Title:
Ventilation system for a toilet
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A ventilation system for a toilet includes a scented filter disposed in either the toilet tank or a housing mounted directly behind the toilet tank and which is in flow communication with a fan so that the fan can draw unpleasant and noxious odors from the toilet for filtering through the scented filter and then discharge up through a stack pipe. A motion detecting sensor is electrically interconnected with the fan for automatically actuating the fan after a predetermined timed delay following an individual's use of the toilet, or the system can include a manually operable switch for engaging the fan after use of the toilet for ventilating the toilet and externally discharging the unpleasant and noxious odors.



Inventors:
Pham, Hoang V. (Milpitas, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/895606
Publication Date:
03/05/2009
Filing Date:
08/27/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E03D9/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20090151060DEBRIS ENTRAPMENT APPARATUSJune, 2009Zubillaga et al.
20080178372TOILET SEAT HOLDERJuly, 2008Matalon
20080313797DISCHARGE VALVE FOR A FLUSHING CISTERNDecember, 2008Mahler
20090300839Shower baseDecember, 2009Gay
20100050337POP-UP DRAIN STOPPER LINKAGE ASSEMBLYMarch, 2010LI et al.
20080109956CAPACITIVE SENSING FOR WASHROOM FIXTUREMay, 2008Bayley et al.
20090265842TOILET DEODORIZER DEVICEOctober, 2009Higgins et al.
20040128751Automatic toilet deodorant spray mechanismJuly, 2004Haq
20080276361Toilet with reduced water usageNovember, 2008Mueller et al.
20090307835BATHDecember, 2009Anastasi Vavvessi
20080016615REMOVABLE AND INTERCHANGEABLE SOAP DISH AND/OR OTHER BATHROOM FIXTURES ASSEMBLYJanuary, 2008Bell



Primary Examiner:
LE, HUYEN D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ethics Archery, LLC (Vale, NC, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A ventilation system for a toilet that includes a toilet bowl and a toilet tank in flow communication with the toilet bowl for ventilating offensive and noxious odors from the bathroom, the ventilation system comprising: an odor conveyance conduit interconnected to and in flow communication with the toilet bowl and the toilet tank; the toilet tank including an odor ventilation chamber that communicates with the odor conveyance conduit; a removable scented filter disposed within the odor ventilation chamber for filtering the offensive and noxious odors; a main conduit in airflow communication with the odor ventilation chamber and extending rearwardly from the toilet tank; a housing mounted to a rear bathroom wall of the bathroom and attached to and in airflow communication with the main conduit; a selectively actuated fan enclosed within the housing; a discharge conduit extending within the rear bathroom wall of the bathroom and in airflow communication with the housing; a motion activated sensor mounted to the rear bathroom wall of the bathroom and electrically interconnected to the fan through an electrical control box; and whereupon the sensor actuates the fan after the detection of motion followed by a time period of no motion detection so that the operation of the fan draws the offensive and noxious odors from the toilet, through the odor conveyance conduit, past the scented filter and the fan, and through the discharge conduit for discharge and elimination from the bathroom.

2. The ventilation system for a toilet of claim 1 wherein the toilet tank includes a removable lid.

3. The ventilation system for a toilet of claim 2 further comprising a closure member pivotally mounted to the lid and aligned with the odor ventilation chamber for providing access thereto.

4. The ventilation system for a toilet of claim 3 wherein the main conduit includes a shutoff valve for blocking the flow of air and water through the main conduit to the housing for preventing damage thereto.

5. The ventilation system for a toilet of claim 4 wherein a source of power for the sensor and the fan is from a standard house electrical current.

6. The ventilation system for a toilet of claim 5 wherein a rechargeable battery supplies power for the sensor and the fan.

7. A ventilation system for a toilet that includes a toilet bowl and a toilet tank in flow communication with the toilet bowl for ventilating and eliminating offensive and noxious odors from the toilet, the ventilation system, comprising: an odor conveyance conduit interconnected to and in airflow communication with the toilet bowl; a filter and fan housing mounted to a rear bathroom wall adjacent the toilet and in airflow communication with the odor conveyance conduit; the filter and fan housing including an enlarged rectangular compartment; a scented filter for removable placement within the enlarged rectangular compartment of the filter and fan housing; a selectively actuated fan enclosed within the filter and fan housing immediately behind the filter; a discharge conduit extending within the rear bathroom wall of the bathroom and in airflow communication with the filter and fan housing; a manually operable fan on/off switch mounted to the rear bathroom wall and electrically interconnected to the fan for actuating the fan; and whereupon actuation of the fan from the fan on/off switch causes the offensive and noxious odors to be drawn from the toilet, through the odor conveyance conduit, past the scented filter and the fan, and through the discharge conduit for discharge and elimination from the bathroom.

8. The ventilation system for a toilet of claim 7 wherein the enlarged compartment of the filter and fan housing includes a hingable cap that can be opened to allow access to the scented filter and closed for holding the scented filter within the enlarged compartment.

9. The ventilation system for a toilet of claim 8 wherein the odor conveyance conduit includes a connection end that is attachable to the filter and fan housing.

10. The ventilation system for a toilet of claim 9 wherein the odor conveyance conduit includes a manual shutoff valve located at the connection end for closing off the odor conveyance conduit and thus preventing the flow of air and water into the filter and fan housing.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention pertains to systems and devices for ventilating odors from a toilet, and more particularly pertains to a ventilation system that incorporates a sensor for initiating the venting of noxious odors from the toilet.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Dissipating and eliminating offensive, unpleasant, and noxious odors emanating from private and public bathrooms and restrooms is a necessary part of maintaining an agreeable and inviting environment. This is especially true in public settings and facilities where offensive and foul smelling odors are not only a health concern, but could also serve to dissuade guests, attendees, and fans from returning to that setting or facility, be it a public concert hall, amusement park or sports stadium. Thus, for both private and public restrooms and bathrooms, a variety of odor dissipation and circulation means are used. Simple ventilation methods include keeping doors open to allow natural air circulation, constructing restroom facilities with screened windows that can be kept opened but not easily accessed to provide air circulation throughout the restroom. In addition, ceiling fans can be installed for drawing the odors upward for dissipation out of ventilation boxes built on the roof of the structure.

Moreover, numerous systems and devices have been conceived that are attachable to, or can be retrofitted on, existing toilets to capture the offensive and noxious odors before they escape into the room and then permeate other rooms and living areas of the dwelling. However, such systems and devices can be difficult to install, require constant maintenance, and, if problems, disrupt the normal workings of the toilet. Despite these shortcomings, the prior art discloses a wide variety of toilet ventilation and odor removal systems and devices.

For example, the Zimmerman patent (U.S. Pat. No. 3,763,505) discloses a toilet ventilation system wherein a ventilator casing is placed upon the open top of the toilet flush tank, and the casing houses a blower and exhaust means through which the filtered odors drawn from the toilet are discharged.

The Stephens et al. patent (U.S. Pat. No. 4,175,293) discloses a toilet bowl odor removing apparatus wherein a hood is mounted by spindles at the rear of the toilet to overhang the toilet bowl, and a toilet seat is also mounted to the spindles, with the hood interconnected to a vent duct and fan for removing noxious odors from the toilet.

The Williams et al. patent (U.S. Pat. No. 4,318,192) discloses a ventilated toilet that includes inner and outer coaxial tubes interconnected to an electric fan and which cooperate with elements of the toilet for withdrawing contaminated air through the siphon portion of the toilet.

The Valarao patent (U.S. Pat. No. 4,583,250) discloses a foul air removal device that includes a redesigned overflow tube in communication with a blower fan mounted at the upper end of the toilet tank for drawing odors upwardly therefrom for filtering the foul air through twin charcoal filters disposed on either side of the fan and within the toilet tank.

The Fernald, Sr. patent (U.S. Pat. No. 5,029,346) discloses a toilet bowl vent system that includes a vent located within the toilet tank and above the water fill level with the vent interconnected to a remote exhaust outlet whereupon the vent establishes a low pressure region therein to draw noxious odors from the toilet to the exhaust outlet.

The Busch patent (U.S. Pat. No. 5,325,544) discloses an air deodorizing apparatus for recirculating and filtering toilet flush tank and bowl air, and which includes a housing mounted within the upper end of the flush tank and a fan mounted within the housing and in axial alignment with the overflow pipe for drawing air past the fan and circulating it within the flush tank.

