Title:
Air cap and diffuser assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The air cap and diffuser assembly is for vent-registers connected to the air ducts or the trunk line of a central air conditioning system. The cap assembly is designed to cover an air duct opening or for redirecting air flow. The cap has a peripheral seal that presses against the rim face of the register by magnet and/or a fastening device, and is comprised of a male cap/diffuser and a female cap/diffuser of sufficient size to cover the opening of a ceiling register. They are easily assembled together by snapping it on to form a complete air cap assembly. Also, a male or female cap/diffuser of the assembly can be removed to switch the function to an air diffuser/flow redirector.



Inventors:
Yi, Christopher S. (Enfield, CT, US)
Yi, Marian M. (Enfield, CT, US)
Application Number:
11/646001
Publication Date:
07/03/2008
Filing Date:
12/27/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F24F13/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KOSANOVIC, HELENA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Christopher S. Yi (Coventry, CT, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A magnetically attachable air cap comprised of sound and air reflecting guards, semi sphere noise dampening bar, grooves, tongue insert, flanges, magnetic strips and round magnets attached to said flanges, with said flanges mounting rims consisting essentially of rims, magnetic impregnated vinyl strips and round magnets.

2. The combination as defined by claim 1, wherein said sound and air reflecting guard is made from a material selected from the group consisting of carbon sheet metal, urethane foam, polyethylene foam, corrugated plastic and Plexiglas.

3. The combination as defined by claim 1, wherein said sound and air reflecting guard has the curved outer surface of the arcuate panel member.

4. The combination as defined by claim 1, wherein said sound and air reflecting guard has a concave shape inside surrounding the peripheral edges thereof.

5. The device of claim 1, in which said convex shape noise dampening bars consist of a semi sphere shape molded onto inside edge surface of said sound and air reflecting guard on the male and female said air diffusers.

6. The air cap and diffuser of claim 1, wherein said groove comprises: a closed long, narrow indentation in the edge of said female diffuser to receive the tongue of the corresponding male diffuser.

7. The air cap and diffuser of claim 1, wherein said tongue insert comprises: a long, narrow tongue in the edge of said male diffuser to receive the groove of the other female diffuser.

8. The combination as defined by claim 1, wherein said groove and male tongue insert are to form an air tight assembly by means of self locking by snapping it on therewith.

9. The combination as defined by claim 1, wherein said magnetic strips and round magnets is to form an air tight installation when it is secured in place by magnetic force.

10. The combination as defined by claim 1, wherein said air reflecting guards consisting of a male air diffuser and a female diffuser, forms as an air cap.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not Applicable

FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH

Not Applicable

SEQUENCE LISTING OR PROGRAM

Not Applicable

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to an air flow controlling fixture and the means to attach various types of apparatuses to a vent register without making tools a requisite for installation. The apparatus is designed to redirect the flow of air positively to a desired direction with ease, while also decreasing the noise generated by existing vent registers connected to the air ducts or the trunk line of a forced central air heating and/or cooling system. This invention can also be used to cover the openings of a ceiling register or any other air supply vent to stop the flow of air completely.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Since the invention of air conditioning systems, such as, U.S. Pat. No. 3,494,113, inventors have created numerous types of ducts and covers in such a way as to provide more comfort in our lives. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 3,912,473, U.S. Pat. No. 5,213,543, U.S. Pat. No. 5,672,033, U.S. Pat. No. 4,612,746, U.S. Pat. No. 5,597,392, U.S. Pat. No. 5,163,871, U.S. Pat. No. 4,011,801 and more have been developed and marketed but found ineffective in their service to provide a sense of well being to the users. This is due to their lack of providing more flexible options to control the air flow effectively and energy efficiently. The registers in the market today in regards to controlling the air flow hardly consider health effects and/or benefits. It has created some dangerous health risks to its users. Also, the aforementioned inventions and many other vent cover apparatuses do not provide dependable and practical applications and are just decorative in many cases. The registers on the market today also create unpleasant noise during the operation. The noise is generated by the thin sheet of multiple metal plates, called the blades or grills, which are designed to guide and direct air flow and the similar while pressurized air passes through.

