Title:
Shower Chamber Configured to Retain Heat
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
In one aspect of the present invention, a shower chamber includes a flexible chamber barrier intermediate a ceiling assembly and a chamber floor. The flexible chamber barrier is configured to form a seal with the ceiling assembly to retain heat inside the chamber.



Inventors:
Hall, David R. (Provo, UT, US)
Hall, Michael (Provo, UT, US)
Application Number:
13/195682
Publication Date:
02/07/2013
Filing Date:
08/01/2011
Assignee:
HALL DAVID R.
HALL MICHAEL
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K3/28
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BAKER, LORI LYNN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Novatek IP, LLC (Houston, TX, US)
Claims:
1. A shower chamber, comprising: a chamber barrier comprising a flexible curtain; the flexible curtain comprising a plurality of layers and at least one internal heat source that is configured to radiate heat towards an interior of the shower chamber; and the at least one internal heat source comprising an enclosed fluid pathway formed within at least one of the plurality of layers.

2. The chamber of claim 1, wherein the internal heat source comprises a resistance heater.

3. (canceled)

4. The chamber of claim 3, wherein the fluid pathway is in fluid communication with a water source for a shower head.

5. The chamber of claim 3, wherein the fluid pathway is in fluid communication with a shower head.

6. The chamber of claim 3, wherein the fluid pathway comprises a heater configured to heat at least a portion of fluid within the fluid pathway.

7. The chamber of claim 1, wherein the internal heat source is configured to heat at least 50 percent of an inner surface area of the chamber barrier.

8. The chamber of claim 1, wherein the internal heat source is configured to heat at least 90 percent of an inner surface area of the chamber barrier.

9. The chamber of claim 1, wherein the chamber barrier forms at least a portion of a substantially cylindrical geometry around the interior.

10. The chamber of claim 1, wherein a heat reflector is disposed within the chamber barrier and is configured to redirect heat from the heat source towards the interior.

11. (canceled)

12. The chamber of claim 1, wherein the heat source is flexible enough to move when the curtain changes shape.

13. (canceled)

14. The chamber of claim 1, wherein the chamber barrier comprises a material with a low thermal mass.

15. The chamber of claim 1, wherein the chamber barrier comprises a foam panel configured to insulate heat within the chamber.

16. The chamber of claim 1, wherein the chamber barrier forms a seal with a ceiling of the chamber.

17. The chamber of claim 1, wherein the chamber barrier forms a seal with a floor of the chamber.

18. The chamber of claim 1, wherein a pump is disposed within the chamber barrier and configured to circulate a fluid within the chamber barrier.

