Title:
EXHAUSTIBLE TOILET AND ODOR REMOVAL SYSTEM
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides an exhaustible toilet and odor removal system with integrated components.



Inventors:
Hofmann, Scott E. (Ballston Spa, NY, US)
Application Number:
12/241154
Publication Date:
04/01/2010
Filing Date:
09/30/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
4/347
International Classes:
E03D9/05
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080222784TANKLESS VENTILATED TOILET WITH BIDETSeptember, 2008Ware
20090158516Carrying stoolJune, 2009Tsai
20100095443TOILET SEAT APPARATUSApril, 2010Nishimura et al.
20060117472Cabinet to sterilize toilet seatJune, 2006Gollarza
20090113612Vacuum drainage system for unclogging a clogged drain, drain clean-out device therefor, and method of unclogging a clogged drainMay, 2009Dodson
20080307573Chokeless Sink StrainerDecember, 2008Ho
20100050332Comfort BedpanMarch, 2010Mcquary
20070163038Potty trainer liner with colored radiating materialJuly, 2007Sharp
20070157378Sink station with coverJuly, 2007Kendall et al.
20090211011Panel Systems for SpasAugust, 2009Walker et al.
20030131407Cushioning bathtub linerJuly, 2003Gutierrez et al.



Primary Examiner:
LOEPPKE, JANIE MEREDITH
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HOFFMAN WARNICK LLC (Albany, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An exhaustible toilet comprising: a toilet bowl; a toilet tank including a cistern and a tank lid; a seal between the cistern and the tank lid capable of forming a substantially airtight seal between the cistern and the tank lid; at least one pathway for the flow of air from an interior of the toilet bowl to an interior of the toilet tank; and at least one opening in the toilet tank for exhausting air from within the toilet tank.

2. The exhaustible toilet of claim 1, wherein the seal includes a sealant permitting detachment of tank lid from the cistern.

3. The exhaustible toilet of claim 2, wherein the sealant is selected from a group consisting of: a liquid sealant, a gelled sealant, a fiber gasket, a rubber gasket, and a friction device.

4. The exhaustible toilet of claim 2, wherein the sealant includes petroleum jelly.

5. A system for removing odors, the system comprising: an exhaustible toilet including: a toilet bowl; a toilet tank having at least one orifice for removing air within the toilet tank; and at least one airway between the toilet bowl and the toilet tank; an exhaust device connected to the at least one orifice of the toilet tank.

6. The system of claim 5, wherein the toilet tank includes: a cistern; a tank lid; and a seal between the cistern and the tank lid capable of forming a substantially airtight seal between the cistern and the tank lid.

7. The system of claim 6, wherein the seal includes a sealant permitting detachment of tank lid from the cistern.

8. The system of claim 7, wherein the sealant is selected from a group consisting of: a liquid sealant, a gelled sealant, a fiber gasket, a rubber gasket, and a friction device.

9. The system of claim 7, wherein the sealant includes petroleum jelly.

10. The system of claim 5, wherein the exhaust device is selected from a group consisting of: an exhaust fan and a vacuum device.

11. The system of claim 5, further comprising: a switch for activating the exhaust device.

12. The system of claim 11, wherein the switch is selected from a group consisting of: a motion-sensitive switch, a light-sensitive switch, and a pressure-sensitive switch.

13. A toilet tank having at least one orifice for removing air within the toilet tank.

14. The toilet tank of claim 13, wherein the toilet tank includes: a cistern; a tank lid; and a seal between the cistern and the tank lid capable of forming a substantially airtight seal between the cistern and the tank lid.

15. The toilet tank of claim 14, wherein the seal includes a sealant permitting detachment of tank lid from the cistern.

16. The toilet tank of claim 15, wherein the sealant is selected from a group consisting of: a liquid sealant, a gelled sealant, a fiber gasket, a rubber gasket, and a friction device.

17. The toilet tank of claim 15, wherein the sealant includes petroleum jelly.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

(1) Technical Field

The present invention relates generally to the field of toilet fixtures and more specifically to an exhaustible toilet and system for the removal of odors.

(2) Related Art

Various devices have been used to remove offensive odors from toilet bowls. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,175,293 to Stephens et al. describes a hooded apparatus for attachment to a toilet bowl which is capable of drawing off offensive odors within the toilet bowl. Such devices suffer from a number of disadvantages, including the visibility of externally mounted components, the necessity of cleaning such additional components when the toilet bowl is cleaned, and the prevention by such additional components of thorough cleaning of the toilet bowl itself. Accordingly, there is a need in the art for a device and system for the elimination of odors from a toilet bowl that include no or few externally visible components, require no additional cleaning, and do not interfere with cleaning of the toilet or toilet bowl.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention overcomes each of the disadvantages in the related art by providing an exhaustible toilet and odor removal system having integrated components that require no additional cleaning and that do not interfere with the cleaning of the toilet or toilet bowl.

A first aspect of the invention provides an exhaustible toilet comprising: a toilet bowl; a toilet tank including a cistern and a tank lid; a seal between the cistern and the tank lid capable of forming a substantially airtight seal between the cistern and the tank lid; at least one pathway for the flow of air from an interior of the toilet bowl to an interior of the toilet tank; and at least one opening in the toilet tank for exhausting air from within the toilet tank.

A second aspect of the invention provides a system for removing odors, the system comprising: an exhaustible toilet including: a toilet bowl; a toilet tank having at least one orifice for removing air within the toilet tank; and at least one airway between the toilet bowl and the toilet tank; an exhaust device connected to the at least one orifice of the toilet tank.

A third aspect of the invention provides a toilet tank having at least one orifice for removing air within the toilet tank.

The foregoing and other features of the invention will be apparent from the following more particular description of embodiments of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The embodiments of this invention will be described in detail, with reference to the following figures, wherein like designations denote like elements, and wherein:

FIG. 1A shows a side view of an exhaustible toilet according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 1B shows a top view of an exhaustible toilet according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 shows a partial cut-away side view of an odor removal system according to one embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides an exhaustible toilet and a system for the removal of odors from a toilet bowl. Turning now to the drawings, FIG. 1A shows a toilet 100 according to one embodiment of the present invention, the toilet 100 comprising a toilet bowl 10 and toilet tank 20. Most of the components of the toilet tank 20 are the same as may be found in known toilet tanks, including a cistern 22 for holding a quantity of water 60A, a tank lid 24, a water line 26 for discharging water 60A from the cistern 22 into the toilet bowl 10, and an air line 28 for providing atmospheric air to enable flushing.

As in known toilet tanks, a flushing mechanism is employed for controlling the discharge of water 60A from the cistern 22 into the toilet bowl 10. As shown, the flushing mechanism 40 includes a flapper valve 42, 42′ for alternately covering and uncovering the water line and a snorkel tube 44 for providing atmospheric air residing above the water 60A within the cistern 22. In operation, water 60A within the cistern 22 passes into the water line 26 (shown as water 60B), and into the toilet bowl 10 (shown as water 60C). It should be recognized that other flushing mechanisms may be employed in various embodiments of the present invention, the depiction of a flapper valve being for purposes of illustration only.

Unlike known toilets or toilet tanks, the cistern 22 is provided with an orifice 23 through which an exhaust tube 46 may pass. The exhaust tube 46 is exposed to air within the cistern 22, such that a continuous airway is provided from the toilet bowl 10, through the air line 28 and snorkel tube 44, into the cistern 22, and out the exhaust tube 46. That is, by drawing air from the exhaust tube 46, air pressure above the water 60A is decreased, thereby drawing air from within the toilet bowl 10, thus removing offensive odors within the toilet bowl 10. While shown in FIGS. 1A-B as passing through the orifice 23 of the cistern 22, it should be understood that, in other embodiments, the exhaust tube 46 may merely attach to the orifice 23, such that the exhaust tube 46 resides entirely or primarily outside the cistern 22.

In order to ensure an airtight or substantially airtight environment within the cistern 22, such that a decrease in air pressure within the cistern 22 is effective to draw air from the toilet bowl 10, a sealant 50 is provided between the cistern 22 and the tank lid 24, comprising a seal therebetween. Virtually any sealant or sealing mechanism may be employed, including, for example, a liquid or gelled sealant (e.g., petroleum jelly), a fiber or rubber gasket, or a friction device (e.g., a nylon gasket). Regardless of the sealant chosen, the sealing of the tank lid 24 to the cistern 22 provides an airtight or substantially airtight environment within the cistern 22, such that air is drawn from the toilet bowl 10. In other embodiments, the tank lid 24 and cistern 22 may be fixedly attached. In still other embodiments, the toilet tank 20 may comprise a unitary body.

To help ensure an airtight or substantially airtight environment within the cistern 22, orifice 23 also preferably includes a sealing mechanism to provide a seal between the cistern 22 and the exhaust tube 46. Such a seal may be removable, as described above, or fixed, as there should seldom be a need to move the exhaust tube 46 with respect to the cistern 22 once the toilet 100 is installed.

FIG. 1B shows a top view of the toilet 100 of FIG. 1A, with the tank lid 24 removed. While the exhaust tube 46 is shown exiting the cistern 22 through its back wall, it should be recognized that the exhaust tube 46 may exit through any wall of the cistern 22.

Referring now to FIG. 2, an odor removal system 200 according to an embodiment of the invention is shown, comprising the toilet 100 of FIGS. 1A-B and an exhaust line 146 extending from the exhaust tube 46 and ultimately to an outdoor ventilation space 280. Connected to exhaust line 146 are shown a check valve 170 and an exhaust fan 180. Exhaust fan 180, when activated, reduces pressure within the exhaust line 146 and, therefore, the toilet bowl 10, thereby removing gaseous contents within the toilet bowl 10. While depicted as an exhaust fan, any device capable of exhausting the contents of the toilet bowl 10 may be utilized, including, for example, a vacuum device.

As shown, the exhaust fan 180 vents gaseous contents of the toilet bowl 10 to an outdoor ventilation space 280, either directly through a wall 162 of the building in which the system 200 is housed or via attachment to a vent pipe 148 normally connected to the building's sewer system. As shown in FIG. 2, the exhaust fan 180 is activated via a switch 190. The switch 190 may be a manually activated switch, such as that shown in FIG. 2, or an automatic switch. Illustrative automatic switches include, for example, motion-sensitive switches, light-sensitive switches, and pressure-sensitive switches. In the case of a pressure-sensitive switch, the switch may be connected to, mounted beneath, or integrated into a toilet seat (not shown), such that the exhaust fan 180 is activated when a user sits on toilet seat.

The check valve 170 may be any known or later-developed device capable of substantially restricting air flow within the exhaust line 146 to a direction from the toilet bowl 10 to the outdoor ventilation space 280. That is, the check valve 170 substantially prevents the flow of air from the outdoor ventilation space 180 into the toilet bowl 10 during, for example, periods of high wind or high atmospheric pressure.

While this invention has been described in conjunction with the specific embodiments outlined above, it is evident that many alternatives, modifications and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, the embodiments of the invention as set forth above are intended to be illustrative, not limiting. Various changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.