For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,176,570, U.S. Pat. No. 5,720,660, and U.S. Pat. No. 5,984,776 has disclosed grills and sharp edges, causing undesirable noise which worsens as the rate of air flow augments. The other factor is the size of the openings, which contributes to noise creation as the opening decreases in size. Most of the vents are designed to have limited directions by means of having the grills in one to four different angled orientations within, along with having these vents fixed on the walls. This makes it hard to adjust or reorient the vents if a new direction of air flow is preferred at a later time or if there is a need to block the air flow in certain directions completely.

Because of the aforementioned reasons, there are many other vents that have been invented to gain more control of the air flow such as U.S. Pat. No. 5,569,077, U.S. Pat. No. 4,258,616 and U.S. Pat. No. 5,733,191. These patents provide a greater degree of air flow control by adding one more set of grills 90 degrees apart from the other set of grills. This, however, increases cost and generates more noise because of the increased amount of grills and the number of small gaps between the grills. These manually controlled “open and close” vents do not provide positive closure due to the nature of the design. Instead, it only utilizes the concept of overlapping the thin sheet of metal plates composed of a number of narrow, parallel blades, usually behind a grating (these may be adjusted so as to overlap and close the opening) creating higher air pressure as the opening gets smaller. The air molecules, under increased pressure, due to an incomplete closure, generate higher pitched noise while the air conditioning system is in operation regardless of the air is cooled or heated.

There is a patent to eliminate the noise. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,213,543. The concept of this patent is to block the outlet with a one piece plate utilizing the fastening attachments. However, it does not provide the flexibility of adjustment. Also, the design is not user friendly making it quite difficult to install. Another similar patent is U.S. Pat. No. 6,776,709. This patent is only applicable to a floor vent as a means of blocking the air flow for use in preventing debris from entering the vent. It is very limited in its location of use.

There are many similar registers, as mentioned above, available in the market and many have already been installed. It is quite difficult to reinstall the vents in a new desired orientation if a new direction of airflow is desired and in many cases, it is not possible to reinstall in a desired orientation with ease.

There are also numerous rooms in houses and office buildings that are vacant where there is wasted energy because it cannot be closed due to a lack of closing mechanisms built-in or because the closure cannot be completed due to the overlapping vent blades in the vent registers.

Our own patent describes an ultra light two piece snap-on cap design which is made of flexible plastic or sheet metal; this permits a low manufacturing cost while providing positive air flow to a desired location by utilizing the existing vent fixture as a mounting surface.

Nevertheless all other apparatuses heretofore suffer from a number of known disadvantages:

(a) Most devices present health risks.

(b) Most devices make high pitch hissing noise.

(c) Most devices are not energy efficient.

(d) Most devices are not universal.

(e) Most devices are not always practical.

(f) Most devices are not easy to install.

(g) Most devices require tools to install.

(h) Most devices are expensive.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION—OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES

It is, therefore, the objective of the invention to provide an air diffuser for a register assembly which prevents the flow of dry (heated) air towards the users (patients, infants and youngsters), especially during winter time by redirecting air flow away from them positively.

It is also an objective of the invention to provide an air diffuser for the register assembly. This prevents direct contact from contaminated air, containing dust, oil, bacteria, mold and pollen, which flows towards the users, especially patients, infants and youngsters, by redirecting the air flow away from them.

It is still a further objective of the invention to provide such a device that is designed to minimize noise by placing a diffuser that works as a sound barrier/sound reflector for the noise generated by the existing vent register blades, within the invention.

It is also an objective of the invention to provide an airflow redirecting device for which the register assembly is able to block the undesired air flowing towards the users. This, in turn, means cost efficiency because there will be energy saved by the blocking of unneeded air flow to an undesired area.

It a further objective of the invention to provide such a device that is designed to minimize noise by eliminating the noise making elements within the invention.

It is a further objective of the invention to provide such a device that is easy to install and remove by the care provider in sophisticated commercial sectors, such as hospitals, office buildings and also homes (residential application).

It is yet another objective of the invention to provide such an air cap that is simple to manufacture at a lower cost.

Accordingly, several objectives and advantages of the present invention are:

(a) to provide a diffuser/air redirector/cover assembly that utilizes an improved simple design that can minimize breathing related problems effectively.

(b) to provide a diffuser/air redirector/cover assembly that does not require any modification of the existing register assembly.

(c) to provide a diffuser/air redirector/cover assembly that does not require tools to install.

(d) to provide a diffuser/air redirector/cover assembly that works as a sound barrier.

(e) to provide a diffuser/air redirector/cover assembly that works as an air flow closure.

(f) to provide a diffuser/air redirector/cover that saves energy effectively.

(g) to lower manufacturing costs but improve functionality.

The invention differs from known devices with similar purposes in a number of ways. The invention is designed to fit the standard register assemblies which will be attached to the standard register assembly's outer frames, eliminating the need for different frames, adapters, and special tools.

The invention is easy to manufacture and it can be fitted on a full range of register assemblies. It is made of a thin carbon steel sheet or plastic equipped with various forms of magnets that does not require assembly by users because the air-redirecting diffuser/cover is incorporated as one assembly. It consists of two snap-on male and female diffusers equipped with magnets (strips of magnets equipped with stronger round magnets positioned at higher load areas while in use).

These magnet strips work as the securing element to hold the air redirecting diffuser. At the same time, it works as an air tight sound barrier creating a seal between the vent trim and the diffuser/air redirector/cover assembly by constant magnet force. The add-on round magnets will add additional security in securing the device in place. The number of magnets and the strength of magnets depend on the weight of the device and application.

SUMMARY

The present invention is directed to improve the multi purpose air cap assembly for ceiling registers, which is attached to a central air conditioning system. The air cap assembly will be magnetically secured in place on the outer metal frame of the existing registers, which can also be reinforced by installing fasteners. The device has a sealing member made out of magnetic material. This allows installation without using any tools on the rim face of the existing register, thereby eliminating any gaps or spaces between the magnet and the rim of the existing register.

The invention, therefore, eliminates undesired noise caused by escaping air and eliminates temperature controlled air from escaping to an undesired direction. It works as an air cap which will block the airflow completely if a complete diffuser/cover assembly is used by utilizing the mean of the self locking and self sealing features built in. If a portion of the complete assembly is installed, it works as an airflow diffuser and also as a noise reflector by reflecting the noise coming out of the vent to a certain direction. At the same time, the semi sphere noise dampening bar (70) molded into the housing helps to minimize noise further, due to the elimination of sharp corners and turns.

By far, this simple procedure, using the patented device assembly as mentioned above, can significantly reduce the number of health risk problems for people who have a weak immune system or cannot tolerate dry air for long periods of time.

DRAWINGS—FIGURES

The invention is diagrammatically illustrated, by way of showing different views, in the drawings appended hereto in which:

FIG. 1 is front, side and bottom views of the male vent register air diffuser assembly, illustrating the shape of the cover in accordance with the present invention showing the female counter part.

FIG. 2 is front, side and bottom views of the female vent register air diffuser assembly illustrating the shape of the cover in accordance with the present invention showing the male counter part.

FIG. 3 is the side view of the female vent register air diffuser assembly illustrating the location of the diffuser assembly in accordance with the present invention mounted on an existing vent register trim.

FIG. 4 is the side view of the male vent register air diffuser assembly illustrating the location of the diffuser assembly in accordance with the present invention mounted on an existing vent register trim.

FIG. 5 is the side view of the complete vent register air cap assembly showing the orientation of the cap assembly in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, in which the assembly shows a complete closure of the vent register with male and female air diffusers assembled together to form one air cap where it substantially blocks the entire flow of air through the ventilator.

DRAWINGS—LIST OF REFERENCE NUMERALS

10. Female air diffuser assembly

20. Male air diffuser assembly

30. Magnet strips

40. Round magnets

50. Magnet mounting rims

60. Mounting holes

70. Semi sphere noise dampening bar

80. Noise reflecting surface

90. Snap on groove

100. Snap on male insert

DETAILED DESCRIPTION—FIGS. 1 THROUGH 5—PREFERRRED EMBODIMENT

As can be seen in FIG. 5, the vent register air cap assembly of the present invention is made up of two major subassemblies, i.e., a vent register female diffuser, FIG. 1, and a vent register male diffuser, FIG. 2.