19. The chamber of claim 1, wherein a drain is formed within the chamber barrier and configured to release a fluid from the chamber barrier.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/195,627, which was filed on Aug. 1, 2011.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to the field of energy conservation. Specifically, the invention deals with apparatus for retaining heat and moisture within a shower chamber.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,336,232 to Toder, which is herein incorporated by reference for all that it contains, discloses a shower curtain useable with a shower stall that does not include a front sill or wall of the type that normally cooperates with a shower curtain or shower door to seal the front opening into the shower stall. The shower curtain includes a flexible sheet member that is attachable in an upper region thereof to an upper supporting member adjacent the front opening into the shower stall to permit movement of the flexible sheet member between an extended orientation closing the front opening and a collapsed orientation permitting access into the shower stall through the front opening. Elongate side regions or panels of the sheet member include fastening members for cooperating with fastening members on adjacent side walls of the shower stall to close the opposed sides of the front opening into the shower stall. Weights disposed transversely along the lower region of the sheet member being spaced upwardly from a lower bottom panel of the sheet member intended to engage the floor of the shower stall. Most preferably a moveable panel section is provided in the front panel of the shower curtain and this panel section can be at least partially separated from adjacent regions of the curtain to provide communication between the inside and outside of a shower stall when the curtain is in its extended orientation closing the front opening into the shower stall.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,148,452 to Kirsopp, which is herein incorporated by reference for all that it contains, discloses a system for converting a bathtub area into an enclosed substantially waterproof shower enclosure. Closure frames are mounted at each end of the shower curtain to engage retention frames mounted on opposed walls of the enclosure. Each end of the shower curtain is retained within a vertically disposed U-shaped channel having longitudinal ridges therein and a flexible rubber grommet spline or locking rod running lengthwise. The preferred material is rigid PVC. The edge of the shower curtain is rolled about the flexible spline which is then press filled into the U-shaped channel. The curtain is frictionally secured between the spline and the internal walls of the U-shaped channel.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,300,102 to Augustine et al., which is herein incorporated by reference for all that it contains, discloses a thermal blanket that includes an inflatable covering with a head end, a foot end, two edges and an undersurface. The covering is inflated through an inlet at the foot end by a thermally-controlled inflating medium. An aperture array on the undersurface of the covering exhausts the thermally controlled inflating medium from the covering. Exhaust port openings are provided at the edges of the covering to vent the inflating medium, which enhances circulation of the thermally-controlled medium through the cover. An uninflatable section is provided at the head end, together with an absorbent bib attached to the covering, adjacent the uninflatable section. An uninflatable section may also be provided at the foot end having a pair of seams to form an erectable drape section. The enhanced circulation of the medium through the covers maintains a relatively high average temperature under the blanket and a relatively uniform distribution of temperature in the inflating medium which is exhausted through the apertures into the structure's interior. When the structure covers a patient, the uninflatable section at the head end provides a relatively unobstructed view of the patient's face, while the absorbent bib maintains a relatively sanitary environment to the area beneath the patient's head. The uninflatable section at the foot end retains heat from the inflating medium to warm the patient's feet and insulate the bare skin of the feet from excessive conductive heat from the hose connected to the inflation inlet.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one aspect of the present invention, a shower chamber includes a flexible chamber barrier intermediate a ceiling assembly and a chamber floor. The flexible chamber barrier is configured to form a seal with the ceiling assembly to retain heat inside the chamber.

An upper portion of the flexible chamber barrier may magnetically seal with the ceiling assembly. The chamber barrier may have a substantially cylindrical geometry. A drain may be disposed in the shower chamber proximate a chamber floor and a drainage pipe may be disposed beneath the chamber floor. A basin may be disposed intermediate the drain and the drainage pipe. The basin may store dissipated shower water from a shower head. The storing of water may allow residual heat from the shower water to remain within the shower chamber. The basin may begin draining once the shower water reaches a predetermined level. The basin may comprise an overflow path to prevent the basin from flooding into the shower chamber and onto the surrounding floor.

Additionally, a breathable covering may cover a chamber floor in the shower chamber when the chamber is not in use. The chamber floor may be lower than the surrounding floor and the two floors may be adjacent to one another. The breathable covering may be substantially flush with the surrounding floor when covering the chamber floor.

The seal may retain moisture and heat within the shower chamber. An internal layer of reflective material may be disposed within the chamber barrier. The reflective material may reflect heat into the shower chamber. Additionally, an internal layer of insulating material may be disposed within the chamber barrier. The insulating material may retain heat within the shower chamber.

A top of the chamber barrier may attach to a track system that may be designed to support the weight of the chamber barrier. The track system may be configured to move the chamber barrier away from the chamber floor. At least a portion of the track system may be disposed at a different elevation than a remainder of the track system. At least a portion of the track system may be configured to expose an inner surface of the chamber barrier to an ambient atmosphere. At least a portion of the track is further configured to bring a first end and a second end of the chamber barrier proximate to each other.

An at least partially inflatable portion may be disposed within the chamber barrier. The inflatable portion may seal the chamber barrier to the surrounding floor and ceiling assembly. An additional seal may be formed between the chamber and the surrounding floor from at least one weight disposed in a lower portion of the chamber barrier.

The chamber barrier's weight may be supported by an attachment that is independent of the seal to strengthen the seal on the chamber. A slot may extend below a chamber floor in the surrounding floor providing further support to the shower chamber. The chamber barrier may enter into the slot and form a seal between the chamber barrier and the surrounding floor.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 discloses a perspective diagram of an embodiment of a shower chamber.

FIG. 2 discloses a perspective diagram of an embodiment of a shower chamber.

FIG. 3 discloses a cross-sectional diagram of an embodiment of shower chamber.

FIG. 4 discloses a perspective diagram of an embodiment of a shower chamber.

FIG. 5 discloses a cross-sectional diagram of an embodiment of a shower chamber.

