Title:
Toilet odor removal system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Various embodiments of a toilet odor removal system are disclosed. In general, the toilet odor removal system includes a sealed seat that forms a substantial seal between the user and the rim of the toilet bowl. A gas removal system is in fluid communication with the bowl and operates to substantially remove any offensive odors in the bowl. The offensive odors may be removed from the bowl through any suitable solution, including an integrated conduit in the toilet, an intake ring, or through an annulus and orifices in a gasket of the sealed seat. An advantage of at least one embodiment is a reduction in offensive odors escaping the toilet.



Inventors:
Tolbert, Allan J. (US)
Application Number:
11/455577
Publication Date:
12/20/2007
Filing Date:
06/19/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E03D9/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20100071124BATHTUB SUPPORT ACCESSORYMarch, 2010Ammirato
20060053538Toilet rim block holderMarch, 2006Troost
20030084617Bracket support system for pool cover box lidMay, 2003Smith
20090151060DEBRIS ENTRAPMENT APPARATUSJune, 2009Zubillaga et al.
20090133185TOILET SEAT CLEANING SYSTEMMay, 2009Fisseha
20090158515Odor removal and air freshener systemJune, 2009Bruno
20070294810Plumbing fixture seatDecember, 2007Vierkant et al.
20070011803Manually driven bathtub liftJanuary, 2007Ogrodnick



Primary Examiner:
YOUNKINS, KAREN L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Stacy S. Cook (Leander, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An odor removal system comprising: a toilet having a bowl with a rim; a sealed seat comprising a seat and a gasket, wherein the gasket operates to form a substantial seal between the seat and the rim of the bowl; a gas removal system in fluid communication with the bowl and operable to substantially remove any gases in the bowl.

2. The odor removal system of claim 1, wherein the toilet includes an integrated conduit that fluidly connects the bowl with the gas removal system.

3. The odor removal system of claim 1, wherein the gas removal system includes an intake ring operable to be located within the bowl of the toilet.

4. The odor removal system of claim 1, wherein the gasket includes an annulus and at least one orifice for communicating the gases from the bowl to the gas removal system.

5. The odor removal system of claim 1, wherein the bowl has a volume and the gas removal system operates to remove gases from the bowl at the rate of 2 volumes-per-minute to 20 volumes-per-minute.

6. The odor removal system of claim 1, wherein the gas removal system operates to remove gases from the bowl and create a vacuum of 0.5 to 5 PSI.

7. The odor removal system of claim 1, wherein the gas removal system includes an evacuation device operated by a switch operable to detect the user.

8. The odor removal system of claim 1, wherein the gas removal system includes an evacuation device operable to discharge the gases through a vent to the outside.

9. The odor removal system of claim 8, wherein the gas removal system includes a timer element operable maintain the operation of the evacuation device for a specified period of time.

10. The odor removal system of claim 1, wherein the gasket is replaceable.

11. An odor removal kit for a toilet having a bowl with a rim comprising: a sealed seat operable to form a substantial seal between the rim and a user; a gas removal system operable to be fluidly coupled to the sealed seat to substantially remove gases within the bowl.

12. The odor removal kit of claim 11, wherein the sealed seat includes orifices fluidly connecting the bowl to the gas removal system.

13. The odor removal kit of claim 11, wherein the sealed seat comprises a seat and a gasket.

14. The odor removal kit of claim 13, wherein the gasket is removable.

15. The odor removal kit of claim 13, wherein the gasket includes an adhesive on a least one surface operable to attach the gasket to the seat.

16. The odor removal kit of claim 11, wherein the gas discharge system operates to discharge the gases through a vent.

17. The odor removal kit of claim 16, wherein the gas discharge system includes a remote evacuation device.

18. The odor removal kit of claim 11, wherein the bowl has a volume and the gas removal system operates to remove gases from the bowl at a rate between 2 volumes-per-minute to 20 volumes-per-minute.

19. The odor removal kit of claim 11, wherein the gas removal system operates to remove gases from the bowl and create a vacuum of 0.5 to 5 PSI.

20. A sealed seat comprising: a seat operable to be coupled to a bowl of a toilet and a gas removal system; and a gasket operable to form a substantial seal between the seat and a bowl of the toilet.

21. The sealed seat of claim 20, wherein the seat includes at least one guide operable to align the gasket to the seat.

22. The sealed seat of claim 20, wherein the gasket is removably attached to the seat.

23. The sealed seat of claim 20, wherein the gasket includes an adhesive operable to attach the gasket to the seat.

24. The sealed seat of claim 20, wherein the gasket includes an annulus having at least one orifice operable to be in fluid communication with the bowl and a connector operable to fluidly connect the annulus to a gas removal system.

25. The sealed seat of claim 24, wherein the orifice is oriented to reduce water from the bowl from being sucked into the orifice.

26. The sealed seat of claim 20, wherein the seat includes a riser operable to help form a seal between the seat and the user.

27. The sealed seat of claim 20, wherein the gasket includes a backing strip operable to be attached to the seat, and a rim seal operable to engage a rim of the bowl.

28. A replacement gasket for a toilet odor removal system, wherein the gasket operates to form a substantial seal between a seat and a rim of a bowl of the toilet.

29. The replacement gasket of claim 28, wherein the gasket includes an adhesive operable to attach the gasket to the seat.

30. The replacement gasket of claim 28, wherein the gasket includes a rim seal having a cross-section from one of the following group comprising: a C-seal, a K-seal, a square seal, a tubular seal, and a solid seal.

31. The replacement gasket of claim 28, wherein the gasket comprises: an annulus having at least one orifice operable to be in fluid communication with a bowl of a toilet; and a connector operable to be coupled to a gas removal system.

32. The replacement gasket of claim 31, wherein the orifices are oriented to reduce water from the bowl from being sucked into the orifices during operation of the toilet odor removal system.

33. The replacement gasket of claim 28, further comprising at least one guide operable to align the gasket to a seat.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention generally relates to bathroom apparatus and more specifically to a toilet odor removal system.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Toilets are an indispensable bathroom fixture and their basic flushing system has changed little over time. Modern toilets do little to reduce the emission of offensive odors during their use. In addition to creating a disagreeable experience, offensive odors are micro-particles that could contain viruses or other health contaminates. Reducing offensive odors while using a toilet has the medical health benefits

Conventional odor removal systems typically use a fan mounted on a wall of the room to discharge the offensive odors through a vent. These systems are not very effective and also have the disadvantage of removing the offensive odors only after they are released into the bathroom. These systems are also generally loud and do little to keep the offensive odors from escaping the bathroom.

Other odor removal systems attempt to remove the offensive odors from the bowl of the toilet. One such system utilizes a fan to suck air from the bowl of the toilet and discharge it through a filter system located in the same room as the toilet. Another system discharges the gas through the water trap of the toilet. These odor removal systems have also not proven to be very effective.

Another problem is that modern toilets remain prone to clogging and with restrictions in water use, clogging is becoming an ever greater problem. Various solutions have been developed to minimize clogging, including pressurizing the water and streamlining the discharge system. These systems help reduce clogging, but are not effective in all situations.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A toilet odor removal system and its various implementations is provided. In one embodiment of the present invention, the toilet odor removal system comprises a bowl, a sealed seat and a gas removal system in fluid communication with the bowl. The sealed seat operates to form a substantial seal between a rim of the bowl and a user. The gas removal system operates to substantially remove and discharge any gases in the bowl.

In a particular embodiment of the toilet odor removal system, the toilet includes an integrated conduit that is fluidly connected to ports in the bowl. In this embodiment, water is also flushed through the ports during when the toilet is flushed. An advantage of this embodiment is that the ports are cleaned each time the toilet is flushed.

In another embodiment, the gas removal system includes an intake ring that operates to remove the gases from the bowl. In this embodiment, the intake ring is preferably positioned in the bowl below the rim so that water cleans the intake ring.

