Title:
Systems and Apparatus for Toilet Odour Removal
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An odour removal apparatus for a toilet is described wherein the toilet has a bowl, a cistern for supplying water to the bowl, a flushing valve of a flushing mechanism within the cistern and an internal overflow in fluid and/or gaseous communication with the inside of the cistern and an area in the vicinity of the bowl. The apparatus includes an inlet adapted to be in fluid and/or gaseous communication with the bowl via the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism when installed. The apparatus also includes a gases extraction means for drawing gases and entrained odours from the area in the vicinity of the bowl, to the inlet, via the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism. The gases and entrained odours may then be passed to a filter to remove odours therefrom.



Inventors:
Mickleson, Stephen James (Tauranga, NZ)
Curtis, Gary Ian (Tauranga, NZ)
Application Number:
12/091247
Publication Date:
10/23/2008
Filing Date:
10/25/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E03D9/052
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LOEPPKE, JANIE MEREDITH
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Stephen James Mickleson (Tauranga, NI, NZ)
Claims:
1. An odour removal apparatus for a toilet, the toilet having a bowl, a cistern for supplying water to the bowl, a flushing valve of a flushing mechanism within the cistern and an internal overflow in fluid and/or gaseous communication with the inside. of the cistern and an area in the vicinity of the bowl, the apparatus comprising: an inlet adapted to be in fluid and/or gaseous communication with the bowl via the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism when in use; an outlet; and a gases extraction means in fluid and/or gaseous communication with the inlet and the outlet, whereby, in use, the gases extraction means is adapted to substantially remove odours from the area in the vicinity of the bowl by inducing a flow of gases and entrained odours from the area in the vicinity of the bowl to the outlet, via the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism, and wherein, in use, the apparatus is solely supported by the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism of the toilet.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, comprising an adaptor coupled to the gases extraction means and in fluid and/or gaseous communication with the inlet and the outlet.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 or claim 2, wherein a first end of the adaptor is coupled to an inlet of the gases extraction means comprises fan means.

4. The apparatus of claim 3, wherein a second end of the adaptor is configured for coupling to the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism.

5. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein the apparatus is solely supported by the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism by the coupling between the adaptor and the gases extraction means and the coupling between the adaptor and the internal overflow and/or flushing mechanism.

6. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein the adaptor is configured to fit over the end of the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism inside the cistern such that the second end of the adaptor is below the surface of the water in the cistern and the end of the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism inside the cistern is above the surface of the water in the cistern, in use, when the water level in the cistern is at a normal filled height, thereby creating a seal between the adapter and the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism.

7. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein the adaptor includes means for engaging internal overflows of one or more types and/or flushing mechanisms of one or more types.

8. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein the means for engaging includes an insert that is adapted to be inserted in, and removed from, the second end of the adaptor.

9. The apparatus of claim 8, wherein the insert is adapted to be inserted in a plurality of orientations relative to the second end of the adaptor thereby providing for different orientations of the adaptor when coupled to the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism.

10. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein the insert includes one or more passages, each passage being adapted to slidably engage an internal overflow and/or flushing mechanism of a toilet.

11. The apparatus of claim 10, including an adjuster configured for insertion in one of the passages of the insert so as to reduce the internal dimensions thereof.

12. The apparatus of claim 10, including filter means in fluid and/or gaseous communication with the inlet and the outlet.

13. The apparatus of claim 1, including a receiver that is adapted to receive signals from a wired or wireless transmitter for controlling the operation of the gases extraction means.

14. The apparatus of claim 1, including a detection sensor for controlling operation of the gases extraction means based thereon, wherein the detection sensor detects the presence of a user.

15. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the gases extraction means includes: a housing; a DC motor within the housing; and an impellor within the housing and coupled to the motor so that operation of the motor imparts rotational energy to the impellor.

16. The apparatus of claim 15, wherein the gases extraction means is adapted to generate a sufficient reduction in pressure so as to remove substantially all odours from the area in the vicinity of the bowl without compromising user comfort, when in use.

17. The apparatus of claim 1, including means for manually and/or automatically activating and/or deactivating the gases extraction means.

18. The apparatus claim 1, wherein the apparatus is adapted to be fully contained within the cistern.

19. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the outlet is fluidly coupled to an aperture provided in a wall or lid or inside the cistern.

20. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the outlet is provided outside of the cistern.

