Title:
Shower Recycle Reheat Retrofit System
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A shower water recycle and reheat system which can be retrofitted into existing showers or tub showers without physical attachment to the house waste or water lines and does not interfere with the existing shower function. The system includes equipment for electrical safety and recycled water bacteria protection. The system can be installed without having to remodel the bathroom which lowers the overall cost of the installed system. This system can also be installed in new construction or during a bathroom remodel project where the equipment enclosure portion of the system can be installed in a remote location. The system gives the user the ability to take longer showers without the associated waste of water, energy and the depletion of the household hot water supply.



Inventors:
Newman, Charles Henry (Medford, OR, US)
Application Number:
13/940499
Publication Date:
10/16/2014
Filing Date:
07/12/2013
Assignee:
NEWMAN CHARLES HENRY
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K3/28
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CRANE, LAUREN ASHLEY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Charles H. Newman (Medford, OR, US)
Claims:
1. A shower water recycling reheat system that does not physically attach to the shower or tub drain system and or house water system. This is important for retrofitting the system into existing bathrooms without having to access the plumbing waste and waterlines through significant remodeling expense.

2. 2-3. (canceled)

4. The shower system shower water temperature control is achieved by splitting the intake water via a Y fitting inside the equipment enclosure. One side of the water line goes directly to the thermostatic shower valve while the 2nd side of the water line goes to the water heater and then to the thermostatic shower valve. This feature eliminates the use of house water system cold water for temperature control.

5. 5-12. (canceled)

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

U.S. application Ser. No. 61/671,709

Inventor: Charles Newman, Medford, Oreg.

Invented alone & not under a contract with an agency of the U.S. Government.

Type of Invention: Mechanical/Electrical device or system

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is in the field of shower water recirculate/recycle. More particularly, the present invention is in the field of retrofit shower recycle system. The ability to recycle shower water saves both water and energy

Present shower recycle systems are not easily installed into existing shower stalls and/or inhibits the use of the existing shower. This system can be installed in existing showers, in new construction and in remodeled showers, it does not interfere with the existing shower function, water lines or waste lines, has accurate temperature control, is controlled from inside the shower and is electrically isolated from the user.

I have not found a similar retrofit system on the market in the US or in Europe. U.S. Pat. No. 5,285,537 is a similar concept but the system requires direct hook up to the existing water line, has a remote equipment location with no specified functional method for piping the system from the pumping & heating equipment to the shower, has a water pickup/drain cover that interferes with the existing shower and is a safety/trip hazard, the water temperature control is not defined/functional and the unit is activated from outside the shower.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,224,700 Water Conservation Shower This system is similar in concept but requires modification of the existing shower/drain, has electric shock/safety design problems, shows no filtration or water sanitizing and does not have temperature control.

The Shower Recycle Reheat Retrofit System (SRRRS) is installed without remodeling, does not interfere with the existing shower function, is electrically safe, has excellent temperature control plus filters and UV sanitizes the recycled water.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention makes shower water recycling more affordable and enjoyable. The Shower Recycle Reheat Retrofit System (SRRRS) retrofits into existing showers without the expense of remodeling an existing bathroom. The SRRRS does not alter the existing shower/bathroom construction and does not hook up to the existing shower water or waste lines.

Water is recycled vs. being sent down the drain. The energy to reheat warm recycled water vs. fresh cold incoming house water saves 45 to 60% of the shower water heating cost. The system has excellent temperature and flow control for user comfort.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the Shower Recycle Reheat Retrofit System

FIG. 2 is an elevation view of the Shower Recycle Reheat Retrofit System with the components of the equipment enclosure shown.

FIG. 3 shows the electrical components inside the electrical junction box that is inside the equipment enclosure.

FIG. 4 shows the water intake collector splash shield top and side views.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Items or Steps that Make Up the Invention