The Dupont patent (U.S. Pat. No. 5,606,747) discloses a toilet bowl aspirating system for use in a toilet tank that includes a blower support member for seating upon the upper end of the overflow tube and that is actuated by the position of the toilet seat during use.

The Norton et al. patent (U.S. Pat. No. 6,052,837) discloses a toilet ventilation system that includes an air channel mounted to the lower surface of a toilet seat and which is in flow communication with a filter and an exhaust pipe or duct for moving and filtering air from the toilet seat.

The Stone patent (U.S. Pat. No. 6,694,534 B2) discloses a toilet ventilation system that includes an air sweetener disposed within the upper end of the water tank, and a battery operated fan for drawing air through the air sweetener.

Nonetheless, despite the ingenuity of the above devices, there remains a need for a ventilation system for a toilet that is easy to install and operate and reliably filters noxious odors from the toilet.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention comprehends a ventilation system for a toilet wherein unpleasant and noxious odors are drawn from the toilet for external discharge, such as up through a stack pipe interconnected to the toilet.

Thus the ventilation system of the present invention includes a replaceable scented filter mounted in either the toilet, and enclosed within a waterproof housing, and mounted and enclosed within a separate housing located immediately behind the toilet tank and in communication with the toilet by an air duct or conduit. A fan is disposed behind the scented filter and also within the housing, but not within the toilet tank, and when actuated draws the unpleasant and noxious odors from the toilet and through the scented filter.

A manually operable fan switch that is electrically interconnected to the fan can actuate the fan, and a motion-detecting sensor can also actuate the fan. The motion-detecting sensor is electrically interconnected to the fan, and is either battery powered or run off standard house current, and is set up with a predetermined time delay following an individual's use for actuating the fan. The fan and filter housing is in flow communication with a flexible discharge conduit that connects to the stack pipe so that the unpleasant and noxious odors can be drawn through the scented filter by the fan for conveyance through the flexible conduit and external discharge up through the stack pipe.

It is an objective of the present invention to provide a ventilation system for a toilet that is easy to install and can be retrofitted onto existing toilets.

It is another objective of the present invention to provide a ventilation system for a toilet that reliably draws unpleasant and noxious odors from the toilet for discharge via the stack pipe.

It is still yet another objective of the present invention to provide a ventilation system for a toilet that requires little maintenance or upkeep.

Still yet another objective of the present invention is to provide a ventilation system for a toilet that is battery operated or run off of the electrical system within the dwelling.

These and other objects, features and advantages will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon a perusal of the following detailed description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawing figures and appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the ventilation system for a toilet of the present invention illustrating the use of an infrared sensor to initiate the ventilation of the toilet after use of the toilet is complete;

FIG. 2 is a sectioned elevational view of the ventilation system for a toilet of the present invention taken along lines 2-2 of FIG. 1 and illustrating the disposition of the filter within the toilet tank and the mounting of the fan to the bathroom wall for drawing unpleasant and noxious odors through the filter for discharge up the stack pipe;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the ventilation system for a toilet of the present invention illustrating an off/on switch for a fan that is manually operable for drawing unpleasant and noxious odors through the filter for discharge through a stack pipe;

FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of the ventilation system for a toilet of the present invention illustrating the disposition and mounting of the filter and the fan to the bathroom wall and in flow communication with the toilet for drawing unpleasant and noxious odors therefrom;

FIG. 5 is a schematic of the ventilation system for a toilet of the present invention illustrating the electrical interconnection between the sensor and the fan for initiating fan operation the ventilating the toilet;

FIG. 6 is a schematic of the ventilation system for a toilet of the present invention illustrating the use of a battery to provide power to the sensor;

FIG. 7 is a schematic of the ventilation system for a toilet of the present invention illustrating the operation of the manual flush button; and

FIG. 8 is a schematic of the ventilation system for a toilet of the present invention illustrating the operation of the manual on/off fan switch.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Illustrated in FIGS. 1-8 are several embodiments of a ventilation system for a toilet 10. The ventilation system 10 of the present invention can be either retrofitted to an existing toilet, or included with the installation of a new toilet. The ventilation system 10 can be used in both private and public bathroom and restroom facilities, and is designed to immediately draw offensive, unpleasant and noxious odors from the toilet and convey the odors up through a stack pipe or exhaust pipe for eventual external discharge and ventilation from the bathroom or restroom to the external environment.

