US 20010010339 A1
A system for providing water for watering gardens, particularly plants, and for washing objects includes tubing having a coiled section that automatically retracts into a small coil when not in use. The tubing may be connected to various sources of water and a nozzle provides an adjustable spray pattern. The tubing is preferably polyurethane for ease of use. CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/377,853, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,209,800, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference. U.S. Pat. No. 6,209,800 is in turn a continuation of U.S. Pat. No. 5,964,412.
1. A fluid delivery system comprising an elongate flexible tube, an adjustable spray nozzle at one end of said tube, and a connector to a source of pressurized fluid at the opposite end of said tube, wherein said flexible tube is formed in extendible and contractible helical coils having opposed ends, said tube being comprised of polyurethane having a durometer hardness measurement in the range of 85 to 98 Shore A, an inner diameter in a range of from 0.360 to 0.4 inch, and an outer diameter in a range of 0.510 to 0.560 inch and being formed in coils having an inner diameter in a range of from 1.75 to 2.5 inches, the tube being so formed that adjacent coils when in a contracted position are pressed against each other, and wherein said wand, spray nozzle, and tube are sized to produce an appropriate flow of water such that said spray nozzle is operative to spray water in a pattern defined by a user.
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 This invention relates to the art of systems that provide a flow of water for watering, washing, cleaning, and the like. More particularly, the invention relates to a system having an elongate flexible, extendable, and contractible, helically coiled tube, or hose, which permits a wide range of movement. The invention provides a balanced water system that is convenient in use and provides an adjustable flow of water.
 Known garden watering systems have generally relied on watering cans, permanently mounted sprinkler systems, or hoses of fixed length that had to be manually rolled up or otherwise stored out of the way when not in use.
 Watering cans have certain disadvantages, such as limited capacity and weight, and certain advantages, such as ease and flexibility of use. The permanently mounted systems are expensive to install and have the disadvantage that they cannot easily be moved to reach new areas. Known hoses are generally of large diameter (e.g., ˝ to ⅝ inch) and provide large flow rates, which is not always required for watering individual plants or many washing and cleaning activities. The hoses are generally rather long so that they are be able to reach all parts of a given area, and this renders them cumbersome in use and difficult to store.
 Watering cans and full-size hoses are particularly inconvenient for watering elevated plants, such as those in hanging baskets. Filled watering cans and hoses are heavy, and the nozzles typically used on the hoses do not lend themselves to use on elevated objects. Similarly, known water flow systems for washing or cleaning are not convenient because the hoses are heavy in use (i.e., when filled with water). While hoses of smaller diameter are known, per se, combination with the usual nozzle with such a hose results in a system not particularly desirable or useful because the design flow rate of the hose does not match that of the nozzle. Thus, prior systems have not provided the combination of convenience and performance.
 The present invention overcomes many of the problems of prior devices used for watering, washing, or cleaning. In a first embodiment according to the invention, a system allows a user to water plants easily and conveniently over a large garden area. In another embodiment, the invention overcomes many of the problems associated with systems used for cleaning, washing and the like by providing a coiled hose of smaller diameter combined with a nozzle that creates an effective, adjustable spray pattern. The system of the invention includes an elongate, flexible tube of smaller diameter than the normal garden hose and formed in extendable and contractible helical coils having opposed ends. A faucet connector is coupled to one end of the tube, and a spray nozzle is coupled to the opposite end of the tube. By providing a small diameter tube in extendable and contractible helical coils, a system is provided that is lightweight, automatically contracts for storing, and is sized to provide an appropriate flow of water without demanding the weight and cumbersome features of prior watering devices.
 More specifically, the present invention utilizes a tube comprising polyurethane having a durometer hardness measurement in a range of 85-98 Shore-A, preferably in the range of from 90 to 97 Shore A, and most preferably about 95 Shore-A to provide the desired flexibility and durability for such applications.
 Further, applicant has found it advantageous for the inner diameter of the tube to be in the range of from 0.125 inch to 0.375 inch and an outer diameter in the range of from 0.245 to 0.5625. The hose is helically coiled, and the inner diameter of the coils is preferably in the range of from 0.5 to 2.5 inches. The helical coils are formed so that adjacent coils are pressed against each other when in their contracted positions and are capable of being extended manually to a length at least about fourteen times the contracted length. This allows the system to be maintained in a compact lightweight contracted condition for storage, yet provides wide range of use throughout a garden or other area upon extension.
 An embodiment found particularly useful for watering plants uses a tube having an internal diameter of about 0.160 inch and an outer diameter of about 0.245 inch. In this embodiment, the inner diameter of the helical coils is about one inch.
 A second embodiment found particularly useful for washing and cleaning uses a tube having an inside diameter in the range of from 0.360 to 0.4 inch and preferably about 0.370 inch. The outer diameter of the tubing for this embodiment is preferably in the range of from 0.510 to 0.560 inch and preferably about 0.520 inch. The wall thickness is preferably in the range of from 0.075 to 0.080 inch. The inner diameter of the helical coils is in the range of from 1.75 to 2.5 inches and preferably 2.0 inches.
 The tubing preferably has a straight section or “tail” at each of the opposed ends, and the length of each of these tails is preferably in the range of from six to eighteen inches and preferably twelve inches.
 The preferred nozzle used in the second embodiment provides openings that result in a high-velocity stream for the rate at which water flows in the tubing. If a nozzle of the type having a single opening is used, the diameter of the opening should be in the range of from 0.200 inch to 0.275 inch and preferably 0.235 inch.
 The helical tubing is preferably the style known as “reversed coils” and is made of ether-base polyurethane.
 Another object of the invention is to provide a coiled tube water system having a connector for connecting the coiled tube to a standard hose faucet, the connector having a bore to permit controlled flow of fluid to the tube and a strain relief sleeve surrounding the tube adjacent the hose connector.
 Further, the system may have an elongate rigid tube spray wand with an adjustable spray nozzle at the user end of the system to allow watering otherwise difficult to reach regions. The lightweight, easily flexible tube and the elongate spray wand provide a system that allows the user to conveniently water plants difficult to access with prior watering systems.
 A still further object of the invention is to provide a convenient system for delivering water at a rate sufficient to wash larger objects, such as automobiles, decking, or outdoor furniture.
 These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will become more fully apparent as the following description is read in conjunction with the drawings.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a garden watering system according to an embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 2 is an enlarged cross-sectional view taken generally along the line 2-2 of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3A is an enlarged side elevation view of a coiled tube portion of the system in a contracted condition.
FIG. 3B is an illustration similar to that of 3A but with the tube in an extended working condition.
FIG. 4 is an enlarged cross-sectional view taken generally along line 4-4 of FIG. 3A.
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of the invention.
 With reference to FIG. 1, a garden watering system 10 is connected to a hose faucet 12. The system 10 includes a faucet connector 14, an elongate tube 16, and an elongate spray nozzle or wand device 18.
 Tube 16 is preferably made of flexible polyurethane tubing in extendable and contractible helical coils 16 a.
 As shown in FIG. 4, the tube is extruded to provide an inner diameter noted at X and an outer diameter Y. The coils are formed with an inner diameter noted at Z. The tube is formed such that in the contracted position illustrated in FIG. 3A adjacent coils are pressed against each other. The coils are pressed together with sufficient force that they retain their contracted position during storage, but the contracting force of the coil is sufficiently light that the normal user can easily extend tube 16 to its working length.
 While the preferred dimensions set forth above can be changed it has been found that the tubing made of the material specified and the coil configuration specified provides an excellent balance between coil memory and coil tension. It has been found that if the coil diameter Z is reduced substantially, the tubing will either collapse or the coil tension will be too great for convenient use. Substantially increasing the diameter Z of the coil can reduce the coil's shape memory, thus affecting the tendency of the coil to contract and reducing the coil tension to an unsatisfactory degree.
 The relationship among the tubing size, coil diameter and the contracted and extended lengths also optimizes the convenience for the user. In FIG. 3A the dimension CL denotes the contracted length of the coiled section of the tubing. In FIG. 3B EL denotes the extended length of the coil portion of the tubing when manually extended by a user. For the coil formed of the materials set out above and with the dimensions established, a one inch longitudinal length of coil in its contracted state will produce approximately 1.3 feet of extended material. A coil having a contracted length CL of 25 inches may be extended to a length of approximately 32 feet. It has been found for user convenience that the extended length EL should be at least 14 times the contracted length. Shorter or longer coils may be used to provide watering systems consistent with user needs.
 The faucet connector 14 as best shown in FIG. 2 includes a fitting 20 secured in one end of tube 16 and an internally threaded screw-on coupling 22 rotatably mounted on fitting 20.
 Fitting 20 comprises an elongate, substantially cylindrical, externally barbed portion 20 a and a disk-shaped head 20 b secured thereto. A bore 24 extends through the fitting, which is smaller than the inner diameter X of tubing 16. Coupling 22 is a screw-on hose coupling rotatably mounted on head 20 b. The fitting portion 20 a is inserted into an end of tube 16 and held therein by an interference fit, with the barbs inhibiting removal axially of the tube.
 An elastomeric washer 26 having a sieve-like strainer 28 secured therein is held within coupling 20 against head 20 b.
 During assembly, an elongate polyurethane sleeve 30 initially is slid onto tube 16 with a substantially tight, yet slidable, fit therebetween. The sleeve is slid axially along tube 16 so that it does not surround the end portion of tube 16 into which the barbed fitting is to be inserted. The barbed fitting then is forcibly inserted axially into the end of the tube. Sleeve 30 then is slid along tube 16 to a position as shown in FIG. 2 to extend about the outer portion of tube 16 surrounding fitting portion 20 a. Sleeve 30 tightly confines the end of tube 16 around the barbed coupling fitting to hold it therein.
 Secured about sleeve 30 and extending axially from a position adjacent coupling 22 and over a major portion of sleeve 30 is an expanded foam sleeve 34. Sleeve 34 and sleeve 30 together form a strain relief sleeve tightly surrounding tube 16 in the region of the insert and extending axially of the tube a distance beyond the insert to provide added strength in the region of the hose-connection end of the system. Further, the expanded foam sleeve 34 provides a comfortable grip for a user working with this end of the system.
 The opposite end portion of tube 16 is coupled through a fitting 38 to elongate spray wand 18. The spray wand has a handle portion 40, an elongate substantially rigid tube 42, and a swivel mounted adjustable spray nozzle 44. An elongate control lever 46 is pivotally mounted on handle 40 and is connected to a valve in the spray wand to control the flow of fluid from tube 16 into the spray wand and out nozzle 44.
 Operation of the device as a garden watering system is very simple and convenient. The hose coupling is screwed onto a hose faucet 12 and the faucet is turned on. A controlled flow of water passes through strainer 28 to prevent particulate matter above a selected size from passing into the tube which otherwise might occlude the spray nozzle. Water flowing through the strainer is controlled in its flow through bore 24 into tubing 16 and upon activation of lever 46 the water will spray out of nozzle 44 in a pattern defined by the user by adjustment of the nozzle. This spray may be a small diameter, heavy stream, a fog-like, fan-shaped spray or other shapes produced by the adjustable nozzle.
 When the tubing is in a contracted, coiled configuration illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 3a, it rests compactly for storage or positioning adjacent the hose faucet.
 When used around the garden, the user simply picks up the spray wand and moves away from the hose faucet 12. The configuration of the tubing and its coils is such that the user may easily extend the length of the tubing from its contracted length CL to any length between CL and its extended length EL. The form of the coils combines a wide range of extendibility with lower weight for user convenience and allows the user to move to selected portions of the garden remote from the faucet while retaining attachment to the faucet. The elongate spray wand allows the user to reach regions that are difficult to approach with prior devices. Further, the use of tubing much smaller in diameter than the usual garden hose reduces the total weight of the water-filled system substantially for easier handling by the user.
 A second embodiment of the invention is illustrated in FIG. 5. This embodiment includes tubing having a coiled section 50 and tails sections 52. This embodiment has been found particularly useful for washing and cleaning objects such as automobiles, outdoor furniture, and the like. The diameter of the tubing in this embodiment is slightly larger than that of the embodiment shown in FIG. 1 to provide increased water flow while maintaining user convenience. In this embodiment the inside diameter of the tubing is preferably in the range of from 0.360 to 0.400 inch and preferably is 0.370 inch. The outside diameter of the tubing is preferably in the range of from 0.510 to 0.560 and preferably is 0.520 inch. The inside diameter of the coils is preferably in the range of from 1.75 inches to 2.5 inches and preferably is 2 inches.
 The tails 52 of the second embodiment of FIG. 5 may be six to eighteen inches long, and preferably are twelve inches long. The material is preferably the same as that of the embodiment of FIG. 1, and a strain relief sleeve as shown in FIG. 2 may be provided at one or both ends. The connection to the source of water may take any of various forms. For example, the connector may be the threaded connector 22 shown in FIG. 2, a quick disconnect as known in the art, or a non-removable connection such as by a clamp.
 One advantage provided by the invention is the use of nozzles that are designed for the flow rate provided by the particular tubing chosen. Thus, when the flow rate is reduced by the use of small tubing, a nozzle is employed that is designed for that smaller flow rate. This allows the nozzle to provide the desired spray pattern. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 5, the nozzle 54 is preferably not an elongated wand as in FIG. 1 and provides an adjustable spray pattern as selected by the user through manipulation of a control handle 56. Of course, other spray nozzles having other control mechanisms as well as an elongate spray wand as shown in FIG. 1 may be employed.
 In a particular embodiment, the tubing of the system shown in FIG. 5 can be extended to fifty feet. In this example, the tails sections are about twelve inches in length, and the length of the coil section 50, when contracted, is 36 to 42 inches. Other specific embodiments having longer or shorter extended lengths will have proportionately longer or shorter lengths of the coiled section.
 The nozzle of the embodiment shown in FIG. 5 is preferably selected from those that put out a high-velocity stream for the flow rate provided by the tubing used. A preferred nozzle is of the type having a single outlet aperture, the flow being controlled by a valve movable in the aperture. For that type of nozzle used with the tubing of the embodiment of FIG. 5, the diameter of the outlet aperture is preferably in the range of from 0.200 inch to 0.275 inch and preferably about 0.235 inch. The nozzle in this embodiment may also be of extended length as in the embodiment of FIG. 1, if desired.
 The embodiment of FIG. 5 has been found to be particularly useful for washing objects because it provides a high flow rate while retaining the feature of reduced weight and convenient retraction. Further, the coiled hose tends to avoid becoming wedged in obstacles in the surrounding area, thus facilitating use further.
 It will be appreciated that the tubing and coil dimensions used in the invention provide enhanced recoiling of the tubing when not in use.
 Modifications within the scope of the appended claims will be apparent to those of skill in the art.