FIG. 5a discloses a cross-sectional diagram of an embodiment of a shower chamber.

FIG. 6 discloses a sectional diagram of an embodiment of a shower chamber.

FIG. 7 discloses a sectional diagram of an embodiment of a shower chamber.

FIG. 7a discloses a sectional diagram of an embodiment of a shower chamber.

FIG. 8 discloses a perspective diagram of an embodiment of a shower chamber.

FIG. 9 discloses a perspective diagram of an embodiment of a shower chamber.

FIG. 10 discloses a perspective diagram of an embodiment of a shower chamber.

FIG. 11 discloses a perspective diagram of an embodiment of a shower chamber.

FIG. 12 discloses a perspective diagram of an embodiment of a shower chamber.

FIG. 13 discloses a perspective diagram of an embodiment of a cover.

FIG. 14a discloses a perspective diagram of an embodiment of a shower head.

FIG. 14b discloses a perspective diagram of an embodiment of a shower head.

FIG. 14c discloses a perspective diagram of an embodiment of a shower head.

FIG. 15a discloses a perspective diagram of an embodiment of a shower chamber.

FIG. 15b discloses a perspective diagram of an embodiment of a shower chamber.

FIG. 15c discloses a perspective diagram of an embodiment of a shower chamber.

FIG. 15d discloses a perspective diagram of an embodiment of a shower chamber.

FIG. 16 discloses a perspective diagram of an embodiment of a shower chamber.

FIG. 17 discloses a perspective diagram of an embodiment of a shower chamber.

FIG. 18 discloses a cross-sectional diagram of an embodiment of a shower chamber.

FIG. 19 discloses a perspective diagram of a shower chamber.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION AND THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring now to the figures, FIG. 1 discloses a perspective view of an embodiment of a shower chamber 100 in an open position in a bathroom. During a showering process, water evaporation may occur on an occupant's skin, which may uncomfortably cool the occupant. To maintain a comfortable temperature, the occupant may increase a temperature of dissipated water that is flowing into the chamber 100 from a shower head 101. However, the present invention incorpates heat retaining mechanisms that retain heat from the shower water within the shower chamber. By retaining the heat within the shower chamber, less heat from the shower water is required to maintain a comfortable temperature for the shower occupant. The reduced water temperature may result in reducing energy that is consumed during a typical showering process, which may then lead to energy conservation. Also, a significant amount of water used by an average shower chamber occupant is devouted to warming the occupant to a comfortable temperature. Thus, by controlling the temperature within the chamber by eliminating air drafts through the chamber and retaining warmer air, a significant amount of water usage may be reduced. Therefore, the present invention may also contribute to water conversation, as well as save the energy required to heat the unused water. Further, the water used within the chamber may be of a lower temperature, so the energy savings may be realized even with the used water.

The shower chamber 100 may comprise a flexible chamber barrier 102 disposed intermediate a ceiling assembly 112 and a chamber floor 113. The ceiling assembly 112 may comprise a surrounding ceiling and a shower chamber ceiling. In some embodiments, the ceiling assembly 112 may be independent from the shower chamber ceiling or independent from the surrounding ceiling. The ceiling assembly 112 may comprise a ceiling barrier 110 that extends downwards and away from the surrounding ceiling. The chamber barrier 102 may overlap with the ceiling assembly 112 to form an upper seal and retain heat and moisture within the chamber 100. Preferably, the overlap may occur between the chamber barrier 102 and the ceiling barrier 102.

The ceiling assembly 112 may further comprise a track system 105. A top of the flexible chamber barrier 102 may attach to the track system 105. The track system 105 may be configured to support the weight of the chamber barrier 102 and be configured to accommodate the chamber barrier's movement away from a chamber floor 113. At least a portion of the track system 105 may be disposed at a different elevation than a remainder of the track system 105 and aid in moving the chamber barrier 102 away from the chamber floor 113. Preferably, the chamber barrier 102 may move away from the chamber floor 113 after a completion of the showering process. The removal process may open the shower chamber and allow moisture trapped inside the chamber to escape into the ambient environment to air out the chamber and thereby prevent mold and other bacteria growth.

