Title:
STORAGE TANK WITH ORGANIZER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A bladder tank for storing a liquid includes an outer housing and an inner bladder. A storage platform is mounted to the outer housing for storing an article thereon. Miscellaneous articles can be stored on the storage platform. The bladder tank can be mounted in a cabinet beneath a sink.



Inventors:
Palkon, David (Tinley Park, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/619733
Publication Date:
07/05/2007
Filing Date:
01/04/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B77/06; A47K1/04; E03C1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
FETSUGA, ROBERT M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PEARNE & GORDON LLP (CLEVELAND, OH, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A device, comprising: a bladder tank for storing a liquid including an outer housing and an inner bladder; and a storage platform mounted to the outer housing for storing an article thereon.

2. A device as set forth in claim 1, wherein the storage platform includes a shelf.

3. A device as set forth in claim 1, wherein the storage platform includes a tray.

4. A device as set forth in claim 1, wherein the storage platform includes a plurality of trays.

5. A device, comprising: a cabinet; a sink mounted to the cabinet; and a tank for holding a liquid, wherein the tank is located within the cabinet; and a storage platform mounted to the tank.

6. A device as set forth in claim 5, wherein the storage platform includes a shelf.

7. A device as set forth in claim 5, wherein the storage platform includes a tray.

8. A device as set forth in claim 5, wherein the storage platform includes a plurality of trays.

9. A device as set forth in claim 5, wherein the tank includes a housing and further wherein the storage platform is mounted to the housing.

10. A device as set forth in claim 5, wherein the tank is a bladder tank comprising a housing and a bladder located within the housing for holding the liquid, and further wherein the storage platform is mounted to the housing.

11. A device as set forth in claim 10, wherein the storage platform includes a tray.

12. A device as set forth in claim 10, wherein the storage platform includes a plurality of trays.

13. A device, comprising: a faucet configured for mounting to a sink; a potable water storage tank forming an interior space, wherein the faucet is in fluid communication with said interior space; and a storage platform mounted to the potable water storage tank.

14. A device as set forth in claim 13, further comprising a cabinet including the sink, wherein the potable water storage tank is located within the cabinet.

15. A device as set forth in claim 13, wherein the storage platform includes a shelf.

16. A device as set forth in claim 13, wherein the storage platform includes a tray.

17. A device as set forth in claim 13, wherein the tank includes a housing and further wherein the storage platform is mounted to the housing.

18. A device as set forth in claim 13, wherein the tank is a bladder tank comprising a housing and a bladder located within the housing, and further wherein the storage platform is mounted to the housing.

19. A device as set forth in claim 18, wherein the storage platform includes a plurality of trays.

20. A device as set forth in claim 13 wherein the tank is a bladder tank comprising a housing and a bladder located within the housing; wherein the storage platform is mounted to the housing; wherein said interior space is a variable volume interior space within the bladder; and wherein an additional interior space is formed between an outer surface of the bladder and an interior surface of the housing.

21. A device as set forth in claim 20, further comprising: a water purification filter having a source water inlet and a purified water outlet, wherein the purified water outlet is in fluid communication with said interior space within the bladder; a first normally closed valve for controlling a discharge of purified water from the faucet; a second normally closed valve for controlling a flow of source water into said additional interior space formed between the outer surface of the bladder and the interior surface of the housing; and a manual operating lever for opening both of the first normally closed valve and the second normally closed valve.

22. A device as set forth in claim 21, wherein the tank is a modified hydropneumatic bladder tank from which an air valve has been removed.

23. A device as set forth in claim 21, wherein the tank is a modified hydropneumatic bladder tank having no air valve.

24. A device, comprising: a modified hydropneumatic tank from which an air valve has been removed, wherein the tank includes a housing and a bladder located within the housing, wherein the bladder divides an interior region within the housing into a first interior space for storing a liquid and a second interior space; a faucet having an operating lever, wherein the faucet is adapted for mounting within a faucet hole of a sink, wherein the faucet is in fluid communication with the first interior space; a first normally closed valve for controlling a discharge of water from the first interior space through the faucet; and a second normally closed valve for controlling a flow of water into the second interior space, wherein operation of the operating lever causes the first normally closed valve and the second normally closed valve to open.

25. A device as set forth in claim 24, wherein the discharged water is permeate from a reverse osmosis water treatment process.

26. A device as set forth in claim 24, wherein the faucet is adapted for mounting within a standard-sized faucet hole having a nominal diameter of 1½ inches.