In another embodiment, the sealed seat includes orifices that are in fluid communication with the bowl and the gas removal system. In this embodiment, the gases in the bowl are removed through the sealed seat and then discharged through the gas removal system. In the preferred implementation of this embodiment, the sealed seat includes a replaceable gasket having an annulus and orifices that are in fluid communication with the gas removal system and the bowl. An advantage of this embodiment is that the gasket can be replaced when it gets dirty.

In another embodiment of the present invention, an odor removal kit for a toilet is provided. In this embodiment, the odor removal kit includes a sealed seat having a seat and a gasket, and a gas removal system. The seat can be attached to a bowl of the toilet and the gasket operates to form a substantial seal between a rim of the bowl and the seat. The gas removal system can be connected to the sealed seat and operates to remove gases from the bowl of the toilet. In a particular implementation of this embodiment, the gasket includes an annulus and orifices through which the gases are removed from the bowl of the toilet.

In yet another embodiment of the present invention, a sealed seat for a toilet odor removal system is provided. In this embodiment, the sealed seat comprises a seat and a gasket. The sealed seat is operable to be attached to a bowl of a toilet and a gas removal system. The sealed seat includes an annulus, at least one orifice operable to fluidly connect the annulus to the bowl and a connector that fluidly connects the annulus to the gas removal system. The gasket operates to form a substantial seal between the seat and the rim of the bowl of the toilet. In a particular implementation of this embodiment, the annulus and orifices are disposed within the gasket. In this embodiment, the gasket may include an adhesive as a gasket retaining system so that the gasket can be removed and replaced.

In yet another embodiment of the present invention, a replacement gasket for a toilet odor removal system is provided. In this embodiment, the gasket operates to form a substantial seal between a seat and a rim of a bowl of the toilet. In a particular implementation, the gasket includes an adhesive operable to attach the gasket to the seat. In another implementation, the gasket also includes a seal and a connector. The seal includes an annulus and orifices through which gases can be removed from the bowl. The connector connects the annulus to the gas removal system.

The present invention has several important technical advantages. Various embodiments of the present invention may have none, some, or all of these advantages. An advantage of at least one embodiment of the present invention is that health risks are reduced by minimizing the release of particle contaminates from the toilet. Another advantage is that offensive odors are substantially reduced before they escape the bowl of the toilet.

An advantage of at least one implementation is that a conventional toilet can be retrofit to obtain the advantages of the present invention. An advantage of another implementation is that the toilet odor removal system is automatically cleaned when the toilet is flushed. Yet another advantage of at least one implementation is that the gasket is replaceable.

Other technical advantages will be readily apparent to one skilled in the art from the following figures, descriptions, and claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a more complete understanding of the invention and the advantages thereof, reference is now made to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals represent like parts, in which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic side view of a toilet odor removal system in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a schematic side view of one embodiment of the toilet odor removal system shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a schematic side view of another embodiment of the toilet odor removal system shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4A is schematic side view of a sealed seat in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 4B is schematic side view of a sealed seat in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIGS. 1 through 4B illustrate various embodiments of the present invention. The present invention is illustrated in terms of a bowl-type toilet. It should be understood that the present invention may be used in any type of toilet or such other similar fixture without departing from the spirit and scope of this invention. For example, the present invention may be used in pan-type designs instead of a bowl-type toilet design as illustrated herein.

FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional view of a toilet odor removal system 10. In the embodiment illustrated, the toilet odor removal system 10 includes a toilet 11 having a bowl 12 with a rim 14, a discharge system 16, a water supply system 18, a sealed seat 20 and a gas removal system 22. When a user sits on the sealed seat 20, the sealed seat 20 engages the rim 14 and a relatively closed cavity 24 is formed between the user, sealed seat 20 and bowl 12. The gas removal system 22 is fluidly connected to the bowl 12 and operates to substantially remove the air and any offensive odors 26 from the cavity 24 and discharge them to the outside 28. As a result, any offensive odors 26 are substantially removed from the cavity 24 before they can escape into the room.