A breathable covering 111 may be configured to cover the chamber floor 113 when the shower chamber 100 is not in use. When the chamber barrier is removed from the chamber floor, the chamber floor is open to the remainder of the room in which the chamber barrier is located. Thus, the chamber floor may become a trafficied floor space within that room. The breathable covering 111 may be placed over the chamber floor so that a top surface of the breathable covering is flush with the surface of the surrounding floor. The breathable covering may be configured to allow the chamber floor to dry while the breathable covering is placed over it. The breathable covering may prevent room users from from stepping into a wet floor while the floor chamber continues to air out. The breathable covering may include a grating or porous stone that is capable of bearing the weight of room users, but still allows air to pass through.

The chamber floor 113 may be disposed lower than and adjacent to the surrounding floor 104. The breathable covering 111 may be configured to be substantially flush with the surrounding floor 104 when covering the chamber floor 113. This may prevent the occupant from tripping on the chamber floor 113 or falling into the shower chamber 100 once the chamber 100 is no longer in use. In some embodiments, the covering may comprise a non-breathable material. The non-breathable material may be plastic, wood, metal, composite, or some combination thereof.

Preferably, the flexible chamber barrier 102 may comprise a substantially cylindrical geometry. The cylindrical geometry may decrease any excess area that occurs around the occupant in the shower chamber 100. The decreased area may decrease an amount of energy required to maintain a shower chamber temperature that is comfortable for the occupant. Additionally, the track system may incorporate rounded corners for easier chamber barrier translation along the track system 105.

Additionally, the chamber barrier may comprise materials that insulate heat within the chamber and/or reflect heat back into the chamber so that heat is not lost through the barrier.

FIG. 2 discloses a perspective view of a closed shower chamber 100 with the ceiling removed for illustrative purposes. At least a portion of the track system 105 may be configured to bring a first end 108 and a second end 109 of the chamber barrier 102 proximate each other. The first end 108 may overlap the second end 109 to enclose the shower chamber 100 and form substantially vertical seal along the first and second ends 108, 109. In some embodiments, the first and second ends 108, 109 may use a zipping mechanism, a magnetic mechanism, or an inflating mechanism to form the vertical seal.

The chamber barrier's weight may be supported by an attachment 200 of the ceiling barrier. The attachment 200 may attach the chamber barrier 102 to the track system 105, enabling the chamber barrier 102 to translate along the track system 105. In some embodiments, the attachment may comprise a plurality of rings that hang off of the track.

Preferably, the portion of the track that positions the chamber barrier 102 over the chamber floor is lower than other portions of the track. Lowering the chamber barrier with the track over the chamber floor may assist in ensuring that the chamber barrier reaches the chamber floor. Further, elevating the chamber barrier while the barrier is open and removed from the chamber floor may expose more of the chamber barrier's bottom end to the ambient environment and assist in drying that portion of the barrier.

A lower portion of the chamber barrier 102 may comprise at least one weight 201. The weight 201 may ensure that the chamber barrier is fully extended and reaches the floor. The weight may also settle on the chamber floor and form a lower seal between either the the chamber floor 113 or the surrounding floor 104 to prevent water from escaping from the shower chamber underneath the chamber barrier.

Preferable, the combination of an upper seal and lower seal prevent an air flow through the shower chamber. Often, in the prior art, warmer temperatures in the shower chamber would cause the air to raise and escape from the upper end shower chamber, which would cause a lower pressure at the bottom end of the shower chamber, which would draw in cooler air from the ambient environment. This air draft is believed to contribute to lowering the chamber occupant's temperature, which prompts the chamber occupant to increase the shower water's temperature. In the present invention, the combination of seals prevents this prior art air draft, thus, lowering the demand for warmer shower water.

FIG. 3 discloses an upper portion of the chamber barrier 102 comprising a first sealing surface 300. When the shower chamber 100 is in the closed position, the first sealing surface 300 may come into contact with a second sealing surface 301 supported along the ceiling barrier 110. As the chamber barrier 102 translates along the track system 105 to position the chamber barrier over the chamber floor and close the chamber, the first and second surfaces may increasingly overlap. When the chamber barrier is properly positioned and closed, the first and second sealing surfaces may overlap enough to form a seal that is adequate enough to retain heat and moisture within the shower chamber.