21. An odour removal apparatus for a toilet, the toilet having a bowl, a cistern for supplying water to the bowl, a flushing valve of a flushing mechanism within the cistern and an internal overflow in fluid and/or gaseous communication with the inside of the cistern and an area in the vicinity of the bowl, the apparatus including: an inlet adapted to be in fluid and/or gaseous communication with the bowl via the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism when in use; an outlet; and a gases extraction means in fluid and/or gaseous communication with the inlet and the outlet, whereby, in use, the gases extraction means is adapted to substantially remove odours from the area in the vicinity of the bowl by inducing a flow of gases and entrained odours from the area in the vicinity of the bowl to the outlet, via the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism, wherein: the apparatus penetrates a wall of the cistern so as to allow for gases to pass from the inside to the outside of the cistern; and the airspace in the cistern is closed, except for the outlet provided for the apparatus and the inlet from the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism, the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism being in communication with the inlet of the apparatus via the airspace in the cistern.

22. The apparatus of claim 21, wherein the gases extraction means is adapted to create at least a partial vacuum in the cistern airspace so as to induce the flow of gases and entrained odours.

23. A filter unit adapted for sealably fitting to a portion of the apparatus of claim 1, the filter unit including: a main body for housing a filtering medium; a circumferential interfacing bevelled edge; and one or more interlocking lugs, wherein the circumferential interfacing bevelled edge and the one or more interlocking lugs are adapted to cooperate with a corresponding bevelled edge and one or more interlocking lugs of said portion of the apparatus.

24. An insert for use with the apparatus of claim 1, the insert including: one or more passages, each passage being adapted to slidably engage an internal overflow and/or a flushing mechanism of a toilet; and means for engaging a cooperating portion of the apparatus.

25. The insert of claim 24, wherein the insert is configurable in a plurality of positions inside the cooperating portion of the apparatus.

26. The insert of claims 24, including a removable adjuster configured for insertion in one of the passages of the insert so as to reduce the internal dimensions thereof.

27. The insert of claim 24, including a slit along the entire length a wall defining at least one of the passages, the slit being in the direction of the passage.

28. An odour removal apparatus for a toilet, the toilet having a bowl, a cistern for supplying water to the bowl, a flushing valve of a flushing mechanism within the cistern and an internal overflow in fluid and/or gaseous communication with the inside of the cistern and an area in the vicinity of the bowl, the apparatus including: an inlet adapted to be in gaseous communication with the bowl via the airspace inside the cistern and the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism when in use; an outlet; and a gases extraction means in fluid and/or gaseous communication with the inlet and the outlet, whereby, in use, the gases extraction means is adapted to substantially remove odours from the area in the vicinity of the bowl by inducing a flow of gases and entrained odours from the area in the vicinity of the bowl to the outlet, via the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism, wherein the apparatus is configured to be coupled to a wall of the cistern such that the entrained airflow is substantially parallel to the said wall while passing through at least a portion of the apparatus from the inlet to the outlet.

29. The apparatus of claim 28, wherein the entrained airflow is substantially parallel to the wall of the cistern to which it is coupled during substantially its entire passage from the inlet to the outlet.

30. The apparatus of claim 28, configured to couple to the wall of the cistern such that the major axis of the apparatus is substantially in the same plane as the wall of the cistern.

31. 31-64. (canceled)

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to odour removal systems and apparatus. In particular, the invention relates to the removal of gases, which include undesirable odours, from the vicinity of a toilet or lavatory bowl.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Most known methods of odour removal for toilets use a fan or the like which is mounted on a wall of a building or is supported in some way by the ceramics of a toilet cistern or bowl. Known methods of odour extraction are neither quick or easy to install, nor easy to service. Often; trained and/or otherwise qualified people are needed to install the systems. These people normally require some prior understanding or knowledge of the earlier extraction means and/or the toilet system. Furthermore, odour extraction means are often difficult, if not impossible, to install retrofit to common toilets without removing wall linings, modifying the cistern, or compromising the aesthetics of either the toilet or the location in which the toilet or the extraction means is installed. The powering and controlling of the systems often requires wires which can cause hygienic and/or aesthetic compromises.

