Title:
Snow and ice melter
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A melter having a body adapted to support a heating unit to heat air, and a flow director having a louver. The flow director is pivotally connected to the heating unit and is generally adapted to direct a flow of the air.



Inventors:
Bucklew, Floyd A. (Lorain, OH, US)
Application Number:
11/120052
Publication Date:
11/09/2006
Filing Date:
05/03/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
37/227
International Classes:
E01H5/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BASICHAS, ALFRED
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
James Lindon, Lindon & Lindon (Avon, OH, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A melter comprising: a body adapted to support a heating unit to heat air, and a flow director having a louver, wherein the flow director is pivotally connected to the heating unit and is generally adapted to direct a flow of the air.

2. The melter of claim 1 further comprising a fan operatively connected to the heating unit.

3. The melter of claim 1 wherein the louver is movably mounted on the flow director.

4. The melter of claim 1 wherein the flow director is movably mounted on heating unit.

5. The melter of claim 1 further comprising a handle, wherein the handle includes a brace to span the width of the handle.

6. The melter of claim 1 wherein the body of the melter is generally tilted generally downwardly.

7. The melter of claim 1 further comprising wheels operatively connected to the body, wherein the body defines an acute angle with a generally level surface on which the wheels rest.

8. The melter of claim 1 wherein the heating unit provides heat in the amount of within the range of from about 30,000 B.T.U to about 140,000 B.T.U.

9. The melter of claim 5 wherein the flow director is movably mounted on heating unit.

10. The melter of claim 5 wherein the louver is movably mounted on the flow director.

11. A method of melting snow or ice comprising: providing a melter having a body adapted to support a heating unit to heat air, and providing a flow director having a louver, wherein the flow director is pivotally connected to the heating unit and is generally adapted to direct a flow of the air.

12. The method of claim 11 further comprising providing a fan operatively connected to the heating unit.

13. The method of claim 11 wherein the louver is movably mounted on the flow director.

14. The method of claim 11 wherein the flow director is movably mounted on heating unit.

15. The method of claim 11 further comprising providing a handle, wherein the handle includes a brace to span the width of the handle.

16. The method of claim 11 wherein the body of the melter is generally tilted generally downwardly.

17. The method of claim 11 further comprising providing wheels operatively connected to the body, wherein the body defines an acute angle with a generally level surface on which the wheels rest.

18. The method of claim 11 wherein the heating unit provides heat in the amount of within the range of from about 30,000 B.T.U to about 140,000 B.T.U.

19. The method of claim 15 wherein the flow director is movably mounted on heating unit.

20. The method of claim 15 wherein the louver is movably mounted on the flow director.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Snow and ice can be dangerous. People can slip and fall on surfaces that have snow and ice. Walkways, sidewalks, driveways, and the like can be particularly problematic. Removing snow and ice by hand with a shovel can cause considerable physical exhaustion and lead to back aches and/or cardiovascular damage, particularly for elderly users and those not in good physical condition. There is a long-felt need for an improved means to eliminate snow and ice from surfaces.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The above advantages as well as other advantages not specifically enumerated are achieved by a melter having a body adapted to support a heating unit to heat air, and a flow director having a louver. The flow director is pivotally connected to the heating unit and is generally adapted to direct a flow of the air. There is also provided a method of melting snow or ice. The method includes providing a melter having a body adapted to support a heating unit to heat air, and providing a flow director having a louver. The flow director is pivotally connected to the heating unit and is generally adapted to direct a flow of the air.

Various advantages of this invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment, when read in light of the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the melter in accordance with the present invention with the flow director in a generally lowered position.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the melter shown in FIG. 1 with the flow director in a generally elevated position.

FIG. 3 is an elevational side view of the melter shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is an elevational front view of the melter shown in FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Preliminarily, it should be noted that certain terms used herein, such as for example “front”, “rear”, “above”, and the like, are used to facilitate the description of the invention. Unless otherwise specified or made apparent by the context of the discussion, such terms and other directional terms should be interpreted with reference to the figure(s) under discussion. Such terms are not intended as a limitation on the position in which the invention or components may be used. Indeed, it is contemplated that the components of the invention may be easily positioned in any desired orientation for use. Likewise, numerical terms such as for example “first”, and “second” are not intended as a limitation or to imply a sequence, unless otherwise specified or made apparent by the context of the discussion.

Referring now to the drawings, there is illustrated a melter, indicated generally at 10, in accordance with the present invention. The term “melter” is understood to include a structure generally having the ability to change water and/or other fluid from a solid to a liquid state and/or gaseous state. The melter 10 may be a snow melter and/or an ice melter. The illustrated melter 10 includes a body 14, a handle 18, and a flow director 22.

