Title:
AIR CONDITIONER SHIELD
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An air conditioner shield includes a first portion, a second portion slidably nested within the first portion, and a retention device. The first portion includes a foot at a near edge, where the foot elevates the near edge of the first portion above the surface of an air conditioner, and a first far lip at a far edge of the first portion, where the lip forms a track. The second portion includes a second near lip at a near edge of the second portion, where the second near lip elevates the near edge of the second portion above the surface of the air conditioner, and where the first lip fits within the foot of the first portion. The second portion further includes a second far lip at a far edge, where the second far lip fits within the track of the first far lip of the first portion.



Inventors:
Swiderski, Robert J. (Woodside, NY, US)
Application Number:
13/924546
Publication Date:
12/25/2014
Filing Date:
06/22/2013
Assignee:
SWIDERSKI ROBERT J.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F24F13/20
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GILBERT, WILLIAM V
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Robert Swiderski (Woodside, NY, US)
Claims:
1. An air conditioner shield, comprising: a first shield portion, comprising: a foot at a proximal edge of the first shield portion, said foot being configured to elevate the proximal edge of the first shield portion above the surface of an air conditioner; and a first distal lip at a distal edge of the first shield portion, said first distal lip being configured to form a track; a second shield portion slidably nested within the first shield portion, comprising: a second proximal lip at a proximal edge of the second shield portion, said second proximal lip being configured to elevate the proximal edge of the second shield portion above the surface of the air conditioner, wherein the second proximal lip is configured to fit within the foot of the first shield portion; and a second distal lip at a distal edge of the second shield portion, said second distal lip being configured to fit within the track of the first distal lip of the first shield portion; and a retention device configured to anchor the first and second shield portion.

2. The air conditioner shield of claim 1, wherein the retention device is a flexible member comprising a bob at an end distal to the shield.

3. The air conditioner shield of claim 1, wherein the retention device is attached to the second shield portion at an attachment point and passes through a slot in the foot of the first shield portion.

4. The air conditioner shield of claim 4, wherein the attachment point comprises a locking post that, when tightened, clamps the first portion to the second portion.

5. The air conditioner shield of claim 1, wherein the foot at the proximal edge of the first shield portion comprises a means for attaching the foot to the air conditioner.

6. The air conditioner shield of claim 1, wherein the first shield portion and the second shield portion each further comprise a support foot positioned between the proximal edge and the distal edge of the respective shield portion.

7. The air conditioner shield of claim 6, wherein each support foot comprises a means for attaching the support foot to the air conditioner.

8. The air conditioner shield of claim 1, wherein the first shield portion comprises a lip on a side edge configured to block motion of the second shield portion.

9. The air conditioner shield of claim 1, wherein the shield is open on its sides to allow air to pass between the shield and the air conditioner.

Description:

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to devices for protecting an air conditioner and, in particular, an adjustable shield to cover a window air conditioner.

2. Description of Related Art

Window air conditioners are commonly used throughout the world to provide cooling to a home on an as-needed basis. While these devices may be purchased, installed, and maintained by the resident, they are often very large and heavy, making it inconvenient to remove them once they have been installed. As a result, many window air conditioners are left in place year-round and for very long periods of time.

The nature of a window air conditioner is such that at least two thirds of the device is exposed to the elements. Dust, rain, snow, hail, and other environmental conditions can affect the longevity of the air conditioner and can lead to unsightly buildups of dirt and residue. Furthermore, in urban environments where a single apartment building might have multiple air conditioners belonging to multiple tenants, in windows one above the other, runoff and condensation from air conditioners located higher in the building can fall onto those belonging to lower tenants. This runoff not only increases the amount of dirt and other material that can accumulate on and in the air conditioner, but the impact of the runoff itself can be a nuisance to the tenant.

Furthermore, debris that infiltrates the air conditioner through one of the external vents can come to rest against internal moving components, which in some cases causes a clicking and/or rattling sound during operation. Debris can also break down and decay, providing a place for odor-causing bacteria and fungus to grow.

