Title:
FAN BLADE HEATING UNIT
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A fan blade heating unit including a fan blade designed to be operatively mounted in an electrical ceiling fan for normal rotation with the fan. The fan blade includes a heating element positioned therein for connection to the power source driving the ceiling fan.



Inventors:
Collier, Michael Andrew (Glendale, AZ, US)
Application Number:
12/139961
Publication Date:
12/17/2009
Filing Date:
06/16/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
165/104.19, 392/364, 432/29
International Classes:
F24H3/12; F24H3/00; F24H3/04; F28D15/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CAMPBELL, THOR S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ROBERT A. PARSONS (Scottsdale, AZ, US)
Claims:
1. A fan blade heating unit comprising: a fan blade designed to be operatively mounted in an electrical fan for normal rotation with the fan; and the fan blade including a heating element positioned therein.

2. A fan blade heating unit as claimed in claim 1 wherein the heating element is an electrical resistance element.

3. A fan blade heating unit as claimed in claim 2 wherein the heating element is a single element positioned in a serpentine path extending from an inboard end of the fan blade adjacent the fan to adjacent an outboard end of the fan blade.

4. A fan blade heating unit as claimed in claim 2 wherein the electrical fan has a power source and the electrical resistance element is electrically connected to the power source for the fan.

5. A fan blade heating unit as claimed in claim 1 wherein the electrical fan is a ceiling fan.

6. A fan blade heating unit as claimed in claim 1 wherein the fan blade includes upper and lower sections cooperating to form an internal cavity and the heating element is positioned in the cavity.

7. A fan blade heating unit as claimed in claim 6 wherein the fan blade further includes a heat exchanger in the internal cavity with the heating element.

8. A fan blade heating unit as claimed in claim 7 wherein the heat exchanger in the internal cavity includes oil.

9. A fan blade heating unit as claimed in claim 1 wherein the fan blade is removably attached to the fan.

10. A fan blade heating unit comprising: an electrical ceiling fan constructed to have a power source connected thereto; a fan blade operatively mounted in the electrical ceiling fan for normal rotation with the ceiling fan; the fan blade including a heating element positioned therein, the heating element being adapted to be electrically connected to the power source for the fan.

11. A fan blade heating unit as claimed in claim 10 wherein the fan blade includes upper and lower sections cooperating to form an internal cavity and the heating element is positioned in the cavity.

12. A fan blade heating unit as claimed in claim 11 wherein the fan blade further includes a heat exchanger in the internal cavity with the heating element.

13. A fan blade heating unit as claimed in claim 12 wherein the heat exchanger in the internal cavity includes oil.

14. A fan blade heating unit as claimed in claim 10 wherein the fan blade is removably attached to the fan.

15. A method of heating an area comprising the steps of: providing an electrical ceiling fan having a power source connection for connecting a power source thereto; designing a fan blade to be operatively mounted in the electrical ceiling fan for normal rotation with the ceiling fan; and positioning in the fan blade an electrical heating element, and electrically connecting the electrical heating element to the power source connection for the fan.

16. A method as claimed in claim 15 wherein the step of designing the fan blade includes forming upper and lower sections cooperating to form an internal cavity and positioning the heating element in the cavity.

17. A method as claimed in claim 16 wherein the step of designing the fan blade further includes positioning a heat exchanger in the internal cavity with the heating element.

18. A method as claimed in claim 17 wherein the step of positioning the heat exchanger in the internal cavity includes introducing oil into the cavity.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention generally relates to a space heaters and more specifically to a fan blade heating unit.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Space heaters are well known in the art and generally consist of electrical heating elements mounted in a unit that can be positioned on the floor, e.g. baseboard heaters, in a convenient out of the way area. In most instances, space heaters include small fans that blow over the heating elements and distribute the heated air around a room. The problem is positioning the space heater so that it is out of the way and can still effectively heat the desired area. Also, these units can be especially dangerous to small children and pets that might come in actual contact with the heating elements or with hot areas of the heaters.

It would be highly advantageous, therefore, to remedy the foregoing and other deficiencies inherent in the prior art.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved fan blade heating unit.

Another object of the invention is to provide a new and improved fan blade heating unit that is convenient and relatively inexpensive to install and use.

A further object of the invention is to provide a new and improved fan blade heating unit that is safe and distributes warm air to desired locations.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Briefly, to achieve the desired objects of the instant invention in accordance with a preferred embodiment thereof, a fan blade heating unit is disclosed. The fan blade heating unit includes a fan blade designed to be operatively mounted in an electrical fan for normal rotation with the fan. The fan blade includes a heating element positioned therein.

The desired objects of the instant invention can be further achieved in accordance with a specific embodiment thereof in which a fan blade heating unit includes an electrical ceiling fan having a power source connected thereto. A fan blade is designed to be operatively mounted in the electrical ceiling fan for normal rotation with the ceiling fan. The fan blade includes a heating element positioned therein and, generally, the electrical element is electrically connected to the power source for the fan.

The desired objects of the instant invention can be further achieved in accordance with a method of heating an area including the steps of providing an electrical ceiling fan having a power source connection for connecting a power source thereto, designing a fan blade to be operatively mounted in the electrical ceiling fan for normal rotation with the ceiling fan, and positioning in the fan blade an electrical heating element, and electrically connecting the electrical heating element to the power source for the fan.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing and further and more specific objects and advantages of the instant invention will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment thereof taken in conjunction with the drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of a fan blade with a heating unit therein in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded view in side elevation of the fan blade and heating unit illustrated in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged perspective view of an end of the fan blade illustrated in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a side view of the fan blade of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a top view of the fan blade of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is an end view of the fan blade of FIG. 4, as seen from the right end;

FIG. 7 is a sectional view of the fan blade as seen from the line 7-7 of FIG. 4;

FIG. 8 is an end view of the fan blade of FIG. 4, as seen from the left end;

FIG. 9 is a view in top plan as seen from the line 9-9 of FIG. 7, with the upper section removed, illustrating the internal structure and the electrical circuit therein; and

FIG. 10 is an enlarged partial sectional view of the fan blade as seen in FIG. 7.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Turning now to the drawings, attention is first directed to FIGS. 1, 2, and 3 which illustrate a fan blade 10 for use in conjunction with a ceiling fan 12. In this disclosure a single fan blade for a ceiling fan is illustrated and described with the understanding that ceiling fans generally include a plurality of blades and each blade can be constructed in accordance with this disclosure or a single heating blade can be used with the other blades formed in size and weight to allow continuous operation of the ceiling fan without it being unbalanced or otherwise hampered.

Fan blade 10 includes an elongated body portion 14 with an outboard end 16 and an inboard end 18. Inboard end 18 is designed to be received within a slot 20 in fan 12 and to be fixedly engaged in slot 20 by some convenient device, such as screws 22. In this specific example, inboard end 18 of fan blade 10 has a plurality of longitudinally extending, parallel grooves 24 therein (on both the upper and lower surfaces) that are formed to mate with ridges 26 on the upper and lower surfaces of slot 20. With inboard end 18 firmly inserted into slot 20 and ridges 26 fully engaged in grooves 24, screws 22 are inserted upwardly through holes in the lower surface of fan 12 (not shown), holes 28 in inboard end 18 of fan blade 10 and threadedly engaged in an upper surface of fan 12. Thus, fan blade 10 is rigidly mounted to ceiling fan 12 for rotation therewith.

Fan blade 10 is further constructed with a lower half or section 30 and an upper half or section 32. As can be seen in FIGS. 1, 7 and 9, lower section 30 and upper section 32 are formed to define a cavity 36 therebetween. A heating element 40 is positioned in cavity 36 and extends in a serpentine path from a first electrical terminal 42 in inboard end 18 to adjacent outboard end 16 and then back to a second electrical terminal 44 (see FIG. 9). Electrical terminals 42 and 44 are designed to engage or plug into the electrical power source for ceiling fan 12. Further, as can be seen in FIG. 7 or 10, heating element 40 is ridged, either as an element or with additional rigid material (e.g. rigid insulating structure), so as to be positioned midway between lower section 30 and upper section 32 to prevent contact therebetween.

In this embodiment, element 40 is an electrical resistance element such as those well known in the art. The length, diameter and other heating characteristics of heating element 40 are selected in a well known manner by those of skill in the heating industry and will not be described in detail herein. While a specific heating element and position are illustrated for purposes of example, it will be understood that a variety of different elements and element sizes and shapes could be incorporated for different applications.

In this preferred embodiment, cavity 36 of fan blade 10 is filled with a heat radiating material to aid in radiating and otherwise distributing the heat generated by heating element 40. For example, cavity 36 may be filled with a liquid, such as oil, that serves as a heat reservoir or heat exchanger to better distribute heat generated in heating element 40. In this instance lower section 30 and upper section 32 are sealed together in a liquid tight unit and oil or other liquid could be added through an opening (not shown) in the upper surface. It will be understood that any of a variety of different heat exchangers could be used as well as other radiating elements.

Thus, a fan blade is disclosed that generates heat and through the normal circulatory motion of the fan blade the generated heat is distributed relatively evenly throughout a selected area. Also, because the fan blade is mounted in a ceiling fan the dangers normally associated with a space heater are completely eliminated. Generally, the ceiling fan includes one or more heating blades and each heating blade includes one or more heating elements that generate heat as the fan rotates. It will be understood that the heating element or elements can be operated with the normal ON/OFF fan switch or it can be operated from a separate switch (similar to light bulbs associated with ceiling fans). Also, a heat reservoir or heat exchanger can be incorporated into the fan blade to more uniformly and better distribute the generated heat.

Various changes and modifications to the embodiment herein chosen for purposes of illustration will readily occur to those skilled in the art. To the extent that such modifications and variations do not depart from the spirit of the invention, they are intended to be included within the scope thereof which is assessed only by a fair interpretation of the following claims.

Having fully described the invention in such clear and concise terms as to enable those skilled in the art to understand and practice the same, the invention claimed is: