Title:
Water circulation apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A water circulation apparatus for a swimming pool or hot tub. The water circulation apparatus includes an eyeball connector and an extension hose. The eyeball connector includes a spherical eyeball and a first connector. The extension hose includes a second connector for coupling to the first connector. The eyeball connector fits within a water return line housing in the sidewall of the swimming pool or hot tub. Heated water returned to the pool through the water return line is routed through the eyeball connector into the extension house and is expelled in the pool through the free end of the extension hose. The extension hose may include a weighted free end to ensure that the heated return water is expelled at the bottom of the pool. The weighted free end may include a diffuser.



Inventors:
Vandecamp, Bill (Oakville, CA)
Application Number:
11/157429
Publication Date:
12/21/2006
Filing Date:
06/21/2005
Assignee:
VANDECAMP HEATING LIMITED (Mississauga, CA)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H4/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, TUAN N
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
K&L Gates LLP-Charlotte (CHARLOTTE, NC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A water circulation apparatus for use with a swimming pool water return line having a wall-mounted housing for receiving water from a pump and discharging the water into a pool, the water circulation apparatus comprising: an eyeball adapted to be retained within the housing and having an axial passage therethrough; a first connector attached to said eyeball; a hose having a free end and a fixed end; and a second connector attached to said fixed end of said hose and adapted to matingly engage said first connector to provide fluid communication from said axial passage through said hose.

2. The water circulation apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein said first connector includes a first threaded surface and said second connector includes a second threaded surface, and wherein said first threaded surface engages said second threaded surface to connect said first connector to said second connector.

3. The water circulation apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein said second connector includes a hose clip circling said hose.

4. The water circulation apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein said first connector and said second connector include respective halves of a push-fit connector.

5. The water circulation apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein said first connector and said eyeball are molded together and form a single unit.

6. The water circulation apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein said free end of said hose includes a weight for causing said free end to sink in water

7. The water circulation apparatus as recited in claim 6, wherein said weight comprises a diffuser.

8. The water circulation apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein said eyeball includes a partially spherical outer surface, and wherein said first connector includes a central passage in fluid communication with said axial passage.

9. The water circulation apparatus as recited in claim 8, wherein said axial passage defines an exterior opening, wherein said first connector comprises a threaded tube having a distal end, and wherein said distal end is attached to said exterior opening.

10. The water circulation apparatus as recited in claim 9, wherein said threaded tube is adhesively attached to said eyeball.

11. A kit for retrofitting a swimming pool water return line to provide for an extended water circulation apparatus, the water return line having a wall-mounted housing for receiving water from a pump and for discharging the water into a pool, the kit comprising: an eyeball adapted to be retained within the housing and having an axial passage therethrough; and a first connector attached to said eyeball, wherein said first connector is adapted to matingly engage a second connector on a hose to provide fluid communication from said axial passage through said hose.

12. The kit as recited in claim 11, further comprising said hose and said second connector.

13. The kit as recited in claim 12, wherein said second connector includes a hose clip circling said hose.

14. The kit as recited in claim 12, wherein said free end of said hose includes a weight for causing said free end to sink in water.

15. The kit as recited in claim 14, wherein said weight includes a diffuser.

16. The kit as recited in claim 12, wherein said hose comprises a garden hose.

17. The kit as recited in claim 11, wherein said first connector includes a first threaded surface and said second connector includes a second threaded surface, and wherein said first threaded surface engages said second threaded surface to connect said first connector to said second connector.

18. The kit as recited in claim 11, wherein said first connector and said second connector include respective halves of a push-fit connector.

19. The kit as recited in claim 11, wherein said first connector and said eyeball are molded together and form a single unit.

20. The kit as recited in claim 11, wherein said eyeball includes a partially spherical outer surface, and wherein said first connector includes a central passage in fluid communication with said axial passage.

21. The kit as recited in claim 20, wherein said axial passage defines an exterior opening, wherein said first connector comprises a threaded tube having a distal end, and wherein said distal end is attached to said exterior opening.

22. The kit as recited in claim 21, wherein said threaded tube is adhesively attached to said eyeball.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a water circulation apparatus for use with a swimming pool water return line, which can be used to direct water flow, through a tube, toward the bottom of the swimming pool.

BACKGROUND

Swimming pools, hot tubs, and the like provide for water circulation by drawing water from the pool, heating the water, and pumping the heated water back into the pool through a return outlet. The water return outlet is typically mounted on the wall of the pool or tub. A typical water return outlet includes an eyeball assembly. The eyeball assembly provides for a limited range of rotational motion. This allows for the jet of returning water to be pointed in a selected direction.

The eyeball assemblies are typically mounted near the surface of the water in the swimming pool or tub. When heated water is expelled through the eyeball assembly into the upper portion of the swimming pool, the heated water tends to remain at the surface and the more dense cold water remains at the bottom. This results in an undesirable temperature gradient from the bottom of the pool to the top.

Heat is also more readily lost through evaporation at the surface into the surrounding air. Accordingly, the energy expended in heating the water that is returned to the pool may be quickly lost.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a water circulation apparatus for a swimming pool or hot tub. The water circulation apparatus includes an eyeball connector and an extension hose. The eyeball connector includes a spherical eyeball and a first connector. The extension hose includes a second connector for coupling to the first connector. The eyeball connector fits within a water return line housing in a wall of the swimming pool or hot tub. Heated water returned to the pool through the water return line is routed through the eyeball connector into the extension house and is expelled in the pool through the free end of the extension hose. The extension hose may include a weighted free end to ensure that the heated return water is expelled at the bottom of the pool.

In one aspect, the present invention provides a water circulation apparatus for use with a swimming pool water return line having a wall-mounted housing for receiving water from a pump and discharging the water into a pool. The water circulation apparatus includes an eyeball adapted to be retained within the housing and having an axial passage therethrough and a first connector attached to the eyeball. The apparatus further includes a hose having a free end and a fixed end and a second connector attached to the fixed end of the hose. The second connector is adapted to matingly engage the first connector to provide fluid communication from the axial passage through the hose.

In another aspect, the present invention provides a kit for retrofitting a swimming pool water return line to provide for an extended water circulation apparatus. The water return line has a wall-mounted housing for receiving water from a pump and for discharging the water into a pool. The kit includes an eyeball adapted to be retained within the housing and having an axial passage therethrough and a first connector attached to the eyeball. The first connector is adapted to matingly engage a second connector on a hose to provide fluid communication from the axial passage through the hose.

Other aspects and features of the present application will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art from a review of the following detailed description when considered in conjunction with the drawings

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings which show, by way of example, an embodiment of the present invention, and in which:

FIG. 1 shows, in diagrammatic form, a profile view of a swimming pool having an embodiment of an extended water circulation apparatus according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 shows a cross-sectional view of an eyeball assembly with an eyeball connector;

FIG. 3 shows an exploded, perspective view of the eyeball assembly with eyeball connector;

FIG. 4 shows a partial perspective view of a first embodiment of an extended water circulation apparatus;

FIG. 5 shows a partial perspective view of a second embodiment of an extended water circulation apparatus;

FIG. 6 shows a partial perspective view of a third embodiment of an extended water circulation apparatus; and

FIG. 7 shows a side view of a portion of an embodiment of the extended water circulation apparatus.

The same reference numbers are used throughout the different figures to designate the same or similar components

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Reference is first made to FIG. 1, which shows, in diagrammatic form, a profile view of a swimming pool 10. The swimming pool 10 includes sidewalls 12 and bottom surface 14. The swimming pool 10 contains water 16 having a top surface 18.

The swimming pool 10 includes a first water return outlet 20 and a second water return outlet 22. The water return outlets 20 and 22 receive heated water (indicated generally as 24) from a pump (not shown) in a water circulation system. The heated water 24 is expelled into the swimming pool 10 through the water return outlets 20 and 22. The water return outlets 20 and 22 are mounted in the sidewalls 12 proximate the top surface 18 of the water 16.

The first water return outlet 20 includes an eyeball assembly 28 for directing the jet of returned heated water, as indicated by arrows 26. The eyeball assembly 28 includes a housing and a partially spherical eyeball 29. The eyeball 29 includes an axial passage through which the heated water 24 is expelled. The eyeball 29 may be rotated within the housing. It will be appreciated that expelling the heated water 24 proximate the top surface 18 leads to a temperature gradient between the top surface 18 of the water 16 and the bottom surface 14 of the swimming pool 18. Moreover, returning the heated water 24 to the swimming pool 10 near the top surface 18 aggravates the loss of water to evaporation.

The second water return outlet 22 includes an extended water circulation apparatus 30. The extended water circulation apparatus 30 includes eyeball connector 32 and extension hose 34. The extended water circulation apparatus 30 expels the heated water 24 through a free end 36 of the extension hose 34. This allows for the heated water 24 to be expelled proximate the bottom surface 14 of the swimming pool 10, as indicated by arrow 38. The free end 36 of the extension hose 34 may include a weight 40 so as to maintain the position of the free end 36 at the bottom surface 14.

The first water return outlet 20 may be retrofit so as to include the extended water circulation apparatus 30, like the second water return outlet 22. To retrofit the first water return outlet 20, the eyeball 29 is removed from the eyeball assembly 28 and is replaced with the eyeball connector 32. The extension hose 34 is then attached to the eyeball connector 32.

Reference is now made to FIG. 2 and FIG. 3. FIG. 2 shows a cross-sectional view of the eyeball assembly 28 with the eyeball connector 32. FIG. 3 shows an exploded, perspective view of the eyeball assembly 28 with eyeball connector 32.

The eyeball assembly 28 includes a return water pipe 50, a housing fitting 52, and a retaining ring 46. The return water pipe 50 is mounted in sidewall 12. The return water pipe 50 may be of the type typically used in swimming pools or hot tubs to return water. Such a pipe is typically constructed of PVC tubing, but may be made of other suitable materials as will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art.

Return water pipe 50 includes a threaded interior surface 54. Corresponding threads are formed in the exterior surface of housing fitting 52. In another embodiment, housing fitting 52 may be attached to return water pipe 50 with adhesive. Return water pipe 50 and housing fitting 52 each have an axially extending passage through which return water flows.

Housing fitting 52 includes a contoured interior surface 56 at its outer end to serve as a seat for receiving the eyeball connector 32. The exterior surface of the outer end of the housing fitting 52 is threaded for attachment to the retaining ring 46. When retaining ring 46 is screwed into place onto the housing fitting 52, the retaining ring 46 and housing fitting 52 house the eyeball connector 32 and allow for a limited range of rotational movement by the eyeball connector 32.

The eyeball connector 32 includes a spherical eyeball 42 and first connector 44. The spherical eyeball 42 defines an exterior opening 60, an interior opening 62, and an axial passage 64 between the interior opening 62 and the exterior opening 60, allowing water to flow freely through the spherical eyeball 42.

First connector 44 includes a central passage 66 in communication with axial passage 64. First connector 44 is connected to the outlet side of spherical eyeball 42. In one embodiment, the first connector 44 is attached to the spherical eyeball 42 with an adhesive. In another embodiment, the spherical eyeball 42 and the first connector 44 are integrally formed, for example by an injection molding process.

Referring again to FIG. 1, it will be appreciated that the first connector 44 (FIG. 2) is adapted for connection with the extension hose 34. Reference is now made to FIGS. 4 through 6, which show perspective views of various embodiments of the water circulation apparatus 30.