As shown in FIG. 3, the present invention shows the installed side view of the female vent register diffuser assembly. In the preferred embodiment, the register diffuser assembly is plastic or a thin sheet of metal comprised of three magnet strips (30), one on each rim on three places and four round magnets (40) secured onto the mounting rim surface by means of an adhesive or snap-on. In this particular example as shown in FIG. 3, it is demonstrated that one half of a complete assembly (FIG. 5) redirects the air flow to the right positively. If the desired direction is to the left, simply turn the item (10) 180 degrees as shown in FIG. 3 and slide it over to the opposite side or replace it with the other mating diffuser (20) to the opposite side, as shown in FIG. 4. It is the intention of the invention to make it as simple as possible to accomplish the task as aforementioned.

Additional embodiment is shown in FIG. 5. In this case, both the male and female diffusers are assembled and placed on an existing vent register to cover the vent to block the air flow completely. As a result, it is closed at all times. The advantage of this embodiment in FIG. 5 is that it allows the user to convert the air redirecting diffusers to an air flow blocking cover (air cap) by simply snapping them onto each other in placement, as shown in FIG. 5. The aforementioned typical design is based on a two piece concept for a rectangular register which can be made to four pieces to provide more flexibility in controlling the direction of the flow, meaning there could be a different number of segments to form one complete cover (air cap) to seal the vent or diffuse the air. The size of the cover will be dependent on the size of the existing rim face of the register accordingly. The shape of the invention can be round, oval, square and so on.

OPERATION

What is shown in FIG. 5 is the male air diffuser and the female diffuser assembled together to form an air cap. It shows what is assembled to form a register air cap assembly if a complete vent closing is desired. This is done by pushing one half against the other to snap it on in order to lock it to form as one complete assembly. When there is a need for conditioned air to a certain direction, only one half of the assembly is to be removed per design, so the other stays in place, redirecting the conditioned air.

CONCLUSION, RAMIFICATIONS, AND SCOPE OF INVENTION

The air cap assembly, in which the frame contains magnetic strips and round magnets that secures the said cover assembly in place on the rim face of the existing vent register easily and quickly without the use of fasteners and tools, can be easily removed from an existing rim face for cleaning or changing orientation. The cap also has mounting holes on the cover assembly with a peripheral seal that can be used to press against the rim face of the register by a fastening device. The cap assembly is designed to prevent those who are sleeping/sensitive/ill from exposure to contaminated air or the flow of dry, heated air. Most, if not all, of the component parts may be constructed of plastic or thin sheet metal, thus reducing the weight and manufacturing cost of the assembly.

Accordingly, the reader will see that the magnetically attachable air cap and diffuser assembly of the invention provides a passive mechanism that can easily be attached to the rim of any standard metal vent rims without modifying and/or relocating the existing register assembly. It also grants the user the ability to divert the air flow positively to the directions needed. Furthermore, the invention has the additional advantages in that

It allows the user to stop the airflow positively in desired directions

It reduces noise

It allows its removal just as easily without damaging to the existing rim fixture

It allows mounting holes that can be easily applied if the rim is made out of a plastic, wood or aluminum

It allows the blockage or resealing of the vent without requiring a separate closure

It permits the production of closures in a variety of colors

Although the description above contains many specifications, these should not be construed as a limitation to the scope of the invention, but as the means to provide illustrations of some of the presently preferred embodiments of this invention. For example, the closure can have other shapes, such as square, rectangular, circular, oval, trapezoidal, etc.; the groove and the male insert can have other shapes to accomplish ease snap on and air tight design.

Thus, the scope of the invention should be determined not by the embodiments illustrated, but by the appended claims and their legal equivalents. The present invention is not limited to the precise constructional details described, since many variations in detail are possible without departing from the sprit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims.