Title:
Overflow Drain Seal and Kit for Using Same with Presure-Based Drain-Opening Devices
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Provided is a seal for sealing a sink or other overflow drain in fluid communication with a sink drain system. The seal is used in conjunction with a pressure-based drain-opening device. The seal is configured as a releasable adhesive tape that includes water-resistant, flexible, conformable sheet material having pressure-sensitive adhesive layer adhered to one surface of the sheet material. Optionally, a protective layer may overlie the adhesive layer. The properties and characteristic of the overflow drain seal components are selected such that the seal, when engaged, has sufficient adhesive force to overcome an aperture force impinging the seal from pressure generated upon activation of the pressure-based drain-opening device



Inventors:
Bitowft, Bruce (Danville, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/747296
Publication Date:
11/13/2008
Filing Date:
05/11/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
15/104.05
International Classes:
E03C1/244; A47K1/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
YOUNKINS, KAREN L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
THE CLOROX COMPANY (OAKLAND, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A seal for sealing an overflow drain in fluid communication with a fixture drain of a fixture, said seal used in conjunction with a pressure-based drain-opening device, said seal comprising: a releasable adhesive tape; wherein, before activation of said pressure-based drain-opening device, a first portion of said releasable adhesive tape overlies an overflow drain aperture of said overflow drain and a second portion of said releasable adhesive tape releasably engages a fixture surface area adjacent and circumscribing said overflow drain aperture; and wherein, after activation of said pressure-base drain-opening device, said second portion of said releasable adhesive tape is released from engagement with said fixture surface area and said first portion of said releasable adhesive tape is removed from overlying said overflow drain aperture.

2. The seal of claim 1 wherein said second portion of said releasable adhesive tape provides an adhesive force greater than an aperture force impinging said first portion of said releasable adhesive tape overlying said overflow drain aperture from pressure generated upon activation of said pressure-based drain-opening device.

3. The seal of claim 2 wherein said aperture force is about 10-30 pounds.

4. The seal of claim 1 wherein said releasable adhesive tape has a peel force strength of about 50 to 150 ounces/inch width.

5. The seal of claim 1 wherein a maximum operating pressure of said pressure-based drain-opening device is about 7 to 20 PSI.

6. The seal of claim 1 wherein said releasable adhesive tape comprises: a sheet said sheet being flexible and conformable; a pressure sensitive adhesive layer on one surface of said sheet, said adhesive layer adhering to said sheet and adapted to releasably engage said sheet to said fixture surface area adjacent and circumscribing said overflow drain aperture by application of pressure on said sheet after said adhesive layer is placed in abutting contact with said fixture surface area; and optionally, a protective layer overlying said pressure sensitive adhesive layer, said protectively being removable for said adhesive layer.

7. The seal of claim 6 wherein said sheet is water resistant.

8. The seal of claim 6 wherein said sheet further includes a sheet tab integral with said sheet and grippable by a user of said overflow drain seal.

9. The seal of claim 6 wherein said protective layer further includes a flexible layer tab integral with said sheet and grippable by a user of said overflow drain seal.

10. The seal of claim 6: wherein said sheet comprises a material selected from the group consisting of polyester film, polyethylene film, glass cloth film, and elastomeric foam film; wherein said pressure sensitive adhesive layer comprises a material selected from the group consisting of silicone adhesives, urethane adhesives, latex adhesives, and natural rubber adhesives; and wherein said optional protective layer comprises a material selected from the group consisting of polyester film, polyethylene film, and densified kraft paper sheet.

11. The seal of claim 1 wherein said second portion of said releasable adhesive tape releasably engages said fixture surface area adjacent and circumscribing said overflow drain aperture through a user pressing said second portion against said fixture surface area.

12. The seal of claim 1 wherein a tensile strength and shear strength of said releasable adhesive tape is selected to avoid bursting or tearing of said releasable adhesive tape during use with a pressure-base drain-opening device and during removal of said releasable adhesive tape after use.

13. The seal of claim 1 wherein said fixture is a bathroom sink.

14. The seal of claim 1 wherein said fixture is a bathtub.

15. A pre-packaged drain-opening kit for use in removing a fixture drain blockage in a fixture drain in fluid communication with a fixture having an overflow drain in fluid communication with said fixture drain, said kit comprising: a pressure-based drain-opening device; an overflow drain seal; drain-opening instructions in the use and disposal of said pressure-based drain-opening device; seal instructions in the use, removal, and disposal of said overflow drain seal; and optionally, promotional materials.

16. The kit of claim 15 wherein said seal instructions include specific and particular instructions for cleaning a fixture surface area of said fixture adjacent and circumscribing an overflow drain aperture of said drain system before application of pressure on said overflow drain seal.

17. The kit of claim 15 wherein said overflow drain seal comprises a releasable adhesive tape.

18. The kit of claim 17 wherein said releasable adhesive tape comprises: a flexible, conformable sheet having a pressure sensitive releasable adhesive on one surface of said sheet; and optionally, a protective layer overlying said pressure sensitive adhesive layer, said protectively being removable for said adhesive layer.

19. The kit of claim 15 wherein a maximum operating pressure of said pressure-based drain-opening device is about 7 to 20 PSI.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to devices for clearing blocked fluid drains, conduits and the like. More particularly, the present invention relates to a releasable sink, tub or other fixture overflow drain seal for use with pressure-based drain-opening devices that dispense pressurized gas into the fixture drain to produce clearing of a drain blockage.

2. Description of Related Art

The problem of clearing drains, such as household bathroom and kitchen sink drains, of blockages is a constantly reoccurring one. Many methods and devices have been used in the past in attempts to solve this problem.

Chemical drain openers are well known in the art, as is their principle of chemically attacking blockage material to effect its breakup or dislodgment. However, some blockages are not susceptible to such chemical removal, at least not very easily. Furthermore, the chemical removal methods typically take time to work and accordingly do not satisfy a user's desire for quick removal of a drain blockage causing frustrating or unsanitary conditions. In addition, chemicals typically used in this application are caustic or corrosive and present safety hazards to users.

Mechanical techniques for removing blockages are well known and usually quick acting. A common method to remove blockages from sink and other fixture drain systems is to pressurize in the drain system above the blockage to overcome the force created by the blockage, thereby causing the blockage material to move until it is cleared from the drain system. The common plumber's helper, which is a simple plunger, operates by creating a pressure surge in the drain to effectively remove the blockage from its point of lodgment.

More recently, pressure-base drain opening devices have been developed which use stored compressed gas for creating the pressure surge necessary for mechanical blockage removal. With the advent of aerosol containers, a safe reliable source of pressurized gas was made available for use with pressure-based drain-opening devices.

As is well known to those of ordinary skill in the art, aerosol containers typically comprise a cylindrical sidewall coupled to a domed top piece at a crimped, rounded-over top seam, sometimes referred to as a chime. An aerosol can valve, which when activated releases pressurized gas in the aerosol container through an aperture in a valve stem and an aperture in the domed top price, projects from the dome top piece. An example of an aerosol container drain-opening device is U.S. Pat. No. 3,823,427 by Pittet, which utilizes an aerosol container having a conventional inverted vertical action aerosol valve of reciprocating type by which a gas or propellant within the container may be selectively discharged. Breznok, et al., U.S. Pat. No. 4,034,427, Hsiao, U.S. Pat. No. 6,526,601 B1, and Allenbaugh et al., U.S. Pat. No. 6,550,074B1, also disclose devices that utilized pressurized gas in an aerosol container to mechanically remove drain blockages. The Liquid Plumber Power Jet™, produced by The Clorox Company, Oakland Calif. is an example of a commercial aerosol pressure-based drain-opening device.

An important feature necessary for effective removal of blockages with a pressurize-based drain-opening device is a fixture drain sealing member that effects a substantially gas-tight seal between the gas dispensing container and the fixture drain used to drain waste fluid from contained in the fixture basin. Without an effective seal, gas is lost at the fixture drain opening to the surrounding atmosphere and blockage removal pressure is reduced. Many structures have been developed to provide an effective seal at the fixture drain opening to prevent loss of gas during use of a pressurize-based drain-opening device and to avoid concomitant loss of efficacy for the drain-opening device.

