Title:
P-trap for a waste removal system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A P-trap for a waste removal system includes a length of tubing constructed out of a rigid and durable material, such as copper or polyvinyl chloride (PVC), that is formed into a generally P-shaped configuration. The length of tubing includes a vertical inlet into which waste enters, a horizontal outlet from which waste exits and an intermediate section extending between the vertical inlet and the horizontal outlet. The intermediate section is shaped to include a U-shaped lower bend and an L-shaped crown. Each of the U-shaped lower bend and the L-shaped crown is shaped to define an access port that is enclosed by means of a removable trap nut. As can be appreciated, the provision of an access port in the crown allows for the removal of any debris trapped within the intermediate section without necessitating water to be shut-off and while minimizing the mess resulting therefrom.



Inventors:
Park, Eric C. (Natick, MA, US)
Application Number:
11/488471
Publication Date:
01/18/2007
Filing Date:
07/18/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E03C1/12
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
FETSUGA, ROBERT M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KRIEGSMAN & KRIEGSMAN (SOUTHBOROUGH, MA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A P-trap for a waste removal system, the P-trap comprising: (a) a length of tubing formed into a generally P-shaped configuration, the length of tubing including, (i) a vertical inlet into which waste enters, (ii) a horizontal outlet from which waste exits, and (iii) an intermediate section extending between the vertical inlet and the horizontal outlet, the intermediate section being shaped to include a U-shaped lower bend disposed between the vertical inlet and the horizontal outlet, the intermediate section also being shaped to include an L-shaped crown disposed between the U-shaped lower bend and the horizontal outlet, the L-shaped crown being positioned above the U-shaped bend, (iv) wherein the U-shaped lower bend of the intermediate section is shaped to define a primary access port, (v) wherein the crown of the intermediate section is shaped to define a secondary access port, (b) a first trap nut removably mounted in the primary access port, and (c) a second trap nut removably mounted in the secondary access port.

2. The P-trap as claimed in claim 1 wherein the first trap nut is threadingly coupled to the intermediate section in such a manner so as to enclose the primary access port.

3. The P-trap as claimed in claim 2 wherein the second trap nut is threadingly coupled to the intermediate section in such a manner so as to enclose the secondary access port.

4. The P-trap as claimed in claim 1 wherein the U-shaped lower bend and the L-shaped crown of the intermediate section are removably coupled together.

5. The P-trap as claimed in claim 4 wherein the U-shaped lower bend and the L-shaped crown are removably coupled together by means of a hub fitting and slip fitting interconnection.

6. The P-trap as claimed in claim 5 wherein the intermediate section is constructed of out polyvinyl chloride (PVC) tubing.

7. A P-trap for a waste removal system, the P-trap comprising: (a) a length of tubing formed into a generally P-shaped configuration, the length of tubing including, (i) a vertical inlet into which waste enters, (ii) a horizontal outlet from which waste exits, and (iii) an intermediate section extending between the vertical inlet and the horizontal outlet, the intermediate section being shaped to include a U-shaped lower bend disposed between the vertical inlet and the horizontal outlet, the intermediate section also being shaped to include an L-shaped crown disposed between the U-shaped lower bend and the horizontal outlet, the L-shaped crown being positioned above the U-shaped bend, (iv) wherein the crown of the intermediate section is shaped to define an access port, and (b) a trap nut removably mounted in the access port.

8. The P-trap as claimed in claim 7 wherein the trap nut is threadingly coupled to the intermediate section in such a manner so as to enclose the access port.

9. The P-trap as claimed in claim 7 wherein the U-shaped lower bend and the L-shaped crown of the intermediate section are removably coupled together.

10. The P-trap as claimed in claim 9 wherein the U-shaped lower bend and the L-shaped crown are removably coupled together by means of a hub fitting and slip fitting interconnection.

11. The P-trap as claimed in claim 10 wherein the intermediate section is constructed of out polyvinyl chloride (PVC) tubing.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) of U.S. provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/700,129, filed Jul. 18, 2005, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to the plumbing industry and more particularly to the use of P-traps in waste removal systems.

