Title:
Multi-Purpose Shower Apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus is able to convert a conventional stall shower into a multi-purpose shower facility, including a steam bath, a handheld shower, a water massage and a rain shower. It can be used with either single water input line or two separate hot and cold water input lines. The single water input line fit with the single output line of a common stall shower. To match different situations, two types of steam generator are also disclosed.



Inventors:
Leong, Iek-hei (Brooklyn, NY, US)
Application Number:
10/908343
Publication Date:
11/09/2006
Filing Date:
05/09/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K3/022; A47K3/28
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
FETSUGA, ROBERT M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Shuang Zhang (Flushing, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. Multi-purpose shower apparatus, comprising: a steam generating mean to convert pressured hot water to steam, which includes an atomization nozzle connected to a first water input pipe to receive pressured hot water, a separating mean to allow steam passing through and prevent hot water from directly contacting a user, and a collecting mean to gather hot water drip from said separating mean and said nozzle; at least one shower mean to perform regular shower function; at least one water massage showerhead to perform water massage function; at least one control mean to selectively choose a function among said regular shower, said water massage and said steam generating mean.

2. Multi-purpose shower apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said shower mean is rain shower, handheld shower or both.

3. Multi-purpose shower apparatus according to claim 2, wherein said first input pipe is connected to the output line, which a showerhead normally connects with, in a conventional stall shower apparatus and the water temperature is adjustable through a pre-existing switch of said conventional stall shower apparatus.

4. Multi-purpose shower apparatus according to claim 2, further comprising a second water input line and a second control mean, wherein said first water input line is connected to a hot water line, and said second water input pipe is connected to a cold water line and wherein said second control mean has connections with both said water input lines and a output line to said first control mean.

5. Multi-purpose shower apparatus according to claim 3, wherein said separating mean is a porous panel, which is set between a user and said atomization nozzle, to allow steam passing through and prevent hot water from directly contacting to a user, and said collecting mean is a basin or tub.

6. Multi-purpose shower apparatus according to claim 5, further comprising a draining pipe to discharge hot water from said shower apparatus.

7. Multi-purpose shower apparatus according to claim 4, wherein said separating mean is a porous panel, which is set between a user and said atomization nozzle, to allow steam passing through and prevent hot water from directly contacting to a user, and said collecting mean is a basin or tub.

8. Multi-purpose shower apparatus according to claim 7, further comprising a draining pipe to discharge hot water from said shower apparatus.

9. Multi-purpose shower apparatus according to claim 3, wherein said separating mean and said collecting mean is a box, which encases said atomization nozzle and has at least one porous wall to allow steam passing through and prevent hot water from directly contacting a user.

10. Multi-purpose shower apparatus according to claim 9, further comprising a drain hole to discharge water from said box.

11. Multi-purpose shower apparatus according to claim 4, wherein said separating mean and said collecting mean is a box, which encases said atomization nozzle and has at least one porous wall to allow steam passing through and prevent hot water from directly contacting a user.

12. Multi-purpose shower apparatus according to claim 11, further comprising a drain hole to discharge water from said box.

13. Multi-purpose shower apparatus system, comprising: a steam generator, which includes an atomization nozzle connected to an input pipe to receive pressured hot water, a porous panel to allow steam going through and prevent hot water from directly contacting a user, and a tub to gather hot water from said panel and said nozzle; a hand-held showerhead; a rain showerhead; at least one water massage showerhead; a multi-channel switch by which a user is able to make a selection among said rain showerhead, said handheld showerhead and said water massage showerhead; a sauna switch, which is placed between said water input line and said steam generating mean to selectively activate said steam generator; and a third switch, which controls water flowing from said water input line to said multi-channel switch, wherein said water input pipe is connected to the output line, which a showerhead normally connects with, in a conventional stall shower apparatus and the water temperature is adjustable through a pre-existing switch of said conventional stall shower apparatus.

14. Multi-purpose shower apparatus system according to claim 13, further comprising a mountable shower cabinet to create a closed shower space.

15. Multi-purpose shower apparatus system according to claim 14, further comprising a ventilation device.

16. Multi-purpose shower apparatus system according to claim 13, further comprising mounting means for installation of said apparatus system on the wall in a shower stall.