In some embodiments, the sealing surfaces may be magnetically attracted to each other. The first sealing surface 300 may comprise a magnetic material and the second sealing surface 301 may comprise a metal material, the first sealing surface 300 may comprise the metal material and the second sealing surface 301 may comprise the magnetic material, or the first and second sealing surfaces 300, 301 may both comprise magnetic materials. In some embodiments, the the magnetic material may comprise a plurality of discontinuous magnetic segments or be a continuous strip. The magnetic material may comprise a strip, string, wire, discontinuous segments, or a combination thereof.

The ceiling barrier may be rigidly attached to the ceiling of the room or the ceiling barrier may form a ceiling to the shower chamber that is independent of the room ceiling. In either embodiment, the ceiling barrier and ceiling may be configured such that they are barriers that prevent heat and moisture from escaping form the shower chamber. Generally, the heat will be associated with the moisture, which will generally rise to the highest spot in the shower chamber. Thus, the high concentration of heat and moisture will likely reside just underneath the ceiling and be retained by the ceiling barrier. However, the upper seal may be formed at the lower end of the ceiling barrier, which may be below the highest concentration or pressure of the heat and moisture. Thus, the upper seal may be positioned away from the highest concentration of heat and pressure. Further, as the heat and moisture are trapped underneath the ceiling, the pressure from the heat and moisture will expand to the sides creating a hoop tension in the ceiling barrier. This hoop tension assist in bringing the first and second sealing surfaces together, and thus strengthen the seal.

However, an overflow mechanism may be incorporated into the upper seal if the pressure exceeds healthy limits for a chamber occupant. Preferably, the shower occupant will utilize the present invention by using minimally heated water and thereby conserve energy. But, if the present invention is not used for its intended purpose, an overflow mechanism may prevent asphyxiation and heat related injuries. It should be noted, that cooler water temperatures will not build heat and moisture pressure just underside the ceiling as hotter water; therefore, proper use of the present invention may not need to incorporate an overflow. In some embodiments, the seal may be a weak seal that is intended to allow a certain heat and moisture pressure to escape. In other embodiments, the shower chamber and its associated plumbing may incorporate a heat governor that governers the maximum temperature that a chamber occupant may select; thereby forcing energy conservation and safety.

In most embodiments, the chamber is not so airtight that the occupant is deprived of air from the ambient environment. However, in some embodiments, the shower chamber may be large enough that the chamber occupant has sufficient air to take a lengthly shower before needing to reopen the chamber for additional air. In such embodiments, oxygen sensors or timers may indicate when the chamber requires opening. In such circumstances, the chamber may automatically shut off the water and automatically open the chamber. Further, a warning message may to sent to other rooms in the building to indicate that the shower chamber was automatically opened, so that others in the building may check on the shower occupant and ensure that the chamber occupant is healthy. A similar message may be sent to the manufacturer as well as community emergency response organizations.

FIG. 4 discloses a breakaway diagram of the shower chamber 100 in use. The shower chamber 100 may seal along the ceiling assembly 112 and the surrounding floor 104. The seals may be configured to retain moisture and heat 400 within the shower chamber 100.

FIG. 5 discloses an embodiment of a lower portion of the shower chamber 100. The shower chamber 100 may comprise a drain disposed proximate a chamber floor 501 and a drainage pipe 502 disposed beneath the chamber floor 501. The drain may comprise a central grate 500 and an outer, annular grate 505. The central and annular grates 500, 505 may be connected by a planar surface 506. A separation of the central and annular grates 500, 505 may provide more comfort for the occupant than a grate that covers the entire chamber floor 501.

The chamber 100 may further comprise a basin 503 disposed intermediate the drain 500 and the drainage pipe 503. The basin 503 may be configured to store dissipated shower water that enters the basin through the grate. The drain may not open initially, thereby allowing the dissipated shower water to continue to heat the shower chamber 100. The basin 503 may continue to fill until the shower water has reached a predetermined height. After reaching the predetermined height, the shower water may then begin draining from the basin 503 to prevent the water from flowing back up into the shower chamber 100. The water may drain from the basin 503 at the same rate as water enters into the shower chamber 100 from the shower head. The basin 503 may also comprise an overflow path with an overflow pipe 504. The overflow pipe 504 may be configured to prevent the shower water from flooding the basin 503 and flowing back into the shower chamber 100. Once the shower water reaches the predetermined level, the water may flow into the overflow pipe 504. The overflow pipe 504 may connect with the drainage pipe 502 to drain the water from the basin 503.