The water supply system 18 operates to deliver water to the bowl 12. The water supply system 18 is generally incorporated into the toilet 11 and includes a flushing system 29 that operates to deliver water from a reservoir 30 to the bowl 12. In the embodiment illustrated, the reservoir 30 comprises a holding tank. In other embodiments, the reservoir 30 may comprise a direct water feed or include a water pressure pump to increase the water pressure delivered to the bowl 12. The flushing system 29 may also include other mechanism and valves for delivering water to the bowl 12.

The reservoir 30 typically delivers water to the bowl 12 through a series of ducts 31 that discharge water into the bowl 12 at ports 32 generally located below rim 14. When activated by the flushing system 29, i.e., flushed, the water from the reservoir 30 is released through the ports 32 into the bowl 12. The ports 32 are often optimized to cause a swirling motion to facilitate the cleaning of the bowl 12 and discharge of any waste materials through the discharge system 16.

The discharge system 16 is connected to the bowl 12 and operates to remove the water and any waste materials from the bowl 12. The discharge system 16 typically includes piping 34 and a trap 36, such as a S-type trap or a P-type trap. The discharge system 16 is connected to a sewer system, septic system or other type of waste removal system. In the preferred embodiment, the discharge system 16 also generally includes a discharge vent 38 that operates to vent sewer gases to the outside 28.

The sealed seat 20 provides a comfortable seating surface for the user and also forms a substantial seal between the user and the rim 14 of the bowl 12. The cavity 24 formed by the user, sealed seat 20 and the bowl 12 is not required to be fully enclosed or sealed, but the better the seal—the better the removal of the offensive odors 26 from the cavity 24. The sealed seat 20 may comprise any acceptable design and components, some of which are described in greater detail below.

A volume 40 is associated with the cavity 24. The gas removal system 22 operates to remove the offensive odors 26 from the cavity 24 at a discharge rate 41 to form a mild vacuum 42 within the cavity 24. The volume 40, discharge rate 41 and vacuum 42 are interrelated and impact the effectiveness of the improved toilet 10 at minimizing the escape of the offensive odors 26 from the cavity 24. For example, the discharge rate 41 is affected by the vacuum 42 and size of the ducts removing the offensive odors 26 from the cavity 24. The vacuum 42 is affected by the discharge rate 41 and the volume 40.

In general, the larger the volume 40 of the cavity 24, the greater the discharge rate 41 and/or vacuum 42 required to effectively remove the offensive odors 26 from the cavity 24 by the gas removal system 22. The volume 40 is principally determined by the design of the bowl 12. The discharge rate 41 and the vacuum 42 are determined by the gas removal system 22.

The discharge rate 41 of the gas removal system 22 impacts the effectiveness of the improved toilet 10 at minimizing the escape of any air and offensive odors 26 from the cavity 24. In general, a higher discharge rate 41 minimizes the air and offensive odors 26 that can escape the cavity 24. In most applications, the gas removal system 22 should operate at a discharge rate 41 of 2-20 volumes 40 per minute. In the preferred embodiment, the gas removal system 22 operates at a discharge rate 41 of 5-10 volumes 40 per minute.

The vacuum 42 applied to the cavity 24 also impacts the effectiveness of the improved toilet 10 at minimizing the escape of the offensive odors 26 from the bowl 12. A low vacuum 42 is more likely to allow the air and offensive odors 26 to escape the bowl 12. A high vacuum 42 minimizes the opportunity for the air and offensive odors 26 to escape the bowl 12, but it can also be problematic for the user. For example, a high vacuum 42 can cause the user to be become stuck to the sealed seat 20, create dry chaffing on the user or create an uncomfortable pressure on the user. In most applications, the vacuum 42 delivered to the cavity 24 is 0.5 to 5 PSI, meaning that the air pressure at the cavity 24 is 0.5 to 5 PSI less than the air pressure outside the improved toilet 10. In the preferred embodiment, the vacuum 42 is within the range of 1.5 to 3.0 PSI.

