Title:
Vacuuming system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A vacuum system includes a storage cabinet which is adapted to be located in a wall, such as between studs or the like, on each floor or in any area. The storage cabinet stores a retractable hose as well as storage for debris collected by the hose. The system is used in the manner of a central vacuum system, but is installed in each room or area of interest rather than one location in a building.



Inventors:
Pagni, Michelle L. (Travelers Rest, SC, US)
Application Number:
11/418286
Publication Date:
11/08/2007
Filing Date:
05/04/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47L5/38
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
THOMAS, DAVID B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SUNG I. OH, PROFESSIONAL LAW CORPORATION (WEST COVINA, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A vacuum system comprising: A) a housing which includes (1) a first end wall which is a top end when the housing is in use, (2) a second end wall which is a bottom end when the housing is in use, (3) a longitudinal axis which extends between the first end wall of the housing and the second end wall of the housing, (4) a first side wall, (5) a second side wall, (6) a width dimension that extends between the first side wall of the housing and the second side wall of the housing, (7) a first face which is an outer face when the housing is in use, (8) a second face which is an inner face when the housing is in use, (9) a flange which is unitary with the first face and surrounds the first face and extends outwardly of the side walls and end walls and defines an annular shoulder around the first face, (10) a storage compartment defined by the side walls, end walls and second face, the storage compartment being open adjacent to the first face, (11) a door hingeably mounted on the flange to move between a storage compartment covering position and a storage compartment uncovering position, (12) a first divider wall mounted on the housing in the storage compartment and extending between the first and second side walls and spaced apart from the first end wall, (13) a second divider wall mounted on the housing in the storage compartment and extending from the second end wall in the direction of the longitudinal axis toward the first end wall and being connected to the first divider wall, (14) the divider walls dividing the storage compartment into subcompartments, the subcompartments including (a) a first subcompartment defined by the first divider wall and the first side wall and the first end wall, (b) a second subcompartment defined by the first divider wall and the second side wall and the first end wall, the second subcompartment being located adjacent to the first subcompartment, (c) a third subcompartment defined by the second divider wall and the first side wall and the second end wall and the first divider wall, and (d) a fourth subcompartment defined by the second divider wall and the second side wall and the second end wall and the first divider wall, (15) a first cover mounted on the housing and covering the first subcompartment, (16) a second cover mounted on the housing and covering the second subcompartment, (17) a third cover mounted on the housing and covering the third subcompartment, the third cover having an access hole defined therethrough, and (18) a fourth cover mounted on the housing and covering the fourth subcompartment; B) a motor located in the first subcompartment; C) a motor control system located in the second subcompartment, the motor control system connecting the motor to a power source when activated to activate the motor; and D) a hose mounted in the third subcompartment, the hose extending through the access hole defined through the third cover and being operatively connected to the motor to be retracted when the motor is activated, the hose having an intake end and a second end which is fluidically connected to a debris storage system.

2. The vacuum system defined in claim 1 wherein the first and second side walls are spaced apart from each other a distance of no more than approximately twenty four inches.

3. The vacuum system defined in claim 1 further including an accessory cart which includes wheels, a handle, mounts for vacuum cleaner accessories, and a storage compartment.

4. A vacuum system comprising: A) a housing which includes (1) a storage compartment, (2) a door hingeably mounted on the flange to move between a storage compartment covering position and a storage compartment uncovering position, and (3) a plurality of divider walls mounted on the housing in the storage compartment, the divider walls dividing the storage compartment into subcompartments; B) a motor located in a first subcompartment; C) a motor control system located in a second subcompartment, the motor control system connecting the motor to a power source when activated to activate the motor; and D) a hose mounted in a third subcompartment, the hose being operatively connected to the motor to be retracted into the third subcompartment when the motor is activated, the hose having an intake end and a second end which is fluidically connected to a debris storage system.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to the general art of vacuum cleaner systems, and to the particular field of central vacuum cleaner systems.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

To avoid the difficulty and inconvenience of moving vacuum equipment around a living space, central vacuum systems have been developed. Central vacuum systems include a motorized suction fan and a dust collector, and an elongated flexible hose extending from the suction assembly. The hose normally has a handle at its distal end. Various accessories are typically proved for attachment to the handle.

