Title:
Endless flame fireback (EFF)
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A fireplace box has one or more mirrored panel that covers substantially all of the wall to which the panel is attached to create mirrored images of a fire flame when a gas burner is in use. Each mirrored panel is mounted substantially flush to its wall and has a mirrored surface that can be flat, curved or have a complex shape and can also have a decorative design so as to give a visual appearance of emulating its wall. A mirrored surface can also be used with a fire pit, in which case it will also serve as a wall, and the gas burner of the fire pit can be raised to enhance the effect of using the mirrored surface.



Inventors:
Thomas, Razmik (Glendale, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/002369
Publication Date:
07/10/2008
Filing Date:
12/17/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F24B1/181
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PEREIRO, JORGE ANDRES
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Roy L. Anderson, Esq. (Glendale, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A fireplace box, comprising: a gas burner positioned within a left wall, a back wall and a right wall; and a mirrored panel connected to the back wall positioned about the burner for creating a mirrored image of a fire flame when the burner is in use; wherein substantially all of the back wall is covered with the mirrored panel and the mirrored image is the same substantial size as the fire flame.

2. The fireplace box of claim 1, wherein the mirrored panel is mounted substantially flush to the back wall.

3. The fireplace box of claim 1, wherein the mirrored panel has a decorative design on a mirrored surface so as to give a visual appearance for emulating the back wall.

4. The fireplace box of claim 1, wherein the mirrored panel has a mirrored surface that is not a flat planar surface.

5. The fireplace box of claim 4, wherein the mirrored surface has a complex shape.

6. A fireplace box, comprising: a gas burner positioned within a left wall, a back wall and a right wall; a left mirrored panel connected to the left wall; and a right mirrored panel connected to the right wall; wherein substantially all of the left wall is covered with the left mirrored panel and substantially all of the right wall is covered with the right mirrored panel.

7. The fireplace box of claim 6, wherein the left and right mirrored panels are mounted substantially flush to the left and right walls, respectively.

8. The fireplace box of claim 6, wherein the left and right mirrored surfaces have a decorative design on a left mirrored surface and a right mirrored surface so as to give a visual appearance for emulating the left and right walls.

9. The fireplace box of claim 6, wherein the left and right panels have a left and right mirrored surface that are not flat.

10. The fireplace box of claim 9, wherein the left and right mirrored surfaces have a complex shape.

11. The fireplace box of claim 6, further comprising: a back mirrored panel connected on its left side to the left panel and on its right side to the right panel.

12. The fireplace box of claim 11, wherein the mirrored surface of at least one of the back, left and right panels is not a flat planar surface.

13. A method of enhancing an outdoor gas fire pit having a gas burner surrounded by a non-flammable floor with a front surface at a front of the fire pit, a left surface at a left side of the fire pit, a back surface at a back of the fire pit and a right surface at a right side of the fire pit, comprising the steps of: mounting a mirrored surface substantially flush to the back of the fire pit to create a back wall for creating a mirror image of a fire flame when the fire pit is in use.

14. The method of claim 13, wherein the mirrored surface is sized and positioned so that the mirrored image of the fire flame is visible from any normal viewing angle of the fire pit when the fire pit is in use.

15. The method of claim 13, wherein the mirrored surface is also mounted substantially flush to at least a portion of the left and right surfaces.

16. The method of claim 15, wherein the mirrored surface is comprised of: a back panel; a left panel; and a right panel; and wherein the back panel is connected on its left side to the left panel and on its right side to the right panel.

17. The method of claim 16, wherein the mirrored surface of at least one of the back, left and right panels is not a flat planar surface.

18. The method of claim 13, comprising the further step of: raising the gas burner higher in the fire pit relative to the non-flammable floor.

Description:

NOTICE OF RELATED APPLICATION

The present application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/883,434, filed Jan. 4, 2007, entitled Endless Flame Fireback (EFF), the disclosure of which is specifically incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is in the field of fireplaces and fire pits.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Fireplaces provide beauty, atmosphere, heat and flames, and they come in a variety of sizes, styles and constructions.

Fireplaces can burn different fuels, including wood, gas, electrical, hydrogen, etc., and the type of fuel in question can result in various changes to fireplaces and their construction. Today there is a push toward replacing clean burning fuels like gas for wood fuel in fireplaces due to environmental concerns, and there is no doubt that gas burning fireplaces offer certain advantages over fireplaces that burn wood, but a gas fire in a fireplace simply does not create the same type of fire as a wood fire, and the difference results in heat generation and aesthetical considerations. Indeed, much attention has been given to the aesthetics of gas fireplaces and how they can be made to look more like wood-burning fireplaces and there has been, and still is, a long-felt need for improved aesthetics for gas burning fireplaces.

The present invention seeks to improve existing fireplaces, as wells as future fireplaces, and especially wood to gas converted fireplaces, by increasing the beauty, atmosphere and heat obtained from fireplaces through visually enhanced flames.

The present invention also seeks to improve upon existing outdoor fire pits. A fire pit, unlike a fireplace, does not have any walls around it. However, the present invention can also increase the beauty and efficiency of fire pits.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is generally directed to a fireplace box in which a mirrored panel covers substantially all of either a back wall or the side walls, or all three walls, to create mirrored images of a fire flame when the burner is in use.

In a first, separate group of aspects of the present invention, each mirrored panels is mounted substantially flush to its wall and has a mirrored surface that is not flat or of a complex shape and can have a decorative design so as to give a visual appearance for emulating its wall.

In a second, separate group of aspects of the present invention, a fire pit is enhanced by mounting a mirrored surface so as to create mirror images of a fire flame. The mirrored surface can be mounted as a wall, while the gas burner can be raised, and the mirrored surface can be sized and positioned so that the mirror image of the fire flame is visible from any normal viewing angle of the fire pit when the fire pit is in use.

Accordingly, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide an improved fireplace and methods for improved fireplaces and fire pits.

This and further objects and advantages will be apparent to those skilled in the art in connection with the drawings and the detailed description of the preferred embodiment set forth below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a gas burning fireplace having a mirrored surface positioned on three sides in a fireplace box in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 illustrates a three sided mirrored surface according to the present invention for prefabricated fireplaces while FIGS. 2L, 2B and 2R depict a left, back and right section of the mirrored surface of FIG. 2.

FIGS. 3 and 4 illustrate differing shapes of a three sided mirrored surface according to the present invention that have been customized to different shaped fireplaces, with FIG. 4 also illustrating a back lip for improved heating.

FIG. 5 illustrates another three sided mirrored surface with rounded corners to image the fire on the rounded corners as well according to the present invention while FIG. 5A depicts a left, back and right section of the mirrored surface of FIG. 5.

FIG. 6 illustrates another three sided mirrored surface according to the present invention where generally the back wall curves forward.

FIG. 6A depicts a left, back and right section of a mirrored panel for a masonry fireplace.

FIGS. 7-9 illustrate outdoor gas burning fireplaces having a mirrored surface according to the present invention.

FIG. 10 illustrates a free standing mirrored surface for use in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 11 illustrates a single piece, accordion-style, mirrored surface for use in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 12 illustrates a top plan view of the mirrored surface of FIG. 11.

FIG. 13 illustrates a double mounting floor bracket for a mirrored surface according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a new approach to the old fireplace concept that is sold under the trademark Endless Flame Fireback (“EFF”).

Both functional and aesthetically pleasing, the use of the Endless Flame Fireback (EFF) will provide a more pleasurable fire in the fireplace. As an advanced fireback concept, EFF will project a greater amount of heat into the room and its unique design will magnify and reflect the flames into an impressive focal point. Reducing the amount of gas used to create a substantial fire, the installation of EFF can save homeowners money on their gas bill. EFF can be used in conjunction with any wood-burning fireplace that has been converted to gas. While it is a practical retrofit kit for existing fireplaces, EFF can also be installed in conjunction with the building and installation of new fireplaces.

While burning a fire in an indoor and outdoor fireplace can be both enjoyable to watch as well as a practical means of heating the home and the surround, it can be costly and time consuming to create a fire with ample flames and heat. While old regular firebacks exist to protect partially the fireplace's rear wall and to throw about 20% more heat into the room, they will not mirror the flames on the walls of the fireplace and do not create much heat, contrary to EFF. Many unhappy homeowners rarely use, or even want to replace, their fireplaces due to costs or inconveniences. Therefore, by installing EFF, they will eliminate unwanted costs and hassle of replacing them and will ease using existing solid fireplaces in its utmost attractiveness and functionality with a fraction of the cost and no hassle.

While it projects a greater amount of heat into the room, Endless Flame Fireback (EFF) will reflect flames to create the impression of a larger, more comfortable fire. Constructed from mirrored stainless steel, EFF is available in both single panels or as a U-shaped unit to cover all the walls of a fireplace. It will cover the back wall and 2 sides of the fireplace, creating a reflective surface that multiplies the flames. In order to create as much flame continuation as possible, EFF will be made at the same height of the existing refractories or high enough on the brick fireplaces to ensure that the flames are viewed at full scale. If required, a slot for the fireplace's gas connection will be located on the EFF's side panel.

EFF is a convenient retrofit kit that can increase the longevity and productivity of a fireplace, creating a more-enjoyable fire. EFF can also be installed in conjunction with the building of new fireplaces. To accommodate variances in fireplace dimensions, EFF will be made to its specific sizes to ensure a proper fit within any hearth. EFF can be installed on wood burning fireplaces that have been converted to gas. Whether used in conjunction with gas logs, crystal glasses, or ceramic fire balls, fire shapes or fire stones, EFF will create an impressive effect in the fireplace.

EFF Application in Various Styles

EFF has many applications as to what customers want to see and get out of the fireplace. Generally if the fireplace is burning “glass crystals” or “fire-ceramics”, it is recommended to install EFF on all three walls of the fireplace. This will throw out more heat and will multiply the flame all over the fireplace.

It looks gorgeous and harmonized when three sided EFF is used with a set of gas logs which is made to be located in the middle of the fireplace by having all pieces of the set leaning on each other in a tipi shape. This is a 360 degree look gas log and is exactly fit with the capacity of three sided EFF, capable of showing all the logs on all sides of the fireplace. These kinds are literally called “camp fire logs.”

If a fireplace is burning a set of single face gas logs, customers will have three options to choose from:

Single back panel of EFF, this will give out heat and will duplicate the flame in the back panel. The brick pattern of the side walls of the fireplace will stay as is.

Two separate side panels of EFF. This will preserve the brick pattern of the back panel and the brick pattern will be reflected on two sides of EFF. Therefore, the flames and the brick pattern will be seen on two single EFF installed on each side, and as a result fireplace will keep its conventional look in a larger scale. That means the brick pattern and the flames will be reflected on the sides. Therefore, the fireplace will look very wide and endless. This gives fireplace more traditional enriched look.

Three fold or three single panel of EFF. This will maximize the heat and the flames to its full capacity. Fireplace will show flames all over and one can get a considerable heat and beauty of flames on every angle of the fireplace. Fireplace will look large and rich in flames. This gives a fireplace a more contemporary enriched look.

Highlights of EFF

Endless Flame Fire-back (EFF) is a new approach to the old fireplace concept. This idea is built for converted wood to GAS-LOG or GAS-CRYSTAL (crushed tempered glass) fireplaces. It serves for the following purposes, which each by itself can be counted a step forward to enhance the fireplace operation. In brief EFF:

IS ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY—It converts the polluting wood-burning fireplace into an environmentally friendly clean burning “Green fireplace” while maintaining the heat capacity.

IS MADE TO FIT EXACTLY AGAINST THE WALLS OF FIREBOXES—It does not significantly alter the volume of a fireplace and does not alter the volume of the firebox.

IS PRO-HEAT CONSERVATION—Installed EFF does not stop home owners from adding glass enclosures to comply with code requirements.

DOES NOT INTERRUPT FLAME IMAGES—Its design lets flames to show in their full scale all over in the fireplace.

IS A FLAME MULTIPLIER—The fireplace totally turns out to become flames all over.

THROWS OUT 2 TIMES MORE HEAT INTO THE ROOM—It eliminates the need for the ugly blowers to be inserted into the fireplaces. And, in some cases, eliminates the need of installing the expensive gas or wood burning inserts (contained fireplaces) into existing fireplaces.

PROTECTS FIREPLACE BRICKS OR PANEL WALLS FROM CRACKING OR DETERIORATING—No maintenance and no repair expenses are needed. It also covers the existing fireplace bricks and panels, which are not in good shape.

USES LESS GAS FOR MORE FLAMES AND HEAT—It reduces the gas bill.

STOPS MOST UNHAPPY CUSTOMERS FROM RIPPING OUT THEIR OLD FIREPLACES FOR THE NEW ONES—It saves a lot of money and hassle to rebuild a new fireplace.

ASSISTS DRAFTING—By heating up the fireplace faster than the regular speed, EFF will help fireplace to draw efficiently.

ELIMINATES, IN GENERAL, THE NEED OF BUYING EXPENSIVE “SIGNATURE GAS FIREPLACES” FOR THEIR LOUVERLESS LOOK AND HEAT CAPACITY—EFF, besides all the above advantages, on less expensive potential wood burning fireplaces (PWF), maintains the clean opening look of the fireplace and gives out even more heat. One can use the PWF in various forms like burning “Ceramic Gas Logs”, “Crystal Glasses”, “Ceramic balls” . . . etc. while on the gas fireplaces you must stick to the only kind of fiber log, which is especially made for the unit for its lifetime.

CREATES A PLEASANT SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT—Imagine the warmth of EFF in cold weather becoming a focal point, where intimacy and communication with a loved one can flourish.

By simply adding the EFF into an existing or new fireplace, besides getting all the above economical and aesthetic advantages, one will get a fantastic enlarged fireplace look that brings along relaxation and comfort into a home with just a fraction of the expense that otherwise might have spent.

The present invention will now be discussed in connection with preferred embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 1-13.

In the Figures and the following more detailed description, numerals indicate various features of the invention, with like numerals referring to like features throughout both the drawings and the description. Although the Figures are described in greater detail below, the following is a glossary of the elements identified in the Figures.

    • 1 fireplace
    • 2 firebox
    • 3 flame
    • 3I flame image
    • 4 normal flame height
    • 5 hearth
    • 6 floor
    • 6F front floor surface
    • 6L left floor surface
    • 6B back floor surface
    • 6R right floor surface
    • 11 mirrored surface
    • 11L left mirrored panel
    • 11B back mirrored panel
    • 11R right mirrored panel
    • 12 hole
    • 13 glass fireplace bead
    • GLS gas line slot
    • DB double bracket
    • 100 outdoor fireplace

FIG. 1 generally depicts a fireplace 1 having a firebox 2. Firebox 2 is centrally located on floor 6 with front, left, back and right floor surfaces (6F, 6L, 6B and 6R, respectively) surrounding the firebox. Firebox 2 is fueled by a gas line (not shown) which may run along floor 6 to a surrounding wall, typically either the left or right wall, although the placement of any such line is not critical to the present invention and is either a matter of designer choice for new fireplaces or is dictated by what already exists in existing fireplaces. Firebox 2 is surrounded by a hearth 5 having a left, back and right wall on which mirrored panels 11L, 11B and 11R, respectively, are connected. Each of the mirrored panels has a mirrored planar surface that is flat, and each covers all of the wall to which it is connected, and is high enough to ensure that flames are viewed at full scale, so as to create the visual effect of a fire surrounded on all walled sides by mirrored surfaces, thus creating mirrored flame images 3L on each wall, with the possibility of additional mirrored images reflected from left and rights mirrored panels 11L and 11R off of each other, enhancing the visual effect and fullness of what appears to be the visual flame.

