Title:
AIR CONDITIONER COVER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An air conditioner exhaust cover including a mesh covering with an outer perimeter, the mesh covering configured to reversibly and completely cover the exhaust opening of an air conditioner, and further configured to allow exhaust to be vented from the exhaust opening, and further configured to block debris from entering the exhaust opening. The cover includes a reinforced border located at the outer perimeter of the mesh covering, into which a plurality of attachment points is formed. The covering system also includes a plurality of flexible attachments each comprising a proximal end and a distal end, the proximal end configured to attach to at least one of the plurality of attachment points, and the distal end configured to attach to another point that at least partially stretches the flexible attachment to hold the mesh covering in place over the exhaust opening of the air conditioner.



Inventors:
Delano, Joseph J. (Baldwinsville, NY, US)
Application Number:
14/726882
Publication Date:
03/03/2016
Filing Date:
06/01/2015
Assignee:
DELANO JOSEPH J.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
29/428
International Classes:
F24F13/20; F24F13/28
View Patent Images:



Other References:
Amazon.com product reviews for PremierAcCovers - Leaf Guard Summer Open mesh Air Conditioner Cover, dated November 13, 2012 - July 10, 2013.
General Tools 1/2 in. Solid-Brass Grommet Kit product page on homedepot.com, captured May 29, 2013.
Primary Examiner:
CLEMENTE, ROBERT ARTHUR
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BOND, SCHOENECK & KING, PLLC (SYRACUSE, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An air conditioner exhaust cover comprising: a mesh covering comprising an outer perimeter, the mesh covering configured to reversibly and completely cover the exhaust opening of an air conditioner, wherein the mesh covering is configured to allow exhaust to be vented from the exhaust opening, and further wherein the mesh covering is configured to block debris from entering the exhaust opening; a reinforced border located at the outer perimeter of the mesh covering; a plurality of attachment points formed in the reinforced border; and a plurality of flexible attachments each comprising a proximal end and a distal end, wherein the proximal end configured to attach to at least one of the plurality of attachment points, and further wherein the distal end is configured to attach to another point that at least partially stretches the flexible attachment to hold the mesh covering in place over the exhaust opening of the air conditioner.

2. The air conditioner exhaust cover of claim 1, wherein the mesh covering is approximately square.

3. The air conditioner exhaust cover of claim 1, wherein the mesh covering comprises a PVC-coated polyester.

4. The air conditioner exhaust cover of claim 1, wherein the attachment point comprises metal.

5. The air conditioner exhaust cover of claim 1, wherein the attachment points are grommets.

6. The air conditioner exhaust cover of claim 1, wherein the attachment points are equidistantly spaced with respect to each other.

7. The air conditioner exhaust cover of claim 1, wherein there are four equidistantly spaced attachment points.

8. The air conditioner exhaust cover of claim 1, wherein the reinforced border comprise 1.25″ rug binding.

9. The air conditioner exhaust cover of claim 1, wherein the flexible attachment is a stretchable cord.

10. An air conditioner exhaust cover comprising: a PVC-coated polyester mesh covering comprising an outer perimeter, the mesh covering being approximately square and configured to reversibly and completely cover the exhaust opening of an air conditioner, wherein the mesh covering is configured to allow exhaust to be vented from the exhaust opening, and further wherein the mesh covering is configured to block debris from entering the exhaust opening; a reinforced border located at the outer perimeter of the mesh covering; a plurality of equidistantly spaced grommets formed in the reinforced border; and a plurality of flexible attachments each comprising a proximal end and a distal end, wherein the proximal end configured to attach to at least one of the plurality of grommets, and further wherein the distal end is configured to attach to another point that at least partially stretches the flexible attachment to hold the mesh covering in place over the exhaust opening of the air conditioner.

