Title:
Finger-tip toilet flush interrupting device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A finger-tip access to a water saving retrofiable or original equipped device having a free traveling flexible cord routed from a toilet holding tank to inside non-frictional orifices located at strategic points on major toilet components, able to allow free water flow for full flushes or able to limit flow for partial flushes and stop or interrupt water flow for unusual or emergency functional operations such as toilet bowl cleaning, preventing a bowl overflow, slowing or stopping a flapper valve leak, or help prevent a drowning from occurring simply by pulling a cord.



Inventors:
Collura, Frank (Tampa, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/710064
Publication Date:
08/28/2008
Filing Date:
02/23/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E03D5/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080235862Multi-Purpose Beading For Swimming Pool LinersOctober, 2008Lewis et al.
20080109956CAPACITIVE SENSING FOR WASHROOM FIXTUREMay, 2008Bayley et al.
20060242758Disposable personal spa apparatusNovember, 2006Hall
20090211015FASTENER CONCEALMENT CAP FOR GRAB BAR ASSEMBLYAugust, 2009Forrest
20070118980Pole plungerMay, 2007Johnson et al.
20100024116Non-water Lavatory Flushing Device with Flushing PumpFebruary, 2010Wu
20090235442Ventilated Toilet Apparatus and Dual Function Toilet SeatSeptember, 2009Lee
20030145374Padded knee and elbow rest for outer bathtub wallAugust, 2003Schultz
20060090250DUAL PURPOSE TOILET PAPER AND URINARY AIDMay, 2006Bolles
20080163418Tension rod assembly with adaptorJuly, 2008Barrese
20070011803Manually driven bathtub liftJanuary, 2007Ogrodnick



Primary Examiner:
BAKER, LORI LYNN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Frank Collura (Tampa, FL, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A finger-tip toilet flush interrupting device able to stop water flow to and from a toilet tank simultaneously, in combination with an upper water holding tank having a float controlled water stop valve, a valve seat situated in the lower portion thereof, connective to a water discharge port operably connected to a lower waste receiving bowl, a flapper valve operably situated on said valve seat, adapted to be lifted off a sufficient distance to become buoyant and thereby become fully open and pass all water held in the tank into the water discharge port and into the bowl for the complete flush, an overflow pipe situated proximate the valve seat, and a main flush handle and lever pivotally attached to the tank and operably connected to the flapper valve, a flexible cord capable of being selectively utilized for temporary interruption of the refilling process of a toilet tank and halting of water going into the toilet bowl, wherein said flexible cord is attached to a flapper zapper on one end, which primarily closes the flapper valve, and is threaded up to a diverter attached to the overflow pipe and then routed through an unrestricted orifice located on the water stop valve float.

2. (canceled)

3. (canceled)

4. The device of claim 1 wherein said flexible cord, having a limiting travel stop attached to it, is threaded through an unrestricted orifice on the main flush handle to expose that end of said flexible cord.

5. The device of claim 4, further including a pull knob or ring at the exposed end of said flexible cord and a sliding cord-lock to hold the flexible cord in a pulled or activated position when necessary.

6. A method for operating a finger-tip toilet interruption device having, in combination with an upper water holding tank having a float controlled water stop valve, a valve seat situated in the lower portion thereof, connective to a water discharge port operably connected to a lower waste receiving bowl, a flapper valve operably situated on said valve seat, adapted to be lifted off a sufficient distance to become buoyant and thereby become fully open and pass all water held in the tank into the water discharge port and into the bowl for the complete flush, an overflow pipe situated proximate the valve seat, and a main flush handle and lever pivotally attached to the tank and operably connected to the flapper valve, a flexible cord capable of being selectively utilized for temporary interruption of the refilling process of a toilet tank and halting of water going into the toilet bowl, wherein said flexible cord is attached to a flapper zapper on one end, which primarily closes the flapper valve, and is threaded up to a diverter attached to the overflow pipe and then routed through an unrestricted orifice located on the water stop valve float, said method including after flushing the toilet an operator can initiating a water saving partial flush, emptying the toilet bowl for cleaning, or both by pulling the cord's pull knob and momentarily resetting or pushing the cord back in for when the next operation takes place.

7. A method for operating a finger-tip toilet flush interrupting device having, in combination with an upper water holding tank having a float controlled water stop valve, a valve seat situated in the lower portion thereof, connective to a water discharge port operably connected to a lower waste receiving bowl, a flapper valve operably situated on said valve seat, adapted to be lifted off a sufficient distance to become buoyant and thereby become fully open and pass all water held in the tank into the water discharge port and into the bowl for the complete flush, an overflow pipe situated proximate the valve seat, and a main flush handle and lever pivotally attached to the tank and operably connected to the flapper valve, a flexible cord capable of being selectively utilized for temporary interruption of the refilling process of a toilet tank and halting of water going into the toilet bowl, wherein said flexible cord is attached to a flapper zapper on one end, which primarily closes the flapper valve, and is threaded up to a diverter attached to the overflow pipe and then routed through an unrestricted orifice located on the water stop valve float, said method including after flushing the toilet preventing a toilet bowl overflow, slowing or stopping the flapper valve from leaking, or both by pulling the cord's pull knob and sliding the cord-lock while holding the cord out.

8. The device of claim 1 wherein said flexible cord, ha limited travel stop attached to it, is routed out between a shimmed tank wall and tank lid.

9. The method of claim 7 wherein the next flush automatically resets the flapper zapper.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to toilet flush systems that are in wide use and characterized by a floating flapper valve and a float operated water supply valve.

In the flushing and refill process, a manually operated lever on the holding tank opens a flapper value in the bottom of the tank. This releases the water from the tank into the toilet bowl, displacing the contents of the bowl through an air lock, or ā€œPā€ trap and into the sewer system. After the tank has emptied from the flush, the flapper valve automatically closes, allowing a fresh supply of water to be retained by the tank. Common toilet designs use a float to control the fresh water supply valve. This assembly is located inside the tank. Upon flushing, the float lowers with the water level to a down position causing the water supply valve to open, filling the empty tank and bowl simultaneously.

In typical toilet designs, approximately twenty percent of the fresh water from the water supply valve is delivered to the overflow pipe through a tube into the toilet bowl. The remaining eighty percent is discharged directly into the tank. As the tank fills, the float rises with the water to a preset level to an up position causing the water supply valve to close. This stops the filling of both the tank and the bowl.

Toilets are normally designed so that a more than adequate amount of water is delivered to the bowl at each flush to fully flush out the contents thereof, solid or liquid. A considerable amount of water can be saved by individually adjusting the minimum amount of flush water used for a partial flush containing liquids only. Some known devices address this issue but suffer one primary disadvantage; their control is extremely limited. One type of control addresses the closing of the flapper valve; other types address the closing of the float controlled water supply valve. At the present time, there is no method of interrupting both flushing and filling operations simultaneously, in case of an emergency situation.

Another problem in an emergency situation is getting access to the plumbing water stop valve usually located outside or below the toilet tank. It is typically very difficult to reach and is usually either seized (stuck open) or cannot be closed without extraordinary effort. On many toilets the water stop is not installed. When this occurs, the toilet tank lid must be removed and the water valve must be closed inside the tank. In addition, when using this method, in order for the valve in the tank to remain closed, the operator must continue to hold the float or else the valve reopens and refilling resumes.

Interrupting and closing the flapper valve does stop water flow from the tank to the toilet bowl which works fine for partial flushes and toilet bowl cleaning. It does not address emergency situations such as bowl overflows since water will continue into the overflow pipe and into the bowl if the water supply valve is not in a closed position. The closing of the water supply valve insures complete water stoppage for short or prolong occurrences each time the cord's pull knob is actuated.

Shutting off the water stop valve or accessing the automatic refill mechanism is only available if the operator is aware of them. Often it is the case that individuals do not possess this knowledge. Heretofore, neither the toilet manufacturers nor the product distributors have made efforts to make this information known.

In the past, the common widespread usage of common toilets was due to the widespread availability of water. However, water in some areas of the world is becoming not so available. Also, the fact that the population is ever increasing creates an even greater demand for water. Many communities are restricting the maximum allowable water to be used within toilets.

Some communities are now even further giving incentives for users to incorporate some form of water save mechanism within their toilets. The amount of water that is used in a conventional toilet is actually more than is required to effectively remove human waste. It has been found that in most instances the amount of water could be decreased as much as fifty percent and still adequate removal of the waste will occur.

Prior art toilets are characterized in lacking structural flexibility for adjusting the discharge amount of the flush water therein so that every time when the flush device is actuated, a tankful of water is discharged totally, regardless whether such a large amount of water is needed. This causes a waste of water source, which is uneconomical and detrimental to the environment.

As mentioned, a problem often encountered is toilet bowl overflow. It is not uncommon for the waste lines which drain the bowl of a conventional toilet to become clogged or otherwise impassable due to waste or some foreign object blocking or slowing the passage. In conventional toilets, once the flush cycle is commenced, all the water in the tank will empty into the bowl whether the bowl can accept it or not.