Generally, central vacuum systems have a permanently located motorized suction fan, at least one vacuum hose outlet located near an area of living space to be vacuumed, and a conduit connecting the suction fan to the outlet. A flexible hose having a connection end and a handle end is releasably attached at its connection end to the outlet when the surrounding living space is to be vacuumed. Electrical wiring normally extends from the suction fan to the outlet and connects with other wiring extending through the hose to a control means in the handle of the hose, which completes an electrical control circuit.

Central vacuum systems have gained wide popularity and acceptance, particular in homes. However, one continuing annoyance is the need to store the vacuum hose when the system is not being used. Often, the problem is addressed by storing the hose in a closet, or carrying the hose to a remote area such as a garage. Such solutions are either inconvenient or unsightly.

Various means have been suggested by the related art to address this problem. For example, some patents describe central vacuum systems wherein the hose is inserted into the conduit joining the suction fan and the outlet when the hose is not in use. Moving the hose about the house is sometimes difficult and cumbersome, thereby vitiating some of the advantages associated with a central vacuum system.

Some central vacuum systems include a hose storage compartment that can be positioned between the studs of the wall of a house or other structure so that the vacuum hose can be retracted into the compartment when not in use and withdrawn therefrom when it is to be used. A potential problem with this central vacuum hose storage system is that the storage system components are located in an inaccessible area that makes repair of components difficult.

Although the above discussed art provides some improvement over storage of a vacuum hose in a closet or garage, improvement is desired.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The above-discussed disadvantages of the prior art are overcome by a central vacuum system that includes a storage cabinet which is adapted to be located in a wall, such as between studs or the like, on each floor or in any area. The storage cabinet stores a retractable hose as well as storage for debris collected by the hose. The system is used in the manner of a central vacuum system, but is installed in each room or area of interest rather than one location in a building.

Using the vacuum system embodying the present invention will permit a user to move from area to area without requiring the user to carry a hose with them because each area will have its own hose.

The system can include an accessory cart that can be moved from area to area to carry accessories such as hose extensions, brushes and the like. However, the main hose, which can be very heavy and cumbersome, need not be carried about because such hose is already in the storage cabinet in the area to be cleaned.

Other systems, methods, features, and advantages of the invention will be, or will become, apparent to one with skill in the art upon examination of the following figures and detailed description. It is intended that all such additional systems, methods, features, and advantages be included within this description, be within the scope of the invention, and be protected by the following claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES

The invention can be better understood with reference to the following drawings and description. The components in the figures are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention. Moreover, in the figures, like referenced numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the different views.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a wall-mounted storage unit included in the vacuum system embodying the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a portable attachment cart unit included in the vacuum system embodying the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to the figures, it can be understood that the present invention is embodied in a vacuum system 10 which is adapted to be located in a particular area, such as a room, or the like, and which acts like a central vacuum cleaner system, but does so from each individual area rather than from an area central to the entire building. System 10 comprises a housing 12 which is adapted to fit into a wall, such as a wall of a room and is sized to fit between studs of the wall. Thus, the overall width of the housing will be less than the spacing between wall studs, such as for example, twenty-four inches.

Housing 12 includes a first end wall 14 which is a top end when the housing is in use, a second end wall 16 which is a bottom end when the housing is in use and a longitudinal axis 18 which extends between first end wall 14 and second end wall 16. Housing 12 further includes a first side wall 20, a second side wall 22 and a width dimension 24 that extends between first side wall 20 and second side wall 22. A first face 30 is an outer face when housing 12 is in use and a second face 32 is an inner face when the housing is in use. Thus, housing 12 will be mounted in a wall such that first face 30 will be flush with the outer surface of a wall while second face 32 will be located inside the wall.

A flange 34 is unitary with first face 30 and surrounds first face 30 and extends outwardly of the side walls and end walls and defines an annular shoulder 36 around the first face. Annular shoulder 36 will abut the outside surface of the wall in which housing 12 is located. A storage compartment 40 is defined by the side walls, end walls and second face of the housing. Storage compartment 40 is open adjacent to first face 30.