FIG. 1 represents a waste removal, or sewer, system which is well-known in the art and which is represented generally by reference numeral 11. In sewer system 11, a plumbing fixture 13 (represented herein as a sink) is connected to a main sewer line 15 through one or more pipes 17. In use, waste created by fixture 13 travels through pipes 17 and into the main sewer line 15 where the waste may collect (e.g., in a septic tank) for removal at a later date.

One drawback associated with waste removal system 11 relates to the emission of sewer gas through fixture 13. Specifically, as waste is collected (e.g., in a septic tank for system 11), malodorous sewer gas is created which, in turn, can travel back through pipes 17. If the sewer gas passes back into fixture 13, the gas may emit into the room in which fixture 13 is located, which is highly undesirable.

Accordingly, conventional sewer systems are commonly provided with a P-trap to trap sewer gas and thereby prevent its emission out through fixture 13. Specifically, referring now to FIG. 2, there is shown a modified waste removal, or sewer, system which is well-known in the art and which is represented generally by reference numeral 111. Sewer system 111 is identical with sewer system 11 in all respects with the one notable exception being that sewer system 111 is provided with a P-trap 113 that is located at some point between fixture 13 and sewer line 15.

As seen most clearly in FIG. 3, P-trap 113 is a length of tubing which is constructed out of a rigid and durable material (e.g., copper or polyvinyl chloride (PVC)) and is formed into a generally P-shaped configuration. P-trap 113 comprises a vertical inlet 115 into which waste material enters and a horizontal outlet 117 from which waste material exits. Inlet 115 and outlet 117 are connected by an intermediate section 118 which includes a U-shaped lower bend 119 and an L-shaped crown, or elbow, 121, with L-shaped crown 121 being disposed above U-shaped lower bend 119. As can be seen, inlet 115, outlet 117 and intermediate section 118 together provide P-trap 113 with its P-shaped configuration.

In use, P-trap 113 operates in the following manner to prohibit the emission of sewer gas out through fixture 13. Specifically, as water travels through system 113, a significant build-up of water 123 naturally collects within lower bend 119 (i.e., due to gravitational forces and the inherent design of P-trap 113). Accordingly, the presence of any sewer gas 125 within horizontal outlet 117 is effectively blocked by water 123 and is thereby unable to exit through fixture 13 (and, in turn, into the room in which fixture 13 is located). In this manner, the water 123 which collects within lower bend 119 serves as a door, or seal, which traps sewer gas between lower bend 119 and the collected waste.

Although the particular configuration of P-trap 113 is useful in prohibiting the emission of sewer gas out through fixture 115, it has been found that the sharpness of lower bend 119 inherently can cause debris (e.g., hair, soap scum, etc.) to clog P-trap 113 at lower bend 119 or at some other point along the sewer line.

As a result, P-trap 113 is often provided with an access port 127 (also referred to herein as cleanout 127) at a location along lower bend 119. Access port 127 is essentially an opening formed into lower bend 119 which allows for access into the interior of P-trap (e.g., to remove debris clogged within lower bend 119 or at some location in close proximity thereto). A threaded trap nut 129 is releasably secured to intermediate section 118 in order to selectively enclose access port 127.

Cleanout 127 can be used in the following manner to unclog debris collected within P-trap 113 or pipes 17. Specifically, in order to unclog P-trap 113 or pipes 17, trap nut 129 is removed (i.e., unscrewed) from access port 127. With trap nut 129 removed, the water 123 collected within lower bend 119 exits from P-trap through access port 127. Preferably, a bucket or some other type of water collection device is positioned directly beneath cleanout 127 to receive water 123. In order to unclog or otherwise clean out the sewer line, an elongated, narrow instrument (e.g., a wire) is fed into the interior of P-trap 113 through access port 127 and is used to separate and/or remove the clogged materials, this operation being commonly referred to as “snaking a drain” in the art.

Although useful in unclogging a sewer line, providing an access port 127 at a location along lower bend 119 of P-trap 113 introduces a couple notable drawbacks.