These fixture drain opening sealing members typically utilized a rigid or elastomeric cup, the end or rim of which was place in abutting contact with the fixture or other surface, such as a flange that typically surrounded the drain opening, to effect a gas-tight seal. Pressurized gas was then introduced into the cup, thereby pressurizing the drain system and impinging on the blockage. Other prior art devices utilized a flexible or elastomeric cone that fit within the drain opening, thereby effecting a seal where the diameter of the sealing cone equaled the inside diameter of the fixture drain opening. Pressurized gas was then introduced into the drain through a passageway in the cone thereby pressurizing the drain system and impinging on the blockage.

In addition to a fixture drain use to drain waste fluids contained in the fixture, most bathroom sinks and bathtubs and some kitchen fixtures also have an overflow drain. Often, the overflow drain is a passageway incorporated into the fixture structure or a separate conduit that places a sink basin or bathtub in separate fluid communication with the fixture drain downstream of the fixture drain opening. The overflow drain opens to the fixture basin at an overflow drain aperture. The overflow drain is also in fluid communication with a fixture drain at an overflow connection point downstream of the fixture drain opening. The overflow drain aperture is usually located near the top of the fixture and functions to drain water from the fixture into the sewer drain line connected to the fixture drain if the fixture basin is accidentally over-filled. As liquid rises in the fixture to the level of the overflow drain aperture, excess liquid flows by gravity into the overflow drain aperture through the overflow drain and into the sewer drain line.

If a drain blockage occurs in the drain system downstream of the fluid communication attachment point of the overflow drain, when a pressure-based drain-opening device is used to clear the blockage in the drain system, the overflow drain aperture must be sealed. Otherwise, pressurized gas generated by the drain-opening device is lost through the overflow drain aperture and fluid backed-up behind the blockage may be forced out through the aperture.

Some pressure-based drain-opening device manufactures recommend that a user attempt to seal the overflow drain aperture with a towel. This technique is not effective in forming a gas-tight seal at the overflow drain aperture. U.S. Pat. No. 5,004,119 by Irwin describes a device that forms a seal on an overflow drain of a double wall sink using a mechanically actuated sealing plate utilizing a rotable cam, and locking members that must first be inserted through the overflow drain aperture before use. The device includes many components and would be relatively expensive to manufacture and impractical for use by a typical non-professional consumer. What is needed is an overflow drain seal for use with a pressure-based drain-opening device that is simple to use, inexpensive and effective in forming a gas-tight seal at a variety of overflow drain apertures. The device should also be easily removed after discharge of the pressure-based drain-opening device and dislodgment of a blockage obstructing the drain system of the fixture.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a simple, easy to use, inexpensive, effective overflow drain seal for use in conjunction with a pressure-based drain-opening device. The seal can be effectively used on fixtures of widely varying designs and configurations. The seal is lightweight and readily prepackaged with a pressure-based drain-opening device and, in one embodiment may be releasable attached to the drain-opening device itself.

In one embodiment, an overflow drain seal in accordance with the principle of the present invention is a releasable adhesive tape having certain characteristics and properties and adapted to form a gas-tight seal at an overflow drain aperture of a fixture prior to activation of the pressure-based drain-opening device. A first portion of the releasable adhesive tape is positioned to overlie the overflow drain aperture of the fixture, such as a bathroom sink or bathtub, having an overflow drain in fluid communication with the fixture drain, prior to activation of the pressure-based drain-opening device. Again before activation of the pressure-based drain-opening device, a second portion of the releasable adhesive tape releasably engages a fixture surface area adjacent and circumscribing the overflow drain aperture. After activation of the pressure-base drain-opening device to remove a blockage in the fixture drain system, the second portion of the releasable adhesive tape is released from engagement with the fixture surface area and the first portion of the releasable adhesive tape is removed from its overlying relationship with the overflow drain aperture. The seal is thus broken and the overflow drain to returned to service.

In one embodiment, the releasable adhesive tape making up the overflow drain seal includes a sheet of water resistant material having a pressure-sensitive adhesive layer adhered to one surface of the sheet material. The pressure sensitive adhesive is used to adhere the sheet material of the seal to another surface, such as a sink surface.