17. Multi-purpose shower apparatus system, comprising: a steam generator, which includes an atomization nozzle connected to a first water input line to receive pressured hot water and a box which has at least one porous wall to allow steam going through and prevent hot water from contacting a user and also gathers hot water from said porous wall and said nozzle, wherein said nozzle is placed inside of said container and wherein said container has a drain hole to discharge collected hot water; a second water input line to receive cold water; a hand-held showerhead; a rain showerhead; at least one water massage showerhead; a multi-channel switch by which a user is able to make a selection among said rain showerhead, said handheld showerhead and said water massage showerhead; a sauna switch, which is placed between said first input pipe and said steam generating mean to selectively activate said steam generator; and a third control switch, wherein said third control switch has connection with both said water input pipes and a output line to said multi-channel switch.

18. Multi-purpose shower apparatus system according to claim 17, further comprising a mountable shower cabinet to create a closed shower space.

19. Multi-purpose shower apparatus system according to claim 18, further comprising a ventilation device.

20. Multi-purpose shower apparatus system according to claim 17, further comprising mounting means for installation of said apparatus system on the wall in a shower stall.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to a unit for converting a conventional stall shower to be a multi-purpose shower facility, including steam bath, water massage, hand-held shower and rain shower.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It has been conceived to convert a conventional stall shower facility to perform additional functions. Illustrated by U.S. Pat. No. 4,084,271 to Ginsberg, the inventor used appropriate nozzle arrangements to break warm water under pressure into a finely divided stream like mist and then sprayed on a wall surface in order to achieve a steam bath result. Disclosed by U.S. Pat. No. 5,142,713 to Makool, a deflection plate, which is oriented angularly in relation to the spray nozzle to receive and deflect spray therefrom, was introduced to further improve the pattern of steam.

One drawback with the above devices is that shower wall or deflection plate, which functions as a “heat sink”, absorbs much of the heat from the ejected fine spray mist of water droplets and results in lower temperature “steam” atmosphere.

Another downside with the above devices is that limitation of steam generating rate, since high-speed water flow rate from the spray nozzle may cause hot water drips bounce back from shower wall or deflection plate and result in potential hazard to the user.

Moreover, the above devices did not provide other shower functions except a steam bath and a rain shower.

Whatever, the foregoing devices have met with limited commercial success and acceptance and a need has thus continued to exist for expanding the functions of a regular shower stall or shower room.

One main object of this invention is to connect with single water input line, as seen with a conventional shower stall, and convert it into a multi-purpose shower facility, including steam bath, regular shower and water massage.

Another object of this invention is to connect with separate hot and cold-water input lines and convert them into a multi-purpose shower facility, including steam bath, regular shower and water massage.

It is also an object of this invention to provide a cheap and efficient way to utilize regular pressured hot water to provide a sauna experience.

It is also an object of this invention to prevent hot water drips from directly contacting a user.

It is also an object of this invention to provide a set of do-it-yourself kit to allow a user to convert a conventional shower stall into a multi-propose shower facility, including steam bath, regular shower and water massage.

It is also an object of this invention to provide a set of do-it-yourself kit to allow a user to utilize separate hot and cold water input lines to set up a multi-purpose shower utility, including steam bath, regular shower and water massage.

Other objects and many of the attendant advantages of this invention will be readily appreciated, as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawing.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Multi-purpose shower apparatus comprises a steam-generating mean, at least one water massage showerhead, at least one kind of regular showerhead and appropriate pipes and switches arrangement in order to convert a conventional shower stall into a multi-purpose shower facility, which provides water massage, steam bath and regular shower.

In order to fit for different water input settings, two preferred arrangements of pipes and switches are disclosed to match either single water input setting, as seen in a conventional shower stall, or two separate hot and cold input setting.

In order to fit different needs, two preferred steam generators are also disclosed.

Four preferred embodiments can be achieved by different combination of the two preferred steam generators with the two preferred arrangement of pipes and switches.

BRIEF DESCEIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The preferred embodiments of the invention are illustrated in the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1A is the front sectional view of multi-purpose shower apparatus with single water input pipeline installed on a conventional shower stall.

FIG. 1B is the front elevational view of multi-purpose shower apparatus with single water input pipeline installed on a conventional shower stall.

FIG. 1C is the side view of multi-purpose shower apparatus with single water input pipeline installed on a conventional shower stall.

FIG. 2A is the front sectional view of multi-purpose shower apparatus installed with separate input pipelines for hot water and cold water.

FIG. 2B is the front elevational view of multi-purpose shower apparatus installed with separate input pipelines for hot water and cold water.

FIG. 2C is the side elevational view of multi-purpose shower apparatus installed with separate input pipelines for hot water and cold water with the side cover of its steam generator partially removed.

FIG. 3A is the front elevational view of a steam generator with a porous panel.

FIG. 3B is the front elevational view of the steam generator in FIG. 3A with the porous panel partially removed to show the internal setting of the steam generator.

FIG. 4A is the front elevational view of a steam generator with a box that has at least one porous wall.

FIG. 4B is the front elevational view of the steam generator in FIG.4A with the front porous cover partially removed to show the internal setting of the steam generator.

DETAILED DESCRTIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

This invention presents a multi-purpose shower apparatus, which can alter a conventional shower stall to perform additional shower functions, including steam bath and water massage.

Dependent on the input pipeline settings, two preferred arrangements of pipes and switches are disclosed (FIG. 1A-C; FIG. 2A-C).

The first one (FIG. 1A-C) has single input line, particularly suited for connecting directly with pre-existing stall shower output line to enable such showers to be utilized for multi-purpose shower functions, including sauna, water massage, hand-held shower and rain shower, as desired by a user. For installation, the showerhead of a conventional shower stall is removed and a joint is then used to securely couple the input pipe of this multi-purpose shower apparatus with the output pipe of the conventional shower stall. A user has to adjust water temperature through the pre-existing switch of the conventional shower stall.

The second one (FIG. 2A-C) provides separate input lines for hot water and cold water, which is convenient to set up a permanent multi-purpose shower facility. To install, the input lines have to be connected securely with the correct hot or cold water supply lines.

Dependent on different separating and collecting means, two preferred steam generators are disclosed (FIG. 3A-B; FIG. 4A-B).

In the first situation (FIG. 3A-B), a porous panel is placed between a user and steam-generating nozzle. The panel will allow steam passing through and prevent hot water drips to cause any hazard to a user. Meanwhile, a tub is placed under the shower apparatus to collect hot water from the nozzle and the panel.

In the second situation (FIG. 4A-B), the steam-generating nozzle is placed in a box, which has at least one porous wall to allow steam passing through and prevent hot water drips from directly contacting a user. The box also collects hot water from the nozzle and the box wall.

Four preferred embodiments can be achieved by different combination of the two preferred steam generators with the two preferred arrangement of pipes and switches. However, two of them are described in detail to demonstrate their working principles.

It is worth noting that all pipes, switches, nozzles, showerheads and couplings are standard fittings and the methods of using them are well known to people in the field of art. Therefore, the details of their structures and their working principles are omitted.

The two preferred embodiments of the invention is illustrated in FIG. 1A-1C and FIG. 2A-2C, respectively.

Referring now to the various figures of the drawings, wherein like reference characters refer to like parts, there is shown in FIG. 1A-C one embodiment of multi-purpose shower apparatus in accordance with this invention.

In a conventional stall shower, two water input lines 21 and 22, one with hot water and another one with cold water, join at a switch 20. By adjusting the switch 20, different amount of cold water is mixed with different amount of hot water to achieve a desired water temperature at output line 23.

The apparatus 25 is particularly suited for connecting single water input line 8 directly with pre-existing stall shower output line 23 through a coupling mean 24 to enable such shower to be utilized for multi-purpose shower functions, including steam bath, water massage, hand-held shower and rain shower, as desired by a user.

The apparatus 25 basically comprises a water input line 8, a rain showerhead 1, a hand-held showerhead 7, at least one water massage showerheads 2 (6 massage showerheads shown here), and a steam generating assembly 6. The steam generating assembly 6 will be described in detail later (FIG. 3A-3B).

A multi-channel switch 3 connects with input line 15, which in turn receives water from input line 8 through a switch 12, and has three outputs 16, 17 and 13 to the rain showerhead 1, the water massage showerhead 2 and the handheld showerhead 7, respectively. By adjusting the output direction of the switch 3, a user can choose a desired shower function. A sauna switch 4 connects with input line 8 and output line 11 to a steam generating assembly 6. With the switch 12 off and the switch 4 on, an atomization nozzle 18 transforms hot water from input line 8 into steam to achieve a steam bath result.

A user has to adjust water temperature through the pre-existing switch 20 of the conventional shower stall.

An optional draining pipe 5 connects with the sauna switch 4 to accelerate release of hot water from input line 8. It is important to remove hot water from input line 8 during the transition from a steam bath to other shower methods in order to prevent hot water burn. Alternatively, the user can use the pre-existing switch 20 to gradually decrease the water temperature in the input line 8 before switching to other shower methods.

The steam generating assembly 6 of the apparatus 25 is shown in FIG. 3A-B. The assembly 6 includes atomization nozzles 18 connected to the input line 11 to receive pressured hot water, a porous panel 10 to allow steam passing through and prevent hot water from directly contacting a user, and a tub 9 to gather hot water from the panel 10, the nozzle 18 and the draining pipe 5. In general, the nozzles 18 do not face porous panel 10 directly so that hot water is completely shielded from the user. Extended flat 19 provides an anchorage for the panel 10 and also serves as a shower table for the user.

All pipelines in the apparatus 25 are hid behind cover 14 so that only showerheads, switches, flat 19, porous panel 10 and the entry portion of the input line 8 can be viewed from outside (FIG. 1B).

It is worth noting that there are numerous ways to carry out the control mean for selectively choosing a function among regular shower, water massage and steam bath. It is impossible to list them out. Dependent on characters of selected switches and valves and the arrangement of pipe connections between showerheads and nozzles, a person in the field of art can achieve this purpose with a single multi-channel switch or with a combination of several switches and valves. There is no intention or implication to be limited within the particular settings presented in the preferred embodiments. These particular settings in the preferred embodiments are used only for demonstration of the principles. For instance, in the case of the apparatus 25, the multi-channel switch 3 does not have the ability of being turned off, therefore, additional switch 12 is required in order to block water from flowing into line 15 during a steam bath. However, if the multi-channel switch 3 is replaced with a multi-channel switch that can be shut, the switch 12 will become dispensable. Furthermore, one in the field of art can easily design a multi-channel switch to replace all three switches 3, 4 and 12 all together.

In FIG. 2A-C, a second preferred embodiment of multi-purpose shower apparatus in accordance with this invention is shown. The apparatus 30 is particularly suited for setting up a permanent multi-purpose shower facility, including steam bath, water massage, handheld shower and rain shower, as desired by a user.

The apparatus 30 basically comprises a hot water input line 8, a cold water input line 29, a rain showerhead 1, a handheld showerhead 7, at least one water massage showerheads 2 (6 massage showerheads shown here), and a steam generating assembly 28. The steam generating assembly 28 will be described in detail later (FIG. 4A-B).

A multi-channel switch 3 connects with input line 15 and has three outputs 16, 17 and 13 to the rain showerhead 1, the water massage showerhead 2 and the handheld showerhead 7, respectively. By adjusting the output direction of the switch 3, a user can choose a desired shower function. A switch 21 connects with both hot water input line 8 and cold water input line 29. By adjusting the switch 21, different amount of hot water is mixed with different amount of cold water so that water with desired temperature is outputted to line 15. A sauna switch 4 connects with hot water input line 8 and output line 11 to a steam generating assembly 28. With the switch 21 off and the switch 4 on, an atomization nozzle 18 transforms hot water from input line 8 into steam to achieve a steam bath result.

The steam generating assembly 28 of the apparatus 30 is shown in FIG. 4A-B. The assembly 28 includes atomization nozzles 18 connected to the input line 11 to receive pressured hot water, and a box 26. The box 26 has at least one porous wall to allow steam passing through and prevent hot water from directly contacting a user. The box 26 also gathers hot water from its wall and the nozzle 18. In general, the nozzles 18 do not face the porous walls of the box 26 so that hot water is completely shielded from the user. Extended flat 19 provides is the top cover of the box 26 and also serves as a shower table for the user. A drain hole 27 is located at the bottom of box 26 in order to discharge hot water collected inside.

All pipelines in the apparatus 30 are hid behind cover 14 so that only showerheads, switches, flat 19, box 26 and the entry portion of the input lines 8 and 29 can be viewed from outside (FIG. 2B).

While preferred embodiments of the invention have been shown for purposed of illustration it will be appreciated that the those skilled in the art may modify the device within the spirit of the invention only as limited by the appended claims and reasonable equivalents thereof.