The gas removal system 22 includes an evacuation device 44 and a switch 46. The evacuation device 44 is in fluid communication with the cavity 24 and operates to remove the offensive odors 26 from the cavity 24 and discharge them to the outside 28. The evacuation device 44 can comprise any suitable device or system that is capable of moving gases at a suitable discharge rate 41 and create a suitable vacuum 42, such as a blade fan, squirrel fan, vacuum fan or water fan. In the preferred embodiment, the evacuation device 44 comprises a direct current blade type electric fan that is moisture resistant.

The evacuation device 44 may be located remotely to minimize the noise heard by the user. In particular, the evacuation device 44 is preferably built into a wall 47 of the bathroom and discharges the offensive odors 26 into the discharge vent 38. The evacuation device 44 is also preferably located higher than the reservoir 30. This provides an additional safety factor by preventing potential water leakage into the gas removal system 22 and potentially shorting the evacuation device 44. The gas removal system 22 may also include a one-way valve 48, such as a flapper valve, that operates to prevent air from the vent 38 from migrating into the bowl 12 when the evacuation device 44 is not operating.

The switch 46 operates to activate the evacuation device 44. In one embodiment, the switch 46 includes a sensor 50 that automatically detects the presence of the user and activates the evacuation device 44. Examples include a pressure switch that detects the user sitting on the sealed seat 20, an optical switch or an infrared switch. In another embodiment, the switch 46 is a manual switch that is operated by the user, such as a wall mounted switch. In each case, the preferred embodiment of the switch 46 includes a timer 52 operable to maintain the activation of the evacuation device 44 during an established time period. The gas removal system 22 and its components may comprise other suitable devices and systems for removing the offensive odors 26 from the cavity 24.

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional side view of a toilet 11a in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment, the toilet 11a includes an integrated conduit 200 that is fluidly connected between the gas removal system 22 and the bowl 12a.

In the preferred embodiment, the conduit 200 is integrated with a water supply system 18a so that the offensive odors 26 are removed through ports 32a in the bowl 12a. A valve 202 preferably connects the conduit 200 to ducts 31a. The valve 202 operates to prevent water from being sucked through the conduit 200 into the evacuation device 44 when the flushing system 29a is activated and water discharges through the ducts 31a and ports 32a. The valve 202 may comprise any type or style of suitable device, such as a flap valve, back-flow prevention valve, gate valve or globe valve operated by the flushing system, mechanically or electrically.

The evacuation device 44 may also be turned off when the flushing system 29a is activated to further reduce the possibility of water being sucked into the evacuation device 44. The ports 32a, ducts 31a, and conduit 200 are sized to provide an adequate discharge rate 41 for removing the offensive odors 26 from the bowl 12a.

An advantage of this embodiment is that the ports 32a are cleaned each time the toilet 11a is flushed, thereby minimizing cleaning and potential contamination of the toilet 11 and/or the gas removal system 22. The toilet 11a may comprise other suitable devices and embodiments of the denoted components. For example, the conduit 200 may be fluidly connected to the bowl 12a via one or more dedicated orifices integrated into the bowl 12a. In addition, the ports 32 and orifices may be shaped to prevent water from the bowl 12a from contaminating the conduit 200 and the gas removal system 22.

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional side view of a gas removal system 22a in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment, the gas removal system 22a includes an intake ring 300 operable to be located in the bowl 12. As described in greater detail below, the offensive odors 26 are removed from the bowl 12 through the intake ring 300.

In the embodiment illustrated, the intake ring 300 comprises a tubular ring 302, a connecting tube 304 and retainers 306. The tubular ring 302 has a shape 308 to fit specific sizes and shapes of bowl 12. For example, most bowls 12 have a circular or oval shape, so the tubular ring 302 has a corresponding shape 308 of a circle or oval. The tubular ring 302 also includes orifices 312 fluidly connecting the bowl 12 with the inner passage of the tubular ring 302. The number and orientation of the orifices 312 will vary depending on the particular shape 308 of the tubular ring 302.

The connecting tube 304 fluidly connects the tubular ring 302 to the other components of the gas removal system 22a. In the preferred embodiment, a coupling 314 connects the connecting tube 304 to the other components of the gas removal system 22b, such as the valve 48. The coupling 314 is preferably a quick disconnect type connector that will allow the intake ring 300 to be easily disconnected from the other components of the gas removal system 22a. The retainers 306 generally fit over the rim 12 and position the tubular ring 302 below the rim 14 so that the tubular ring 302 is rinsed during the flushing operation. The retainers 306 may comprise clips, adhesives or other suitable devices for securing the tubular ring 302 to the bowl 12. The fluid passages of the tubular ring 302, orifices 312 and connecting tube 304 are sized remove the offensive odors 26 from the bowl 12 at a suitable discharge rate 41, as discussed in FIG. 1.

In the preferred embodiment, the intake ring 300 is easily removable from the toilet 11 and can be easily disconnected from the other portions of the gas removal system 22a. As a result, the intake ring 300 can be simply replaced when the intake ring 300 is contaminated or damaged.

FIG. 4A is a cross-sectional side view of a sealed seat 20a in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment, the sealed seat 20a operates to form a substantial seal between the user and the rim 14 of the bowl 12. This embodiment of the sealed seat 20a is preferably used in embodiments exemplified by the toilet odor removal system 10 described in FIGS. 1 and 2.

The sealed seat 20a is attachable to the toilet 11 and comprises a seat 400 and at least one gasket 402. The seat 400 provides a seating surface for the user to sit and forms a suitable seal between the user and the seat 402. The gasket 402 forms a suitable seal between the seat 400 and the rim 14 of the bowl 12. The result is the relatively closed cavity 24. A reasonable amount of leakage is allowed into the cavity 24 from the seal formed between the seat 400 and the user, and the seal formed between the rim 14 and the gasket 402. The leakage into the cavity 24 is preferably less than the discharge rate 41 so that a mild vacuum 42 is maintained.

The seat 400 includes a seating surface 404 and a sealing surface 406. When in operation, the user sits on the seating surface 404. The seat 400 has a shape 408 that minimizes leakage between the user and the seating surface 404. The shape 408 is preferably a complete oval or circle, but with a sufficient discharge rate 41 the shape 408 of seat 400 may include a cut-out. The seating surface 404 of the seat 400 may also be contoured to minimize leakage between the user and the seating surface 404. For example, in one embodiment the seating surface 404 is contoured to provide a raised riser 409 shaped to help form a seal between the legs of the user and the seat 400. The seating surface 404 may also be padded to improve the seal between the user and the seating surface 404.

The gasket 402 is attached to the sealing surface 406 of the seat 400. The sealing surface 406 and gasket 402 may also include matching guide 410 that helps align the gasket 402 to the sealing surface 406. For example, the guide 410 may comprise a cut-out, a channel on the sealing surface 406 or any other feature or device that operates to align the gasket 402 to the seat 400.

The thickness of the gasket 402 is sized so that the gasket 402 is compressed when the user sits on the seat 400. The gasket 402 may comprise any suitable cross-section 412 suitable to form a substantial seal between the sealing surface 406 of the seat 400 and the rim 14 of the bowl 12. For example, the cross-section 412 may be a C-seal, a K-seal, a rectangular seal, or a circular seal, whether solid or tubular.

The gasket 402 preferably comprises a backing strip 416 and a rim seal 418. In this embodiment, the backing strip 416 is attached to the sealing surface 406 of the seat 400 and the rim seal 418 contacts the rim 14 of the bowl 12. The gasket 402 may include other suitable features without departing from the scope of the present invention. For example, the gasket 402 may include multiple concentric sealing surfaces or rim seals 418.

The sealed seat 20a includes a gasket retaining system 414 for physically attaching the gasket 402 to the sealing surface 404 of the seat 400. They type of gasket retaining system 414 generally depends upon the type of gasket 402. The gasket retaining system 414 may be integrated with the gasket 402, such as an adhesive, or integrated with the seat 400, such as a press fit of the gasket 402 within the seat 400. In the preferred embodiment, the gasket retaining system 414 is a water resistant adhesive that has a peel-off backing that is removed immediately before attaching the gasket 402 to the sealing surface 406 of the seat 400. In this embodiment, the adhesive gasket retaining system 414 allows the gasket 402 to be easily removed from the seat 400 to allow for simple replacement or cleaning. The gasket retaining system 414 may comprise other suitable devices for attaching the gasket 402 to the seat 400, including retainers such as clips and screws; press fit; and mechanical locks.