A variety of terms useful to understand the drawings are employed. A few such terms are explained more fully herein. The term “louver” is understood to include a shutter and/or finned or vaned device for controlling a flow of air. The term “operatively connected” is understood to include a linking together of the portions under consideration and may include a physical engagement and/or a functional or operational connection. The term “heating unit” is understood to include a piece and/or complex of apparatus serving to perform the function of generating heat. The term “pivotally connected” is understood to include a connection relating to, or constituting a point, shaft and/or pin or the like on which something turns.

The illustrated body 14 is adapted to support a heating unit 28 to heat air. The illustrated body 14 is a generally boxy member having a support 32 for the heating unit 28. The body 14 may be supported by a plurality of wheels. A pair of rear wheels 36 are provided on a rear region of the body 14 and a pair of front wheels 40 on a front region of the body 14. The rear wheels 36 are located generally under the handle 18. It will be appreciated that the rear wheels 36 are generally larger in diameter than are the front wheels 40. For example, the rear wheels 36 may be ten inch diameter locking wheels or a suitable substitute and the front wheels 40 may be eight inch diameter wheels or a suitable substitute. Any suitable placement, type, size, and number of wheels may be employed. As a result, it will be noted that the body 14 defines an acute angle with the generally level surface on which the wheels rest, as shown. The body 14 is shown to generally slant forwardly.

The heating unit 28 is shown generally above the body 14. The heating unit 28 may be a kerosene fueled turbo heater or any other suitable type of heater. The heating unit 28 may heat air. The heating unit 28 may provide any suitable amount of heat, such as for example, within the range of from about 30,000 B.T.U to about 140,000 B.T.U. [British thermal units]. A fan 44 may be operatively connected to the heating unit 28. The fan 44 may be employed to push heated air.

The illustrated handle 18 is shown secured to the heating unit 28 support 32. The handle 18 may include a brace 48. The illustrated brace 48 is a support and spans the width of the handle 18. The handle 18 may be adjustable in height to accommodate operators of differing heights. The uppermost portion 52 of the handle 18 may include a grip or other features to facilitate grasping of the handle 18 by the operator's hands (not shown). The left side of the lowermost portion 56 of the handle 18 is shown in FIG. 3 to be secured to the support 32 by three fasteners. Any suitable fasteners may be employed, such as for example screws, bolts, and the like. Adhesives may also be employed.

The flow director 22 is shown pivotally connected to the heating unit 28. It will be noted that the flow director 22 is shown in a relatively elevated position in FIG. 2. It will be noted that the flow director 22 is shown in a relatively lowered position in FIGS. 1 and 3. The flow director 22 is generally adapted to direct a flow of the air heated by and/or in the heating unit 28. The illustrated flow director 22 includes a louver 60. The illustrated louver 60 is generally planar. The louver 60 may be provided on a first end 68 of the flow director 22. The second end 72 of the flow director 22 is operatively connected to the pivot 64. The louver 60 may be movably mounted on the flow director 22. The flow director 22 may be movably mounted on the heating unit 28.

In operation, the melter 10 may be employed to melt snow and/or ice. The melter 10 may be moved and/or positioned to a convenient location by means of the handle 18 and the rear wheels 36 and the front wheels 40. The heating unit 28 may be activated to produce heated air. The fan 44 may be activated to push the heated air. The flow director 22 may be positioned on the pivot 64 in any suitable fashion. The louver 60 may be positioned on the flow director 22 in any suitable fashion. For example, the louver 60 may be directed to a patch of snow or a suitable portion of an icy sidewalk.

The following U.S. patents or publications are hereby incorporated by reference herein as if fully reproduced;

NumberDateInventor
6,553,693Apr. 29, 2003Desmarais et al.
4,092,789Jun. 6, 1978Arfons
3,136,488Jun. 9, 1964J. J. Petlak et al.
3,847,137Nov. 12, 1974Lambertoni
3,174,477Mar. 23, 1965La Roy A. Wilson
3,041,748Jul. 3, 1962D. C. Wetzel
3,291,118Dec. 13, 1966La Roy A. Wilson
3,228,125Jan. 11, 1966H. J. Wiebe
3,359,969Dec. 26, 1967J. H. Bertin et al.
5,867,926Feb. 9, 1999Schmitt

The principle and mode of operation of this invention have been described in its preferred embodiments. However, it should be noted that this invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically illustrated and described without departing from its scope.