Optionally, a protective layer overlies the pressure sensitive adhesive layer to protect the pressure sensitive adhesive layer from contamination and moisture prior to use as an overflow drain aperture seal. The protective layer, generally configured as a sheet, is removable from the pressure sensitive adhesive layer prior to placement and releasable engagement of the overflow drain seal.

Suitable materials for manufacture of the sheet, the adhesive layer, and the optional protective layer construction sheet are described below. In addition, for a given overflow drain aperture, the peel strength of the overflow drain seal is selected such that the adhesive force of the seal, when releasable engaged, is sufficient to resist an aperture force generated by the pressure-based drain-opening device on the first portion of the adhesive seal that overlies the overflow drain aperture. Further, the tensile strength and shear strength of the material making up the sheet layer of the seal is selected to avoid bursting or tearing of the releasable adhesive tape upon impingement of an aperture force on the portion of the tape overlying the overflow drain aperture. Stresses are also imposed on the overflow drain seal upon removal of the seal after use of the pressure-based drain-opening device to remove a drain system blockage.

The releasable adhesive tape overflow drain seal of the present invention may be packaged in a drain-opening kit that includes a pressure-base drain-opening device, one or more releasable adhesive tape overflow drain seals according to the principles of the present invention and adapted for use with the packaged drain-opening device. The kit may also contain instructions for the safe and proper use of the drain-opening device and adhesive tape seal and the proper disposal of the used seal and spent drain-opening device. Optionally, the kit may also contain promotional materials and coupons offering, for example, incentives for future purchases of the drain-opening kit or related consumer products.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Reference will now be made to the drawings wherein like numerals refer to like parts throughout. When considered in conjunction with the subsequent detailed description, a complete understanding of the present invention may be obtained by reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a typical double walled sink showing an overflow drain having an overflow drain aperture with an overlying overflow drain seal in accordance with the principles of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the double walled sink of FIG. 1 taken along line 2′. . . 2′ of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a detail view of the portion of FIG. 2 marked in dotted line showing details of the overflow drain system and the releasable adhesive tape overflow drain sealer of the present invention;

FIG. 4 a side, cross-sectional view of the seal of the present invention before placement and installation on a sink;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the overflow drain seal of the present invention after removable installation on a sink; and

FIG. 6 is a plan view of the seal of FIG. 5.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the present invention, disclosed is an overflow drain seal that provides a means to seal the overflow drain in fixtures when a pressure-based drain-opening device is used to remove a fixture drain blockage. In one embodiment, the overflow drain seal is a releasable adhesive tape that includes a sheet of water resistant material having a pressure sensitive adhesive layer on one surface of the sheet material. The properties of the releasable adhesive tape are determined from the characteristics of the pressure-based drain-opening device and the fixture for which it is intended.

The adhesive tape is releasably affixed to the surface of a fixture adjacent to an overflow drain aperture of the overflow drain prior to the activation of the pressure-based drain-opening device. After activation of the drain-opening device, the adhesive tape is released from the fixture surface, removed, and disposed.

More particularly, FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a typical double walled sink fixture 100 showing an overflow drain 102 having an overflow drain aperture 104 and an over flow drain seal 106 (FIGS. 2 and 3) in accordance with the principles of the present invention overlying overflow drain aperture 104. FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of double walled sink 100 of FIG. 1 taken along line 2′. . . 2′ of FIG. 1. FIG. 3 is a detail view of the portion of FIG. 2 marked in dotted line showing details of the overflow drain and the releasable adhesive tape overflow drain sealer of the present invention. Referring to FIGS. 1, 2, and 3 together, sink 100 is a typical double walled sink, such as a bathroom sink, well know to those of ordinary skill in the art. Sink 100 defines an open basin 101 adapted to contain a liquid. Hot and cold water sources (not shown) are typically routed to sink 100 through pipes (not shown) to supply sink 100 with water.

Double walled sink 100 includes a sink inner wall 108I (FIG. 3) and a sink outer wall 108O (FIG. 3). Sink inner wall 108I and sink outer wall 108O are coupled one to the other and together define a conduit generally referred to as overflow drain 102. Other types of sinks are single-wall sinks. In single wall sink, an overflow drain of this type of sink is connected to sink drain 110 by a separated conduit. Overflow drain 102 is in fluid communication with sink 100 and opens to sink inner wall 108I at overflow drain aperture 104. Overflow drain 102 is also in fluid communication with a sink drain 110 of sink 100 at an overflow connection point 112 (FIG. 2). In turn, sink drain 110 is coupled to and in fluid communication with a drain system 114 that is adapted to transport waste liquids to a sewer system for disposal.