The sealed seat 20a reduces leakage into/from the cavity 24 to minimize the offensive odors 26 released outside of the bowl 12. It is anticipated that the sealed seat 20a may include other suitable devices and features without departing from the scope of the present invention.

FIG. 4B is a cross-sectional side view of a sealed seat 20b in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment, the sealed seat 20b is similar to the sealed seat 20a, but also fluidly connects the gas removal system 22 with the cavity 24. As a result, this embodiment allows a conventional toilet to be retrofit as a toilet odor removal system 10.

The sealed seat 20b is attachable to the toilet 11 and comprises a seat 400b and at least one gasket 402b. The seat 400b provides a seating surface for the user to sit and forms a suitable seal between the user and the seat 400b. Unless otherwise defined, the seat 400b includes the same or similar features associated with seat 400 described in FIG. 4A.

In the preferred embodiment, the gasket 402b comprises a seal 420 and a connector 422. The seal 420 is coupled to the seat 400b and operates to form a substantial seal between the seat 400b and the rim 14 of the bowl 12. The gasket 402b preferably includes guides 410 and the gasket retaining system 414 described in FIG. 4A. In the preferred embodiment, the guides 410 are cutouts that align to corresponding features on the seat 400b, and the gasket retaining system 414 is a water resistant adhesive on the seal 420 portion of the gasket 402b that has a peel-off backing that is removed immediately before attaching the gasket 402b to the seat 400b. This embodiment allows the gasket 402b to be easily removed and replaced from the seat 400b.

The seal 420 of the gasket 402b includes an annulus 430 and one or more orifices 432 that fluidly connects the annulus 430 to the cavity 24. The annulus 430 and orifices 432 operate to provide a fluid communication path for removing the offensive odors 26 from the cavity 24 and communicating them to the connector 422. The cross-section of the annulus 430 and shape of the orifices 432 are preferably designed to maximize the removal of the offensive odors 26 from the cavity 24, while also minimizing potential discomfort to the user. For example, the orifices 432 oriented toward the rear of the seal 420 may be sized to remove the offensive odors 26 at a faster rate than the orifices 432 at the front of the seal 420. The preferred embodiment of the seal 420 includes a backing strip 416b and a rim seal 418b. As described in FIG. 4A, the backing strip 416b operates to mate with the seat 400b and may include the guide 410 and the gasket retaining system 414. The annulus 430 and orifices 432 may be disposed in the backing strip 416b, the rim seal 418b, or any suitable combination of the backing strip 416b and rim seal 418b. In particular, the rim seal 418b and orifices 432 may be located to minimize any water from the bowl 12 from splashing and entering the orifices 432. For example, the rim seal 418b can be positioned so that the rim seal 418b engages the outer portion of the rim 14 instead of the inner portion of the rim 14 near the water in the bowl 12.

The connector 422 connects the annulus 430 of the seal 420 to the gas removal system 22. The connector 422 generally comprises a tube 440 connected to the seal 420 and a coupling 442 on the opposite end that can be connected to the gas removal system 22. In the preferred embodiment, the coupling 442 is a quick connect coupling that can be easily attached/detached from the gas removal system 22.

The connector 422 may have any suitable length and is preferably manufactured from a water resistant material, such as plastic. The connector 422 may include other suitable features and devices without departing from the scope of the present invention. For example, the connector 422 may include wiring for connecting the sensor 50 to the switch 46.

Throughout the description and claims of this specification the word “comprise” and “includes,” as well as variations of that word, are not intended to exclude other additives, components, integers or steps. While the preferred embodiments of the invention has been particularly shown and described in the foregoing detailed description, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various other changes in form and detail may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims.