BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates generally to toilet water tanks; their construction and operation, and more particularly to such a tank with advantages resulting in water savings.
2. Background of the Invention
Prior art shows many water saver devices, however, none of the prior art shows filling the tank to full capacity in order to maximize hydraulic pressure. None of the prior art shows a toilet apparatus that both increases the flushing capacity, and the hydraulic power while at the same time saving 20 to 55 percent on both water and sewer usage.
The prior art teaches the use of toilet tank operation in a manner similar to that of the present invention but does not teach the use of a lever for prematurely closing a flapper valve in a toilet tank drain so that non-solid toilet debris may be disposed of with much less water consumption than with solid toilet debris. The present invention fulfills these needs and provides further related advantages as described in the following summary.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention teaches certain benefits in construction and use which give rise to the objectives described below.
A water supply tank apparatus comprises a tank adapted for receiving and storing water; a drain pipe adapted for draining the water from the tank; a fill pipe adapted for filling the tank; a drain shutter adapted for enabling and disabling the draining device; a water level sensor providing a shutter closer adapted for closing the drain shutter at a selectively adjustable low water level; a device for disabling water filling at a selected high water level; and a lever and chain arrangement for opening the drain shutter thereby enabling draining of the tank.
The major concepts of this invention including, always carrying the highest possible water level in the toilet tank in order to maximize hydraulic pressure for all flushes; increasing water volume of major flushes and saving water on minor flushes. The prior art does not teach this.
The major concepts of this patent application are designed to enable all of the common household type toilets in use today; both the older, high-flush models manufactured prior to 1994, and the post 1994 low-flush, 1.6 gallon models, to flush significantly better due to the above defined concepts.
The low-flush, 1.6 gallon tank models will use an extra gallon of water on the major flush, and only 1 gallon on the minor flush, for a savings of over 20 percent. However, this invention allows the current, low-flush, water saver toilets to have a highly efficient flush when required, rather than the mediocre flush now attained by the current commercially available toilets. The system allows for an extra gallon or more of water; actually up to 3.6 gallons on a toilet rated at 1.6 gallons, for high volume flushing, while reducing the average flush to a gallon or less. This results in an overall, daily water saving of over 21 percent on average. So the greatest benefit on the low flush toilets will be a flush that is better than the older high-flow models, while still saving over 21% on the water and really, closer to 40% or more when considering the multiple flushes necessary with the current low flush models.
The older, high flow models flush in an improved manner when using the present invention, due to the increased hydraulic pressure. Water savings will average over 50%. The system is made up of a single, one piece float apparatus, with a flapper control foot plate attached to the bottom of the aperture tube that slides up and down over the overflow pipe to control the water volume of each flush. The float has a tubular aperture down the center that fits snugly over the overflow pipe, this allows the float to slide freely up and down the pipe, as required.
The preferred method is to simply replace the complete flush valve assembly including the overflow pipe. This is a very practical and efficient method, and the least expensive.
The invention will work equally well on other flush valves designed by Mansfield Plumbing Products Inc. with a slightly different and even simpler float design. However it will be more efficient and simpler to replace the complete flush valve assembly.
The existing low flush and water saver toilet tanks, probably represent over 90% of toilet tanks installed since 1994. Interestingly, these tanks will actually hold over four gallons of water which allows them to use over three gallons of water for the main flush (nearly double the designed volume). However, this is not necessary, as the extra gallon gives a flush capacity of 2.6 gallons. When this is combined with the extra hydraulic pressure, it is more than enough for a very powerful flush. Both the Flush Valve and the Fill Valve are interchangeable in all toilet tanks and can be replaced easily.
Normally, it will be necessary to replace the existing fill valve apparatus as most existing ones simply cannot maximize the tank water level properly. It is recommend that the typical float ball and other paraphernalia that are part of most fill valves be discarded and replaced by the fill valve manufactured by the Fluidmaster Corp. as it is very efficient with this inventions modifications, and much cheaper. The other fill valve that gives the desired hydraulic pressure is manufactured by the Masco Corporation, and variously named, Filpro, Peerless, and Delta.
A flapper coffer dam, a partition around the flapper valve, is used to control the maximum volume of the major flush. It is a cup shaped basin formed of light plastic that surrounds the flush valve and makes sure that the final gallon of water in the tank is saved. It must be large enough to allow the float to close the flapper valve properly, and mounts under the flush valve.
The volume of water to be flushed is controlled by the weight of the float. This in turn controls when the flapper control foot plate closes the flapper valve. To adjust the weight of the float we simply add water to the float by means of a hole in the top of the float. This hole is sealed with an air-tight cap in order to prevent any evaporation of the water inside (ballast). This foot plate is an integral part of the float and is positioned for making an optimum contact with the flapper.
The float is preferably made of plastic and could probably be injection molded, or fabricated in one piece. The plastic foot can be made separately and simply cemented or press fitted to the base of the float aperture sleeve in order to form an integrated one piece float apparatus. Alternatively it could be formed of a rust proof metal such as aluminum.
The invention also includes a Dry Basin, shown in FIG. 2. If necessary, this basin can be used on some toilet tanks to insure that water does not leak out the of Tank Lever Handle Hole in the toilet tank. This Dry Basin can also be used to maximize the hydraulic pressure on some tanks through overfilling.
Alternatively, in most cases the existing flush valves can be adapted to the invention. The various manufacturers have slight differences in the diameter of their overflow pipes so the float is advantageously designed to fit the overflow pipe with the largest diameter. A universal overflow pipe for the smaller diameter overflow pipes, whose outside diameter is correct for the float aperture sleeve is then used. This tube would be longer and can simply be placed over the existing overflow pipe and cemented in place. This has the added advantage of providing an overflow pipe that is adjustable to the highest water level possible in the tank and it is simply cut-off for the chosen water level. Other tubes could simply have an extension cemented to the top of the overflow pipe. Conversely, the sleeve can be cemented to the inside of the tubular aperture sleeve to bring the inside diameter of the float aperture sleeve down to the proper size, and would allow the float assembly to slide freely up and down the overflow pipe. In this case an extension is cemented to the existing overflow tube and cut it off at the ideal water level.
A primary objective of the present invention is to provide an apparatus and method of use of such apparatus that provides advantages not taught by the prior art.
Another objective is to provide such an invention capable of dual water volume control.
A further objective is to provide such an invention capable of adaptation of the millions of existing toilets to dual operation at a very low cost.
A still further objective is to provide such an invention capable of simple and reliable operation.
Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following more detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of the invention.
In operation, the drain shuttering means 40 is closed as shown in FIG. 2. The tank is initially filled through water filling means 30 since, the valve 72 is open without a water head pressure present (FIG. 1) or with lever 80′ in the down position (FIG. 2). Lever 80 is also relaxed so that chain 82 does not exert an upward force on shuttering means 40. When the water level reaches it selected upper limit level 35, the water head pressure sensor 70 closed valve 72 (FIG. 1), or in FIG. 2, the water sensing means 50, preferably a float, reaches its upwardly extreme position driving rod 90 and lever arm 80′ upwardly as well, and closes valve 74. The tank 10 remains in the filled state until lever 80 is manually actuated. This actuation may be easily automated as well. Lever 80 is thus moved to its upward attitude as shown in solid lines in FIG. 1, and this pulls drain shuttering means 40, preferably a stopper, into its open position as also shown in FIG. 1. When this occurs, the water starts to drain through draining means 20 and at the same time water level sensing means 40 drops with the water level. In conventional tanks of this type, when the water level reaches element 40, element 40 hinges to the closed position under its own weight. However, this means that the tank must almost fully drain. When a light flush, as for a draining urine from a toilet, a full tank of water is not desirable, is unnecessary, and is wasteful. Thus, shutter closing means 60 is positioned to mechanically press on element 40 to force it closed prematurely so that the flush cycle is finished with water level 37 still remaining in the tank 10. When a full flush is desired, one may simple hold lever 80 in the up position so that element 40 cannot close prematurely and the entire tank will drain to the level of a coffer dam, if used (not shown). This is desirable for draining solid waste from a toilet in order to obtain maximum flush action. It should be noted that the position of rod 90 is selected so that although element 60 is in contact with element 40 when element 40 is in its upward and open position, so that element 50 is not fully lowered, still valve 74 is fully open.