Title:
VENTILATION FAN AND HANGING LIGHT FIXTURE ARRANGEMENT
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A ventilation fan and hanging light arrangement includes a ventilator assembly located in a ceiling of the room and a cover in the form of a ceiling medallion disposed in covering relation to the ventilator assembly. The ventilator assembly includes a ventilator having an impeller and an airduct attachment opening for ventilating air from the room through the airduct attachment opening. The cover disposed over the ventilator assembly conceals the ventilator assembly from view by a person in the room. However, the cover has at least one ventilation opening disposed therein that allows airflow there through from the room to the ventilator assembly. A hanging light fixture is suspended from the ceiling directly below the ventilator assembly. The cover preferably is a decorative ceiling medallion that compliments the hanging light fixture. The arrangement hides the ventilator assembly such that a person in the room will not immediately appreciate that the room is ventilated.



Inventors:
Wellner, Robin Bohrer (Charlotte, NC, US)
Rubright, Lana Mcclanahan (Charlotte, NC, US)
Application Number:
11/470986
Publication Date:
03/13/2008
Filing Date:
09/07/2006
Assignee:
Brushstrokes Design Studio, Inc. (Charlotte, NC, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F24F13/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
OREILLY, PATRICK F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TILLMAN WRIGHT, PLLC (CHARLOTTE, NC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A ventilation fan and hanging light arrangement, comprising: (a) a ventilator assembly located in a ceiling of the room, said ventilator assembly including a ventilator having an impeller and an airduct interface for ventilating air from the room through said airduct interface; (b) a cover disposed over the ventilator assembly concealing the ventilator assembly from view by a person in the room, wherein said cover has at least one ventilation opening disposed therein allowing airflow there through from the room to said ventilator assembly; and (c) a hanging light fixture suspended from said ventilator assembly.

2. The arrangement of claim 1, wherein said cover includes a central opening and wherein said hanging light fixture includes a light and a chain, said chain extending through said central opening in said cover to said light suspended below said cover.

3. The arrangement of claim 2, wherein said hanging light fixture further includes a power cord extending through said central opening in said cover to said light suspended below said cover for powering of said light.

4. The arrangement of claim 1, wherein said hanging light fixture includes a base plate that abuts and retains said cover in said concealing disposition relative to said ventilator assembly.

5. The arrangement of claim 1, wherein said hanging light fixture comprises a chandelier.

6. The arrangement of claim 1, wherein said cover includes a round outer edge.

7. The arrangement of claim 1, wherein said cover comprises a medallion.

8. The arrangement of claim 1, wherein said cover includes a first disk component and a second disk component, wherein a back side of said first disk component is abutted against the ceiling and a central portion of a front side of said first disk component is concealed by said second disk component.

9. The arrangement of claim 8, wherein a surface area of said first disk component is slightly larger than a surface area of said second disk component, such that when said second disk component is positioned to conceal said central portion of said front side of said first disk component, said ventilation opening is formed between a perimeter of said second disk component and a perimeter of said first disk component.

10. The arrangement of claim 9, wherein spacers are positioned between said first disk component and said second disk component.

11. The arrangement of claim 9, wherein said first disk component and said second disk component are round.

12. The arrangement of claim 1, wherein said at least one ventilation opening comprises a plurality of ventilation openings.

13. The arrangement of claim 12, wherein each said ventilation opening of said plurality comprises a slit.

14. The arrangement of claim 1, wherein said at least one ventilation opening comprises a single ventilation opening.

15. The arrangement of claim 14, wherein said ventilation opening comprises an annular opening.

16. The arrangement of claim 1, wherein said cover comprises a ceiling medallion.

17. The arrangement of claim 1, wherein said cover is round.

18. A ventilation fan and hanging light arrangement, comprising: (a) a ventilator assembly located in a ceiling of the room, said ventilator assembly including a ventilator having an impeller and an airduct interface for ventilating air from the room through said airduct interface; (b) a cover disposed in covering relation to the ventilator assembly and defining a ventilation opening allowing airflow there through from the room to said ventilator assembly; and (c) a hanging light fixture suspended from said ventilator assembly.

19. A method of installing a ventilation fan and hanging light arrangement in a room, including the steps of: (a) installing a ventilator assembly in a ceiling of a room; and (b) suspending a hanging light fixture from the ceiling of the room directly below the ventilator assembly.

20. The method of claim 19, further comprising the step of extending a portion of the hanging light fixture through an opening in a ceiling medallion and connecting the portion of the hanging light fixture to the ventilator assembly such that the ceiling medallion is retained in a disposition covering the ventilator assembly, wherein the ceiling medallion defines at least one ventilation opening permitting airflow therethrough to the ventilator assembly for ventilating of the room by the ventilator assembly.

Description:

I. COPYRIGHT STATEMENT

All of the material in this patent document, including the computer program listing of the Appendix attached hereto, is subject to copyright protection under the copyright laws of the United States and other countries. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in official governmental records but, otherwise, all other copyright rights whatsoever are reserved.

II. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally relates to ventilation fans and, in particular, to ventilation fans for use in high end residential and commercial settings where appearances are important. Such settings may include, for example, powder rooms in high end residential homes. Such settings also may include, for example, dining rooms in high end restaurants and gaming rooms in high end casinos, especially in such commercial settings where smoking is permitted.

Generally, ventilation fans are present in rooms or spaces from which the removal of stale air or odors is desired. Known ventilation assemblies including ventilators having fans or impellers generally also include covers for the ventilators. The covers typically are fabricated from a lightweight material—often plastic—and include openings through which air may flow. Because the appearance of such ventilation assemblies is typically unappealing, many ventilation assemblies are designed to be as unobtrusive as possible, e.g., they are recessed into a ceiling and have a generally flat cover that is placed flush with the ceiling. More specifically, generally a hole is cut into the ceiling at the location where the ventilation assembly is to be installed. The ventilation assembly is recessed into the ceiling, and the cover is placed over the ventilation fan with very little, if any, of the ventilation assembly protruding from the ceiling (sometimes the cover protrudes from the ceiling). The cover is typically sized to completely cover the hole that has been cut into the ceiling.

Many ventilation assemblies also are known that include a light combined therewith to form a ventilation fan and light combination device. Such a device reduces the number of holes that otherwise would be cut into ceilings of rooms wherein both a light and a ventilation fan is needed. As with the designs of ventilation assemblies, the designs of the ventilation fan and light combination devices are also typically as unobtrusive as possible with very little, if any of the devices protruding below the ceiling. Indeed, the light is generally recessed and contained within the cover, which includes a lens cover for the light integral therewith.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a conventional ventilation fan and light combination device 10, and FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view taken of the combination device 10 of FIG. 1 along line 2-2. The combination device 10 typically includes a cover 12 having openings 14 disposed therein for removal of air A. The cover 12 also includes a light (generally represented by lens cover 16) centrally positioned therein. A combination device 10 is typically installed such that the cover 12 will be flush with a ceiling 18 or nearly flush with a ceiling 18 in a room in which it is placed. Examples of such designs may be seen in U.S. Design Pat. Nos. 192,312; 282,972; 287,888; and 372,775, each of which is incorporated herein by reference.

One having ordinary skill in the relevant art (“Ordinary Artisan”) will know the components of the conventional combination device 10 and will understand how these components interact to remove air A from a room. Nonetheless, a brief explanation of a conventional combination device 10 is included herein. The ventilation fan or ventilator 20 of the combination device 10 is disposed in a ceiling. The ventilator 20 includes a housing 22 having mounting tabs 24 and an airduct interface 26 for connecting the housing 22 to an airduct (not shown) that vents to the outside. A motor and impeller (not shown) are disposed within the housing 22. In operation, the motor powers the impeller to draw air A into the ventilator 20 through the openings 14 in the cover 12, and the air A is vented to the outside through the airduct. The light 16 and the ventilator 20 are powered and actuated separately, i.e., the light 16 and the ventilator 20 may be turned on and off separately from one another.

More decorative versions of a ventilation fan and light combination device are known. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 2,010,322 (the '322 patent), which is hereby incorporated herein by reference, discloses a ventilation fan and light combination device comprising a light surrounded by a housing having a ventilation channel disposed therein. The housing has a grille through which air may flow to reach the ventilation channel. The grille includes an upper and a lower ring having parallel horizontal planes and spaced a fixed distance from one another. The upper and lower rings are connected to one another by curved connecting bars disposed in perpendicular relation to the horizontal planes of the upper and lower rings and spaced a fixed distance from one another. Spaces between the connecting bars form openings in the grill through which air may flow. While the ventilation fan and light combination device of the '322 patent is more decorative than other available devices, such device nevertheless is still disposed nearly flush with a ceiling of a room in which it is placed.

Accordingly, there is a need for a ventilation system that may be used in a highly stylized residential or commercial setting. This setting includes kitchens and bathrooms in homes that have been decorated by professional interior designers or that have been expertly decorated by their owners. The owners of these homes do not want to spend thousands of dollars decorating their homes only to add an unsightly ventilation fan and light combination device in one of the decorated rooms. Further, a ventilation system is also needed for commercial settings wherein a more aesthetically pleasing appearance is desired.

III. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention includes many aspects and features.

In an aspect of the invention, a ceiling medallion includes: a first disk component having a first outer circumferential edge and a first diameter; and a second disk component having a second outer circumferential edge and a second diameter. The second diameter of the second disk component is less than the first diameter of the first disk component; the first disk component defines a central opening extending there through; the second disk component is disposed in overlying concentric relation to the first disk component; and the first disk component and the second disk component are disposed at a fixed spaced relation to each other such that a gap exists between the second outer circumferential edge of the second disk component and the first disk component, and such that an air passageway extends between the gap and the central opening defined in the first disk component.

In a feature of this aspect, the gap comprises an annular opening.

In a feature of this aspect, the gap exists between the first outer circumferential edge of the first disk component and the second outer circumferential edge of the second disk component.

In a feature of this aspect, the second disk component defines a central opening extending there through that is concentric with the central opening defined by the first disk component.

In a feature of this aspect, the first disk component includes a rim defining the first outer circumferential edge.

In a feature of this aspect, the arrangement further includes at least one spacer and preferably a plurality of spacers extending between and abutting the first disk component and the second disk component and keeping the two disk components at a fixed, spaced relation to one another. Each spacer may be cylindrical, and each may include a fastener that extends through the spacer and that fastens the two disk components together.

In a feature of this aspect, the arrangement further includes a fastener extending between and connecting the first and second disk components together in fixed disposition relative to each other. In this respect, the fastener preferably comprises a threaded shaft and may include a screw or a bolt.

In a feature of this aspect, the second disk component defines a plurality of slits extending there through to the air passageway.

In a feature of this aspect, the second disk opening defines a central opening therein that is concentric with the central opening of the first disk component.

In another aspect of the invention, a ceiling medallion includes: a first disk component defining an first air passageway extending there through; and a second disk component disposed in fixed, overlying relation to the first disk component. The first disk component and the second disk component collective define a second air passageway that communicates with the first air passageway in the first disk component, whereby air flows from an exterior of the second disk component through the second air passageway to the first air passageway.

In a feature of this aspect, the first air passageway comprises a central opening extending through the first disk component and the second air passageway comprises an annular opening defined between the first disk component and the second disk component.

In a feature of this aspect, the ceiling medallion further includes a fastener extending between and connecting the first and second disk components together in fixed disposition relative to each other.

In a feature of this aspect, the ceiling medallion further includes a spacer that extends between and abuts the first disk component and the second disk component.

In yet another aspect of the invention, a ceiling medallion includes: a first disk component defining an first air passageway extending there through; and a second disk component disposed in fixed, overlying relation to the first disk component. The second disk component defines a second air passageway extending there through that communicates with the first air passageway in the first disk component, whereby air flows from an exterior of the second disk component through the second air passageway to the first air passageway.

In a feature of this aspect, the ceiling medallion further includes a fastener extending between and connecting the first and second disk components together in fixed disposition relative to each other.

In another feature of this aspect, the ceiling medallion further includes spacers that extend between and abut the first disk component and the second disk component.

In an aspect of the invention, a ventilation fan and hanging light arrangement includes: a ventilator assembly located in a ceiling of the room, the ventilator assembly including a ventilator having an impeller and an airduct attachment opening for ventilating air from the room through the airduct attachment opening; a cover disposed over the ventilator assembly concealing the ventilator assembly from view by a person in the room, wherein the cover has at least one ventilation opening disposed therein allowing airflow there through from the room to the ventilator assembly; and a hanging light fixture suspended from the ventilator assembly.

In a feature of this aspect, the cover includes a central opening and the hanging light fixture includes a light and a chain, the chain extending through the central opening in the cover to the light suspended below the cover. The hanging light fixture further preferably includes a power cord that extends through the central opening in the cover down to the light suspended below the cover for powering of the light.

In a feature of this aspect, the hanging light fixture includes a base plate that abuts and retains the cover in the concealing disposition of the ventilator assembly.

In a feature of this aspect, the hanging light fixture comprises a chandelier.

In a feature of this aspect, the cover includes a circular outer edge.

In a feature of this aspect, the cover comprises a medallion.

In a feature of this aspect, the cover includes a first disk component and a second disk component, wherein a back side of the first disk component is abutted against the ceiling and a central portion of a front side of the first disk component is concealed by the second disk component. A surface area of the first disk component preferably is slightly larger than a surface area of the second disk component, such that when the second disk component is positioned to conceal the central portion of the front side of the first disk component, the ventilation opening is formed between a perimeter of the second disk component and a perimeter of the first disk component. Spacers also preferably are positioned between the first disk component and the second disk component, and the first disk component and the second disk component preferably are round.

In a feature of this aspect, the cover comprises a plurality of ventilation openings. Each of the ventilation openings of the plurality preferably comprises a narrow opening, i.e., a slit, that is formed in and through the second disk component.

In a feature of this aspect, the at least one ventilation opening comprises a single ventilation opening. The ventilation opening may include an annular opening.

In a feature of this aspect, the cover comprises a ceiling medallion.

In a feature of this aspect, the cover is round.

In another aspect of the invention, a ventilation fan and hanging light arrangement includes: a ventilator assembly located in a ceiling of the room, the ventilator assembly including a ventilator having an impeller and an airduct attachment opening for ventilating air from the room through the airduct attachment opening; a cover disposed in covering relation to the ventilator assembly and defining a ventilation opening allowing airflow there through from the room to the ventilator assembly; and a hanging light fixture suspended from the ventilator assembly.

In an aspect of the invention, a method of installing a ventilation fan and hanging light arrangement in a room includes the steps of: installing a ventilator assembly in a ceiling of a room; and suspending a hanging light fixture from the ceiling of the room directly below the ventilator assembly.

In a feature of this aspect, the method further includes the step of extending a portion of the hanging light fixture through an opening in a ceiling medallion and connecting the portion of the hanging light fixture to the ventilator assembly such that the ceiling medallion is retained in a disposition covering the ventilator assembly, wherein the ceiling medallion defines at least one ventilation opening permitting airflow therethrough to the ventilator assembly for ventilating of the room by the ventilator assembly.

In addition to the aforementioned aspects and features of the present invention, it should be noted that the present invention further includes the various possible combinations of such aspects and features.

IV. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

One or more preferred embodiments of the present invention now will be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein the same elements are referred to with the same reference numerals, and wherein,

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a conventional ventilation fan and light combination device;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view taken of the combination device of FIG. 1 along line 2-2;

FIG. 3a is a perspective view of portion of a ventilation system in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3b is a perspective view of the ventilation system of FIG. 3a further illustrating in complete view the hanging light fixture thereof;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the portion of the ventilation system of FIG. 3a taken along the line 4-4;

FIG. 5 is an exploded view of the ceiling medallion of the ventilation system of FIG. 3a;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an interior of the ventilator housing of FIGS. 3a and 4;

FIG. 7a is a perspective view during installation of the ventilation system of FIG. 3b that includes a conventional ventilator assembly as shown in FIG. 6 but having an adapter mounted thereto for suspended support of a hanging light fixture in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 7b is a perspective view of the ventilator assembly shown in FIG. 7a wherein the power cord of the hanging light fixture shown in FIG. 7a has been wired into the power supply of the ventilator assembly; and

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a portion of a ventilation fan and hanging light arrangement in accordance with an alternative embodiment of the present invention.

V. DETAILED DESCRIPTION

As a preliminary matter, it will readily be understood by the Ordinary Artisan that the present invention has broad utility and application. Furthermore, any embodiment discussed and identified as being “preferred” is considered to be part of a best mode contemplated for carrying out the present invention. Other embodiments also may be discussed for additional illustrative purposes in providing a full and enabling disclosure of the present invention. Moreover, many embodiments, such as adaptations, variations, modifications, and equivalent arrangements, will be implicitly disclosed by the embodiments described herein and fall within the scope of the present invention.

Accordingly, while the present invention is described herein in detail in relation to one or more embodiments, it is to be understood that this disclosure is illustrative and exemplary of the present invention, and is made merely for the purposes of providing a full and enabling disclosure of the present invention. The detailed disclosure herein of one or more embodiments is not intended, nor is to be construed, to limit the scope of patent protection afforded the present invention, which scope is to be defined by the claims and the equivalents thereof. It is not intended that the scope of patent protection afforded the present invention be defined by reading into any claim a limitation found herein that does not explicitly appear in the claim itself.

Thus, for example, any sequence(s) and/or temporal order of steps of various processes or methods that are described herein are illustrative and not restrictive. Accordingly, it should be understood that, although steps of various processes or methods may be shown and described as being in a sequence or temporal order, the steps of any such processes or methods are not limited to being carried out in any particular sequence or order, absent an indication otherwise. Indeed, the steps in such processes or methods generally may be carried out in various different sequences and orders while still falling within the scope of the present invention. Accordingly, it is intended that the scope of patent protection afforded the present invention is to be defined by the appended claims rather than the description set forth herein.

Additionally, it is important to note that each term used herein refers to that which the Ordinary Artisan would understand such term to mean based on the contextual use of such term herein. To the extent that the meaning of a term used herein—as understood by the Ordinary Artisan first disk based on the contextual use of such term—differs in any way from any particular dictionary definition of such term, it is intended that the meaning of the term as understood by the Ordinary Artisan should prevail.

Furthermore, it is important to note that, as used herein, “a” and “an” each generally denotes “at least one,” but does not exclude a plurality unless the contextual use dictates otherwise. Thus, reference to “a picnic basket having an apple” describes “a picnic basket having at least one apple” as well as “a picnic basket having apples.” In contrast, reference to “a picnic basket having a single apple” describes “a picnic basket having only one apple.”

When used herein to join a list of items, “or” denotes “at least one of the items,” but does not exclude a plurality of items of the list. Thus, reference to “a picnic basket having cheese or crackers” describes “a picnic basket having cheese without crackers”, “a picnic basket having crackers without cheese”, and “a picnic basket having both cheese and crackers.” Finally, when used herein to join a list of items, “and” denotes “all of the items of the list.” Thus, reference to “a picnic basket having cheese and crackers” describes “a picnic basket having cheese, wherein the picnic basket further has crackers,” as well as describes “a picnic basket having crackers, wherein the picnic basket further has cheese.”

Referring now to the drawings, preferred embodiments of the present invention are next described. The following description of preferred embodiments is merely exemplary in nature and is in no way intended to limit the invention, its application, or uses.

FIG. 3a is a perspective view of portion of a ventilation system in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention. The ventilation system of FIG. 3a includes a fan and hanging light arrangement 100 that is more completely illustrated in FIG. 3b. The arrangement 100 includes a ventilator 102 located in a ceiling of a room and a cover comprising a ceiling medallion 104 disposed over the ventilator 102 that conceals the ventilator 102 from view by a person in the room. The medallion 104 has an annular ventilation opening 106 disposed therein to allow air A to flow there through to the ventilator 102. The ventilation fan and hanging light arrangement 100 also includes a hanging light fixture 108, as best seen in FIG. 3b, suspended directly below the ventilator 102.

Similar to a conventional ventilation fan, the ventilator 102 of the present invention includes a housing 110 having mounting tabs 112 and an airduct interface 114. The ventilator 102 is mounted in the ceiling of the room wherein it is located using the mounting tabs 112 and is connected to an existing airduct in the ceiling using the airduct interface 114 so that air A may be vented to the outside. When the medallion 104 and the light fixture 108 are installed, the ventilator 102 is completely concealed from view. The interior components of the ventilator 102 will be discussed in greater detail herein below.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the portion of the ventilation system of FIG. 3a taken along the line 4-4. FIG. 5 is an exploded view of the ceiling medallion 104 of the ventilation system of FIGS. 3a and 3b. In the present embodiment, the medallion 104 includes a first disk component 116 and a second disk component 118. The first disk component 116 is generally planar and has a back side 120 and a front side 122 and a raised decorative ring portion 124 adjacent the circumferential perimeter 134 thereof. The back side 120 of the first disk component 116 is disposed in abutment with the ceiling and retained in place thereat by a base plate 144 of the hanging light fixture 108. The base plate 144, in turn, it secured in place by through a threaded engagement with a downrod connector 146 (also described below). The first disk component 116 also includes a central recessed portion 126 which is unadorned. Similarly, the second disk component 118 is generally planar and has a raised decorative ring portion 128 adjacent the circumferential perimeter 132 thereof. However, unlike the first disk component 116, a substantial portion of a front side 130 of the second disk component 118 is adorned with decorative designs.

The first disk component 116 has a slightly larger diameter than that of the second disk component 118. As such, when the second disk component 118 is positioned concentrically over the central portion 126 of the first disk component 116, the annular ventilation opening 106 is defined between the circumferential perimeter 132 of the second disk component 118 and the raised decorative ring portion 124 of the first disk component 116. More particularly, the ventilation opening 106 is formed by the gap between the perimeter 132 of the second disk component 118 and the decorative ring portion 124 of the first disk component 116. Air A being drawn out of the room passes through the ventilation opening 106.

Spacers 136 are provided between the first disk component 116 and second disk component 118 to create a void 138 through which air A may flow after passing through the ventilation opening 106. The spacers 136 are fixed in place by small screws 139 threaded through the back side 120 of the first disk component 116 and extending into the void 138 and partially into the second disk component 118. The screws 139 should be sized appropriately to fit through the first disk component 116, the voided space 138 and partially through the second disk component 118 without extending completely through the second disk component 118.

The first disk component 116 and second disk component 118 have concentric central apertures 140,142. The central apertures 140,142 provide a passage through which the light fixture 108 may be mounted to the ceiling and connected to a power supply. Further, the central aperture 140 of the first disk component 116 provides a conduit through which air A drawn through the ventilation opening 106 and void 138 flows to reach the ventilator 102. While the first disk component 116 and second disk component 118 in the present embodiment are round, the Ordinary Artisan will understand that the first disk component 116 and second disk component 118 may be any geometry, as long as the second disk component 118 and first disk component 116 are configured to create a ventilation opening 106 and air flow passageway to the ventilator 102.

Because of the way the first disk component 116 and the second disk component 118 fit together, and despite the fact that the second disk component 118 is spaced apart from the first disk component 116 by the spacers 136, the ventilation opening 106 is not perceptible to a person looking up at the ventilation fan and hanging light arrangement 100 in a room where it is installed. Indeed, the medallion 104 appears to be a single component rather than two separate components.

The light fixture 108 includes a base plate 144 from which the light fixture 108 is suspended. When the base plate 144 is installed, it completely covers the central aperture 142 of the second disk component 118 so that neither the central aperture 142 nor the ventilator 102 are visible to a person in the room. The base plate 144 is connected to one end of a downrod connector 146. The other end of the downrod connector 146 is connected to the ventilator 102. Therefore, the downrod connector 146 connects the light fixture 108 to the ventilator 102 and supports the weight of the light fixture 108. In the present embodiment, the downrod connector 146 is in the form of a bolt having a threaded shaft. The Ordinary Artisan will understand that any downrod connector 146 known in the art may be used. As the weight of the light fixture 108 increases, so too must the weight support capabilities of the downrod connector 146. It is contemplated that multiple downrod connectors or more weight bearing downrod connectors may be utilized for heavier light fixtures. The light fixture 108 may be of any design; however, in at least some embodiments it is preferred that the light fixture 108 be a chandelier.

FIG. 6 is a bottom perspective view of an interior of a ventilator housing 110 of a conventional ventilation fan and light combination device similar to the one shown in FIGS. 1-2. The housing 110 encloses a motor 148 and an impeller 150, which are both recessed into the housing 110 and covered and held in place by a brace 152. Two electrical hookups 151,153 are disposed in the housing 110; electrical hookup 151 powers the motor 148 of the ventilator and electrical hookup 153 is provided for powering a light (not shown in FIG. 6).

FIG. 7a is a perspective view during installation of the ventilation system of FIG. 3b that includes a conventional ventilator housing 110 similar to that shown in FIG. 6 but having an adapter 154 mounted thereto for suspended support of the hanging light fixture 108 in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 7b is a perspective view of the interior of the ventilator housing 110 shown in FIG. 7a, wherein the power cord of the hanging light fixture 108 shown in FIG. 7a has been connected to the electrical hookup 153 of the ventilator housing 110.

As further shown in FIGS. 7a and 7b, the adapter 154 is mounted to the brace 152 of the conventional ventilator housing 110. The Ordinary Artisan will understand that the adapter 154 may be mounted to the brace 152 using any conventional mounting technique. In the present embodiment, the adapter 154 is mounted to the brace 152 using conventional fasteners such as screws and/or bolts. The adapter 154 enables the conventional ventilator housing to accept the suspended light fixture 108 of the present invention. The adapter 154 has a mounting flange 156 attached thereto for supporting the light fixture 108. The mounting flange 156 is attached to the adapter 154 at either end thereof by a pair of screws. The mounting flange 156 includes a notched opening 158 that partially extends through a lateral extent thereof. The notched opening 158 is centrally located between two ends of the mounting flange 156. The downrod connector 146 connecting the light fixture 108 to the mounting flange 156 is slidably engaged in the notched opening 158 of the mounting flange 156 and is suspended and held in place by a flanged end 160 of the downrod connector 146. As discussed previously, the downrod connector 146 is connected at its other end to the base plate 144 of the light fixture 108. The downrod connector 146 passes through the central apertures 142,140 of the second disk component 118 and the first disk component 116, respectively, to reach the mounting flange 156 of the adapter 154. The light fixture 108 is powered in the same manner that a conventional light would be powered, i.e., the power supply cord of the light fixture is wired into the power source of the housing, which power source and wiring thereof is conventional.

In use, when the ventilator 102 of the ventilation fan and hanging light arrangement 100 is turned on, the impeller 150 draws the air A through the ventilation opening 106 of the medallion 104 where it travels through the void 138, through the central aperture 140 of the first disk component 116, through the ventilator housing 110, and through the airduct where it is vented to the outside. The light fixture 108 may or may not be powered while the ventilator 102 is operational.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a portion of a ventilation fan and hanging light arrangement 200 in accordance with an alternative embodiment of the present invention. In the alternative embodiment, the ventilation fan and hanging light arrangement 200 includes a cover comprising a ceiling medallion 204. The ceiling medallion 204 includes ventilation openings 206 that are individually formed as a plurality of openings disposed in a second disk component 218 of the ceiling medallion 204. The ventilation openings 206 comprise slits formed in the second disk component 218 and serve as decorative enhancements to the medallion 204. A first disk component 216 and a second disk component 218 of the ceiling medallion 204 are similar in appearance to the first disk component 116 and second disk component 118 of the ceiling medallion 104, but do not form any air flow openings at the perimeters thereof and do not include any spacers. Indeed, the first disk component 216 and the second disk component 218 may be integrally formed as one piece without an annular opening extending thereabout.

The operation of the ventilation fan and hanging light arrangement 200 with the alternative medallion 204 is very similar to that of the ventilation fan and hanging light arrangement 100 with medallion 104. The primary difference is that air A is drawn through the plurality of openings 206 in the second disk component 218 of the medallion 204, rather than through the annular opening 106 formed between the second disk component 118 and the first disk component 116 as found in the ventilation fan and hanging light arrangement 100.

Advantageously, the ventilation system of the present invention provides a ventilation system that is ideal for a highly stylized residential or commercial settings. The cover of the present invention is decorative and functional at the same time. Further, the light fixture provides the elegance of a suspended light fixture without sacrificing the functionality of the ventilator.

Based on the foregoing description, it will be readily understood by those persons skilled in the art that the present invention is susceptible of broad utility and application. Many embodiments and adaptations of the present invention other than those specifically described herein, as well as many variations, modifications, and equivalent arrangements, will be apparent from or reasonably suggested by the present invention and the foregoing descriptions thereof, without departing from the substance or scope of the present invention.

Accordingly, while the present invention has been described herein in detail in relation to one or more preferred embodiments, it is to be understood that this disclosure is only illustrative and exemplary of the present invention and is made merely for the purpose of providing a full and enabling disclosure of the invention. The foregoing disclosure is not intended to be construed to limit the present invention or otherwise exclude any such other embodiments, adaptations, variations, modifications or equivalent arrangements, the present invention being limited only by the claims appended hereto and the equivalents thereof.

For example, a contemplated embodiment within the scope of the present invention includes a ventilation fan and hanging light arrangement in which an annular ventilation opening is defined by and between a cover and the ceiling itself, with a surface of the cover being located in spaced, generally parallel relation to the ceiling by one or more spacers so as to create a void therebetween for air flow toward the ventilation fan. This spacer arrangement may be similar to the arrangement of spacers 136 shown between the two disk components 116,118 of the ventilation fan and hanging light arrangement 100, which spacer 136 create the void for air flow A through the ventilation opening 106. The spacers in such alternative embodiment may be attached by mechanical fasteners or otherwise affixed to the cover. Still yet, the spacers may be integrally formed with the cover in a single manufacturing step. The cover in such alternative embodiment also may be retained in its disposition relative to the ceiling by a base plate of the hanging light fixture, similar in manner to the retention of the cover 204 against the ceiling by the base plate of the hanging light fixture of the ventilation fan and hanging light arrangement 200.

Another contemplated embodiment of a ventilation fan and hanging light arrangement includes a cover that comprises a single piece (i.e., is not composed of two or more components) and that itself defines the one or more ventilation openings in the single piece. For example, the cover may be integrally formed as a single piece of material in a single manufacturing step to have a desired shape and contour. Like the cover 204, the cover in such an alternative embodiment includes one or more ventilation openings defined therein as well as one or more passageways through which air may flow toward the ventilation fan hidden by the cover.