The operator of the toilet may not notice the line stoppage until after flushing. If the bowl is unable to drain, the water from the tank fills the bowl and then overflows onto the floor. This overflow can cause extensive damage to the flooring as well as leaving the operator with an unsightly mess to clean.

Several water saving methods are in current use to conserve water during the toilet flushing operation. One such method is to place a filled water bag or a solid object, such as a brick, in the water tank to displace an equivalent volume of water to thus reduce the volume of water consumed with each flushing.

In summary, the design of the prior art apparatuses with respect to the design of the instant invention are relatively complicated, require modification of the existing hardware and in some cases, the toilet tank itself requires modification.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention solves the problems discussed above by providing a finger-tip access to a water saving retrofiable or original equipped device having a free traveling flexible cord routed from a toilet holding tank to inside non-frictional orifices located at strategic points on major toilet components, able to allow free water flow for full flushes or able to limit flow for partial flushes and stop or interrupt water flow for unusual or emergency functional operations such as toilet bowl cleaning, preventing a bowl overflow, slowing or stopping a flapper valve leak, or help prevent a drowning from occurring simply by pulling a cord.

Accordingly, besides the objects and advantages of the prior art apparatuses described above, several objects and advantages of the present invention are:

(a) to provide the usual means of flushing a toilet;

(b) to provide a means of creating a partial flush;

(c) to provide a means to ease toilet bowl cleaning;

(d) to provide a means to prevent toilet bowl overflow;

(e) to provide a means of slowing or stopping flapper valve leakage;

(f) to provide finger tip access to a supply water stop;

(g) to provide a means of automatically resetting the flapper valve zapper whenever the toilet flush handle has been actuated;

(h) to provide a means of accomplishing all the above with a pull of a cord attached to the flush handle of a toilet, or having the cord strung over the outside wall of a toilet.

Still further objects and advantages will become apparent from a consideration of the ensuing description and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows the operating hardware that is found in most standard toilets, and the location of the operating cord, a front view without toilet tank walls.

FIG. 2 shows a top view of a flapper valve zapper attached to an overflow pipe positioned above the flapper value.

FIG. 3 shows a top, side, and front view of a flapper zapper.

FIG. 4 shows a top and side view of one of the locations where the cord will be attached to the water supply valve float.

FIGS. 5A and 5B show a top view of two diverters used to divert the cord from the flapper zapper to the float diverters that are attached to the overflow pipe.

FIG. 6A to 6C shows a side view of three locations of attaching or threading a cord in a loose and free sliding mode on a water supply valve float.

FIG. 7A shows a top view of a cord with no flattened cord area threaded through the flush handle in a loose and free sliding mode.

FIGS. 7B and 7C show two cords with flattened cord areas in a loose and free sliding mode being protected by spacers or shims placed around the tank top or lid.

FIG. 7D shows a blown-up view of a flattened cord area which will insure a positive locked position for the sliding cord-lock when felt necessary for complete water stoppage.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The preferred embodiment of the device 10 as shown in FIG. 1 is comprised of four major elements: a flapper zapper 17, a cord diverter 24, a sliding cord-lock 13, and a flexible cord 19. The device is designed to be installed in a toilet water tank 39 that incorporates a flapper valve 16, an overflow pipe 29, a water fill valve 22, and a flush chain 15, that is controlled through a flush arm 14, which is connected to the flush handle 11, of the toilet. As shown in FIG. 1, the device also has a bowl refill adjuster 25, a level adjuster clip 26, and a supply inlet 27, with an adjustable height 30.

All major elements of the device may be constructed of plastic or a non-corrosive metal, with plastic preferred. The flapper zapper 17, consists of an elongated structure which fits around the over flow pipe 29 that includes a means for allowing it to be held in place on the overflow pipe at the flapper valve pivot arms 18. As best shown in FIG. 2, the flapper zapper 17, is comprised of a closed oval elongated structure that includes a means for allowing it to move or pivot freely with a pull of the cord 19, or pushed up by the flapper valve 16, when flushing occurs, which is also attached to the pivot arms 18, of the overflow pipe 29. As shown in FIG. 3, flapper zapper 17 also may include flexible legs 34 and a zapper legs orifice 36. As shown in FIG. 4, the float 21 has a float water supply orifice 25.

State of the art flush flapper valves are characterized by an integral float chamber by which they are buoyant in order to remain elevated once lifted off the toilet bowl valve seat 45, until the water level subsides in the flush tank 39. This is an automatic function inherent in the operation of state of the art toilets, by means of a flexible lanyard or a loosely linked chain 15, attached to chain orifice 32 to initially lift the flapper valve 16. The lanyard or chain 15, requires no guide, being lifted by a manually operated flush arm 14. The toilet mechanism thus far described is standard.

