Title:
DRAIN ASSEMBLY
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A drain assembly comprising a rigid fixture body having a longitudinal axis, an intake opening adapted to conduct a fluid into the fixture body, the intake opening generally being oriented to point away from the longitudinal axis, an discharge opening adapted to conduct the fluid out from the fixture body, the discharge opening generally being oriented to point away from the longitudinal axis and the intake opening, a divider plate disposed in the rigid fixture body along the longitudinal axis, the divider plate adapted to divide an internal space of the rigid fixture body and form a generally U-shaped fluid-conducting passageway from the intake opening to the discharge opening, a clean-out opening in fluid communication with the passageway and generally being oriented to point away from the longitudinal axis and the discharge opening, and a removable cap adapted to close off the clean-out opening.



Inventors:
Yu, Michael (Concord, CA, US)
Yu, Karen (San Carlos, CA, US)
Application Number:
13/541058
Publication Date:
01/31/2013
Filing Date:
07/03/2012
Assignee:
YU MICHAEL
YU KAREN
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
137/15.01
International Classes:
E03C1/12
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LOEPPKE, JANIE MEREDITH
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SNELL & WILMER L.L.P. (UTC) (PHOENIX, AZ, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A drain assembly comprising: a rigid fixture body having a longitudinal axis; an intake opening adapted to conduct a fluid into the fixture body, the intake opening generally being oriented to point away from the longitudinal axis; an discharge opening adapted to conduct the fluid out from the fixture body, the discharge opening generally being oriented to point away from the longitudinal axis and the intake opening; a divider plate disposed in the rigid fixture body along the longitudinal axis, the divider plate adapted to divide an internal space of the rigid fixture body and form a generally U-shaped fluid-conducting passageway from the intake opening to the discharge opening; a clean-out opening in fluid communication with the passageway and generally being oriented to point away from the longitudinal axis and the discharge opening; and a removable cap adapted to close off the clean-out opening.

2. The drain assembly of claim 1, wherein the divider plate further defines a contoured shape adapted to further guide the fluid from the fluid-conducting passageway toward the discharge opening.

3. The drain assembly of claim 1, wherein the divider plate further defines a domed shape adapted to further guide the fluid from the fluid-conducting passageway toward the discharge opening.

4. The drain assembly of claim 1, wherein the clean-out opening is disposed directly below the intake opening when the drain assembly is connected to a sink drain.

5. The drain assembly of claim 1, further comprising a hair trap coupled to the removable cap and adapted to trap debris.

6. The drain assembly of claim 5, wherein the hair trap comprises a plurality of bristles and is detachably coupled to the removable cap.

7. The drain assembly of claim 1, wherein the rigid fixture body comprises first and second portions securely fastened together, the first portion comprising the intake and clean-out openings, and the second portion comprising the discharge opening, the first portion being constructed of a material that permits a visual inspection into the first portion of the rigid fixture body.

8. The drain assembly of claim 1, wherein the divider plate further defines a reinforcing ridge near a bend in the U-shaped passageway adapted to form a narrowed portion of the passageway.

9. The drain assembly of claim 1, wherein the clean-out opening comprises male pipe threading adapted to couple with female pipe threading of the removable cap.

10. The drain assembly of claim 1, wherein the divider plate is adapted to be seated and adhered to a seat defined in the rigid fixture body.

11. The drain assembly of claim 1, wherein the intake opening comprises a MPT fitting adapted to couple a tailpiece of a flexible hose using a slip-nut.

12. The drain assembly of claim 11, wherein the slip-nut comprises: a circular flange; and a ridge formed on the circular flange adapted to exert pressure against the tailpiece of the flexible hose when the slip-nut flange interfaces with the MPT fitting of the intake opening.

13. The drain assembly of claim 1, wherein the intake opening is adapted to couple to a Y-pipe fitting operable to couple to two drain discharges.