27. A device as set forth in claim 24, further comprising a plurality of storage trays mounted to the housing.

28. A device, comprising: a cabinet; a sink mounted to the cabinet; a bladder tank for storing potable water, wherein the bladder tank includes a housing and a bladder located within the housing for storing the potable water, and further wherein the bladder tank is mounted beneath the sink and within the cabinet and is attached to an interior wall of the cabinet; a first article storage tray mounted to the housing; a second article storage tray mounted to the housing; a faucet assembly mounted to the sink, wherein a discharge orifice of the faucet assembly is in fluid communication with an interior space of the bladder for discharging the potable water from the bladder, and further wherein the faucet assembly includes: a lever; a first normally closed valve for controlling the discharge of potable water from the bladder through the orifice; and a second normally closed valve for controlling a flow of pressurizing water into a space between an interior surface of the housing and an exterior surface of the bladder; wherein operation of the operating lever causes the first normally closed valve and the second normally closed valve to open simultaneously.

29. A method, comprising the steps of: providing a hydropneumatic bladder tank for storing potable water, wherein the tank forms a potable water storage chamber and an air storage chamber, and wherein the tank includes an air valve; removing the air valve; installing a conduit between the air storage chamber and a water source, wherein the conduit includes a normally closed valve for controlling a flow of water from the water source to the air storage chamber.

30. A method as set forth in claim 29, further comprising the steps of: replacing the air valve with an adapter; and connecting the conduit to the adapter.

31. A method as set forth in claim 30, further comprising the step of installing a drain conduit to allow water to drain from the air storage chamber.

32. A method as set forth in claim 30, further comprising the step of providing a faucet including said normally closed valve and another normally closed valve, wherein said another normally closed valve is adapted to control a flow of potable water from the potable water storage chamber.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/756,317, filed Jan. 5, 2006, is hereby claimed and the disclosure incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a storage tank, and more particularly a bladder tank for storing a liquid therein, which is suitable for mounting within a cabinet for a sink.

2. Description of Related Art

It is known to provide a water storage tank under a sink and within a cabinet for the sink. One such system is described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,704,078. However, such tanks are typically bulky and take up space within the cabinet that could otherwise be used for the storage of articles.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, provided is a bladder tank for storing a liquid. The bladder tank includes an outer housing and an inner bladder. A storage platform is mounted to the outer housing for storing an article thereon.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, provided is a cabinet. A sink is mounted to the cabinet. A tank for holding a liquid is located within the cabinet. A storage platform is mounted to the tank.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, provided is a faucet configured for mounting to a sink and a potable water storage tank forming an interior space. The faucet is in fluid communication with the interior space. A storage platform is mounted to the potable water storage tank.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, provided is a modified hydropneumatic tank from which an air valve has been removed. The tank includes a housing and a bladder located within the housing. The bladder divides an interior region within the housing into a first interior space for storing a liquid and a second interior space. A faucet having an operating lever is adapted for mounting within a faucet hole of a sink and is in fluid communication with the first interior space. A first normally closed valve controls a discharge of water from the first interior space through the faucet. A second normally closed valve controls a flow of water into the second interior space. Operation of the operating lever causes the first normally closed valve and the second normally closed valve to open.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, provided is a cabinet and a sink mounted to the cabinet. A bladder tank stores potable water. The bladder tank includes a housing and a bladder located within the housing for storing the potable water. The bladder tank is mounted beneath the sink and within the cabinet and is attached to an interior wall of the cabinet. A first article storage tray and a second article storage tray are mounted to the housing. A faucet assembly is mounted to the sink. A discharge orifice of the faucet assembly is in fluid communication with an interior space of the bladder for discharging potable water from the bladder. The faucet assembly includes a lever. The faucet assembly further includes a first normally closed valve for controlling the discharge of potable water from the bladder through the orifice. The faucet assembly also includes a second normally closed valve for controlling a flow of pressurizing water into a space between an interior surface of the housing and an exterior surface of the bladder. Operation of the operating lever causes the first normally closed valve and the second normally closed valve to open simultaneously.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, provided is a method of modifying a storage tank. The method includes the step of providing a hydropneumatic bladder tank for storing potable water. The tank forms a potable water storage chamber and an air storage chamber. The tank includes an air valve. The method further includes the steps of removing the air valve, and installing a conduit between the air storage chamber and a water source. The conduit includes a normally closed valve for controlling a flow of water from the water source to the air storage chamber.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a cabinet for a sink having a bladder tank which includes an organizer mounted within the cabinet;

FIG. 2 is an exterior perspective view of a bladder tank having an organizer;

