Title:
Hot Water Tank With A Movable Inner Partition
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A dual compartment hot water tank for optimal use of hot water has a movable partition mechanism that divides the tank into two compartments. The division allows keeping the hot water in a first compartment and the cold water in a second compartment, wherein the size of the hot water compartment is adjusted according to the actual amount of hot water. The partition is made from a thermally isolating material so that the cold water in the second compartment does not influence the temperature of the hot water in the first compartment. The partition may move freely so that the size of the first and second compartments increases or decreases respectively and wherein sealing means along the inner and outer contour of the partition prevent the hot and cold water from mixing.



Inventors:
Benjan, Ben (Jerusalem, IL)
Application Number:
12/373883
Publication Date:
11/05/2009
Filing Date:
07/16/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F24J2/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WILSON, GREGORY A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
The Law Office of Michael E. Kondoudis (Dumfries, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A hot water tank for optimal management of the water's temperature, said tank comprising: a tank; at least one inlet pipe entering to the bottom of the tank; at least one outlet pipe exiting from the top of the tank; heating means positioned within said tank; a substantially vertical tube positioned along the central axis of the tank and encompassing the heating mean; a partition member having a hole going through it and sealing means attached to the contour of said partition member and to the contour of the hole; wherein said partition is positioned substantially horizontally, and wherein the tube goes through the hole and the partition member divides the tank into an upper compartment and a lower compartment; and wherein draining hot liquid from the tank via the outlet pipe causes the partition to move up, thus decreasing the size of the upper compartment holding the hot liquid; and wherein heating the liquid in the upper compartment causes the partition member to move down thus increasing the size of the upper compartment.

2. The tank of claim 1 further comprising a second inlet pipe entering to the to of the tank from a solar heating system and a second outlet exiting from the bottom of the tank to the solar heating system.

3. The tank of claim 1, further comprising a substantially horizontal wall with openings that enable passage of water, wherein said wall is affixed to the lower end of the tube and to the inner side of the tank, and wherein said wall prevents the partition from being stuck to the lower end of the tank.

4. The tank of claim 1, wherein the partition member is hollow.

5. The tank of claim 1, wherein the partitioned member is made from thermally isolating polymer.

6. The tank of claim 1, wherein the partition member is made from material that has the specific gravity higher than the specific gravity of water at approximately 95 degrees centigrade and lower than the specific gravity of water below approximately 35 degrees centigrade.

7. The tank of claim 1, wherein the sealing means are made from at least one of the following materials: rubber, latex, polymer.

8. The tank of claim 1, wherein the sealing means is made from at least one strip of ultra high density brush.

9. The tank of claim 1, wherein the surface of the sealing means is at least one of the following: elevated dots, elevated points, notches.

10. The tank of claim 1, further comprising at least one heat sensor and means for moving the partition upwards and downward connected to said at least one sensor; wherein whenever the sensor senses that the amount of hot water in the upper compartment increases, the drive moves the partition downwards; and wherein, whenever the sensor sense that the amount of hot water in the upper compartment decreases, the drive moves the partition upwards.

11. The tank of claim 10, wherein said means for moving the partition upwards and downward is an electric drive.

12. The tank of claim 1, further comprising a water pump positioned within the tube for facilitating the circulation of hot water into the upper compartment.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a National Stage of International Application no. PCT/IL2007/000889, filed Jul. 16, 2007, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety, which in turn claimed the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application 60/807,502, filed Jul. 17, 2006, which is further incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to hot water tanks and more particularly to optimizing the use of hot water tanks

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Hot water tanks have seen little technical development throughout the years. The heating is usually based on gas, oil, electricity or solar panels. The tanks are basically thermally isolated reservoirs containing water and means for warming water. Although the tanks are usually cylindrical, they are not limited to a specific form. Most heating means are of an oblong shape and located in along the central axis of the tank. Locating the heating means in the center is done in order to equally heat the water throughout the tank.

Over the years, a variety of accessories have been developped to complement the features of a hot water tanks. These accessories include timers to start and stop water heating as an energy saving feature and humidity alarms to detect water leaks and shut off water intake to the tank

FIG. 1, shows an isometric schematic view of a hot water tank 100 according to the prior art invention. The tank comprises an external casing 110, an entry pipe 120 of warm water from a solar collector, an exit pipe 130 of warm water to the solar collector, an entry pipe 140 of cold water from the water piping, and an exit pipe 150 of warm water to the residence. The tank 100 may or may not have the solar heating system, and may include any heating means as suggested above.

Using hot water stored in the tank causes hot water to flow out from the tank and cold water, or at minimum—water in ambience temperature, to flow into the tank. As a result, the hot and the cold water mix thus decreasing the entire temperature of the water within the tank. In the case that a large amount of hot water flows out in a relatively short time, and a large amount of cold water flows in, the efficiency of the hot water tank in promptly providing hot water is substantially reduced.