14. A sink drain system comprising: a rigid body having a longitudinal axis; an intake opening adapted to conduct a fluid into the rigid body, the intake opening generally being oriented at an acute angle from the longitudinal axis, the intake opening being a threaded opening; an discharge opening adapted to be coupled to a drain pipe and conduct the fluid out from the rigid body into the drain pipe, the discharge opening generally being oriented opposed from the intake opening and point away from the longitudinal axis and the intake opening; a divider plate disposed in the rigid body along the longitudinal axis, the divider plate adapted to divide an internal space of the rigid body and forming a generally U-shaped fluid-conducting passageway from the intake opening to the discharge opening; a clean-out opening in fluid communication with the passageway and generally being oriented to point away from the longitudinal axis and the discharge opening; a removable cap adapted to shut off the clean-out opening; and a flexible hose having a tailpiece end adapted to be coupled to the threaded intake opening using a slip-nut.

15. The sink drain system of claim 14, wherein the divider plate further defines a contoured shape adapted to further guide the fluid from the fluid-conducting passageway toward the discharge opening.

16. The sink drain system of claim 14, wherein the clean-out opening is disposed directly below the intake opening when the drain assembly is connected to a sink drain.

17. The sink drain system of claim 14, further comprising a hair trap detachably coupled to the removable cap and adapted to trap debris.

18. The sink drain system of claim 14, further comprising a hair trap having a plurality of bristles.

19. The sink drain system of claim 14, wherein the rigid fixture body comprises first and second portions securely fastened together, the first portion comprising the intake and clean-out openings, and the second portion comprising the discharge opening, the first portion being constructed of a material that permits a visual inspection into the first portion of the rigid fixture body.

20. The sink drain system of claim 14, wherein the divider plate further defines a ridge near a bend in the U-shaped passageway adapted to form a narrowed portion of the passageway.

21. The sink drain system of claim 14, wherein the divider plate is adapted to be seated and adhered to a seat defined in the rigid fixture body.

22. A method of installing a drain assembly, comprising: coupling a discharge opening of a drain assembly to a drain pipe, the drain assembly comprising: a rigid fixture body having a longitudinal axis; an intake opening adapted to conduct a fluid into the fixture body, the intake opening generally being oriented to point away from the longitudinal axis; an discharge opening adapted to conduct the fluid out from the fixture body, the discharge opening generally being oriented to point away from the longitudinal axis and the intake opening; a divider plate disposed in the rigid fixture body along the longitudinal axis, the divider plate adapted to divide an internal space of the rigid fixture body and form a generally U-shaped fluid-conducting passageway from the intake opening to the discharge opening; a clean-out opening in fluid communication with the passageway and generally being oriented to point away from the longitudinal axis and the discharge opening; and a removable cap adapted to close off the clean-out opening; orienting the drain assembly so that the clean-out opening is disposed directly below the intake opening; coupling the intake opening of the drain assembly to a first end of a flexible hose; and coupling a second end of the flexible hose to a sink drain tailpiece.

23. A drain assembly comprising: a rigid fixture body having a first and second portions coupled to one another; an intake passageway and opening formed in the first portion adapted to conduct a fluid into the fixture body; an discharge passageway and opening formed in the first portion adapted to conduct the fluid out from the fixture body; the second portion of the fixture body fluidly coupling the intake passageway and opening to the discharge passageway and opening in a generally U-shaped configuration; a clean-out opening in fluid communication with the intake passageway, and generally being oriented horizontally; and a removable cap adapted to close off the clean-out opening.

24. The drain assembly of claim 23, wherein the clean-out opening is disposed directly below the intake passageway and opening when the drain assembly is connected to a sink drain.

25. The drain assembly of claim 23, further comprising a hair trap coupled to the removable cap and adapted to trap debris.

26. The drain assembly of claim 25, wherein the hair trap comprises a plurality of bristles and is detachably coupled to the removable cap.