  • 1. NEMA 4× Non-metallic Equipment Enclosure
  • 2. Water Pump
  • 3. UV Sanitizer
  • 4. Electric Tankless Hot Water Heater
  • 5. NEMA 4× Electric Control Box
  • 6. 240V water Heater Relay
  • 7. Air Switch Relay
  • 8. Moisture Sensor Relay
  • 9. Moisture Sensor
  • 10. Water Intake Line to Pump
  • 11. Water Line from Pump to UV Sanitizer
  • 12. Water Line “Y” Fitting
  • 13. Water Line From UV Sanitizer to “Y” fitting
  • 14. Water Line from “Y” Fitting to Water Heater
  • 15. Water Line from “Y” Fitting to Cold Side of Thermostatic Shower Valve
  • 16. Water Line from Water Heater to Hot Side of Thermostatic Shower Valve
  • 17. Equipment Enclosure Drain Fitting
  • 18. Equipment Enclosure Cover Electric Disconnect Lock Out Switch
  • 19. Air Switch Relay Air Hoses to Air Switch Buttons
  • 20. Shower Tower
  • 21. Shower Tower Thermostatic Valve
  • 22. Shower Tower Mixer Valve
  • 23. Shower Tower Shower Head
  • 24. Shower Tower Hand Held Spray
  • 25. Air Switch Button For Hot Water
  • 26. Shower Tower Intake Water Line Attachment
  • 27. Intake Water Line Quick Disconnect Swivel Fitting
  • 28. Intake Water Line Media Filter
  • 29. Intake water Line Easy Clean Screen Filter
  • 30. Intake Water Line Elbow
  • 31. Intake Water Line Check Valve
  • 32. Intake water Line Low Profile Intake Collector
  • 33. Air Switch Button For Start Up & Cold Water
  • 34. Shower Drain Stop
  • 35. Existing Shower Drain
  • 36. GFCI 240 volt 50 amp AC power
  • 37. Intake Collector Splash Shield
  • 38. House Water Shower Valve
  • 39. House Water Shower Head

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN COMPONENTS

Referring now to FIG. 1, FIG. 2, FIG. 3 and FIG. 4 the NEMA 4× non-metallic equipment enclosure 1 houses all the electrical equipment. This includes the water pump 2, UV sanitizer 3, electric tank-less water heater 4, moisture sensor 9, electric control box 5. The NEMA 4× electric control box 5 houses the water heater relay 6, air switch relay 7, moisture sensor relay 8, the equipment enclosure cover electric disconnect lock out switch 18 and other electrical connections. The equipment enclosure 1 and the electric control box 5 are UL listed nonmetallic NEMA 4× enclosures. The GFCI protected 240 volt ac power 36 to the equipment enclosure 1, the rated non-conductive enclosures 1 and 5, the equipment enclosure cover electric disconnect lock out switch 18 and the moisture sensor 9 are for user shock protection. The equipment enclosure 1 is to be mounted at ceiling height up to a maximum of 9 feet from the shower floor. The second main piece of equipment is the shower tower 20, it contains or has attached the shower tower thermostatic valve 21, shower tower mixer valve 22, shower tower shower head 23, shower tower hand held spray 24, air switch button 25 and air switch button 33. It also hides the intake hose 10, unheated waterline 15 from “Y” 12 to the shower tower thermostatic valve 21, heated waterline 16 from the electric tankless hot water heater 4 to shower tower thermostatic valve 21, equipment enclosure drain line to bottom of shower tower 18 and air switch relay air hose to air button 19. At the bottom of the shower tower 20 the shower tower intake water line attachment 26 is the intake water line quick disconnect swivel fitting 27, then the intake water line media filter 28, then the intake water line easy clean screen filter 29, followed by the intake water line elbow 30 at the shower wall/floor change. From the intake water line elbow 30 the water intake line 10 is attached to the intake water line check valve 31 and finally the intake water line low profile intake collector 32. The intake collector splash shield 37 fits on top of the intake collector 32. The house water shower valve 38 and the house water shower head 39 are not attached to the Shower Recycle Reheat Retrofit System.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The shower recycle and reheat system, (SRRRS),is designed to be installed into an existing shower with only the addition of a GFCI protected 240v 50 amp electric power 36 or into new or remodeled construction where the equipment enclosure 1 is installed in a remote location outside the shower. The equipment enclosure 1 is a non-metallic NEMA 4× enclosure for user shock protection. The system gives the user the ability to take an extended shower; either hot or cold while recycling water and saving energy. The user at his or her daily shower routine takes a quick normal shower for cleaning then rinses the soapy water down the drain 35. With the standard shower water still running the user puts the drain stop 34 over the existing shower drain 35, waits about a minute, swings the water intake collector 32 out from the wall to near the drain 35, pushes the system start cold water air switch 33 one time to activate the system less the heater. The user watches the exposed clear intake hose and looks for bubbles in the line. After bubbles have cleared, about 20 seconds, the hot water heater air switch 25 is pushed to activate the heater. The user then turns off the water for the regular shower. The water is heated up to temperature in about 10 seconds and the shower tower thermostatic valve 21 is adjusted for desired temperature. If a cool shower is desired the user does not push the hot water air switch 25. When the air switch button 33 is pushed the air switch relay 7 activates the water pump 2, UV sanitizer 3 and moisture sensor relay 8. When the air switch button 25 is pushed the air switch relay activates the 240v water heater relay 6 which activates the electric tankless hot water heater 4. With the shower system turned on the shower water flow starts immediately. Temperature control is achieved by splitting the water flow after the UV sanitizer 3 at the water line “Y” 12. One side, water line from “Y” fitting to cold side of the shower tower thermostatic shower valve 15 and the other side of the water line “Y” goes to the electric tankless hot water heater 4 and from the heater 4 to the hot side of the thermostatic shower valve 21 via the water line from the water heater to hot side of thermostatic shower valve 16. The unheated and heated water are mixed and controlled by the shower tower thermostatic valve for accurate temperature control. When the (SRRRS) is turned on water is pulled by the water pump 2 from the intake collector 32 through the check valve 31 through the easy clean screen filter 29 (which picks up hair and grit), through the media filter 28 (which cleans out soap and finer particulate). This is important for water pump, UV sanitizer and water heater life plus water cleanliness for the user. At the bottom of the shower tower the quick disconnect/swivel fitting 27 on the intake water line 10 allows the intake collector 32 swivel away from the drain 35 to be stored against the wall for normal shower use or rotated out from the wall to near the drain while running the SRRRS. The quick disconnect fitting 27 allows easy removal of the media filter for replacement. The water intake hose to pump 10 is clear so intake water line air bubbles can be seen at start up and proper startup of the water heater 4. This is needed so the water heater does not burn out prematurely. The UV sanitizer 3 kills bacteria from the water picked up off the shower floor. The equipment enclosure 1 has a drain 17 plus a moisture sensor 9 attached to the moisture sensor relay shut down switch 8 in-case of a water leak within the equipment enclosure 1. This prevents the equipment enclosure 1 from filling up with water and the associated safety hazard and equipment damage. The check valve 31 next to the intake collector 32 keeps water in the system after shut down. This keeps air out of the lines above the check valve which is important for water pump 2 and water heater 4 life.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