Extraction means, such as fans, require power to run. Use of mains power generally requires the use of wires, which may not be desirable for aesthetic reasons. However, standard batteries have a discharge curve for which the voltage drops quite quickly under a heavy load. Therefore, after a very short time, a fan powered by a battery may still be running but it will run at an insufficient speed required to adequately remove odours.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the invention to provide a system and/or apparatus for removing toilet odours that go at least some way towards overcoming the foregoing disadvantages, or other disadvantages of known systems, or that at least provide the public with a useful choice.

According to a first aspect of the invention, there is provided an odour removal apparatus for a toilet, the toilet having a bowl, a cistern for supplying water to the bowl, a flushing valve of a flushing mechanism within the cistern and an internal overflow in fluid and/or gaseous communication with the inside of the cistern and an area in the vicinity of the bowl. The apparatus comprises an inlet adapted to be in fluid and/or gaseous communication with the bowl via the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism when in use; an outlet; and a gases extraction means in fluid and/or gaseous communication with the inlet and the outlet, whereby, in use, the gases extraction means is adapted to substantially remove odours from the area in the vicinity of the bowl by inducing a flow of gases and entrained odours from the area in the vicinity of the bowl to the outlet, via the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism.

Thus, according to preferred embodiments, the apparatus is adapted to be coupled to the airspace around the source of odours via piping or conduits that are already provided in toilets, just not for same purpose.

Preferably, the apparatus comprises an adaptor coupled to the gases extraction means and in fluid and/or gaseous communication with the inlet and the outlet.

Preferably, the gases extraction means comprises fan means.

Preferably, the fan means is automatically operable when the toilet is in use.

Preferably, a first end of the adaptor is configured for coupling to an inlet of the gases extraction means.

Preferably, a second end of the adaptor is configured for coupling to the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism.

Preferably, the adaptor is configured to fit over the end of the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism inside the cistern such that the second end of the adaptor is below and the end of the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism inside the cistern is above the surface of the water in the cistern, in use, when the water level in the cistern is at a normal filled height, thereby creating a seal between the adapter and the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism.

Thus, it is not necessary to provide for a sealed coupling between the adapter and the internal overflow because the seal is made by the water in the cistern.

Preferably, the adaptor is configured to be solely supported by the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism of the toilet when in use.

Thus, no additional means may be required to fit the apparatus in place, thereby providing for quick and easy installation, even for a non-skilled person.

Preferably, the adaptor comprises means for engaging internal overflows of one or more types and/or flushing mechanisms of one or more types.

Preferably, the means for engaging comprises an insert that is adapted to be inserted in, and removed from, the second end of the adaptor.

Preferably, the insert is adapted to be inserted in a plurality of orientations relative to the second end of the adaptor thereby providing for different orientations of the adaptor when coupled to the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism.

Preferably, the adaptor is configured to allow for normal operation of the internal overflow and/or flushing mechanism. According to preferred embodiments, this is achieved by allowing for fluid communication between the end of the internal overflow and the water in the cistern when the water level rises by a predetermined amount. Thus, the apparatus and the internal overflow coupling is preferably not effected using a permanent physical seal.

Preferably, the apparatus comprises filter means in fluid and/or gaseous communication with the inlet and the outlet.

Preferably, the filter means is coupled to the adapter with a substantially air tight seal.

Preferably, the filter means is fixes to the adapter using a snap-fit or threaded coupling.

Preferably, the filter means is coupled to the outlet with a substantially air tight seal.

Preferably, the outlet is, or is proximate to, the outlet of the filter means.

Preferably, the filter means is removable so that it may be periodically replaced.

Preferably, the filter means comprises media such as activated carbon, saturated and/or coated foam or sponge and/or any other suitable medium for removing/absorbing odours.

Preferably, the filter media is of a porous nature to minimise on friction between entrained gases and odours and the media whilst allowing for sufficient contact for removal of odours from the airstream.

Preferably, the apparatus comprises a wireless receiver that is adapted to receive signals from a wireless transmitter for controlling the operation of the gases extraction means.

Preferably, the apparatus comprises a detection sensor for controlling operation of the gases extraction means based thereon.

Preferably, the detection sensor, sensing range is adjustable to limit the detection to the presence of a user.

Preferably, the detection sensor is an infrared and/or image recognition sensor.

Preferably, the apparatus comprises wired and/or wireless connections to one or more peripheral devices.

Preferably, the connections provide for the control of the operation of said devices based on the signals from the transmitter or the output of the detection sensor.