27. The drain assembly of claim 23, wherein the second portion of the rigid fixture body is constructed of a material that permits a visual inspection into the second portion.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

The present disclosure claims the benefit of provisional patent application Ser. No. 61/512381, entitled “u-trap or 123 u-trap,” and filed on Jul. 27, 2011.

FIELD

The present disclosure relates the field of plumbing assemblies, and more particularly to a drain assembly.

BACKGROUND

In 1775 Alexander Cummings invented the S-bend trap. In 1880 Thomas Crapper introduced the U-shaped trap. These bends in the drain pipe are used to prevent sewer gases from entering the interior of buildings. Today the bottle trap is still used in Europe and many parts of the world, but the most commonly used trap in houses, is referred to as the P-trap. It is the addition of a 90 degree fitting and the extension on the outlet side of a U-bend that creates a P-like shape.

Generally the conventional drain assembly connects many pieces of tubing or pipe to complete the assembly. The long and short pieces of rigid tubing have tremendous leverage against the very small contact points between the pipe segments. Very small movement of the tubing or pipe could easily cause the pieces to become misaligned and loose at the joints, and cause leakage.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of an exemplary embodiment of a drain assembly 10;

FIG. 2 a cross-sectional view of an exemplary embodiment of a drain assembly 10;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional views of another exemplary embodiment of a drain assembly 40;

FIG. 4 is a frontal view of an exemplary embodiment of the divider plate 42 in the drain assembly 40 shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is an elevational view of yet another exemplary embodiment of a drain assembly 50;

FIG. 6 is an exploded view of an exemplary drain assembly coupled to a drainage pipe;

FIG. 7 is an assembled view of an exemplary drain assembly coupled to a drainage pipe;

FIG. 8 is an assembled view of an exemplary drain assembly coupled to a single sink;

FIG. 9 is an assembled view of an exemplary drain assembly coupled to a single sink and a dishwasher;

FIG. 10 is an assembled view of an exemplary drain assembly coupled to a single sink, a dishwasher, and a waste disposal;

FIG. 11 is an assembled view of an exemplary drain assembly coupled to a double sink;

FIG. 12 is an assembled view of an exemplary drain assembly coupled to a double sink and a dishwasher;

FIG. 13 is an assembled view of an exemplary drain assembly coupled to a double sink, a dishwasher, and a waste disposal;

FIG. 14 is an elevational view of exemplary drain assembly 50 shown in FIG. 5;

FIGS. 15 and 16 are two cross-sectional close-up views of the novel slip-nut configuration 78; and

FIG. 17 is a cross-sectional close-up view of a novel clean-out cap 17.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of an exemplary embodiment of a drain assembly 10. The drain assembly 10 includes an inlet or intake opening 12 in fluid communication with an outlet or discharge opening 14. It may be seen that the intake opening 12 is generally oriented at an acute angle, α, from the longitudinal axis 15 of the drain assembly, whereas the discharge opening 14 is generally oriented perpendicularly from the longitudinal axis 15. At the inlet 12, a fastener such as a slip-nut may be used as a quick connect to detachably engage with a flexible hose, for example, as a conduit to couple with a discharge drain from a sink. The outlet 14 may be coupled with the house drain pipe by an adapter or coupling.

In one embodiment, the intake opening 12 incorporates a male pipe thread fitting that may be easily connected to a tailpiece at one end of a flexible hose using a slip-nut connection. The flexible hose may include a male pipe thread at the second end for coupling with the sink tailpiece using a second slip-nut.