A door 44 is hingeably mounted on flange 34 to move between a storage compartment covering position and a storage compartment uncovering position, with the storage compartment uncovering position being shown in FIG. 1. A first divider wall 50 is mounted on the housing in the storage compartment and extends between the first and second side walls and is spaced apart from first end wall 14. A second divider wall 52 is mounted on the housing in the storage compartment and extends from second end wall 16 in the direction of longitudinal axis 18 toward first end wall 14 and is connected to first divider wall 50.

The divider walls divide storage compartment 40 into subcompartments. The subcompartments include a first subcompartment 60 defined by first divider wall 50 and first side wall 20 and first end wall 14, a second subcompartment 62 defined by first divider wall 50 and second side wall 22 and first end wall 14 with second subcompartment 62 being located adjacent to first subcompartment 60, a third subcompartment 64 defined by second divider wall 52 and first side wall 20 and second end wall 16 and first divider wall 50, and a fourth subcompartment 66 defined by second divider wall 52 and second side wall 22 and second end wall 16 and first divider wall 50.

A first cover 70 is mounted on the housing and covers first subcompartment 60, a second cover 72 is mounted on the housing and covers second subcompartment 62, a third cover 74 is mounted on the housing and covers third subcompartment 64. Third cover 74 has an access hole 76 defined therethrough. A fourth cover 78 is mounted on the housing and covers fourth subcompartment 66. All of the covers can be moved or removed as suitable to uncover the associated subcompartment for access thereto. The covers can be transparent if desired as well.

A motor 80 is located in the first subcompartment and is common type and the details thereof will be well understood by those skilled in the art. The details of motor 80 are not important to this invention and will not be claimed, as such the details of motor 80 will not be discussed. A motor control system 82 is located in the second subcompartment. Motor control system 82 connects motor 80 to a power source, such as utility power, when activated to activate the motor.

A hose 90 is mounted in the third subcompartment. Hose 80 extends through access hole 76 defined through the third cover and is operatively connected to motor 80 to be retracted when the motor is activated. Opening 76 can include a rubber gasket 78 if desired. Hose 80 has an intake end 82 and a second end 84 which is fluidically connected to a debris storage system which can include a canister 86 removably mounted in housing. The details of the system used to retract hose 80 are not important to this invention and will be understood by those skilled in the art from the teaching of disclosure such as U.S. Pat. No. 6,120,615, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. The details of the retraction system for hose 80 are not important to this invention and as such will not be discussed or claimed.

Motor control system 82 can also include a circuit C1 for controlling suction applied to hose 90 as well as a switch-controlled circuit C2 for retracting hose 90 into the housing. Housing 12 fits into a wall between studs and thus, the width dimension as measured between side walls 20 and 22 is less than normal stud spacing, which generally is twenty-four inches. The depth of housing 12 as measured between faces 30 and 32 is approximately the same as the normal depth of a wall. In this manner, housing 12 is placed in a room and operates like a central vacuum cleaner system for that room. Door 44 can be decoratively covered so it fits into the decor of a room.

Hose 90 is pulled out for use and the motor controls are used to operate the system, which has a suction system operated by a motor and the motor controls in a manner well understood by those skilled in the art of vacuum cleaners. Since the details of the vacuum suction system are not important to this invention, they will not be claimed or discussed. The hose need not be carried from room to room, but is simply retracted into housing 12 after use. A housing can be located in each room of a building so that vacuuming can be carried out in the just-described manner without requiring a user to carry a hose from place to place or to store it after use.

System 10 can also include an accessory cart 130 which is used to carry small accessories, such as a hose extension 132, a brush unit 134, special adapter 136 or the like. Cart 130 includes a housing 140 on which mounts, such as mount 142, are attached to hold accessories, and further includes wheels 144 and a handle 146 so it can be easily moved from place to place as required.

While various embodiments of the invention have been described, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that many more embodiments and implementations are possible within the scope of this invention. Accordingly, the invention is not to be restricted except in light of the attached claims and their equivalents.