable cap portion 40 adjacent frangible connection 44 to facilitate removal of removable cap portion 40 from inside water closet fitting 30. Specifically, when frangible connection 44 of removable cap portion 40 is broken as described above, rockers 47 prevent removable cap portion from coming to rest flat against inlet 70 and function as a fulcrum to allow a tool to be used to pry (or retrieve) removable cap portion 40 from inside inlet 36 of water closet fitting 30.

Once removable cap portion 40 has been removed, water closet flange 92 can be sealably mated to riser body 60. FIG. 12 shows water closet fitting 30 and riser body 60 of FIG. 11 with removable cap portion 40 removed and water closet flange 92 secured to riser body 60. Water closet flange 92 can be any type of water closet flange known in the art. As shown in FIG. 12, water closet flange 92 includes an annular flange 98 connected to mating collar 100, which together define flow path 102. Mating collar 100 includes annular mating surface 104.

To sealably mate water closet flange 92 and riser body 60, mating collar 100 is inserted into inlet 36 of water closet fitting 30 until mating collar 100 engages riser body 60 and flange 98 abuts rim 42 or concrete floor 96. In this configuration, annular mating surface 104 is adhered and sealed to female inlet surface 74 of riser body 60 (using suitable sealant materials). If concrete floor 96 is poured higher than expected, flange 98 can be spaced from rim 42 to account for the additional height, yet still be adhered and sealed to female surface 74. Once water closet flange 92 is sealably mated to riser body 60, a water closet (not shown) can be secured to water closet flange 92.

In an alternate embodiment, water closet flange 92 is sealably mated to water closet fitting 30 instead of riser body 60. In this alternate embodiment, water closet fitting 30 is sized so that annular mating surface 104 of water closet flange 92 can be adhered and sealed to interior surface 52 of water closet fitting 30.

Water closet fitting 30 and riser body 60 are formed from any suitable material known in the art. Examples of suitable materials include plastics (such as, for example, PVC or ABS) and metals (such as, for example, cast iron or steel). In an exemplary embodiment, water closet fitting 30 and riser body 60 are both formed from plastic, and sealably mated to each other and other parts (as described in conjunction with FIGS. 8-12) with the assistance of solvent cement or other suitable adhesives.

As described above, the water closet fitting of the present invention provides an efficient system for placing a water closet flange in fluid communication with a waste pipe of a plumbing system. The water closet fitting allows a water closet flange to be installed after pressure testing the plumbing system. As such, the water closet flange may be installed immediately prior to installing a water closet, thereby reducing the chances of costly water closet orientation errors. In addition, the water closet fitting of the present invention allows a water closet flange to be installed without having to screw fasteners into a concrete floor.

Although the present invention has been described with reference to preferred embodiments, workers skilled in the art will recognize that changes may be made in form and detail without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.