Imported: 17 Feb '17 | Published: 01 Aug '06
USPTO - Utility Patents
A roman tub faucet with a hand shower diverter mechanism integral to the tub spout. The diverter mechanism is especially suited for applications where service access to only the outer tub finished surface is practical. The faucet eliminates the need to remove panel or tile portions from the tub area for diverter mechanism service or replacement. The faucet also eliminates the need for an additional installation hole that is required for roman tub faucets with a separate diverter mechanism and tub spout.
The present invention relates generally to roman tub faucets and more specifically to diverter valves that are integral to the tub spout and serviceable from the exterior of the faucet mounting surface.
A roman tub faucet is typically mounted on a horizontal surface adjacent a tub. A conventional roman tub faucet with a hand shower utilizes a diverter valve to switch the flow of water between the spout and the hand shower. The diverter valve is typically located below the horizontal mounting surface. Often, an installed roman tub is not provided with an access panel for the faucet components that are below the mounting surface. Maintenance or replacement of a diverter valve installed in this manner requires that panels or tiles in the faucet area are removed.
What is needed is a roman tub faucet with a hand shower that incorporates a diverter valve that is serviceable above the finished horizontal surface.
The present invention is directed to a roman tub outlet assembly that incorporates a diverter valve for a hand shower. In one preferred form, the present invention provides an outlet assembly that forms a tub spout and houses a diverter valve. The diverter valve is removable from the outlet assembly by a technician who has access to only the finished surface of the tub area. In another aspect, the present invention provides a diverter assembly that is located above the finished surface of the tub area.
Further areas of applicability of the present invention will become apparent from the detailed description provided hereinafter. It should be understood that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating the preferred embodiment of the invention, are intended for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention.
The following description of the preferred embodiment(s) is merely exemplary in nature and is in no way intended to limit the invention, its application, or uses.
With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, a roman tub faucet is generally indicated by reference numeral 10. Roman tub faucet 10 includes an outlet assembly 12, a hot water valve operator 14, a cold water valve operator 16, and a hand shower 18. Preferably, roman tub faucet 10 is mounted to faucet deck, or a horizontal surface 20, that is adjacent a tub 22. Outlet assembly 12 includes a spout 24 having an interior chamber 25, a spout outlet 23, a diverter assembly 26, and a knob 28. The spout 24 is adapted to be mounted to a finished surface 20 with at least a portion 11 of the faucet 10 extending below the finished surface 20. The primary outlet spout 24 is located above the finished surface 20, and the diverter mechanism 26 is disposed in the spout 24, thus adapted to be serviceable from a location above the finished surface 20. FIG. 2 illustrates components of the roman tub faucet 10 that are located below finished surface 20. A first valve assembly includes a hot water valve 30, a cold water valve 32, a first valve body 34, an inlet or feed tube 36, a secondary outlet tube 38, and a flexible hose 40. Valve body 34 includes a hot water inlet 42, a cold water inlet 44, a mixer outlet 46, a secondary outlet tube connection 48, and a flexible hose connection 50. Secondary outlet tube connection 48, and flexible hose connection 50 are connected by a passageway 52 (as best seen in FIG. 4) that extends through body 34.
When assembled, hot water valve 30 is in fluid communication with a pressurized supply of hot water and hot water inlet 42. Hot water valve operator 14 is coupled to hot water valve 30. Hot water valve 30 is a conventional roman tub valve that adjusts the flow rate of hot water to valve body 34. Cold water valve 32 is in fluid communication with a pressurized supply of cold water and cold water inlet 44. Cold water valve operator 16 is coupled to cold water valve 32. Cold water valve 32 is a conventional roman tub valve that adjusts the flow rate of cold water to body 34. Inlet tube 36 is attached to mixer outlet 46. Secondary outlet tube 38 is coupled to secondary outlet tube connection 48, and flexible hose 40 is coupled to flexible hose connection 50 such that passageway 52 is in fluid communication with both secondary outlet tube 38, and flexible hose 40. Preferably, secondary outlet tube 38 extends concentrically through inlet tube 36. Flexible hose 40 is connected to hand shower 18 such that secondary outlet tube 38 is in fluid communication with flexible hose 40.
Referring now to FIGS. 3 and 4, a second valve assembly is disclosed. A second valve body, or diverter assembly 26, is located within spout 24 and operates to selectively direct fluid communication from inlet tube 36 to spout 24 or alternately to spray handle 18 via secondary outlet tube 38. Adapting and positioning the diverter assembly 26 in a location above the finished, or horizontal surface 20, such as in the interior chamber of spout 24, allows ease of access for service or repair. Diverter assembly 26 includes a rod 60, a sealing chamber assembly 62, and an anchor 64. Preferably, anchor 64 is adapted to slide over the feed tube 36 forming an inner chamber 27 disposed within the anchor 64. Sealing chamber assembly 62 includes a top, or upper coupling 66, a spring 70, a diverter valve or plunger 72, a seal 74, and a lower coupling 76. O-rings 80 of various diameters are utilized to provide a leak proof seal between components of roman tub faucet 10 as discussed below.
Top coupling 66 is preferably a component that defines a portion of a sealing chamber 90 at a lower end 92, a primary outlet 94 opening onto an exterior surface 96, a plunger guideway 98 intersecting the sealing chamber 90, and opening onto an upper end 100. The central portion of top coupling 66 is intersected by plunger guideway 98, primary outlet 94 and sealing chamber 90. The uppermost portion of sealing chamber 90 is defined by a frusto-conical surface 104 that opens onto primary outlet 94.
Lower coupling 76 is preferably adapted to releaseably couple at a top end 110 with top coupling 66, as best seen in FIG. 4, such that lower coupling 76 defines the lower portion of sealing chamber 90. Lower coupling 76 is a generally cylindrical component that includes an inlet 112 defined by an outer wall 114, a secondary outlet 116 with an axial passageway 118 thereth rough, and an inverted frusto-conical surface 120 defining the lower most portion of sealing chamber 90 such that axial passageway 118 is in fluid communication with inlet 112 and primary outlet 94 via sealing chamber 90. The exterior surface 122 of secondary outlet 116 preferably has two O-ring grooves 124. Secondary outlet 116 is adapted to removably couple to secondary tube 38 for ease of service and repair.
Plunger 72 includes a first end 130, a second end 132, a shaft 134, and a stop 136. Plunger 72 is adapted to slidingly retract into plunger guideway 98 by direct manual actuation. Plunger 72 is coupled to rod 60 at first end 130 to extend through the exterior of the faucet and to seal 74 at second end 132. Spring 70 is superposed on shaft 134 to bias plunger 72 towards lower coupling 76. Stop 136 limits the travel of spring 70 on shaft 134 and serves as a spring seat. Seal 74 is preferably constructed of a conventional polymer faucet sealing material with an annular cross section when viewed parallel to the axis of plunger 72. Seal 74 has a configuration which is complementary to surface 104, 120 to provide a fluid sealing interface therebetween.
When diverter assembly 26 is fully assembled, spring 70, plunger 72, and seal 74 are located within sealing chamber 90. Seal 74 and plunger 72 are moveable between a first position (FIG. 4) in which seal 74 is in sealing contact with inverted frusto-conical surface 120 and a second position (FIG. 5) in which seal 74 is in sealing contact with frusto-conical surface 104. In this manner, seal 74, seals against frusto-conical surface 120 thereby interrupting fluid communication between sealing chamber 90 and secondary outlet 116 when in the first position. Seal 74 also seals against frusto-conical surface 104 when in the second position, thereby interrupting fluid communication between sealing chamber 90 and primary outlet 94. As best seen in FIG. 4, seal 74 preferably cannot interrupt fluid communication between sealing chamber 90 and inlet 112. Thus provided, water that enters inlet 112 can be diverted to either primary outlet 94 or secondary outlet 116 by moving plunger 72 and seal 74 between their first and second positions.
When outlet assembly 12 is fully assembled, inlet tube 36 is in fluid communication with inlet 112, and secondary outlet tube 38 is in fluid communication with secondary outlet 116. As best seen in FIG. 4, spout 24 is in fluid communication with primary outlet 94. Plunger 72 is coupled to rod 60 which is in turn coupled to knob 28. Thus provided, seal 74 can be moved between the first and second positions by raising and lowering knob 28.
In operation, water flows into body 34 from hot and cold valves 30, 32. The water mixes in body 34 and continues through inlet tube 36 and through inlet 112 of diverter assembly 26. When seal 74 is in the first position and fluid communication between sealing chamber 90 and secondary outlet 116 is interrupted, water flows from inlet 112 through sealing chamber 90 and through primary outlet 94 to spout 24 and into tub 22. When seal 74 is in the second position and fluid communication between sealing chamber 90 and primary outlet 94 is interrupted, water flows from inlet 112 through sealing chamber 90 and through secondary outlet 116 to secondary outlet tube 38 and into hand shower 18. Plunger 72 is biased in the second position in reach to water pressure within the sealing chamber assembly 62 which is exerted upon the sealing member 74.
It would be recognized by one of ordinary skill in the art that inlet tube 36 and diverter assembly 26 combine and are adapted to mix the hot and cold water such that water of an essentially consistent temperature can be supplied to either spout 24 or hand shower 18. The description of the invention is merely exemplary in nature and, thus, variations that do not depart from the gist of the invention are intended to be within the scope of the invention. Such variations are not to be regarded as a departure from the spirit and scope of the invention.