FIG. 3 is an interior perspective view of the bladder tank of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a schematic diagram of a process including water purification, permeate storage and permeate discharge;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a faucet assembly for discharging stored permeate; and

FIG. 6 is a partial section view of the faucet assembly of FIG. 5.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 shows an example embodiment of a tank, for example a water storage bladder tank 10, mounted within a cabinet 11. A sink 12 is mounted to the cabinet 11. The sink includes a first faucet 13 and, optionally, a second faucet 14. As will be described in detail below, the first faucet 13 is used to discharge liquid from the bladder tank 10. The optional second faucet 14 is for discharging water from a source other than the bladder tank, such as water from a conventional distribution system within a building, which can be supplied by a municipal water source or a well. The sink and cabinet assembly shown in FIG. 1 can be located, for example, in a bathroom, a kitchen, or in a utility room.

FIG. 2 provides a detailed view of the exterior of the bladder tank 10. The bladder tank 10 includes an outer housing 20 that encloses a bladder (not shown in FIG. 2). The outer housing 20 can be, for example, a metal housing or a plastic housing, such as an injection molded plastic housing. The housing 20 is of a generally rectangular shape and includes mounting brackets 21 for securing the tank in place, such as to an interior wall of the cabinet 11 (see FIG. 1). The bladder tank 10 includes storage platforms 22 for storing miscellaneous articles 23, which may be unrelated to the operation of the bladder tank 10. As used herein, the terms “storage platform” refer to a platform on which an article that is separate from the tank may be stored. Example storage platforms 22 include shelves, trays, baskets and individual bottle holders that are attached to the housing 20. Example miscellaneous articles 23 that can be stored on the storage platforms 22 include bottles, cans, and other containers that are typically found within a cabinet under a sink, such as bottles of cleaning products. Because the bladder tank 10 includes storage platforms 22 for storing miscellaneous articles 23, the bladder tank 10 can serve as a cabinet organizer, in addition to storing a liquid. The housing 20 can also include other types storage devices, in addition to or instead of the storage platforms 22. For example, the housing can include hooks, bars such as towel racks, dishes such as soap dishes, magazine racks, magnetic holding devices, and the like.

The bladder tank 10 further includes a first port 24 and a second port 25. The ports 24, 25 serve as connection points for conduits (e.g. pipe or tubing and valves, adapters, fittings, etc. associated therewith) to be connected to the bladder tank 10. As best seen in FIG. 3, which provides an interior view of the bladder tank 10, the first port 24 is in fluid communication with the interior space of a bladder. The second port 25 is in fluid communication with a space between the outer surface of the bladder and the interior surface of the housing 20. The bladder can be selectively filled and drained through the first port 24, and the space between the bladder and housing 20 can be selectively filled and drained through the second port 25.

Through the first port 24, a liquid is provided to the bladder 26 and stored therein. For example, purified water, such as permeate from a reverse osmosis water treatment system, may be stored in the bladder 26. Stored liquid is forced out of the bladder 26 by pressurizing the exterior of the bladder 26. To pressurize the exterior of the bladder 26, the space between the outer surface of the bladder 26 and the interior surface of the housing 20 is flooded with pressurizing water through the second port 25. The building in or at which the bladder tank 10 is installed will have a water distribution system that operates under pressure, for example 60 pounds per square inch (psi). Water from the pressurized distribution system is selectively provided to the space between the outer surface of the bladder 26 and the interior surface of the housing 20, flooding the area between the bladder and housing. Flooding the housing as described squeezes the bladder 26 and forces stored liquid out of the bladder 26. When the pressurizing water is shut-off, the remaining water in the space located between the outer surface of the bladder 26 and the interior surface of the housing 20 drains through the second port 25 and through a flow-restricted drain line (see FIG. 4). Draining is aided by additional filling of the bladder 26, which expands as it fills and forces additional remaining water out of the second port 25.

The bladder 26 is shown in FIG. 3 as a flexible bag. It is to be appreciated that the bladder could also form a flexible wall or diaphragm within the tank 10 that divides the interior of the tank 10 into a water storage region and a pressurizing region. The term “bladder” as used herein refers to both flexible bag bladders and diaphragms.