Thus, shown in FIGS. 1-4 is a representative bathroom 12 that includes a bathroom floor 14, a sidewall 16, a rear wall 18, and a toilet 20. The toilet 20 includes a toilet bowl 22, an upper rim 24 for the bowl 22, a toilet seat 26 pivotally mounted to the toilet bowl 22, and a toilet tank 28 in water flow communication with the toilet bowl 22 and a toilet drain 30 through which water and refuse are conveyed into the sewage lines (not shown). In addition, a standard conduit with a shut-off valve is connected to the toilet tank 28 for supplying water to the toilet tank 28. Also, such elements as the inlet tube, the overflow tube and the float ball are omitted from the toilet tank 28 for the purpose of clarity. The toilet tank 28 of FIGS. 1 and 2 has been slightly modified to include an interior panel 30 that divides the toilet tank 28 into two compartments—one compartment being the normal water-filled compartment 34 and a second smaller compartment denoted as the odor ventilation compartment or chamber 36. The interior panel 32 can be integrally formed as part of the interior of the toilet tank 28, or the interior panel 32 can be removably placeable therein, but in either case the interior panel 32 must make a watertight seal between the floor 38 and the sidewalls 40 of the toilet tank 28 so as to completely prevent any water from entering the odor ventilation compartment 34. A removable lid 42 of the toilet tank 28 includes a closure member 44 that is hingably mounted to the lid 42 at the rear of the toilet tank 28, and the closure member 44 is aligned with the odor ventilation chamber 34, and can be opened to allow access through a slot formed on the lid 42 to the odor ventilation compartment 36 as will be hereinafter further explained.

As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, an odor conveyance pipe or conduit 46 includes a first conduit end 48 that registers with the toilet bowl 22 at the upper end of the toilet bowl 22 and a second conduit end 50 that registers with the odor ventilation compartment 36. Disposed within the odor ventilation compartment 36 is a replaceable scented filter 52 for filtering the offensive, unpleasant, and noxious odors. The closure member 44 is opened so that the filter 52 can be slid into place within the odor ventilation compartment 36 and the filter 52 can be lifted up out of the odor ventilation compartment 36 for replacement when desired. Extending from the rear of the toilet tank 28, and in airflow communication with the odor ventilation chamber 36, is a main conduit 54. The main conduit 54 includes a shutoff valve 56 to block or shut off the airflow when desired. The shutoff valve 56 can also be closed to prevent water from flowing therethrough during a toilet overflow condition.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, a housing 58 is mounted to the rear bathroom wall 18 immediately behind the toilet tank 28, and the main conduit 54 is connected to the housing 58, and is in airflow communication therewith. Disposed within the housing 58 is a fan 60 that is selectively actuated to draw offensive and noxious odors from the toilet bowl 22, through the odor conveyance pipe 46, past the filter 52 and through the main conduit 54 and thence into and through the housing 58 by operation of the fan 60. The rear of the housing 58 includes an aperture that communicates with a flexible discharge conduit 62, and the discharge conduit 62 extends within the interior of the bathroom wall 18 for connection to the stack pipe (not shown).

Cooperating with the fan 60, and in electrical interconnection therewith for selectively actuating the fan 60 after use of the toilet 20, is a sensor 64—preferably infrared—mounted to the rear bathroom wall 18 by a removable mounting plate, cover or shield 66 at a position above the lid 42 of the toilet tank 28. The sensor 64 is electrically interconnected to the fan 60 via a control box 68 that contains conventional circuitry elements for regulating current, voltage and other electrical parameters. A manual toilet flushing button 70 is mounted beneath the sensor 64 for actuating the flushing of the toilet 20. As shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, power for the sensor 64 and the fan 60 can be provided from several sources: in FIG. 5 the sensor 64 and fan 60 are electrically interconnected to standard house electrical current 72 that is normally 110 volts, while in FIG. 6 the power for operating the sensor 64 and fan 60 is provided by a replaceable and rechargeable battery 74.