In some embodiments, the underside of the planar surface may comprise an inclined geometry to direct steam or heat radiating off of the basin water into the shower chamber through the grates.

FIG. 5a discloses an embodiment where the residual water is configured to pool on the chamber floor such that at least a portion of the occupant's feet are submergered in the residual water. The heat in the residual water may contribute to keeping the occupant at a comfortable temperature. Thus, the occupant may maintain a comfortable temperature with a lower shower water temperature.

FIG. 6 discloses at least one discontinuous segment 600 disposed along the upper portion of the chamber barrier 102. The discontinuous segment 600 may comprise a magnetic material that may be substantially circular. The ceiling barrier 110 may comprise a sealing surface 601 that seals against the discontinuous segment 600. In some embodiments, the discontinuous segment may comprise a rectangular or triangular geometry. The discontinuous segment may enable easier chamber barrier navigation along the track system 105.

FIG. 7 discloses a cross-sectional view of the shower chamber 100. The chamber barrier 102 may comprise a plurality of flexible panels 700. The panels 700 may contract and expand as the chamber barrier 102 translates along the ceiling barrier 110. The contraction and expansion of the panels 700 may enable easier opening and closing of the shower chamber 100.

An upper portion 701 of the chamber barrier 102 may comprise a magnetic material. The upper portion 701 may be formed to complement a recess 702 formed in the ceiling barrier 110. The recess 702 may comprise an internal shoulder 750 that supports a chamber barrier's weight.

FIG. 7a discloses a that a rigid wall 750 forms a portion of the chamber barrier 751. The wall may also form a seal with a flexible portion 752 of the chamber barrier. In some embodiments, the rigid wall and the flexible portion seal magnetically seal together. The wall, flexible portion, or combinations thereof may comprise a magnetic material that prevents air drafts from entering the shower chamber or allowing heat and moisture from escaping from the shower chamber. In some other embodiments, the wall and flexible portion may be joined through snaps, zippers, or other fasteners. In some embodiments, the flexible portion may stick to the wall. In other embodiments, the flexible portion may stick to the wall when the flexible portion is wet.

FIG. 8 discloses a perspective diagram of another embodiment of the shower chamber 100 in the open position. The chamber barrier 102 may comprise a flexible, inflatable material with a plurality of panels 800 configured to inflate. Preferably, air may be used to inflate the panels 800, but other gases may also be implemented. A lower inflatable panel 801 and an upper inflatable panel 802 may be disposed on the chamber barrier 102. The lower inflatable panel 801 may be disposed proximate the surrounding floor 104 and the upper inflatable panel 802 may be disposed proximate the ceiling assembly 112. Additionally, a first and second lateral edge 803, 804 of the chamber barrier 102 may inflate. The panels 800, 801, 802 may be configured to inflate when the shower chamber 100 is in the closed position and to deflate in the open position. Preferably, air may inflate the chamber barrier panels 800, 801, 802 so that the chamber barrier comprises a sufficient amount of air, which is a good thermal insulator.

FIG. 9 discloses a perspective diagram of the chamber barrier 102 inflated in the closed position. The chamber barrier 102 may be configured to completely enclose the shower chamber area through at least one seal. The lower inflatable panel 801 may be configured to inflate to form the lower seal with the surrounding floor 104, the upper seal with the upper inflatable portion 802 and the ceiling assembly 112, and the substantially vertical seal from the first and second lateral edges overlapping.

FIG. 10 discloses a perspective diagram of an embodiment of an insulating shower chamber 1000. The insulating shower chamber 1000 may comprise a chamber barrier 1001 with a flexible material that is configured to retract the shower chamber 1000 up towards a ceiling assembly 1004 and expand down away from the ceiling assembly 1004. The chamber barrier 1001 may comprise a base portion 1002 and a top portion 1003 to provide rigidity to the shower chamber 1000. The insulating shower chamber 1000 may comprise a continuous wall with at least one internal heat source configured to radiate heat towards an interior of the chamber 1000.