Preferably, the apparatus comprises AC/DC adaptor means or battery means. More preferably, the battery means comprises rechargeable battery means.

Preferably, the battery is adapted to be positioned inside or outside the cistern.

Preferably, the battery means comprises an NiMH battery or the like.

Preferably, the gases extraction means comprises a housing; a DC motor within the housing; and an impellor within the housing and coupled to the motor so that operation of the motor imparts rotational energy to the impellor.

Preferably, the gases extraction means and the adaptor are adapted to generate a sufficient reduction in pressure so as to remove substantially all odours from the area in the vicinity of the bowl without compromising user comfort, when in use.

Preferably, the apparatus comprises means for varying the speed of the gases extraction means.

Preferably, the apparatus comprises means for manually activating and/or deactivating the gases extraction means.

According to a second aspect, there is provided a system comprising a toilet fitted with the apparatus of the first aspect.

Preferably, the apparatus is arranged to be fully contained within the cistern of the toilet.

Preferably, the apparatus is adapted to be solely supported by the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism.

Preferably, the outlet is provided in the cistern. In such embodiments, it is necessary to provide for the passage of gases out of the cistern after passing through the apparatus. This is possible in normal configurations of many cisterns without modification, but in some cases, may require a lid of the cistern being slightly raised. Alternatively, the outlet may be provided in a wall of the cistern or outside of the cistern.

The outlet may be coupled to venting means so that the odours are vented elsewhere, including to the atmosphere. In such embodiments, filter means may or may not be used.

According to particular embodiments, the apparatus penetrates a wall of the cistern so as to allow for gases to pass from the inside to the outside of the cistern; and the airspace in the cistern is closed, except for the outlet provided for the apparatus and the inlet from the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism, the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism being in communication with the inlet of the apparatus via the airspace in the cistern (without any means directly coupling to the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism). According to such embodiments, the gases extraction means is preferably adapted to create at least a partial vacuum in the cistern airspace to induce the flow of gases/odours.

Preferably, the peripheral devices comprise one or more of a ventilator fan for the room enclosing the toilet, a seat warmer, an automatic flusher and/or an entertainment unit such as a television and/or sound system. It would be clear to one of skill in the art that additional or other devices may be incorporated in the system and it is intended that all such devices and connections thereto be included in the present invention.

According to a third aspect, there is provided a filter unit adapted for sealably fitting to a portion of the apparatus of the first aspect. The filter unit comprises a main body for housing a filtering medium; a circumferential interfacing bevelled edge; and one or more interlocking lugs, wherein the circumferential interfacing bevelled edge and the one or more interlocking lugs are adapted to cooperate with a corresponding bevelled edge and one or more interlocking lugs of said portion of the apparatus.

According to a fourth aspect, there is provided an insert for use with the apparatus of the first aspect, comprising one or more passages, each passage being adapted to slidably engage an internal overflow and/or a flushing mechanism of a toilet; and means for engaging a cooperating portion of the apparatus.

Preferably, the insert comprises a removable adjuster configured for insertion in one of the passages of the insert so as to reduce the internal dimensions thereof.

Further aspects of the invention, which should be considered in all its novel aspects, will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon reading the following description which provides at least one example of a practical application of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

One or more embodiments of the invention will be described below by way of example only and without intending to be limiting with reference to the following drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a side view, partially cut away, of an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is an alternative side elevation of the embodiment of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a view of a cistern showing an embodiment of the apparatus of the invention in more detail;

FIG. 4 is an alternative embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 5 and 6 respectively show side and rear views of an alternative embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 7 shows a further alternative embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 8a to 8d show views of a further alternative embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 9 is a side view of a filter according to an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 10 is a cross-section of a portion of the filter of FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is a side view of an embodiment of the apparatus of the invention including the filter of FIGS. 9 and 10;

FIG. 12 shows a portion of an embodiment of the apparatus adapted to engage the filter of FIGS. 9 and 10;

FIG. 13 shows the filter of FIGS. 9 and 10 assembled with the portion of FIG. 12;

FIG. 14 shows a top view of an insert according to an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 15 is a side view of the insert of FIG. 14;

FIG. 16 is an end view of a section of an embodiment of the apparatus that is adapted to engage the insert of FIGS. 14 and 15;

FIG. 17 is a side view of the section of FIG. 16; and

FIGS. 18a and 18b are side and top views, respectively of an adjuster for the insert of FIGS. 14 and 15.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to FIG. 1, a toilet or lavatory is shown generally referenced 1 having bowl or pan construction 2 about rim 3 of which a seat is usually provided (not shown for clarity). Most toilets also have a cistern 4 but the invention is not limited to such toilets. A flushing valve may be provided with the apparatus of the invention coupled thereto. The inside of cistern 4 is shown including internal overflow 12 extending upwards into adaptor 15.