SUMMARY

An air conditioner shield includes a first shield portion, a second shield portion slidably nested within the first shield portion, and a retention device configured to anchor the first and second shield portion. The first shield portion includes a foot at a proximal edge of the first shield portion, said foot being configured to elevate the proximal edge of the first shield portion above the surface of an air conditioner, and a first distal lip at a distal edge of the first shield portion, said first distal lip being configured to form a track. The second shield portion includes a second proximal lip at a proximal edge of the second shield portion, said second proximal lip being configured to elevate the proximal edge of the second shield portion above the surface of the air conditioner, wherein the second proximal lip is configured to fit within the foot of the first shield portion, and a second distal lip at a distal edge of the second shield portion, said second distal lip being configured to fit within the track of the first distal lip of the first shield portion.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top-down diagram of an air conditioner according to the present principles;

FIG. 2 is a top-down diagram of an air conditioner shield according to the present principles;

FIG. 3 is a side-view diagram of an air conditioner shield according to the present principles;

FIG. 4 is an end-view diagram of two portions of an air conditioner shield according to the present principles; and

FIG. 5 is a bottom-up diagram of two portions of an air conditioner shield according to the present principles.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Embodiments of the present invention provide a shield or cover that is placed over a window air conditioner to protect it from environmental conditions and to diffuse the sound of any impact from above. The present embodiments provide an adjustable shield that may be anchored to the air conditioner and the window in multiple ways, providing a secure attachment for a wide variety of air conditioner designs, even in high-wind conditions.

For example, when rain, hail, or dripping condensation from units overhead fall onto the air conditioner, the sound of the impact can reverberate inside and cause a nuisance. The present embodiments furthermore decrease the noise of impact by providing an angled surface that has limited contact with the air conditioner. In addition, this provides protection against larger impacts and dust that may fall on the air conditioner from above due to, for example, a building's façade repairs.

The present embodiments also humanely discourage nesting by birds. Birds and other “nesting” animals tend to seek level services when creating a nest on a manmade surface. The present embodiments include an angled surface that will encourage “nesting” animals to naturally seek another area without the use of spikes or traps.

In addition, the present embodiments may increase the efficiency of window air conditioner units. The present embodiments block sunlight, shading the air conditioner to produce an increase in cooling efficiency. The entirety of the top surface of the unit may be shaded in this way, in addition to at least part of the vertical walls of the air conditioner.

Referring now to the drawings in which like numerals represent the same or similar elements and initially to FIG. 1, a top-down view of an air conditioner 100 is shown. The air conditioner 100 is mounted in a window frame, where an upper lip 102 of the air conditioner 100 is braced against the window 104 to prevent the air conditioner 100 from falling out. The air conditioner 100 may be of any window-mounted design, and may include top-surface vents 106. It should be noted that upper lip 102 may not be present in all air conditioners 100.

As can be seen from FIG. 1, the air conditioner 100 extends substantially past the walls 108. This makes the air conditioner 100 susceptible to any weather or debris that may fall on it from above. Such debris may accumulate on the top surface of the air conditioner 100 or may even fall inside through the vents 106. The air conditioner 100 may be any size that fits within the window frame. In one exemplary embodiment, the air conditioner 100 may be about two feet wide.

Referring now to FIG. 2, a top-down view of an air conditioner shield 200 is shown over the air conditioner 100. The shield 200 is formed from at least two telescoping portions, including at least a larger portion 202 and a smaller portion 204. The smaller portion 204 fits within a track in the larger portion 202, such that the smaller portion 204 can slide in or out to accommodate different air conditioner sizes. The larger portion 202 and the smaller portion 204 are wide enough such that their combined width when fully extended will cover the width of most residential air conditioning units. The larger portion 202 and the smaller portion 204 further have a fixed length that is larger than the amount of protrusion of most residential air conditioning units. This allows the shield 200 to fully cover any residential air conditioning unit 100.

A tether strap 206 is also provided. The tether strap 206 attaches to the shield outside of window 104. The strap 206 is placed between the window 104 and the air conditioner lip 102 when installing the air conditioner 100, such that the window 104 trapping the strap 206 in place when closed onto the air conditioner 100. The strap 206 may be formed from any appropriately flexible and strong material, including a string, ribbon, etc. The strap 206 may further have a bob that is substantially larger than the thickness of the strap 206. The tether strap 206 provides a secure attachment for the shield 200 in the case of high winds or other extreme weather, such that the shield 200 will not fall off or blow away if the other attachment mechanisms are overcome. If an upper lip 102 is not present, the strap 206 will be securely held between the window 104 and the air conditioner's top surface.

It should be understood that the shield 200 may be formed from any appropriate material. For example, it is contemplated that the shield 200 may be formed from plastic, metal, or any other natural or synthetic material. It is specifically contemplated that the shield 200 may be formed with, e.g., rigid, injection-molded plastic.

Referring now to FIG. 3, a cut-away side view of the shield 200 is shown. The larger portion 202 wraps around the smaller portion 204, forming an attachment foot 302 and a lip 304. The foot 302 may include one or more attachment mechanisms to anchor the attachment foot 302 to the top surface of the air conditioner 100. Examples of such attachment mechanisms may include, e.g., an adhesive, magnets, a screw or bolt, etc. One or more optional support feet 306 may further be included. The optional support feet 306 may be positioned between the attachment foot 302 and the edge of the air conditioner 100 and may include one or more additional attachment mechanisms. As can be seen from FIG. 3, the shield 200 is elevated close to the window 104 and slopes down to the corner of the air conditioner 100. This allows for drainage and dispersal of precipitation and debris might otherwise accumulate on the air conditioner 100. The gap between shield 200 and air conditioner 100 further allows for ventilation and dispersal of heat from the air conditioner 100 through the vents 106.

Although this embodiment is depicted as provided as having a straight, planar surface, it should be understood that other shapes may be used within the scope of the present principles. For example, the larger portion 202 and smaller portion 204 may have a curved surface instead, as long as the curves are selected to maintain a sliding connection between the two. Additionally, although the embodiment of FIG. 3 is shown without sidewalls for the sake of illustration, it should be understood that embodiments of the present invention may include complete or partial side surfaces to prevent debris from accumulating underneath the shield 200.

Referring now to FIG. 4, an end-on view of the larger portion 202 and the smaller portion 204 is shown. This view illustrates the tether strap 206 connected to the smaller portion 204. Because the smaller portion 204 is slidably nested within the larger portion 202, a port 402 is provided in the surface of the larger portion 204 to allow the tether strap 206 to pass through.

An attachment point 404 for the tether strap 206 may be a simple post configured to fit within port 402, or it may be threaded to accommodate a locking lug. In the latter case, the tether strap attachment point 404 may accept a washer and nut that will lock the smaller portion 204 to the larger portion 202, preventing the pieces from sliding with respect to one another and allowing for easy installation once a preferred size has been selected.

Referring now to FIG. 5, a view of the bottom of larger portion 202 and smaller portion 204 is shown. As described above, the larger portion 202 includes an attachment foot 302 that includes an attachment mechanism 502. This attachment mechanism 502 may include, for example, an adhesive, magnets, some form of mechanical attachment, or a weight that holds the larger portion 202 to the air conditioner 100.

An optional support foot 306 is formed at respective outer edges of the larger portion 202 and the smaller portion 204. The optional support feet 306 may include any appropriate attachment mechanism or weight to help keep the shield 200 attached to the air conditioner 100. The larger portion 202 may further include a side lip 504 that prevents the smaller portion 204 from sliding past the edge of the larger portion 202 if no optional support foot 306 is included.

The larger portion 202 further includes a lip 304. As shown above, the lip 304 of the larger portion 202 wraps around a corresponding lip 508 of the smaller portion 204 to provide a track that the smaller portion 204 slides within. The smaller portion 204 also includes a lip 506 that rests on the attachment foot 302 of the larger portion 202, providing vertical support to the smaller portion 204. In the present embodiments the lip 506 that rests on the attachment foot 302 is shown as being a simple vertical piece, but it should be understood that the lip 506 may have any appropriate configuration and may include, e.g., a foot similar to the attachment foot 302. The smaller portion 204 may also have an optional support foot 306 of its own, on a side opposite the support foot 306 on the larger portion 202.

Having described preferred embodiments of an air conditioner shield (which are intended to be illustrative and not limiting), it is noted that modifications and variations can be made by persons skilled in the art in light of the above teachings. It is therefore to be understood that changes may be made in the particular embodiments disclosed which are within the scope of the invention as outlined by the appended claims. Having thus described aspects of the invention, with the details and particularity required by the patent laws, what is claimed and desired protected by Letters Patent is set forth in the appended claims.