The chamber barrier 1001 may comprise a material with a low thermal mass. The low thermal mass may result in the chamber barrier 1001 heating up at a greater rate compared to materials with a high thermal mass such as tile. Moreover, moisture and heat within the air may more readily condense onto a material with the high thermal mass further lowering the temperature of the environment due to expending energy. The low thermal mass may lead to the material absorbing less heat from the internal heat source. Additionally, a warmer chamber barrier 1001 may contribute to an overall warmer environment for the chamber occupant. As less heat is absorbed by the chamber barrier 1001, more heat may be retained within the shower chamber.

FIG. 11 discloses a perspective view of the shower chamber 1000. Water from the shower head 1102 may be an internal heat source for the shower chamber. In some embodiments, the water may be routed through a fluid pathway located within the thickness of the chamber barrier. The water may be routed through the barrier before discharged through the shower head. In other embodiments, a first pipe 1100 may be configured to provide a first fluid through the chamber barrier and a second pipe 1101 may be configured to provide a second fluid for the shower head 1102. The first fluid may also combine with the second fluid to and be discharged through the shower head together. In such embodiments, the fluid traveling through the chamber barrier may initially comprise a higher temperature than the water initially discharged through the shower head, because the water routed through the chamber barrier will likely lose heat before it reaches the shower head. Thus, the temperature of the fluid traveling through the barrier may be adjusted to be the same temperature as the fluid that only exists through the shower head or the fluid routed through the barrier may be configured to warm the water being discharged through the shower head.

FIG. 12 discloses that the chamber barrier 1001 may comprise a plurality of layer configured assist in retaining the heat within the shower chamber. Preferably, one layer comprises an insulating material 1200. The insulating material 1200 may comprise foam or another material with high insulation properties. Another layer may comprise a reflective material 1201 that may reflect heat waves back into the chamber.

Another layer may comprise the fluid pathway 1202. The fluid pathway 1202 may be formed in the layer. A heat application may chemically join sublayers together in such a manner that forms the fluid pathway. Arrows 1204 may represent a direction of fluid flow through the fluid pathway 1202. In the current embodiment, the flow comprises a substantially vertical path. In some embodiments, the flow may comprise a horizontal path or a combination of vertical and horizontal paths. The chamber barrier 1001 may be continuous to provide for an uninterrupted flow of fluid throughout the pathway 1202. Preferably, the fluid path covers 100 percent of the barrier's internal surface area, however, the fluid path may cover anywhere from 25 percent to 100 percent of the available surface area of the chamber barrier.

In some embodiments, an interruption may be formed in the chamber barrier 1001 to provide access into the shower chamber. The interruption in the chamber barrier 1001 may seal with a snap locking mechanism, a zipper, a magnetic mechanism, or another latching mechanism.

FIG. 13 discloses the shower chamber 1000 in a collapsed position. The chamber barrier 1001 may collapse into the ceiling assembly 1004. A latching mechanism may be disposed along an upper portion of the insulating shower chamber 1000. The latching mechanism may be configured to maintain the shower chamber 1000 in the collapsed position during periods of shower vacancy. When the chamber is extended, the base portion 1002 of the chamber barrier form a seal with a surface of the surrounding floor 104. In some embodiments, in the extended position, the base end may extend below the surrounding floor to form the seal. A covering 1301 that is complementary to the recess 1300 formed by the chamber floor may be configured to fill the recess 1300 when the shower barrier is retracted.

FIG. 14a discloses a fluid piping system for supplying water to the shower head 1102 and the chamber barrier. A first pipe may split into a second 1401 and third pipe 1402. The second pipe 1401 may lead into the fluid pathway while the third pipe 1402 may lead to the shower head 1102. The second pipe 1401 may comprise a heat source, such as a resistance heater 1403. The heater 1403 may be configured to maintain a constant temperature for the fluid traveling through the chamber barrier. The resistance heater 1403 may also be adjusted according to the chamber occupant's preference.

FIG. 14b discloses a first pipe 1404 configured to provide fluid to the fluid pathway of the chamber barrier. After routing fluid through the chamber barrier, the first fluid may then enter into a second pipe 1407 that provides water to the shower head. A second fluid may flow through the second pipe 1407 where the first and second fluids may combine to flow out through the shower head 1102 and into the shower chamber 1000.

FIG. 14c discloses a fluid entering into the chamber barrier through a first pipe 1408, and a second pipe 1410, independent of the first pipe, that supplies water to the shower head.

FIG. 15a discloses an embodiment of the shower chamber 1000 that comprises a substantially cylindrical geometry. A plug mechanism 1500 may be disposed within the chamber barrier 1001. The chamber barrier 1001 may be configured to fill with fluid, which may act as an insulating material by remaining within the pathway 1202 for the duration of the showering process. The fluid may radiate heat into the shower chamber to keep chamber occupants warm. At the conclusion of the showering process, the plug mechanism 1500 may open to release the fluid from the fluid pathway 1202. Preferably, the plug mechanism 1500 may release the fluid onto the chamber floor to drain out of the shower chamber.

FIG. 15b discloses an embodiment of the shower chamber 1000 that comprises a substantially rectangular geometry. The fluid pathway 1202 may extend through a portion of the shower chamber barrier 1001. A pump 1501 may be disposed within the chamber barrier 1001 and may be configured to circulate the fluid within the pathway 1202. The pump 1501 may further be configured to remove the fluid from the fluid pathway 1202 once the showering process is over.

FIG. 15c discloses the shower chamber 1000 that comprises a substantially semi-cylindrical geometry. The fluid pathway 1202 may extend through a significant portion of the chamber barrier 1001. A separate inlet pipe 1502 may be configured for a fluid to enter into the fluid pathway 1202. The fluid pathway 1202 may extend throughout the chamber barrier 1001 or a portion of the chamber barrier 1001.

FIG. 15d discloses the fluid pathway 1202 may extend entirely through the chamber 1000 to completely surround the chamber occupant in the shower chamber 1000.

FIG. 16 discloses an embodiment of the shower chamber 1000 with the fluid pathway 1202 disposed in a substantially horizontal direction. A first pipe 1600 may be configured to supply fluid to the fluid pathway 1202. The fluid may flow through the pathway 1202 along a path indicated by the arrows 1601. The fluid may continue to flow through the pathway 1202 until the pathway 1202 reaches a maximum capacity. At that point, the first pipe 1600 may be configured to switch off automatically or manually. The fluid may then remain within the pathway 1202 for the duration of the showering process.

The chamber barrier 1001 may comprise a rigid structure. A door 1602 may be configured within the chamber barrier 1001. The door 1602 may comprise a handle 1603 and at least one hinge 1604 configured to open and close the chamber 1000. The fluid pathway 1202 may continue across a door seam 1605 between the door 1602 and remaining chamber barrier 1001. Preferably, the fluid pathway 1202 may connect across the door seam 1605 of the chamber barrier 1001 where the pathway 1202 is least likely to become caught in the door seam 1605. The fluid pathway 1202 may comprise a flexible material that is configured to stretch across the door seam 1605 without disconnecting the pathway 1202.

In some embodiments, the fluid may continuously flow through the chamber barrier during the duration of the showering process. This way, the fluid in the chamber barrier is continues to be warm enough to radiate heat into the chamber, instead of the water cooling off and discontinuing to contribute to maintaining a desired temperature within the shower chamber.

FIG. 17 discloses a fluid pathway 1202 that comprises a continuous tube 1701 and runs through an interior of the chamber barrier 1001.

FIG. 18 discloses at least one layer in the chamber barrier that is configured to insulate heat from escaping from the shower chamber 1000. The layer may comprise a reflective material 1800 disposed around a portion of a fluid tube 1701 that may be configured to reflect heat 1801 back to the interior of the shower chamber 1000.

The outermost layer may comprise an insulating material 1802 that may be made of foam or other material. The insulating material 1802 may act as a barrier between an outside environment and the continuous tube 1701 to retain heat more effectively within the shower chamber 1000. An inner most layer of the chamber barrier may comprise a water resistant material 1803.

FIG. 19 discloses another embodiment of the shower chamber 1000. The chamber barrier 1001 may comprise an internal heat source that is configured to radiate heat towards an interior of the chamber 1000. The heat source may comprise at least one resistance heater 1900. Current may flow through the resistance heater 1900 to emit heat that may be directed, at least in part, towards an interior of the chamber. Insulation and reflective materials may be used to direct the heat towards the interior.

Whereas the present invention has been described in particular relation to the drawings attached hereto, it should be understood that other and further modifications apart from those shown or suggested herein, may be made within the scope and spirit of the present invention.