A schematic diagram of a process for providing water purification, permeate storage and permeate discharge is shown in FIG. 4. A source water line 41 provides potable water under pressure from a water distribution system. The source water line 41 feeds potable source water to a water purification system, for example, a media filter or a reverse osmosis water treatment system 42. Purified potable water, or permeate, flows from the water treatment system 42 through permeate delivery lines 43 and 44. Permeate delivery line 43 transfers permeate to the first faucet 13 and permeate delivery line 44 transfers permeate to and from the bladder in the bladder tank 10. Another source water line 45 provides pressurizing water to the bladder tank 10, to flood the space between the bladder and housing as described above. A drain line 46 having a flow restrictor 47 is connected to source water line 45, which allows pressurizing water to drain from the bladder tank 10.

A first normally closed valve 48 is mounted along the permeate delivery line 43 and controls the discharge of permeate from the first faucet 13. A second normally closed valve 49 is mounted along the source water line 45 and controls the flow of pressurizing water into the space between the bladder and housing. In an embodiment, operations of the first and second normally closed valves 48, 49 are interlocked, so that the valves open and close together. This is shown schematically via the dashed line in FIG. 4.

In an embodiment, the first faucet forms 13 is a faucet assembly for mounting to a standard faucet hole in a sink, such as a 1½ inch faucet hole. The faucet assembly includes the first normally closed valve 48 and the second normally closed valve 49. The faucet assembly further includes a manual operator (see FIG. 5), such as a lever 54, for opening the first and second normally closed valves 48, 49.

When permeate is not being demanded by a consumer, that is, when no consumer is actuating the lever 54 (see FIG. 5), source water is purified by the water treatment system 42 and permeate delivered to the bladder in the bladder tank 10. Pressurizing water, if present, drains from the space between the bladder and housing through the drain line 46 and flow restrictor 47. The consumer withdraws permeate from the bladder by actuating the lever 54, which opens the first and second normally closed valves 48, 49. Opening the second normally closed valve 49 floods the space between the bladder and housing with source water under pressure, which squeezes the bladder. Permeate is squeezed from the bladder, through the now open first normally closed valve 48, and is discharged from the first faucet 13 for use by the consumer. Source water drains from source water line 45 through the drain line 46 while the space between the bladder and housing is being flooded. However, flow through the drain line is restricted by the flow restrictor 47 and, therefore, adequate pressure is obtained within the housing to remove permeate from the bladder.

It is to be appreciated that the first and second normally closed valves 48, 49 could be electrically operated valves that respond to, for example, a contact closure or an electrical signal, such as a voltage signal. Furthermore, the contact closure or signal could come from a remote device, such as an icemaker, and the valves 48, 49 could be used to provide permeate to the remote device or another device requiring permeate.

FIG. 5 shows the faucet assembly 51 for the first faucet 13 (see FIG. 1). The faucet assembly 51 is designed to be mounted within a faucet hole, as provided in a conventional sink. In an embodiment, the faucet assembly 51 is configured for mounting in a faucet hole having a nominal diameter of 1½ inches. The faucet assembly 51 includes a spout 52, which is attached to a base 53. An operating lever 54 projects from the base 53. As can be seen in the partial section view of FIG. 6, the first and second normally closed valves 48, 49 are mounted within the base 53. The normally closed valves 48, 49 are spring-biased in the closed position. When the operating lever 54 is depressed, the normally closed valves 48, 49 are opened. In an embodiment, the faucet assembly 51 can include one or more inserts 55, 56, such as plastic inserts, which are covered by the base 53, and which contain, for example, seats for the valves 48, 49 and internal flow passageways. The bottom of the faucet assembly 51 can include a tubing holder 57, through which tubing passes and is held in place.

Conventional bladder tanks for holding permeate from a reverse osmosis water treatment system often use compressed air as the pressurizing fluid for squeezing the bladder to discharge permeate, rather than source water under distribution pressure as described above. Such tanks are known as hydropneumatic bladder tanks. The bladder divides the tank into a water storage chamber and a compressed air storage chamber. The tank housing in such a conventional system can include an air valve, such as a Schrader valve, to allow a user to recharge or pump up the pressure within the compressed air storage chamber. Such a conventional system can be converted to a source water driven system as described above by replacing the Schrader valve with a suitable adapter, to permit the attachment of a source water line 45 (See FIG. 4). Preferably, the faucet in the conventional system would be replaced with a faucet assembly 51 having two normally closed valves 48, 49, as described above. Also, plumbing modifications as necessary to provide a system as shown schematically in FIG. 4 would be made, such as the addition of the drain line 46 and flow restrictor 47.

It should be evident that this disclosure is by way of example and that various changes may be made by adding, modifying or eliminating details without departing from the fair scope of the teaching contained in this disclosure. The invention is therefore not limited to particular details of this disclosure except to the extent that the following claims are necessarily so limited.