Irrespective of the source of power, the sensor 64 and fan 60 cooperate to work in the same manner for extracting offensive and noxious odors from the toilet bowl 22 for external discharge through the stack pipe. Thus, as illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6, the sensor 64 senses the motion of the individual using the toilet 20 and then leaving the area adjacent the toilet 20 whereupon after a predetermined time period elapses after motion detection 76 within the range of the sensor 64, and with no further detection of any motion (the motion detection 76 occurring, for example, within a 10 feet range), the sensor 64 transmits an electrical signal via electrical wires 78 to the control box 68 to actuate the fan 60. The time lapse or time delay can be set up for a five second delay 80 before the signal is sent for actuation of the fan 60. The fan 60 is thus actuated for a predetermined run or operation time 82 and then automatically turns off or goes into off mode 84 after this time period expires. The fan run time 82 will be long enough to draw the offensive and noxious odors from the toilet bowl 22, through the odor conveyance conduit 46, past the scented filter 52 and through the main conduit 54 for conveyance through discharge conduit 62 and up the stack pipe thereby dispersing and eliminating the offensive and noxious odors from the bathroom 12. If the sensor 64 doesn't detect any motion occurring within the sensor detection range then the fan 60 goes to off and non-operational mode 84. FIG. 7 illustrates the operation of the manual flush button 86 that when pressed opens the flapper valve 88 at the bottom of the toilet tank 28 so that the water and refuse goes through the toilet drain 30. The toilet drains 90 and then the toilet refills 92 (and also the toilet tank 28) whereupon the toilet 20 is ready for another flushing operation after the toilet fill step 92 fills the toilet tank 28 with the appropriate amount of water.

Illustrated in FIGS. 3, 4 and 8 is an alternative embodiment for the ventilation system for the toilet 10 in which several elements shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 are modified and several others—primarily the sensor 64—have been eliminated. Thus, an odor conveyance conduit 94 is shown extending through the rear part of the toilet 20 for airflow communication with a filter and fan housing 96 mounted to the rear bathroom wall 18. The odor conveyance conduit 94 includes a connection end 98 for attachment to the filter and fan housing 96, and a manual shutoff valve 100 is located at the connection end 98 for closing the odor conveyance conduit 94 during, for example, a toilet overflow condition. The filter and fan housing 96 includes an enlarged rectangular compartment 102 for receiving therein the removable and replaceable scented filter 52, and the enlarged compartment 102 includes a hingable cap 104 that can be opened or closed to insert or remove the scented filter 52 when necessary. The fan 60 shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 is mounted within the smaller compartment of the filter and fan housing 96 of FIGS. 3 and 4. Registering with the aperture at the rear of the filter and fan housing 96 is the flexible discharge conduit 62 that extends within the rear bathroom wall 18 for airflow communication with the stack pipe so that offensive and noxious odors can be drawn by the operation of the fan 60 through the odor conveyance conduit 94, thence through and past the scented filter 52 for conveyance through the flexible discharge conduit 62 and up the stack pipe for discharge and elimination from the bathroom 18. A standard manual flush lever 106 is mounted to the front of the toilet tank 28 as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4.

Unlike the sensor actuated fan 60 of FIGS. 1, 2, 5 and 6, the ventilation system 10 shown in FIGS. 3, 4 and 8 includes a manually operable on/off switch 108 that actuates the fan motor 110 for running fan 60. The switch 108 is mounted to rear bathroom wall 18 and is electrically connected to the fan motor 110. The power source for the on/off switch 108 is preferably via interconnection with the electrical circuitry of the dwelling. FIG. 8 schematically illustrates the power source 112 for the switch 108, and the switch 108 in the closed (on) disposition 114 for actuating the fan 60, and the switch 108 in the open (off) position 116 whereupon the fan 60 is not engaged and operational.

Although several preferred embodiments of the invention have been shown and described, it is understood that the present disclosure is made by of example and that numerous variations, modifications, and alterations are possible and practicable without departing from the spirit of the invention and the scope of the hereinafter claimed subject matter.