As shown, sink drain 110 is located at the bottom of sink inner wall 108I and likewise provides fluid communication from sink inner wall 108I through sink drain 110, through sink outer wall 108O to a drain system 114. Sink drain 110 opens to sink inner wall 108I at sink drain aperture 116. Sink inner wall 108I, and more particularly sink basin 101, may be sealed from fluid communication with sink drain 110 by placement of a plug or other stopper (not shown) in sink drain aperture 116.

With sink drain aperture 116 plugged, fluid, such as piped hot or cold water from the water source (not shown) of sink 100, may be made to fill sink basin 101. Upon removal of the plug from sink drain aperture 116, filled sink basin 101 is emptied and drained of fluid by gravity through sink drain 110 to drain system 114. Should fluid continue to flow to sink basin 101, without removal of it's sealing plug, excess liquid flows to drain 110 via overflow drain 102 whenever the liquid level in sink basin 101 rises to the level of overflow drain aperture 104 (FIG. 2). By this means, sink basin 101 may be prevented from overflowing.

As shown in FIG. 2, drain system 114, adapted to transporting waste fluid from sink 100, may become obstructed with a blockage 218 formed from an accumulation of wasted materials contained in the waste fluids draining from sink 100. As described above, pressure-based drain-opening devices (not shown) are often used to break-up and dislodge blockage 218 allowing transport of blockage debris through drain system 114 to a sewer system for disposal. As also described above, if blockage 218 is located in drain system 114 beyond overflow connection point, pressurization of drain system 114 between blockage 218 and sink drain aperture 116 will cause pressurized gas impinging blockage 218 to be lost to the ambient atmosphere. Under this condition, pressurized gas flows from the pressurized portion of drain system 114 through overflow connection point 112 through overflow drain 102 and out overflow drain aperture 104. Loss of gas pressure during use of a pressure-based drain-opening device reduces the effectiveness of the device to clear blockage 218 from drain system 114. Further, if a liquid is backed up in drain system 114 beyond overflow connection point 112, liquid may be forced out overflow drain aperture 104.

FIG. 4 a side, cross-sectional view of an embodiment of the overflow drain seal 106 of the present invention before placement and installation on sink 100. Overflow drain seal 106 includes a sheet 420 having pressure sensitive adhesive layer 422 on one surface of the sheet material. Pressure sensitive adhesive layer 422 adheres to sheet 420 and may be used to releasably engage and adhere sheet 420 to another surface, such as sink inside surface 108I, by application of pressure on sheet 420 after pressure sensitive adhesive layer 422 is placed in abutting contact with the other surface. Sheet 420 may be water resistant to avoid saturation of sheet 420 with water during use. Sheet 420 may include a sheet tab feature integral with sheet 420 and grippable by a user as an aid to remove overflow vent seal 106 after use.

Optionally, a protective layer 424 (FIG. 4) overlies pressure sensitive adhesive layer 422 to protect pressure sensitive adhesive layer 422 from contamination and moisture prior to use. Protective layer 424 is removable from pressure adhesive sensitive layer 422 prior to placement of overflow drain seal 106. In one embodiment, protective layer 424 may include a protective layer tab feature integral with protective layer 424 and grippable by a user as an aid to remove protective layer 424. Suitable materials for sheet 420 include but are not limited to polyester film, polyethylene film, glass cloth film, and elastomeric foam film.