Also in fluid communication with the inlet 12 and outlet 14 is a clean-out opening 16 and a screw cap 17. The clean-out opening 16 may incorporate a male pipe thread that is adapted to interface with the female pipe thread of the screw cap 17. The clean-out opening 16 is disposed at the very bottom end of the drain assembly. The screw cap 17 creates a leak-free seal with the clean-out opening and obviates the need for any gasket or seal. The clean-out opening 16, when the drain assembly 10 is installed, is generally disposed directly below the intake opening 12, and is oriented at a perpendicular angle from the longitudinal axis 15. Further, the clean-out opening 16, when the drain assembly 10 is installed, is typically located at a convenient and easy-to-reach position facing outwardly from the wall or some other structure of the building. The clean-out opening 16 can be used to easily clean out debris and sediments, and retrieve other foreign objects. It also can be used as a snake router entry point. The drain assembly 10 includes a shelf 18 that is better seen in FIG. 2 and described below.

Referring also to FIG. 2, a cross-sectional view of an exemplary embodiment of a drain assembly 10 is shown. As shown in FIG. 2, the drain assembly 10 preferably comprises an intake portion 20 and an discharge portion 22 securely assembled together. The two portions may be constructed of a synthetic or semi-synthetic organic polymer, including thermoplastic (polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)), thermosetting polymers, or another suitable material and may be bonded, welded, fastened or otherwise coupled together by a variety of methods. The intake portion 20 is preferably constructed of a transparent or semi-transparent (opaque) material that enables easy viewing into the intake portion. Any foreign object, such as a ring that is inadvertently dropped down the sink drain, may be easily observed and retrieved. The two portions 20 and 22 may be welded together by any suitable method, such as ultrasonic bond, glue, adhesives, epoxy, heat, etc. Alternatively, a number of fasteners 24 such as screws or bolts may be used to securely fasten the intake and discharge portions 20 and 22. An optional sealing member 23 such as an 0-ring may be embedded at the interface of the two portions 20 and 22.

The assembly further includes a divider plate 26. The divider plate 26 is disposed at an interface of the shelf 18 and forms a fluid-conducting path 27 from inlet 12 to outlet 14. The shelf 18 provides a cradling seat onto which the divider plate 26 can be securely adhered. Ultrasonic welding or other suitable methods may be used to form a strong bond between the shelf 18 and the divider plate 26. The divider plate 26 effectively divides the two portions of the drain assembly 10, and provides further reinforcement and integrity for the structure. The divider plate 26 also in effect forms an integral street elbow in the drain assembly between the inlet and the outlet. The divider plate 26 further helps to form a water seal to keep sewer gases in the plumbing system from entering the sink and the interior of the room.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, the clean-out opening 16 includes a screw-on cap 17, which incorporates a hair trap 30. The hair trap 30 may be in the form of an elongated member 32 coupled at one end to the cap 17 and at the other end to a plurality of bristles 34 organized in spiral fashion, for example, and extending into the fluid-conducting path 27. As the divider plate 26 creates turbulent water flow in the path 27, strands of hair are easily trapped by the hair trap 30. The hair trap 30 may alternately include hooks or barbs that aide in capturing hair and other debris in the water flow. Other configurations of the hair trap 30 are contemplated and the invention is not limited to the embodiment explicitly shown herein. The hair trap 30 is adapted to snag or otherwise trap debris such as strands of hair that may obstruct the water flow. The hair trap 30 may be easily detached from the screw cap and replaced when worn. Because of the transparency or semi-transparency of the intake portion 20, obstructions and debris that are trapped by the hair trap 30 can be easily seen and removed by unscrewing the cap 17. As the drain assembly can be easily maintained by the homeowner by using the clean-out opening, dramatic reduction in backed-up sinks and emergency calls to the plumber can be realized.

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of another exemplary embodiment of a drain assembly 40. Like numerals are used in FIG. 3 to refer to like elements shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 with the same or similar configuration and functionality. The drain assembly 40 includes a divider plate 42 with a contoured or domed-shaped surface 44 that is adapted to guide, deflect, and focus water flow toward the outlet 14. The divider plate 42 and its domed surface 44 further helps to guide a snake router inserted through the clean-out opening 16 toward the discharge opening 14. The surface 44 may have other suitable shapes such as a funnel-shape, for example. The divider plate 42 further includes a ridge 46 disposed near the U-turn from the inlet to the outlet in the drain assembly 40. The ridge 46 is adapted to function as a check-point to prevent larger diameter snake routers or other objects inserted through the clean-out opening 16 to enter further into the assembly and possibly cause damage to the assembly. The ridge 46 further provides structural rigidity and reinforcement to the divider plate 42. FIG. 4 provides an alternate view of the domed-shape surface 44 that is adapted to guide water and a snake router toward the discharge opening 14.