In a first embodiment, shown in FIG. 4, first connector 44 includes a threaded exterior surface 68. The extension hose 34 includes a second connector 70 having an interior threaded surface adapted to matingly engage the threaded exterior surface 68 of the first connector 44, thereby connecting the extension hose 34 to the eyeball connector 32. In one embodiment, the first connector 44 and the second connector 70 have the diameters and threading of standard ½ inch or ¾ inch garden hose connectors. The second connector 70 may include a rubber washer 72 to improve the seal between the first connector 44 and the second connector 70. In this embodiment, first connector 44 may have sufficient axial length that it can be screwed deeply enough into second connector 70 so that rubber washer 72 is engaged.

In a second embodiment, illustrated in FIG. 5, first connector 44 features a ridged exterior surface 74 and is intended for insertion directly into the extension hose 34. In this embodiment, the second connector includes a hose clip 76 encircling the extension hose 34. The hose clip 76 serves to bind the extension hose 34 to the first connector 44. The ridged exterior surface 74 provides resistance to prevent the extension hose 34 from pulling away from the eyeball connector 32.

In a third embodiment, shown in FIG. 6, the first connector 44 and the second connector 70 include the respective halves of a snap-fit or push-fit connector. The snap-fit connector may, for example, be compatible with the snap-fit garden hose connectors marketed in Canada under the brand GARDENA by Gardena Canada Ltd. of Brampton, Ontario.

Those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the first connector 44 and second connector 70 may include a wide range of embodiments provided the respective connectors 44 and 70 facilitate fluid communication and secure the extension hose 34 to the spherical eyeball 42. Those of ordinary skill in the art will further appreciate that the first connector 44 may be attached to the spherical eyeball 42 to form the eyeball connector 32 in some embodiments. The attachment of the first connector 44 to the spherical eyeball 42 may, for example, include adhesive bonding, heat welding, and/or other methods of attachment. In other embodiments, the first connector 44 and spherical eyeball 42 may be integrally formed as a single piece, for example by injection molding. The eyeball connector 32 may be manufactured from a plastic, such as polypropylene, or other suitable material for use in a swimming pool.

It will be understood that the extended water circulation apparatus 30, including the eyeball connector 42 and the extension hose 34, may be provided in the form of a kit for retrofitting existing water return line housings.

It will further be understood that, although some of the above-described embodiments suggest use of a garden hose for the extension hose 34, the present invention is not so limited. The extension hose 34 may include any flexible hose or pipe provided with a suitable second connector 70 for coupling to the first connector 44. In one embodiment, the extension hose 34 may include a rigid pipe or tube extending downwards into the swimming pool.

Reference is now made to FIG. 7, which shows a portion of an embodiment of the water circulation apparatus 30 (FIG. 1). In this embodiment, the free end 36 of the extension hose 34 is connected to a diffuser 80. The diffuser 80 may, in one embodiment, include an enclosed shell with a plurality of apertures for diffusing the expelled heated water into the pool. In another embodiment (not shown) the diffuser 80 includes an outwardly flared nozzle for diffusing the expelled water. Other shapes and devices for diffusing the water will be understood by those of ordinary skill in the art.

In one embodiment, the diffuser 80 is weighted such that it serves to maintain the free end 36 of the extension hose 34 at the bottom surface 14 of the pool. The diffuser 80 may be manufactured of a corrosion-resistant metal or a dense plastic having sufficient density to cause it to sink in the pool to the bottom surface 14.

Those or ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that any references to a swimming pool herein may include in-ground and above-ground swimming pools. References to a swimming pool may also include hot tubs and other pools or tubs having water return outlets with eyeball assemblies.

The present invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. Certain adaptations and modifications of the invention will be obvious to those skilled in the art. Therefore, the above discussed embodiments are considered to be illustrative and not restrictive, the scope of the invention being indicated by the appended claims rather than the foregoing description, and all changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are therefore intended to be embraced therein.