Suitable materials for pressure sensitive adhesive layer 422 include but are not limited to silicone adhesives, urethane adhesives, and latex and natural rubber adhesive. Suitable material for protective layer 424 pressure sensitive adhesive include but are not limited to polyester film, polyethylene film, and densified kraft paper sheet.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of overflow drain seal 106 of the present invention removably installed on sink 100. FIG. 6 is a plan view of the seal of FIG. 5. In FIGS. 5 and 6, only a cutaway portion of sink 100 is shown for clarity of presentation. Referring to FIGS. 3, 4, and 5 together, prior to use installation of overflow drain seal 106 commences with removal of protective layer 424 from pressure sensitive adhesive layer 422. Pressure sensitive adhesive layer 422 is formed from an adhesive material that is adapted to release protective layer 424. Protective layer 424 is a flexible sheet material that may be peeled back from its overlaying relationship with pressure sensitive adhesive layer 422. In one embodiment, overflow drain seal 106 does not include protective layer 424. In this embodiment, overflow drain seal 106 may be directly removably adhered to a pressure-based drain-opening devise used with overflow drain seal 106 of the present invention. In this embodiment, pressure sensitive adhesive layer 422 is capable of reuse and further removable engagement with sink 100. For an aerosol can type of pressure-base drain-opening device, overflow drain seal 106 may be located anywhere on the can or its cap.

Once protective layer 424 is removed from pressure sensitive adhesive layer 422, or in the embodiment without protective layer 424, removed from pressure-based drain-opening devise, overflow drain seal 106 is positioned over overflow drain aperture 104 of sink 100. Overflow drain seal 106 is sufficiently large such that a first portion 106A of 106 may overlie at typical overflow drain aperture 104 and a second portion 106B of overflow drain seal 106 may abuttingly contact and engage a portion of sink 100 circumscribing overflow drain aperture 104.

After a user positions overflow drain seal 106 as described, second portion 106B of overflow drain seal 106 is abuttingly contacted with sink 100 and pressed against sink 100 by the user to cause pressure sensitive adhesive layer 422 to engaged and adhere to sink 100 at sink inside surface 108I. By this means, sheet 420, to which pressure sensitive adhesive layer is releasably attached to sink inside surface 108I. Sink 100 may include a metal flange 426 circumscribing overflow drain aperture 104 to protect overflow drain aperture 104 from chipping or other attrition. Metal flange 426 is typically raised somewhat above sink inside surface 108I and thus may form an additional point of abutting contact and engagement for pressure sensitive adhesive layer 422. Sheet 420 and pressure sensitive adhesive layer 422 are sufficiently flexible and conformable so that pressure sensitive adhesive layer 422 may adhere to both metal flange 426 and sink inside surface 108I.

Once overflow drain seal 106 is positioned and adhered as described, overflow drain seal 106 forms a seal with 108I that prevents pressurized gas or waste liquid in drain system 114 from escaping overflow drain 102 through overflow drain aperture 104. Further, upon activation of a pressure-based drain-opening devise, overflow drain seal 106, and more particularly, second portion 106B of overflow drain seal 106, provides sufficient adhesive force to resist the force generated on first portion 106A overlying overflow drain aperture 104 by activation of pressure of a pressure-based drain-opening device. After the pressure-based drain-opening device is been activated and it's pressure discharged to impinge upon and remove blockage 218, second portion 106B of overflow drain seal 106 tape is peeled from the sink inside surface 108I and second portion 106B removed from its overlying relationship with overflow drain aperture 104.

Typical operating pressure for pressure-based drain-opening devices is in the 10-20 PSI range. Practical and safety considerations limit the operating ranges of domestic-use pressure-based drain-opening devices to about this range. For example, the PowerJet™ product produced by The Clorox Company, Oakland, Calif. generates an average pressure of about 12 PSI and a maximum pressure of about 18 PSI during use. A typical plunger type drain-opening device generates a maximum pressure of about 9 PSI during use. As described in grater detail below, an overflow drain seal 106 having an adhesive peel strength of about 50 to 150 ounces/inch of tape width, as determine by industry standard test methods well known to those of ordinary skill in the art, provides an effective overflow drain seal when utilized in conjunction with a typical pressure-based drain-opening devise.

In one exemplar embodiment, a releasable adhesive tape overflow drain seal 106 for use with a typical bathroom sink 100 is a rectangular shaped sheet of material with dimensions of about 2.5 inches×2.5 inches. In a typical bathroom sink 100, overflow drain aperture 104 is a circular opening having a diameter of about 1.25 inches, a circumference perimeter of about 3.9 inches:


[(π)×(1.25 inches diameter)],

and an aperture opening area of about 1.25 square inches:


[(π)×(1.25 inches diameter/2)2].