11. The air conditioner exhaust cover of claim 10, wherein the reinforced border comprise 1.25″ rug binding.

12. A method for covering an air conditioner exhaust, the method comprising the steps of: providing an air conditioner exhaust cover comprising: (i) a mesh covering comprising an outer perimeter, the mesh covering configured to reversibly and completely cover the exhaust opening of an air conditioner, wherein the mesh covering is configured to allow exhaust to be vented from the exhaust opening, and further wherein the mesh covering is configured to block debris from entering the exhaust opening; (ii) a reinforced border located at the outer perimeter of the mesh covering; (iii) a plurality of attachment points formed in the reinforced border; and (iv) a plurality of flexible attachments each comprising a proximal end and a distal end, wherein the proximal end configured to attach to at least one of the plurality of attachment points, and further wherein the distal end is configured to attach to another point that at least partially stretches the flexible attachment to hold the mesh covering in place over the exhaust opening of the air conditioner; orienting the air conditioner exhaust cover over the air conditioner exhaust; attaching the proximal end of each respective flexible attachment to at least one attachment point; and attaching each distal end of each respective flexible attachment to a fixed point.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein the mesh covering is approximately square.

14. The method of claim 12, wherein the mesh covering comprises a PVC-coated polyester.

15. The method of claim 12, wherein the attachment point comprises metal.

16. The method of claim 12, wherein the attachment points are grommets.

17. The method of claim 12, wherein the attachment points are equidistantly spaced with respect to each other.

18. The method of claim 12, wherein there are four equidistantly spaced attachment points.

19. The method of claim 12, wherein the reinforced border comprise 1.25″ rug binding.

20. The method of claim 12, wherein the flexible attachment is a stretchable cord.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 62/041,919, filed on Aug. 26, 2014 and entitled “Air Conditioner Cover,” the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to an air conditioner cover and, more particularly, to a mesh cover and connection system designed to cover and protect the exhaust of an air conditioner from debris.

BACKGROUND

Air conditioners, both stand-alone external units and window-mounted units, rely on the flow of air to function properly and efficiently. Accordingly, an air conditioner unit requires both an intake where air enters the unit and an exhaust where the air exits the unit. In order to function in an efficient and cost-effective manner, the air conditioner relies on the efficient and un-impeded flow of air. One of the primary causes of air conditioner failure is clogging of one or more components of the air conditioner, caused by foreign debris that enters into one of the necessary openings. The foreign debris can include, but is not limited to dust, dirt, leaves, pine needles, bugs, small animals, and similar debris sized to fit within an opening of the air conditioner. When the foreign debris decays, it can emit acidic gases that degrade the copper tubing inside the air conditioner and create small holes that allow cooling gases to escape.

For example, although the exhaust of an air conditioner unit often has positive pressure that may suggest that debris cannot enter the openings of the exhaust, in fact debris can enter despite the outward flow of air. Further, the air conditioner unit is not continuously running and thus there are long periods of time when the unit is not cooling the air and thus no air is flowing from the exhaust. Accordingly, the openings of the air conditioner exhaust allow debris to enter the unit where it can cause damage, thereby necessitating expensive and time-consuming repairs.

While prior systems have focused on covering the intake of the air conditioner in an attempt to prevent clogging and/or failure of the air conditioner unit, this approach ignores the exhaust of the air conditioner unit. Indeed, in air conditioner units where the exhaust is located on top of the unit, then the exhaust could serve as the major entry point for debris to enter, clog, and damage the air conditioner unit. Current commercial air conditioner covers ignore the exhaust, and/or are unable to efficiently balance the need for the efficient outflow of air while preventing debris from entering the exhaust openings.

Accordingly, there is a long-standing need in the art for air conditioner covers that cover the exhaust of the unit, and stay firmly in place over the exhaust, in order to prevent debris from entering and damaging sensitive internal components.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present disclosure is directed to an inventive mesh cover and connection system designed to cover and protect the exhaust of an air conditioner from debris. Embodiments of the invention disclosed herein include an air conditioner cover comprising a mesh cover surrounded by a reinforced border into which grommets or other connectors are inserted or formed. The grommets are used in the connection system to hold the mesh firmly in place over the air conditioner exhaust.

Accordingly, it is an objective of one or more embodiments of the present invention to provide an air conditioner cover that covers the exhaust openings of an air conditioner unit.

It is an objective of one or more embodiments of the present invention to provide an air conditioner cover that allows for the exhaust of air while preventing foreign debris from entering the exhaust openings of the air conditioner unit.

It is an objective of one or more embodiments of the present invention to provide an air conditioner cover that prevents foreign debris from entering the exhaust openings of the air conditioner unit while simultaneously allowing moisture to escape rather than being trapped inside the unit.

In accordance with these objectives is provided an air conditioner exhaust comprising: (i) a mesh covering comprising an outer perimeter, the mesh covering configured to reversibly and completely cover the exhaust opening of an air conditioner, wherein the mesh covering is configured to allow exhaust to be vented from the exhaust opening, and further wherein the mesh covering is configured to block debris from entering the exhaust opening; (ii) a reinforced border located at the outer perimeter of the mesh covering; (iii) a plurality of attachment points formed in the reinforced border; and (iv) a plurality of flexible attachments each comprising a proximal end and a distal end, wherein the proximal end configured to attach to at least one of the plurality of attachment points, and further wherein the distal end is configured to attach to another point that at least partially stretches the flexible attachment to hold the mesh covering in place over the exhaust opening of the air conditioner.

According to an embodiment, the mesh covering is approximately square.

According to an embodiment, the mesh covering comprises a PVC-coated polyester.

According to an embodiment, the attachment point comprises metal.

According to an embodiment, the attachment points are grommets.

According to an embodiment, the attachment points are equidistantly spaced with respect to each other.

According to an embodiment, there are four equidistantly spaced attachment points.

According to an embodiment, the reinforced border comprise 1.25″ rug binding.

According to an embodiment, the flexible attachment is a stretchable cord.

In accordance with another embodiment of the present invention is provided an air conditioner exhaust cover comprising: (i) a PVC-coated polyester mesh covering comprising an outer perimeter, the mesh covering being approximately square and configured to reversibly and completely cover the exhaust opening of an air conditioner, wherein the mesh covering is configured to allow exhaust to be vented from the exhaust opening, and further wherein the mesh covering is configured to block debris from entering the exhaust opening; (ii) a reinforced border located at the outer perimeter of the mesh covering; (iii) a plurality of equidistantly spaced grommets formed in the reinforced border; and (iv) a plurality of flexible attachments each comprising a proximal end and a distal end, wherein the proximal end configured to attach to at least one of the plurality of grommets, and further wherein the distal end is configured to attach to another point that at least partially stretches the flexible attachment to hold the mesh covering in place over the exhaust opening of the air conditioner.

In accordance with another embodiment of the present invention is provided a method for covering an air conditioner exhaust, the method comprising the steps of: (i) providing an air conditioner exhaust cover comprising: (a) a mesh covering comprising an outer perimeter, the mesh covering configured to reversibly and completely cover the exhaust opening of an air conditioner, wherein the mesh covering is configured to allow exhaust to be vented from the exhaust opening, and further wherein the mesh covering is configured to block debris from entering the exhaust opening; (b) a reinforced border located at the outer perimeter of the mesh covering; (c) a plurality of attachment points formed in the reinforced border; and (d) a plurality of flexible attachments each comprising a proximal end and a distal end, wherein the proximal end configured to attach to at least one of the plurality of attachment points, and further wherein the distal end is configured to attach to another point that at least partially stretches the flexible attachment to hold the mesh covering in place over the exhaust opening of the air conditioner; (ii) orienting the air conditioner exhaust cover over the air conditioner exhaust; (iii) attaching the proximal end of each respective flexible attachment to at least one attachment point; and (iv) attaching each distal end of each respective flexible attachment to a fixed point.

These and other aspects of the invention will be apparent from the embodiments described below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be more fully understood and appreciated by reading the following Detailed Description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which the same reference characters refer to the same parts throughout the different views.

FIG. 1 is side perspective view of an air conditioner with a mesh cover and connection system in accordance with an embodiment.

FIG. 2 is an enlargement of a section of an air conditioner with mesh cover and connection system in accordance with an embodiment.

FIG. 3 is a top view of an air conditioner with a mesh cover and connection system in accordance with an embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present disclosure describes embodiments of an inventive mesh cover and connection system designed to cover and protect the exhaust of an air conditioner from debris. Embodiments of the invention disclosed herein include an air conditioner cover comprising a mesh cover surrounded by a reinforced border into which grommets or other connectors are inserted or formed. The grommets are used in the connection system to hold the mesh firmly in place over the air conditioner exhaust. Using the inventive mesh cover and connection system, debris does not enter the exhaust of an air conditioner, thus preventing debris from damaging sensitive internal components of the air conditioner.

Referring to FIG. 1, in one embodiment, is an air conditioner unit 110 with a mesh cover and connection system 100. Although shown as an exterior central air conditioning unit, many other types of air conditioning units are possible. For example, the air conditioning unit could be a window unit, a rooftop unit, or any unit with an exhaust that is or could be susceptible to debris and damage.

According to an embodiment, mesh cover and connection system 100 includes mesh covering 120 which is sized to fit over the exhaust of the air conditioning unit 110. For example, exhaust 112 is shown underneath mesh covering 120 in FIG. 3. Although a specific configuration, size, and shape of the mesh cover and connection system 100, including mesh covering 120, are shown in the figures, it should be recognized that many other sizes, shapes, and configurations are possible. For example, the mesh covering or any other component of the system could be designed to be one-size-fits-all, or could be designed for specific air conditioner types and/or for specific air conditioner models. Further, the mesh cover and connection system 100, including mesh covering 120, could be adjustable to more accurately fit a variety of air conditioner types, models, configurations, and locations. As just a few examples, standard sizes for the mesh covering of mesh cover and connection system 100 could be, but are not limited in any way to, approximately square with measurements of 28×28, 30×30, 32×32, 36×36 (each in inches), and many others. The mesh covering could be, for example, smaller or larger than these sizes.

According to an embodiment, mesh covering 120 is composed of one or more materials that allow air exiting from the exhaust to flow through, but prevent foreign debris from entering exhaust 112. For example, mesh covering 120 may be composed of a PVC-coated polyester mesh, which provides strong durability and longevity when exposed to the elements, including UV rays, precipitation, and both cold and warm temperatures. Many other materials may be suitable. The thickness of mesh covering 120 could also be adjusted, and may be at least partially dependent upon the materials utilized for covering. For example, in locations where weather conditions are known or predicted to be particularly harsh, mesh covering 120 can be composed of one or more materials that are especially strong and resistant to weather such as rain, snow, wind, and ice, while still allowing air exiting from the exhaust to flow through. Similarly, the thickness of mesh covering 120 can be increased to be resistant to strong weather conditions.

According to another embodiment, mesh covering 120 of system 100 also includes a reinforced border of material 130 along its outer perimeter. The reinforced border provides structure, strength, and stability to the mesh covering. The reinforced border can be composed of the same or similar material(s) utilized for the mesh covering 120, or can be another material entirely. According to one embodiment, the reinforced border of material 130 along the outer perimeter of mesh covering 120 can be composed of one or more materials that provide reinforcing strength to the covering while being flexible. Border 130 experiences considerable stress as the grommets and grommet attachment points in the border are pulled in the direction of a flexible attachment 150, which in turn pulls the mesh covering taut over the exhaust, which is necessary for proper functioning of the cover. Accordingly, for example, border 130 may be composed of 1.25″ rug binding to provide suitable stability and flexibility, although other variations and configurations are possible.

Mesh covering 120 of air conditioner exhaust cover system 100 also includes two or more grommets 140 located at approximately equidistant locations within the reinforced border. For example, as shown in FIG. 3, air conditioner exhaust cover system 100 includes four grommets 140a, 140b, 140c, and 140d which are formed in border 130 and spaced approximately equidistant from each other. While only grommets 140a and 140b are directly visible in the view shown in FIG. 3, turning the air conditioner (or the perspective view) by 180 degrees would reveal the same view as is currently shown in FIG. 3, although grommets 140c and 140d, respectively, would be visible. According to other embodiments, border 130 may include fewer or additional grommets, which can optionally depend in part or in whole on the specific shape and/or size of the mesh covering 120.

According to an embodiment, and referring in particular to FIG. 2, grommet(s) 140 are utilized by flexible attachments 150 that connect to the grommet (or multiple grommets) at one end and to a fixed point at their other end, thereby holding the cover in place. For example, as shown in FIG. 1, “Portion A” is one of four portions spaced equidistantly around the exterior of the air conditioner, each with a grommet that is used by one of four flexible attachments to hold mesh covering 120 of air conditioner exhaust cover 10 in place over the exhaust portion of the air conditioner. Although only Portion A and a first grommet are shown in FIG. 1, rotating the air conditioner (or the perspective view) by 90 degrees about a central axis that extends out of the top of the exhaust would reveal Portion B and a second grommet. Rotating the unit or the view by another 90 degrees about the same axis would reveal Portion C and a third grommet, and another 90 degree rotation would reveal Portion D and a fourth grommet. Another 90 degree rotation would return to Portion A and the first grommet. This particular unit is depicted with four Portions (A-D) and four grommets, although other combinations are possible.

According to one embodiment, grommets 140 of the air conditioner cover 100 can be any grommet suitable for exposure to the elements, such as brass, stainless steel, and other metals, composites, plastics, or other materials. Preferably, the grommet is mostly embedded within reinforced border of material 130 to provide suitable strength to the cover. According to an embodiment, a flexible attachment 150 connects to a grommet at one end and to a fixed point at their other end, thereby holding the cover in place. In some embodiments, the flexible attachment is a stretchable cord, rope, tie, or other structure. For example, a bungee-cord-like structure can be stretched to allow a hook at one end to engage a grommet, and a hook at the other end to engage a fixed point. If the stretchable cord is sufficiently stretched—without endangering the structure of the cord—then the mesh cover will be pulled and held firmly in place over the air conditioner exhaust. For example, FIGS. 1 and 2 show the stretchable cord 150 engaging a grommet at “Portion A,” which is one of four portions along the perimeter of the mesh cover. With four stretchable cords, each attaching at one end to one of the four portions, and each attaching at the other end to a fixed point such as another point of the air conditioner unit, or a base, then the mesh cover is held firmly in place.

According to an embodiment, the proximal end of flexible attachment 150 attaches to the border 130 and/or mesh covering 120. In the embodiment depicted in the figures, the proximal end of flexible attachment 150 comprises a hook that reversibly connects with grommet 140. Many other methods of attaching the proximal end of flexible attachment 150 to the grommet 140 are possible. According to one embodiment, for example, flexible attachment 150 can be an extension of border 130 and/or mesh covering 120.

To hold system 100 firmly but reversibly in place, the distal end of flexible attachment 150 includes an attachment mechanism. For example, the distal end of flexible attachment 150 can comprise a hook that reversibly connects with a surface, the air conditioner, or anything that remains firmly in place. Many other methods of attaching the distal end of flexible attachment 150 are possible.

While various embodiments have been described and illustrated herein, those of ordinary skill in the art will readily envision a variety of other means and/or structures for performing the function and/or obtaining the results and/or one or more of the advantages described herein, and each of such variations and/or modifications is deemed to be within the scope of the embodiments described herein. More generally, those skilled in the art will readily appreciate that all parameters, dimensions, materials, and configurations described herein are meant to be exemplary and that the actual parameters, dimensions, materials, and/or configurations will depend upon the specific application or applications for which the teachings is/are used. Those skilled in the art will recognize, or be able to ascertain using no more than routine experimentation, many equivalents to the specific embodiments described herein. It is, therefore, to be understood that the foregoing embodiments are presented by way of example only and that, within the scope of the appended claims and equivalents thereto, embodiments may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described and claimed. Embodiments of the present disclosure are directed to each individual feature, system, article, material, kit, and/or method described herein. In addition, any combination of two or more such features, systems, articles, materials, kits, and/or methods, if such features, systems, articles, materials, kits, and/or methods are not mutually inconsistent, is included within the scope of the present disclosure.