To create a more pleasing aesthetic effect when fireplace 1 is not in use, the surfaces of the mirrored panels (which can be made from mirrored stainless steel or mirrored ceramic glass, or any other suitable material) can be stamped with a brick pattern (not shown), traditional or herringbone styles, in different sizes, to create an aesthetic appeal for the mirrored panels when no fire is burning by emulating the visual appearance one might expect to see for the left, back and rights walls in a fireplace.

The fireplace shown in FIG. 1 is one depiction of a typical fireplace, although firebox 2 might be designed in any number of different ways, and use gas logs, crystal glasses, or ceramic fire balls, fire shapes or fire stones, for example, the use of all of which would be within the scope of the present invention. In addition, the fireplace might have different shapes and dimensions.

To accommodate different shapes of fireplaces, especially existing fireplaces, kits can be used to convert existing fireplaces into the enhanced fireplaces of the present invention.

FIGS. 2L, 2B and 2R illustrate three mirrored panels that can be connected together to form a flat mirrored surface whose shape is illustrated in FIG. 2. The back panel, on both its left and right side, will be bent for half an inch to the exact angle of fireplace corners of a prefabricated fireplace. The sides will be made to the exact size of the fireplace side walls. On each panel 4 holes will be made on the corners to enable installation, in case of not having brackets on the refractory panels of the fireplace. FIG. 3 illustrates an installed shape.

When the mirrored surface 11 is curved as shown in FIG. 5A, the flames will reflect on the curved section as well and, therefore, the actual flame will look more exotic on the curved parts as well. The side mirrored panels will be made about 2½ inches wider than the actual fireplace side panels and 5 inches of the last portion of the side panels will be curved in a very mild manner when the side panels have a depth of at least sixteen inches. The actual fire will be imaged in five locations since the mirrored image from each side will also be reflected on the opposite side.

When a masonry fireplace is being fitted, a template will need to be made so that it can be measured and then used to make the panels. EFFs that might be used in a masonry fireplace are illustrated in FIG. 6A. Because masonry fireplaces are not smooth faced, there are times that they may require a special bracket to adjust the back and sides to attach to each other at the corners in a way not to leave any gap in between, and FIG. 13 illustrates a double bracket DB that might be used on a floor 6 in such a case.

It is also possible to design mirrored surface 11 so that is not flat or curved, but comes in another style, like accordion, bar or stepped hierarchal, etc., in which case mirrored surface 11 will have a complex surface shape with many reflections and images, an example of which is shown in FIGS. 11 and 12. Such a design will create much more heat and will create a complex, exotic appearance, and an EFF using such a complex mirrored surface might be mounted free standing on floor 6 by use of one or more brackets DB.

When the present invention is applied to a fire pit, there will be no existing wall to which a mirrored panel can be mounted and, in such a case, the mirrored panel will function as a wall as is illustrated in FIGS. 7-9. As these figures illustrate, the mirrored surface 11 can be designed to blend in with the design of the fire pit and may be mounted by brackets (see FIG. 10) to the existing fire pit. In such situations, it is often advantageous, depending upon the depth of the pit in which the gas flame is located, to move the gas burner higher in the fire pit relative to its surrounding non-flammable floor so the mirrored surface will provide more heat and have a larger flame image.

While the invention has been described herein with reference to certain preferred embodiments, those embodiments have been presented by way of example only, and not to limit the scope of the invention. Additional embodiments thereof will be obvious to those skilled in the art having the benefit of this detailed description. Further modifications are also possible in alternative embodiments without departing from the inventive concept.

Accordingly, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that still further changes and modifications in the actual concepts described herein can readily be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the disclosed inventions as defined by the following claims.