The present invention involves removal of undesirable odours from the vicinity of a toilet bowl using an extraction device such as a fan. The odours are preferably delivered to an outlet where they may be filtered or vented elsewhere.

FIG. 2 shows an alternative view of toilet 1 of FIG. 1. Internal overflow 12 is in fluid and/or gaseous communication with flushing apertures 13 of bowl 2. Internal overflow 12 has an inlet 5 which is usually above the high liquid level 7 of the cistern 4. However, should the liquid level 7 rise beyond this, liquid (usually water) may enter inlet 5 and drain into pan 2, thereby preventing cistern 4 from overflowing. The provision of inlet 5 above high liquid level 7 means that inlet 5 is normally in gaseous communication with bowl 2. The present invention takes advantage of this existing property of toilets.

Also shown in FIG. 2 is a filter 11, flushing valve 6 and air exhaust 16 which may be provided in certain embodiments so that filtered air may leave cistern 4. Air exhaust 16 is not required for all embodiments. For example, it may only be necessary to slightly lift cistern 4 lid to allow for the passage of air therefrom. Some “in-wall” cisterns may not have a lid and hence this is not a problem.

Referring to FIG. 3, there is shown a cistern with the front wall cut away to more clearly show the configuration of the apparatus of the invention. As can be seen from FIG. 4, fan unit 10, having inlet 8 and outlet 9, is provided between adaptor 15 and filter 11. Fan unit 10 includes any device capable of moving gases at an acceptable airflow to substantially remove all odours from the vicinity of bowl 2, via inlet 12, by creating a sufficient drop in pressure at fan unit 10 relative to the air pressure in bowl 2. However, the pressure drop is limited so as to avoid user discomfort caused thereby.

Fan unit 10 preferably includes a DC motor which is capable of rotating at a sufficient speed to move an impellor to create the desired flow of gases. More preferably, fan unit 10 comprises a an axial flow fan that uses a DC electric motor, such as a 15 volt motor. Use of a DC motor and an appropriate control mechanism, such as a pulse width modulation for the power supply ensures that the motor can be speed controlled to reduce unwanted noise etc, if required. Also, the motor may operate at high rotational speeds and thus provide an enhanced airflow since it is not limited by supply frequency as is the case with most AC motors. DC motors provide the necessary torque to enable the fan to create the desired drop in pressure.

As can be seen in FIG. 3 (and FIGS. 1 and 2), the bottom of adaptor 15 is provided below high liquid level 7. This creates a closed environment between inlet 8 to fan unit 10 and inlet 5 of internal overflow 12 so that gases may be transferred therebetween. Thus, the liquid provides the seal between internal overflow 12 and adaptor 15 meaning that it is not necessary to configure adaptor 15 to snugly fit overflow 12 to create a seal. Accordingly, the (partial) vacuum created by the fan creates a negative air pressure in bowl 2 relative to the surrounding environment in the room in which the toilet is located. Therefore, gas flow occurs from the bowl 2 through adaptor 15, into fan unit 10 and into outlet 9 where it is then passed to filter 11.

The apparatus (including adaptor 15, fan unit 10 and filter 11) may be swivelled to fit into available space within cistern 4, which varies depending on the type of cistern. Fan unit 10 is preferably waterproofed or otherwise provided so that the liquid in the cistern does not interfere with the motor operation. Preferably, fan unit 10 is coupled to, or integral to the outlet of adaptor 15 so that fan 10 may be connected to internal overflow 12 or flushing mechanism 14 by way of adaptor 15. Thus installation is quick and easy.

Turning to FIG. 4, there is shown an alternative cistern arrangement. Like references indicate like features in different figures. In FIG. 4, the apparatus of the invention encapsulates flushing mechanism 14 which includes internal overflow 12 as described in relation to FIGS. 1 to 3. Operation of this embodiment of the invention is the same as that previously discussed except that the adaptor 15 is adapted to be coupled to flushing mechanism 14 instead of internal overflow, although the apparatus components are preferably still in communication with internal overflow 12.

FIGS. 5 and 6 respectively show side and rear views of an alternative embodiment of the invention. According to this embodiment, the components of the apparatus of the invention are preferably provided outside of cistern 4, preferably coupled thereto. The embodiment of FIGS. 5 and 6 is particularly suited for concealed cisterns. According to this embodiment, the air cavity in the upper portion of cistern 4 should be well sealed allowing for a vacuum, or at least a partial vacuum, between inlet 5 and inlet 8 to be formed. Thus, the apparatus of this embodiment is not directly coupled to the flushing mechanism and/or the internal overflow, only via the airspace inside cistern 4. Similar to the previously described embodiments, the negative air pressure in cistern 4 draws gases from bowl 2 through internal overflow 12.

According to FIGS. 5 and 6, fan unit 10 and filter 11 may extend substantially 100% outside of cistern 4. On the other hand, substantially 100% of fan unit 10 and filter 11 may be inside of cistern 4 such that only the exit of the filter is provided in or adjacent to the wall of cistern 4 with the remaining portion of the apparatus inside cistern 4. Of course, any proportion between these extremes could extend outside of cistern 4. In fact, the proportion is preferably adjustable so that the apparatus may be positioned depending on the amount of cavity space for cistern 4. Also, FIG. 6 shows the apparatus installed in a horizontal and/or vertical position in a wall of cistern 4. Also, instead of, or coupled to the outlet of, filter 11, there may be provided venting means for venting the gases elsewhere, such as into the atmosphere.

FIG. 7 shows application of the embodiments of FIGS. 5 and 6 to an “in-wall” cistern. As may be seen in FIG. 7, cistern 4 is provided between walls 20 behind toilet 2. Gases extraction means 15 is provided in a wall of sealed cistern 4 so that gases and entrained odours flow from the vicinity of bowl 2, into internal overflow 12, into the airspace in cistern 4, into fan unit 10 and then through filter 11.

FIGS. 8a to 8d (referred to collectively as FIG. 8) show views of an alternative embodiment of the invention, similar to that of FIG. 7, and only differences therefrom will be discussed. In particular, FIGS. 8a and 8b show a top view looking down and a side view, respectively, and FIGS. 8c and 8d show portions of the embodiment in more detail. The fan unit 10 of FIG. 8 is encapsulated within panel 21, which forms an integral part of the function of the fan unit. Moreover, panel 21 is configured so as to ensure that all gases and entrained odours are drawn through filter 11 without any leakage from cistern 4. The fan of fan unit 10 may be in a horizontal or otherwise positioned. Any proportion from 0% to 100% of the fan unit 10 may be within the cistern space. The fan is preferably waterproofed or otherwise provided so that liquid in cistern 4 does not interfere with the motor or electrics (where applicable) thereof. Panel 21 is preferably configured such that it is quick and simple to install and may be serviced by simply removing the existing panel 21 and affixing a new panel 21. In preferred embodiments, the width of the fan housing is not substantially greater than the width of the inlet or the outlet. Furthermore, preferably the inlet and the outlet of panel 21 are perpendicular or parallel to a wall of the cistern.

FIG. 9 shows an embodiment of filter 11 of the invention which may be used in combination with the apparatus and system of the invention. According to preferred embodiments, filter 11 is configured to be easily added and removed so that it may be replaced periodically when the filter media contained therein needs to be replaced.

FIG. 10 shows a partial cross-section of filter 11 of FIG. 9. FIG. 11 shows the filter 9 fitted to other components of embodiments of the invention. Filter 11 comprises a main body that houses a suitable filtering medium that is adapted to remove toilet odours. Filter 11 also includes interfacing bevelled edge 31 and interlocking lugs 32 that are used to sealably (but preferably removably) fix filter 11 in place against an outlet of adaptor 15 or an outlet of fan 10 to arrive at the configuration of FIG. 11. Filter 11 also includes rim 33.

FIG. 12 shows an embodiment of a portion 34 of the fan unit 10 housing or the adaptor 15 that is adapted to be coupled to filter 11. Portion 34 includes bevelled edge 35 and lugs 36 which are configured to cooperate with bevelled edge 31 and lugs 32, respectively, so as to fix filter 11 in place with a desired level of seal. It is important for a good seal to be provided otherwise odours may leak therefrom, particularly due to the increased pressure caused by filter 11 restricting the flow of gases and entrained odours. Portion 34 preferably has a first region 37 having a first internal bore and a second region 38 having a second internal bore, wherein the first internal bore is greater than the second internal bore, such that the inside of portion 34 is wider adjacent to bevelled edge 35 and then becomes more narrow, thereby creating step 39.