As a first drawback, as noted above, the removal of trap nut 129 causes all of the water 123 and other debris that is collected within lower bend 119 to exit from P-trap in an uncontrolled manner. In addition, as the narrow instrument is used to unclog the drain during the “snaking” operation, additional materials (e.g., backed-up water which has collected in the sink basin) may exit through access port 127. As a result of both conditions, a considerable mess is often made with the trap nut 129 removed.

As a second drawback, during the “snaking” operation, a plumber is required to temporarily shut-off the supply of water from the fixture 13 (i.e., because the water would exit through access port 127). As a result of the lack of water flow through the drain, the plumber is often unable to readily ascertain whether the snaking operation has adequately unclogged the blockage in the drain, thereby rendering the snaking operation more time consuming and labor intensive.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved P-trap for a waste removal system.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a P-trap of the type as described above which includes an access port that is enclosed by a removable trap nut.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a P-trap of the type as described above which is specifically designed to minimize the mess created when the trap nut is removed from the access port.

It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a P-trap of the type as described above which allows for a supply of water to be fed therethrough while a snaking operation is being undertaken through the access port.

Accordingly, there is provided a P-trap for a waste removal system, the P-trap comprising (a) a length of tubing formed into a generally P-shaped configuration, the length of tubing including, (i) a vertical inlet into which waste enters, (ii) a horizontal outlet from which waste exits, and (iii) an intermediate section extending between the vertical inlet and the horizontal outlet, the intermediate section being shaped to include a U-shaped lower bend disposed between the vertical inlet and the horizontal outlet, the intermediate section also being shaped to include an L-shaped crown disposed between the U-shaped lower bend and the horizontal outlet, the L-shaped crown being positioned above the U-shaped bend, (iv) wherein the U-shaped lower bend of the intermediate section is shaped to define a primary access port, (v) wherein the crown of the intermediate section is shaped to define a secondary access port, (b) a first trap nut removably mounted in the primary access port, and (c) a second trap nut removably mounted in the secondary access port.

Various other features and advantages will appear from the description to follow. In the description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings which form a part thereof, and in which is shown by way of illustration, various embodiments for practicing the invention. The embodiments will be described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention, and it is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and that structural changes may be made without departing from the scope of the invention. The following detailed description is therefore, not to be taken in a limiting sense, and the scope of the present invention is best defined by the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings wherein like reference numerals represent like parts:

FIG. 1 is a fragmentary, front plan view of one embodiment of a sewer system which is well known in the art;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary, front plan view of another embodiment of a sewer system which is well known in the art;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged, front plan view, broken away in part, of the P-trap shown in FIG. 2, the P-trap being shown with water and sewer gas present therewithin;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged, front plan view of a first embodiment of a P-trap that is constructed according to the teachings of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged, top perspective view of the trap nut shown in FIG. 4; and

FIG. 6 is an enlarged, front plan view, broken away in part, of a second embodiment of a P-trap that is constructed according to the teachings of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring now to FIG. 4, there is shown a first embodiment of a P-trap which is constructed according to the teachings of the present invention and which is identified generally by reference numeral 213. As can be appreciated, P-trap 213 is designed for use in connection with a waste removal system, P-trap 213 being preferably disposed at some location of the waste removal system between a plumbing fixture, such as a sink, and the main sewer line.

P-trap 213 is similar in construction to prior art P-trap 113 in that P-trap 213 is constructed out of a rigid and durable length of tubing (e.g., polyvinyl chloride (PVC), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), brass, copper, etc.) that is formed into a generally P-shaped configuration. It is to be understood that P-trap 213 may be constructed as either (i) a single piece of tubing or (ii) multiple, fixedly interconnected pieces of tubing without departing from the spirit of the present invention.

P-trap 213 comprises a vertical inlet 215 into which waste material enters and a horizontal outlet 217 from which waste material exits. Inlet 215 and outlet 217 are connected by an intermediate section 218 which includes a U-shaped lower bend 219 and an L-shaped crown, or elbow, 221, with L-shaped crown 221 being disposed above U-shaped lower bend 219. As can be seen, inlet 215, outlet 217 and intermediate section 218 together provide P-trap 213 with its P-shaped configuration.