Therefore, it would be advantageous to have a hot water tank that avoids the above-mentioned problem and provides an optimal usage of the hot water in the tank

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is a main object of this invention to provide a hot water tank with a movable partition mechanism that divides the interior of the tank into two compartments. The division allows keeping the hot water in a first compartment and the cold water in a second compartment. The partition is made from a thermally isolating material so that the cold water in the second compartment does not influence the temperature of the hot water in the first compartment. Furthermore, the partition may move so that the size of the first and second compartments increases or decreases respectively.

Specifically, whenever hot water flows out of the first compartment, the partition moves towards the first compartment and thus decreasing the size of the first compartment and the temperature of the hot water in the first compartment is retained. Similarly, when cold water flows out from second compartment, no mix between the hot and cold water take place. In a static mode, when no water flows in or from the tank, the water are heated by the heating means and flows due to thermosyphonic phenomena to the first compartment holding the hot water. The first compartment then expands and as a result the partition moves further to the direction of the second compartment.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

The subject matter regarded as the invention will become more clearly understood in light of the ensuing description of embodiments herein, given by way of example and for purposes of illustrative discussion of the present invention only, with reference to the accompanying drawings (Figures, or simply “FIGS.”), wherein:

FIG. 1 is an schematic isometric view of a hot water tank according to the prior art;

FIG. 2 is a side cutaway isometric view of a hot water tank according to the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a cross section showing one aspect of the hot water tank according to some embodiments of the invention; and

FIGS. 4A and 4B are cross sections showing the hot water tank according to some embodiments of the present invention.

The drawings together with the description make apparent to those skilled in the art how the invention may be embodied in practice. Further, where considered appropriate, reference numerals may be repeated among the figures to indicate corresponding or analogous elements.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a dual compartment hot water tank for optimal use of hot water has a movable partition mechanism that divides the tank into two compartments. The division allows keeping the hot water in a first compartment and the cold water in a second compartment, wherein the size of the hot water compartment is adjusted according to the actual amount of hot water. The partition is made from a thermally isolating material so that the cold water in the second compartment does not influence the temperature of the hot water in the first compartment. The partition may move freely so that the size of the first and second compartments increases or decreases respectively and wherein sealing means along the inner and outer contour of the partition prevent the hot and cold water from mixing.

Structure

FIG. 2 shows a schematic cutaway view of the hot water tank with the movable inner partition according to the present invention. Similarly to presently existing tanks, the disclosed tank 200 The tank comprises an external casing 110, a thermally isolating material 205, inner casing 260 (hereinafter inner side), an entry pipe 120 of warm water from a solar collector, an exit pipe 130 of warm water to the solar collector, an entry pipe 140 of cold water from the water piping, and an exit pipe 150 of warm water to the residence. In addition to these elements, there is provided a partition 210 which is made from a thermally isolating material. A tube 220 is substantially positioned along the central axis of the tank 200. The tube 220 encompasses entirely the heating means 230 and has a top opening 225. The partition 210 has a hole substantially in its center and further comprises sealing means 240, affixed to the outer and inner contours of the partition 210. The partition 210 is positioned substantially horizontally, so that the tube fits in through the hole of the partition.

The partition 210 can thus move freely vertically, with the sealing means 240 on the inner and outer contours of the partition 210 sliding freely, with minimal friction, along the outer side of the tube and the inner side of the tank 200, respectively. The sealing means 240 are positioned so that they provide optimal sealing so that the water in the upper compartment and the water in the lower compartment don't mix.

The partition may be made of any polymer, or other material with high thermal isolation properties. According to some embodiments of the invention the partition is made from a material that has a specific gravity that is substantially higher than the specific gravity of water in ambient temperature (between 5 to 35 degrees centigrade) and lower than the specific gravity of water near boiling point (higher than 95 degrees centigrade). Thus, the partition floats on the cooler water at any time.

According to some embodiments of the invention, the tank 200 further comprises a horizontally positioned wall 250 with openings 255 allowing passage of water. The wall 250 is affixed to the lower part of the tube 220 and is substantially near the lower end of the tank 200. The wall 250 forms a lower barrier for the partition 210 and prevents it from getting lower beyond a certain points where in may be stuck.

FIG. 3 shows in further details the sealing means 240 affixed to the outer and inner contours of the partition. The sealing means 240 retain the sealing ability also when the partition 210 moves up and down. According to some embodiments of the invention, the sealing means 240 are made of rubber, latex, or any polymer with sealing properties. The sealing means 240 may comprise several strips of sealing material or a single strip.

According to some embodiments of the invention, the surface of the sealing means 240 has elevated dots or points. This texture allows low friction on one hand, and effective sealing while moving on the other hand.

According to some embodiments of the invention, the sealing means comprise a strip of ultra high density brush that block any passage of water through it and yet has a low friction as it slides across the inner side ode of the tank and the outer side of the tube, respectively.

According to some embodiments of the invention the partition, the tube and the affixed wall may fit in to an existing water tank. Thus enabling an upgrade of presently available hot water tanks.

Operation

Generally, the operation of the partition within the tank is as follows: whenever hot water flows out of the first compartment, the partition moves towards the first compartment and thus decreasing the size of the first compartment and the temperature of the hot water in the first compartment is retained. Similarly, when cold water flows out from second compartment, no mix between the hot and cold water take place. In a static mode, when no water flows in or from the tank, the water is heated by the heating means and flows due to thermosyphonic phenomena to the first compartment holding the hot water. The first compartment then expands and as a result the partition moves further to the direction of the second compartment.