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of yet another exemplary embodiment of a drain assembly 50. The drain assembly 50 comprises a top and bottom portions 52 and 53 bonded, welded, secured, or otherwise fastened together as described above. The materials from which the two portions are constructed may be any suitable plastic as described above, for example. The portion 52 includes an intake opening 54 and a discharge opening 56. The intake opening 54 is adapted to be coupled to a sink drain, directly or indirectly, and the discharge opening 56 is adapted to be coupled to a drain pipe leading to the sewer or septic system. The portion 53 includes a clean-out opening 58 that is fitted with a cap (not shown in FIG. 5). The two portions 52 and 53 form a fluid-conducting passageway from the intake opening 54 to the outlet opening 56. Unlike the embodiments of the drain assemblies 10 and 40 described above, the drain assembly 50 does not require a divider plate. Although the embodiment shown in FIG. 5 is structurally different from the other embodiments described herein, the general orientation of the inlet, outlet, and clean-out opening is the same.

FIG. 6 is an exploded view of an exemplary drain assembly 60 coupled to a drainage pipe 62 in the wall 64 of a building, and FIG. 7 shows the assembly 60 after installation. The drain pipe 62 may include a plumbing fixture such as a sanitary tee 70 that may be fitted with a male and/or female adapter 72 in order to be securely welded, fastened, or otherwise coupled to the outlet 74 of the drain assembly 60. The outlet 74 may include a street (spigot) fitting. The plumbing segments may be solvent welded together to form a secure bond. The assembly 60 is installed and attached to the sanitary tee 70 so that the clean-out opening 76 and the inlet 66 are generally aligned on a vertical axis, with the clean-out opening 76 disposed directly below the inlet 66.

As shown, the inlet 66 of the drain assembly 60 is adapted to securely couple to a flexible hose 68 leading to the drain of a sink (not shown). At the inlet 66 of the assembly 60 is a slip-nut 78 that is used to easily secure the assembly 60 to a flexible hose 68. The tailpiece of the flexible hose 68 is inserted into the slip-nut 78 and tightened with an one and a half turn, until tightly secured.

FIG. 8 is an assembled view of an exemplary drain assembly 60 coupled to a single sink 80. As described above, the assembly 60 may be coupled to a tailpiece of a flexible hose 68 using a slip-nut coupling 78. A second slip-nut 82 at the second end of the flexible hose 68 may be used to join a male pipe thread at the second end of the flexible hose 68 to the drain tailpiece 84 of the sink.

FIG. 9 is an assembled view of an exemplary drain assembly coupled to a single sink 80 and a dishwasher 90. Between the dishwasher 90 and a sink branch tailpiece 91 is an air gap 92 coupled between the dishwasher discharge hose 94 and a hose 96 to prevent a plugged drain pipe from regurgitating the waste water back to the dishwasher.

FIG. 10 is an assembled view of an exemplary drain assembly coupled to a single sink 80, a dishwasher 90, and a waste disposal 100. In this embodiment, a waste disposal 100 is coupled to the drain of the sink 80. A discharge tailpiece 102 from the waste disposal 100 is coupled to the flexible hose 68 using a slip-nut arrangement as described above.

FIG. 11 is an assembled view of an exemplary drain assembly coupled to a double sink 110. The tailpieces 84 and 84′ of the double sink 110 are connected to flexible hoses 68 and 68′ using slip-nuts 82 and 82′ as described above. A Y-pipe fitting 112 is used to tie the discharge of both sinks to the inlet of the assembly 60. Preferably, slip-nuts 78 and 78′ are used to secure the flexible hoses to the Y-pipe fitting 112.

FIG. 12 is an assembled view of an exemplary drain assembly coupled to a double sink 110 and a dishwasher 90. As described above, the tailpieces 84 and 84′ of the double sink 110 are connected to flexible hoses 68 and 68′ using slip-nuts 82 and 82′ as described above. In this scenario, A Y-pipe fitting 112 is used to tie the discharge of both sinks to the inlet of the assembly 60. Preferably, slip-nuts 78 and 78′ are used to secure the flexible hoses to the Y-pipe fitting 112. Between the dishwasher 90 and a sink branch tailpiece 91 is an air gap 92 coupled between the dishwasher discharge hose 94 and a hose 96 to prevent a plugged drain pipe from regurgitating the waste water back to the dishwasher.

FIG. 13 is an assembled view of an exemplary drain assembly coupled to a double sink 110, a dishwasher 90, and a waste disposal 100. In this embodiment, the waste disposal 100 is coupled to the drain of the sink also coupled to the air gap 92 and then the dishwasher 90. A discharge tailpiece 102 from the waste disposal 100 is coupled to the flexible hose 68 using a slip-nut arrangement as described above.

FIG. 14 is an elevational view of exemplary drain assembly 50 shown in FIG. 5 and described above. As described above, the assembly 50 includes the portion 52 that includes an intake opening 54 and a discharge opening 56. The intake opening 54 is adapted to be coupled to a sink drain, directly or indirectly, and the discharge opening 56 is adapted to be coupled to a drain pipe leading to the sewer or septic system. The portion 53 includes a clean-out opening 58 that is fitted with a cap 76. The assembly 50 may be coupled to a tailpiece of a flexible hose 68 using a slip-nut coupling 78.

FIGS. 15 and 16 are two cross-sectional close-up views of the novel slip-nut configuration 78, with FIG. 16 showing the slip-nut 78 fully engaging an inlet 130 and a tailpiece 132 of a flexible hose. The slip-nut 78 includes a built-in wedged seal 134. The built-in seal 134 includes a circular inner flange 136 with an integrated ridge 138. As the tailpiece 132 is inserted into the slip-nut 78 and the MPT fitting 140 of the inlet 130, and the slip-nut 78 is rotated about the fitting 140 and the tailpiece 132, the seal 134 of the slip-nut 78 is wedged against the tailpiece 132 by the fitting 140. More specifically, the fitting 140 exerts pressure against the base 142 of the flange 136 and forces the ridge 138 against the tailpiece 132 and forms a water-tight seal. A slot 144 is formed in the MPT fitting 140 to accommodate the flange 136 of the built-in seal 134.

FIG. 17 is a cross-sectional close-up view of a novel clean-out cap 17. The clean-out cap 16 is equipped with a MPT fitting 150 that are adapted to be inserted into a circular slot 152 formed by a integral circular wedge 154 of the cap 17. The wedge 154 acts as a wedge to press the MPT fitting 150 at point A in FIG. 17 against the outer wall of the cap 17. This wedge configuration forms a substantially water-tight seal over the clean-out opening 16.

It should be noted that because flexible hoses rather than rigid tubing or pipe are used to couple the drain assembly described herein to the sink drain tailpiece, movement or shifting would not cause misalignment and leakage. Further, the use of the slip-nut to connect the drain assembly to the sink tailpiece does not lead to leakage because even in the event of failure or misalignment of the slip-nut connection, the connection is located above the water level.

The features of the present invention which are believed to be novel are set forth below with particularity in the appended claims. However, modifications, variations, and changes to the exemplary embodiments described above will be apparent to those skilled in the art, and the drain assembly described herein thus encompass such modifications, variations, and changes and are not limited to the specific embodiments described herein.