P-trap 213 is shaped to define a primary access port 227 (also referred to herein as cleanout 227) at a location along lower bend 219. Access port 227 is essentially a threaded opening formed into lower bend 219 which allows for access into the interior of P-trap 213 (e.g., to remove debris clogged within lower bend 219 or at some location in close proximity thereto). A first threaded trap nut 229 is removably coupled to intermediate section 218 to enclose primary access port 227.

The primary distinction between P-trap 213 and P-trap 113 lies in the fact that P-trap 213 is shaped to define a secondary access port 231 at a location along either the front or side of elbow 221, secondary access port 231 being generally in the form of a threaded opening that is preformed into crown 221. A second threaded trap nut 233 (similar in construction with trap nut 129 and shown in isolation in FIG. 5) is removably coupled to intermediate section 218 to enclose secondary access port 231.

In order to clean-out, or otherwise unclog, debris that has collected within the sewer line, first trap nut 229 and/or second trap nut 233 are unscrewed from intermediate section 218 of P-trap 213. With first trap nut 229 and/or second trap nut 233 removed, a cleaning instrument (not shown) may be snaked through primary access port 227 and/or secondary access port 231 in order to unclog debris collected within the drain pipes.

As can be appreciated, the provision of secondary cleanout 231 at a location on elbow 221 provides P-trap with the following notable advantages over most conventional P-traps, such as prior art P-trap 113.

As a first advantage, by disposing secondary cleanout 231 at a location along elbow 221, it is to be understood that the removal of only second trap nut 233 (e.g., to perform a snaking operation) will not result in collected debris from spilling out from P-trap 213, thereby minimizing the mess associated with said operation, which is highly desirable.

As a second advantage, by disposing secondary cleanout 231 at a location along elbow 221, water can run from the fixture to which P-trap 213 is coupled during the snaking operation, thereby providing a plumber with an immediate, definitive means of determining whether the snaking operation has eliminated the clog. Furthermore, with the water running, the snaking instrument can be cleaned as it removed from secondary access port 231, which is highly desirable.

Referring now to FIG. 6, there is shown a second embodiment of a P-trap which is constructed according to the teachings of the present invention and which is identified generally by reference numeral 313.

P-trap 313 is similar in construction to P-trap 213 in that P-trap 313 is constructed out of a rigid and durable length of tubing (e.g., PVC, ABS, brass, copper, etc.) that is formed into a generally P-shaped configuration.

P-trap 313 comprises a vertical inlet 315 into which waste material enters and a horizontal outlet 317 from which waste material exits. Inlet 315 and outlet 317 are connected by an intermediate section 318 that includes a U-shaped lower bend 319 and an L-shaped crown, or elbow, 321, with L-shaped crown 321 being disposed above U-shaped lower bend 319. As can be seen, inlet 315, outlet 317 and intermediate section 318 together provide P-trap with its P-shaped configuration.

P-trap 313 is additionally shaped to define a primary access port 323 in lower bend 319 which can be removably enclosed using a threaded trap nut 325. Furthermore, P-trap 313 is shaped to define a secondary access port 327 in elbow 321 which can be removably enclosed using a threaded trap nut 329. Preferably, secondary access port 327 is provided at the approximate mid-point of elbow 321 but is offset slightly to the side to allow for greater accessibility when connected to a sewer line.

The principal distinction between P-trap 313 and P-trap 213 lies in the fact that P-trap 313 comprises a lower bend 319 and an elbow 321 which are removably coupled together (e.g., through a hub fitting/slip fitting interconnection). In particular, it is to be understood that P-trap 313 is designed such that either of ends 331-1 and 331-2 of elbow 321 (each of which is provided with a hub fitting) can be releasably connected to a slip fitting 333 provided on lower bend 319. In this manner, the user can connect the particular end 331 of elbow 321 to lower bend 319 that provides the greater accessibility to secondary access port 327 with respect to the remainder of the waste removal piping, which is highly desirable.

The embodiments shown in the present invention are intended to be merely exemplary and those skilled in the art shall be able to make numerous variations and modifications to them without departing from the spirit of the present invention. All such variations and modifications are intended to be within the scope of the present invention as defined in the appended claims.