The flapper valve 16, of the preferred embodiment is show in FIGS. 1 and 2, and is comprised of a large diameter body of rubber or the like, having a downwardly faced planar sealing face to engage on the upwardly faced toilet bowl valve seat 45, with the lift chain 15 coupled to the flapper valve 16, through a loop or suitable connector, there being a depending peripheral ball within the working component is the cord, a flexible appendage made of material such as polyethylene, polypropylene, vinyl, nylon, rubber, various plasticized impregnated or laminated fibrous materials and etc. The slide cord-lock 13, is also made of similar materials.

The cord is attached to an orifice 33, at the flapper zapper 17, from where it is routed up and through diverter 24, held by hose clamp 23, through the orifice 20 on float 21 (see also FIG. 4) shown at FIG. 1, or as seen at 18A and 24B in FIG. 5 which is attached to the upper part of the overflow pipe 29. From the diverter 5A and 5B, having diverter posts 37 and cord protector 38 and diverter leaf spring 40 it is routed to the float 21, as seen in FIG. 1, located on the upper part of the water fill valve 22. The float 21, shown in FIG. 6, shows three potential locations of attaching cord 19, at A42, at B20, and C44, having nylon cable tie 43 in a loose and free sliding mode, at the discretion on the manufacturer or the installer.

In the leaving the float 21, and prior to entering the orifice on flush arm 14, and flush handle 11, a cord stop 31, is shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 7, that is installed on cord 19, which prevents an over-pull by the toilet operator which could damage the water saving device 10, and make it inoperable. The end of cord 19, is routed through the orifice in the flush arm 14, and protrudes past the flush handle 11, with an ample length of cord 19, that allows attaching the sliding cord-lock 13, and the cords pull knob 12. When pushed into the flush handle 11, which is the reset position, the cord 19 does not interfere with the operation of a normal flush of a toilet. Same holds true if cord is routed over the side of the tank as shown in FIG. 7 utilizing tank lip shims 41 and flattened cord area 46.

When cord 19 is pulled out of the flush handle 11, to comply with various operations the operator might be selecting, the sliding cord-lock 13, can be activated and slid into the flatten cord area for a more positive locking position to keep cord 19, from resetting or retreating back into the flush handle 11, which is the normal position of the cord 19, if routed over the side of the tank between the shimmed tank and lid.

From the description above, a number of advantages of the device become evident by the added versatility:

(a) The device allows the operator of a common toilet to cause a full flush.

(b) Will permit the average user to provide a water saving mini or partial flush.

(c) Allows one to flush and empty a toilet bowl for toilet bowl cleaning.

(d) Permits the user to have finger-tip access to a means of shutting water flow from the water supply valve, done right on the toilet tank.

(e) Allows the operator to prevent a toilet bowl overflow whenever a toilet or sewer line becomes plugged or stopped up.

(f) The user will be able to pull and lock the cord on the flush handle and add additional pressure to the top of the flapper valve to either stop or slow the water leak thereby saving precious water, same holds true if cord is routed over and out the side of the toilet tank.

(g) An inherent automatic result of flushing with this device installed is that the flapper zapper always gets reset with the next flush and does not interfere with future flush operations.

The manner of using a toilet with this device installed is identical to some of the widely known common toilets in use today. Referring to FIG. 1, a front view of the controlling device is shown of the toilet tank 39, with walls cut away to show the device. To initiate a full flush, the user makes sure that the cord 19, is pushed in or in a reset position on the flush handle, and the same holds true if cord is routed out and over the side of the toilet tank as shown in FIGS. 7A, 7B, &7C. The toilet will now operate normal and the user need only to depress flush handle 11, to cause flush arm 14, to lift chain 15, which lifts flapper valve 16, making it become buoyant and empties the water stored in the toilet tank 39, allowing a full flush to take place.

To initiate a partial flush, one first depresses the flush handle 11, as if causing a full flush but immediately interrupts the flush by pulling the cord's pull knob 12 as seen at FIG. 7A, B, or 7C. This stops water flow to and from the toilet tank 39. Pulling the cord's pull knob lifts float 21, which stops water flow to tank 39, and forces the flapper zapper 17, to push and close the flapper valve 16, as seen in FIG. 1, which stops water from getting into the toilet bowl drain 28, and into the toilet bowl.

As to how soon should the operator pull the cord's pull knob 12, after depressing the flush handle 11, to cause a partial flush is determined by the user visually observing the drop in the toilet bowl water level and making a decision as to what makes for a satisfactory elimination of liquid waste matter.

Pushing in or resetting the cord's pull knob 12, allows the float 21, to move freely to replenish the tank and bowl with water to a normal level and allow the flapper zapper 17, to relax against the closed flapper valve 16. The next flush caused by a user will automatically reset the flapper zapper 17.

To initiate toilet bowl cleaning, the same action is taken by the operator as in a partial flush. The only difference is allowing the bowl water level to drop to the bottom of the bowl and then pulling cord pull knob 12A, B, or C, and locking the cord 19 with sliding cord-lock 13. Once cleaning is accomplished, the sliding cord-lock is reset and the pull knob 12 and cord 19 is pushed into a reset position allowing tank 39, and bowl to come back to normal. A full flush may be necessary to remove the cleaning solutions and etc.

A toilet bowl overflow can be prevented after flushing by pulling the cord pull knob 12A, B, or C which stops water flow to the toilet bowl and to the toilet tank 39, preventing extensive damage to the flooring as well as leaving the operator with an unsightly mess to clean.

There will come a time that an old or warn-out flapper valve will start leaking and for various reasons can not be replaced soon enough. To stop or slow the leak, the operator simply pulls and holds the cords pull knob 12A, B, or C all the way out and slides the sliding cord-lock 13, against the flush handle 11, or against the tanks side wall. This locks the cord 19, and forces the flapper zapper 17, against the flapper valve 16. It then stands to reason that with the flapper zapper 17, adding additional pressure along with the normal tank's water height pressure against the flapper valve 16, the leak will surly slow or completely stop. This does not mean that the leaky and worn-out flapper valve 16, shouldn't be replaced, and the sooner, the better.

An inherent operation this device offers right on the toilet tank 39, is being able to stop the incoming water supply without having to rely on the standard plumber's shut-off valve in case of an emergency. In many cases it is hard to get to and at times it is seized (stuck open) and cannot be closed. Pulling on the cord's pull-knob 12A, B, or C and locking it in place with the sliding cord-lock 13, will lift the float 21, on the water fill valve 22 which stops water flow to tank 39, and forces flapper zapper 17, to close flapper valve 16, which stops water flow to the toilet bowl.

Another inherent operation this device does automatically is that it resets the flapper zapper 17, each time the toilet is flushed if cord 19 is in a pushed-in or reset position. Flushing the toilet lifts the flapper valve 16, which forces the flapper zapper 17 back into a normal reset position. Most importantly, with either the cord at flush handle 11, or routed over the side of the toilet tank 39, operations remain the same.

SCOPE

Accordingly, the present invention is directed to a cord configured to be pulled by the operator outside of a toilet tank that will stop water flow to the toilet tank and flow to the toilet bowl, allowing a full flush or a partial flush so that water conservation can be achieved.

In addition, extreme simplicity and practicality is the essence of this invention. It is another object and advantage of the invention to provide a control device which is useful both in new equipment and in retrofitting existing toilet structures so that a reliable and economic control device can be readily achieved in existing standard toilets.

It is another object and advantage of this invention to provide a device which is economic of construction, reliable in operation, easy to understand, and easily installed so that the water conservation advantages of the device can be widely enjoyed. Furthermore, the device has additional advantages in that;

    • it permits a means to ease toilet bowl cleaning by allowing the operator to empty the toilet bowl by just pulling the cord's pull knob after the bowl empties;
    • it permits a means of preventing a toilet bowl overflow by allowing the operator to stop the flow of water to the toilet tank and water flow to the toilet bowl by pulling a cord that is routed to the outside of the toilet, either at the flush handle or on the side of the toilet tank;
    • it allows an operator a means to slow or stop a flapper valve leak simply by pulling and locking the cord with a novel sliding cord-lock 13 stationed on the cord, thus allowing additional pressure against the flapper valve which slows or stops the leak;
    • It permits the operator to have easy finger-tip access to a means of stopping water flow to the toilet in case of an emergency right on the toilet tank. Having to locate and then trying to close the plumbing's water stop valve can be very annoying;
    • by pushing in or resetting the cord, a remarkable inherent result takes place. No matter which of the above operations it performs, the next flush resets the flapper zapper away from the flapper valve, thus not interfering with the next flush or operation picked by the operator.

These together with other objects of the invention, along with the various features of novelty which characterize the invention, are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming a part of this disclosure. For a better understanding of this invention, its' operation advantages and the specific objects attainted by its uses, reference should be made to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which there are illustrated preferred embodiments of the invention.