How to Make the Invention

For electrical isolation of the electrical equipment located in a shower area a nonmetallic NEMA 4× electrical box is used for the equipment enclosure. A water pump, UV water sanitizer, instant heat electric water heater with temperature control, moisture sensor and NEMA4× electric control box are configured in the enclosure for fit and plumbing routing. The electrical connections, heater relay, air switch relay and moisture sensor relay are enclosed in a NEMA 4× electrical enclosure in the equipment enclosure. This is for additional electrical isolation and for protection if there is a water leak within the enclosure. All plumbing within the enclosure is PEX pipe with quick connect fittings except the braided flex tubing at the pump. The flex pipe at the pump is for vibration isolation. The plumbing and electrical passing through the enclosure is accomplished using water tight fittings. The enclosure plumbing and electrical function is tested for pressure and function. The shower tower plumbing components are pressure tested separately. The plumbing lines that go between the shower tower and equipment enclosure are potable water safe, hot-water safe and rated at least 100 psi at 120 degrees F. The shower tower portion of the system should be located in the shower stall near the existing shower drain but not located where it disrupts normal shower function. The shower tower height should be set for proper shower head height and so that there is enough room below the bottom of the tower for the screened filter, media filter, quick disconnect fitting and elbow. The equipment enclosure is installed at ceiling height to a maximum height of 9 ft. from the shower floor drain. The best location for the equipment enclosure is where it does not disrupt normal shower function, where it can be plumbed to the shower tower and where electrical power can be most efficiently installed. After the equipment enclosure and shower tower are installed the plumbing between the equipment enclosure, shower tower and intake water pick up are installed and tested.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

How to Use the Invention

The user enters his or her shower and takes a quick house water shower to clean up. When he or she is finished cleaning and the soap suds have been washed down the drain the shower drain stopper is put over the shower drain. While the normal shower is still running the intake collector is swiveled out from the wall to near the drain by hand or by a foot. When the water level has risen to the top of the intake collector, about one minute, the user pushes the air switch button once and turns the mixer valve from closed to shower head. The user then steps away from the SRRRS shower head until air bubbles have cleared the visible clear intake line, about 20 seconds, and then pushes the hot water air switch button to activate the water heater. The water heats to the thermostatic valve temperature setting in about 10 seconds. The house water shower is turned off and a recycling shower of desired length is taken with adjustments to temperature made with the thermostatic valve. If the hand held spray is desired the shower mixer valve is turned to hand held spray. When the user is finished showering the shower mixer valve is closed and the air switch button is pushed turning the SRRS off. If a cool shower is desired the hot water air switch is used to turn off the water heater or the water heater is not activated at the start of the shower.