FIGS. 4A and 4B show schematic cross sections of the tank according to the present invention. In FIG. 4A the upper compartment is full of hot water. When draining the hot water through the outlet pipe 150 located at the top of the tank, cooler water enter the tank via the inlet pipe 140 located at the bottom of the tank. This causes the partition 210 to move upwards and decrease the size of the upper compartment filled with hot water. The division between the two compartments is kept, the water does not mix and the outcome is that the user does not feel ant decrease in the temperature of the hot water arriving. Of course, if all of the hot water is used, cooler water enters the outlet pipe 150. However, as long as there is still hot water in the upper compartment, their temperature shall not decrease.

FIG. 4B shows the lower compartment of the tank 200 full of cold water (or water in the temperature of the ambience). Heating the water in the tube causes a flow upwards, from the tube into the upper compartment which causes the partition 210 to move downwards. This is due to the pressure that keeps the partition 210 low as the temperature in the upper compartment increases. In addition, in the case that the partition 210 is made from a material that has a specific gravity higher than the specific gravity of the hot water (above approximately 95 degrees centigrade) and lower than the specific gravity of cold water (lower than approximately 35 degrees centigrade), the partition 210 floats on the cooler water and the exact location of the partition 210 is determined dynamically, according to the amount of hot water in the tank 200.

According to some embodiments of the invention, the tank further comprises a water pump positioned within the tube. The water pump is configured to circulate the water upwards thus facilitating the downward movement of the partition when the amount of hot water in the upper compartment increases.

According to another embodiment of the invention, the tank further comprises heat sensors and means for moving the partition 210 upwards and downwards. The means for moving the partition 210 upwards and downwards may be electrical drive or any other drive. Whenever the sensor sense that the amount of hot water in the upper compartment increases, the drive moves the partition 210 downwards. Similarly, whenever the sensor sense that the amount of hot water in the upper compartment decreases, the drive moves the partition 210 upwards.

In the above description, an embodiment is an example or implementation of the inventions. The various appearances of “one embodiment,” “an embodiment” or “some embodiments” do not necessarily all refer to the same embodiments.

Although various features of the invention may be described in the context of a single embodiment, the features may also be provided separately or in any suitable combination. Conversely, although the invention may be described herein in the context of separate embodiments for clarity, the invention may also be implemented in a single embodiment.

Reference in the specification to “some embodiments”, “an embodiment”, “one embodiment” or “other embodiments” means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiments is included in at least some embodiments, but not necessarily all embodiments, of the inventions.

It is understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein is not to be construed as limiting and are for descriptive purpose only. The principles and uses of the teachings of the present invention may be better understood with reference to the accompanying description, figures and examples.

It is to be understood that the details set forth herein do not construe a limitation to an application of the invention. Furthermore, it is to be understood that the invention can be carried out or practiced in various ways and that the invention can be implemented in embodiments other than the ones outlined in the description below.

It is to be understood that the terms “including”, “comprising”, “consisting” and grammatical variants thereof do not preclude the addition of one or more components, features, steps, or integers or groups thereof and that the terms are to be construed as specifying components, features, steps or integers.

If the specification or claims refer to “an additional” element, that does not preclude there being more than one of the additional element. It is to be understood that where the claims or specification refer to “a” or “an” element, such reference is not be construed that there is only one of that element.

It is to be understood that where the specification states that a component, feature, structure, or characteristic “may”, “might”, “can” or “could” be included, that particular component, feature, structure, or characteristic is not required to be included.

Methods of the present invention may be implemented by performing or completing manually, automatically, or a combination thereof, selected steps or tasks. The term “method” may refer to manners, means, techniques and procedures for accomplishing a given task including, but not limited to, those manners, means, techniques and procedures either known to, or readily developed from known manners, means, techniques and procedures by practitioners of the art to which the invention belongs.

The descriptions, examples, methods and materials presented in the claims and the specification are not to be construed as limiting but rather as illustrative only.

Meanings of technical and scientific terms used herein are to be commonly understood as by one of ordinary skill in the art to which the invention belongs, unless otherwise defined.

The present invention can be implemented in the testing or practice with methods and materials equivalent or similar to those described herein.

Any publications, including patents, patent applications and articles, referenced or mentioned in this specification are herein incorporated in their entirety into the specification, to the same extent as if each individual publication was specifically and individually indicated to be incorporated herein. In addition, citation or identification of any reference in the description of some embodiments of the invention shall not be construed as an admission that such reference is available as prior art to the present invention.

While the invention has been described with respect to a limited number of embodiments, these should not be construed as limitations on the scope of the invention, but rather as exemplifications of some of the embodiments. Those skilled in the art will envision other possible variations, modifications, and applications that are also within the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the scope of the invention should not be limited by what has thus far been described, but by the appended claims and their legal equivalents. Therefore, it is to be understood that alternatives, modifications, and variations of the present invention are to be construed as being within the scope and spirit of the appended claims.