Assuming a maximum operating pressure of about 18 PSI for a pressure-based drain-opening device such as the PowerJet™ device, an aperture force of about 22.5 pounds is generated at overflow drain aperture 104:


[(1.25 square inches aperture opening area)×(18 PSI pressure)].

As described, before activation of the pressure-based drain-opening device, first portion 106A of overflow drain seal 106 is positioned to overlie overflow drain aperture 104. Second portion 106B of overflow drain seal 106 is next pressed and affixed via adhesive layer to sink inside surface 108I of bathroom sink 100 adjacent to and circumscribing overflow drain aperture 104. Thus, the circumscribing overflow drain seal 106 sink inside surface 108I provides a engagement perimeter 428 (FIG. 4) about overflow drain aperture 104 about equal in length to the circumference of overflow drain aperture 104. Engagement perimeter 428 provides adhesive peel strength opposing the peeling up of overflow drain seal 106 away from sink inside surface 108I of the bathroom sink 100 caused by any force impinging upon first portion 106A of overflow drain seal 106 overlying overflow drain aperture 104.

In the exemplar described, engagement perimeter 428 is about equal to the circumference of overflow drain aperture 104 since overflow drain seal 106 is affixed on sink 100 adjacent overflow drain aperture 104. Thus, for overflow drain seal 106 having an adhesive peel strength of 125 ounces/inch and a engagement perimeter 428 equal to an overflow drain aperture circumference of about 3.9 inches, an adhesive force equal to about 30 pounds is available to oppose the aperture force of about 22.5 pounds generated by the assumed 18 PSI maximum operating pressure of the PowerJet™ drain-opening device:


[(125 ounces/inch)×(3.9 inches engagement perimeter)×(1 pound/16 ounces)]

For, a drain-opening device operating on a typical bathroom sink drain at a maximum pressure greater than the maximum pressure of the exemplar drain-opening device, an overflow drain seal 106 having a higher peel strength than the peel strength of the exemplar overflow drain seal 106 may be used. Further, higher peel strength overflow drain seal 106 may be used for drains of larger diameter than that described for the bathroom sink 100.

In accordance with the preceding example and assuming a pressure-based drain-opening device maximum operating pressure less than about 25 PSI, and an overflow drain seal 106 having an adhesive peel strength of 150 ounce/inch would provide an adhesive force of about 36.5 pounds opposing about a 32.5 pounds aperture force impinging upon second portion 106B of 106 overlying a typical bathroom sink overflow drain aperture 104. Suitable, adhesive tapes having a peel strength greater than 150 ounces/inch width would provide additional adhesive force. Accordingly, aperture forces developed by pressure-based drain-opening devices developing operating pressures in a range of about 7 to 20 PSI would be about 10-30 pounds. Releasable adhesive tapes having peel strengths from about 50 to 150 ounces/inch of tape width would provide sufficient adhesive force to oppose these aperture forces to provide an effective gas-tight seal for the an overflow drain.

In addition, the tensile and shear strength of the material making up sheet 420 of the releasable adhesive tape is selected using calculations similar to those described above to avoid bursting or tearing of the tape upon impingement of an aperture force on overflow drain seal 106 or upon removal of overflow drain seal 106 after use. Those skilled in the art could readily select an adhesive tape sheet material and sheet thickness having sufficient tensile and shear strength to avoid adhesive tape bursting during use as an overflow drain seal. Further, tensile and shear strength could be readily selected such that when a user attempted to release overflow drain seal 106 from overflow drain aperture 104 after successful dislodgement of blockage 218 with a pressure-based drain-opening device tearing or breaking of overflow drain seal 106 could be avoided.

Although embodiments of the overflow drain seal of the present invention are described in relation to a typical bathroom sink, embodiments for other types of fixtures are possible. For example, an embodiment of the present invention suitable for use with bathtub overflow drain seal is larger than the releasable adhesive tape overflow drain seal described above for the bathroom sink. In some embodiments, the adhesive peel strength of the releasable adhesive tape seal is greater than 125 ounces/inch of contact width. Bathtub overflow drain apertures are typically larger and more varied in configuration than bathroom sink overflow drain apertures. Accordingly, overflow drain releasable adhesive tape seals of the present invention are larger than the seals used for bathroom sinks to accommodate the variety of tub overflow drain apertures. In one embodiment, a bathtub releasable overflow drain seal is circularly configured and is about 5 inches in diameter. In some embodiments, the adhesive peel strength of bathtub releasable adhesive tape seals is greater than 150 ounces/inch of engagement perimeter.

After positioning and engagement of overflow drain seal 106 as described, a user of overflow drain seal 106 proceeds to engage pressure-based drain-opening devise with sink inner wall 108I to seal sink drain aperture 116. The user activates the pressure-based drain-opening devise after it is sealed at sink drain aperture 116 to discharge through sink drain 110 into drain system 114 before blockage 218. Since overflow drain seal 106 seals overflow drain 102 at overflow drain aperture 104, pressurized gas generated by the pressure-based drain-opening devise within drain system 114 by does not escape through overflow drain aperture 104 of overflow drain 102 making the pressure-based drain-opening devise more effective at removing blockage 218 obstructing drain system 114.

After activation of the pressure-based drain-opening devise and dislodgement of blockage 218, overflow drain seal 106 is peeled-off sink inside surface 108I and disposed. Overflow drain 102 of sink 100 is thus returned to service to avoid overflow of sink 100.

The releasable adhesive tape overflow drain seal of the present invention may be packaged in a drain-opening kit that includes a pressure-based drain-opening devise, one or more releasable adhesive tape overflow drain seals according to the principles of the present invention and adapted for use with the pressure-based drain-opening devise. The kit further contains instructions for the safe and proper use and disposal of the pressure-based drain-opening devise and the overflow drain seal and, optionally, promotional materials and coupons offering incentives for future purchases of the drain-opening kit. The drain-opening kit provides a consumer all of the components and instructions for effectively removing a fixture drain blockage with a pressure-based drain-opening devise. Since, a clean sink surface area adjacent to the overflow drain aperture is advantageous for proper adherence of the overflow drain seal during use, specific and particular instructions for cleaning this surface before use of the overflow drain seal of the present invention may be included in the use instruction contained in the pre-packaged drain-opening kit.

Thus, provided is a prepackaged kit for removing a fixture drain blockage in a drain system in fluid communication with a fixture drain of a fixture. The kit includes a pressure-based drain-opening devise and an overflow drain seal. The overflow drain seal is adapted to form a substantially gas tight seal with an overflow drain aperture of an overflow drain in fluid communication with the fixture drain of the fixture. The overflow drain seal includes a flexible, conformable sheet having a pressure sensitive releasable adhesive on one surface of the sheet. In use, a first portion of the overflow drain seal overlies the overflow drain aperture while a second adjacent portion of the overflow drain seal releasably engages and adheres to the surface of the fixture circumscribing the overflow drain aperture. During use, the overflow drain seal provides an adhesive force sufficient to resist the aperture force impinging the first portion of the overflow drain seal overlying the overflow drain aperture from the pressure generated by activation of pressure-based drain-opening device. The overflow drain seal may be removably attached to the pressure-based drain-opening device or may be separately placed in a package with the drain-opening device.

The pre-packaged kit for removing a fixture drain blockage further includes instructions in the use and disposal of the pressure-based drain-opening devise and the overflow drain seal. The kit may optionally contain, informational materials and educational materials concerning the advantages, hazards, and safety of use said pressure-based drain-opening device. The kit may also optionally contain promotional materials.

In one embodiment, the releasable adhesive tape overflow drain seal includes the optional removable protective layer described above. Instructions for the use of the overflow seal are placed on the removable layer for the convenience of the user. Further, inditia of proper placement of the overflow drain seal may by placed on the sheet material of the overflow drain seal.

While the invention is described herein in connection with certain exemplar embodiments, such as a bathroom sink, there is no intent to limit the present invention to those embodiments. On the contrary, it is recognized that various changes and modifications to the described embodiments will be apparent to those skilled in the art upon reading the foregoing description, and that such changes and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Skilled artisans may employ such variations as appropriate, and the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described herein. Accordingly, the intent is to cover all alternatives, modifications, and equivalents included within the spirit and scope of the invention. Moreover, any combination of the above-described elements in all possible variations thereof is encompassed by the invention unless otherwise indicated herein.