Preferably, filter 11 comprises two lugs 32 disposed generally opposite to each other and portion 34 comprises two lugs 36 disposed generally opposite to each other. Preferably, each lug 32 and 36 extends less than an angle of 90° around the filter 11 or the portion 34, respectively. Preferably, the angle is approximately 80°. The invention is not limited to this arrangement. The skilled man may make modifications within the scope of the invention to adjust the number of lugs and/or the angle.

Filter 11 may be fixed to portion 34 by aligning lugs 32 with the spaces between lugs 36 and inserting filter 11 into portion 34. According to preferred embodiments, filter 11 is then rotated by about a quarter turn (approximately 90°) to sealably fix filter 11 in place against portion 34, as shown in FIG. 13. The seal is provided by the interfacing bevelled edge of filter 11 engaging the interfacing bevelled edge of portion 34. Furthermore, in preferred embodiments, filter 11 and portion 34 are adapted so that rim 33 engages step 39 when fitted, thereby providing for an improved seal. Rim 33 and step 39 may also be bevelled to further improve the level of seal.

According to preferred embodiments, filter 11 is filled with activated carbon and or media that is coated or impregnated with activated carbon, or the like that is effective for odour removal. Filter 11 media may include carbon pellets but these can create resistance that substantially reduces the airflow from the what was essentially “free flow”. Embodiments of the present invention provide less air resistance whilst removing odours effectively providing the choice between greater air flow (and hence odour removal) or lower air flow which may result in less motor noise.

FIGS. 14 and 15 show different views of insert 50 according to an embodiment of the invention. Insert 50 is preferably used as an interface between internal overflow 12 and/or flushing mechanism 14 and adaptor 15 because it increases the flexibility of the types of internal overflows and/or flushing mechanism that may be coupled to, as well as increasing the number of orientations the apparatus of the invention may take, particularly when installed within a cistern. However, an interface similar to that of FIGS. 14 and 15 may be integral to adaptor 15. This would still enable an internal overflow and/or a flushing mechanism to support the apparatus but without the preferred flexibility. Note, also that insert 50 or the like may be omitted altogether. It is not necessary for the apparatus to be supported by the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism. All that is essential is that adaptor 15 shroud the end of the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism, with the end of adaptor 15 below the normal liquid level of the cistern so that the apparatus is effective in drawing gas and any entrained odours through the internal overflow and/or the cistern. Thus, it is possible for no part of the apparatus to come into contact with the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism. However, additional support means for the apparatus would then be required.

Insert 50 may be used in combination with any embodiments of the invention where adaptor 15 couples to an internal overflow and/or flushing mechanism, as well as many types of piping. Insert 50 includes passages 51, engaging means 53 and ribs 54. Passages 51 are proportioned so as to fit over and slide onto a top portion of internal overflow 12 or flushing mechanism 14 and allow for passage of gases and entrained odours therethrough. Passages 51 are preferably configured to provide a firm fit with internal overflow 12 and/or flushing mechanism 14 such that, when adaptor 15 engages insert 50 (as discussed below), no additional means are provided to support the apparatus of embodiments of the invention. However, it is important to note that it is not necessary for the walls of passages 51 to provide a seal against the walls of internal overflow 12 and/or flushing mechanism 14 since this is achieved by the liquid in cistern 4 when it is at the appropriate height.

FIGS. 16 and 17 show different views of a section of adaptor 15 configured to engage insert 50 of FIGS. 14 and 15. Adaptor 15 includes slots 55 and opening 56. Insert 50 is fixed to adaptor 15 by sliding insert 50 into adaptor 15 such that engaging means 53 of insert 50 engage slots 55 of adaptor 15. Ribs 54 serve to provide for easy insertion of insert 50 into adaptor 15 and also serve to orientate the passage 51. Furthermore, as stated above, to allow for normal functioning of internal overflow 12 additional passages 57 are provided and, as can be seen from the drawings (although not drawn to scale), the passages 51 only extend a portion of the way up into adaptor 15 so that liquid in cistern 4 may be drained off if it rises to an unusually high level.

According to preferred embodiments, insert 50 is configurable in a plurality of positions inside adaptor 15. In the example shown, insert 50 is configurable in two positions. The first position as shown in FIG. 14 and the second position with insert 50 rotated by 180° about an axis perpendicular to the page such the larger passage 51 is on left and the smaller passage 51 is on the right. This provides for improved flexibility of the orientation of the apparatus inside cistern 4. Clearly, insert 50 and adaptor 15 could be adapted to include additional nodules, each adapted to engage different sized internal overflows 12 and/or flushing mechanisms 14 and it is intended that such modifications be included within the invention.

Some internal overflows and/or flushing mechanisms are provided with caps at their ends which have a greater cross-section than the pipe of the internal overflow and/or the flushing mechanism. To overcome the problem of placing insert 50 over the cap but still provide for a reasonably secure fit against the particular pipe, slit 58 may be provided in the wall of the passage 51 that is to engage the pipe. Slit 58 preferably runs the entire length of the wall in the direction of the passage 51. Due to the dimensions of insert 50 and the somewhat flexible nature of the material used (preferably a plastic), insert 50 according to this embodiment may slide over the cap and then engage the pipe or directly slide onto the pipe by pressing the slit against the pipe (below the cap) in a direction perpendicular to passage 51. Thus, the walls of passage 51 may open slightly, allowing for the pipe to fit therein. If well dimensioned, the walls of the passage 51 may provide a clamping force against the pipe. Furthermore, due to the configuration of adaptor 15, adaptor 15 may slide over the cap without interference and a secure hold may then be achieved when engaging means 53 engage slots 55.

FIGS. 18a and 18b show an adjuster 60 according to an embodiment of the invention. Adjuster 60 is adapted for insertion in one of the passages 51 of insert 50 so as to reduce the internal diameter thereof, making it suitable for fixing to an internal overflow or flushing mechanism of a smaller size. Additional or different sized adjusters 60 may be used to make alternative adjustments. Ribs, similar to ribs 54 of FIGS. 14 and 15, may be added to ease insertion and provide for a stronger fixing inside passage 51 of insert 50, as well as. to further reduce the internal diameter thereof.

Adjuster 60 may include a slit 61 similar to slit 58 in FIGS. 14 and 15. Slit 61 serves the same purpose and functions in the same manner as slit 58 and repetition will be avoided.

Whilst any known suitable materials may be used, preferably components of the apparatus and the insert are made of plastics.

From the foregoing, it will be seen that an effective odour removal installation is achievable with the invention. In particular, it is suitable for many toilet models, may be easily fitted by a wide range of skilled and unskilled persons (even in the case of retrofitting) and does not compromise toilet use, function or aesthetics. Usually, fan installations and the like simply remove odours from the room in which the toilet is located. However, according to the present invention, odours are removed from immediately adjacent the bowl so that they are essentially removed before entering the room. Furthermore, where necessary or desired, at least some embodiments of the invention may be installed with little or no modifications made to the toilet or the room in which the toilet is located.

Moreover, according to preferred embodiments, the apparatus of the invention simply sits on and is solely supported by the internal overflow pipe and/or the flushing mechanism. Hence it is not necessary to use brackets or the like to hold the apparatus in place.

Furthermore, embodiments of the invention provide for the drawing of gas (air) and entrained odours without the need for additional pipe work, at least outside of the cistern. The conveyance of the odours is preferably through the cistern via airways already present therein, such as the internal overflow pipe, or through other passages, such as waterways, or airways, or any appropriate spaces that may-bypass the cistern and/or the flush pipe and be delivered to the outlet side of the fan where they can be filtered if preferred, or appropriately vented elsewhere, such as to the waste side of the bowl or outside of the room.

The apparatus preferably includes some form of gas extraction means such as a fan and an adaptor suitable for each overflow pipe and/or flush mechanism and may be implemented using hosing, tube or pipe or through appropriate spaces in the overall pan/cistern assembly. It will be seen that the extraction means may be a fan, a pulsing cistern or a pump being mechanically operated or otherwise. The effect of making a negative air pressure within or adjacent to a toilet bowl means that odours do not escape into the room.

It should be noted that various changes and modifications to the presently preferred embodiments described herein will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Such changes and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention and without diminishing its attendant advantages. It is therefore, intended that such changes and modifications be included within the present invention.