BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to a device having special application for supporting flexible PEX (cross-linked polyethylene), or copper tubing, used in radiant heating installations, as well as for stubbing out copper tubing supplying hot and cold water for kitchen and bathroom usage.
2. Background Information
It is usual to provide supporting brackets for PEX or copper tubing for supplying heated radiant heat applications under floors and within walls of buildings, as well as for stubbing out copper tubing used in hot or cold supply lines while positioned in the area between floor joists of a building, or between wall studs. In the latter case, such tubing is often used for supplying hot and/or cold water from a source to various lavatory, toilet or other fixtures used in commercial lavatories and in home bathrooms and kitchens. It is essential, particularly in radiant heating, to maintain the spatial distance from the tube carrying heated water or other liquids to the under flooring and to be able to control the temperature in a particular room. This often requires tedious manual adjustment of wire twists and wire ties and brackets for securing the tubing to a hanger bracket at a relatively fixed distance from the flooring or wallboard. Such actions require a great deal of manual manipulation and tying of wire ties and the like.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In addition, components of previous brackets have generally been fixed in dimension, which required additional manipulation, cutting, soldering or welding to insure proper dimension between supporting members, such as floor joists and vertical studs. Generally the spacing between studs and joists is governed by local codes. However, over time, these codified dimensions may vary. Consequently, there is a need for an adjustable pipe or tubing supporting bracket, and one that is easy to install and adjust to suitable dimension. This is particularly true in the case of fluid transporting tubing or piping requiring long stretches and bends in radiant heating installations. In addition, the spacing between such tubing or piping is specified by local codes. Thus, the need for adjustable assemblies has become quite prevalent over the years. Consequently, there is need for an adjustable pipe or tubing hanging member that is easy to install and provides secure fastening of tubing or other fluid transporting devices. This is particularly true in overhead installation of tubing or piping.
The present invention is directed to an adjustable hanger bracket member for supporting flexible PEX tubing or copper pipe or the like. The adjustable bracket assembly has particular application for use in supporting tubing or piping between floor joists and spacing between upstanding wall stud members, which spacing may vary over time in use
The adjustable hanger bracket assembly of this invention comprises a generally linear, longitudinally adjustable, supporting span member. The longitudinal bracket adjustment is provided by means of at least two elongated span members maintained in slidable “nesting” arrangement. Both bracket segments are preferably formed from sheet metal stamped, extruded, or otherwise bent to a predetermined configuration. Each segment preferably includes an elongated base portion, which is substantially planar along its longitudinal axis, and which is further defined to have an outwardly angular bend at both of the parallel sides to provide oppositely spaced, coextensive apron portions of fixed width along the longitudinal axis of the adjustable span member.
The segments are each of similar cross-section with the top section overlaying the under segment to provide slidable longitudinal adjustment of the nested span segments to accommodate dimensional variations in the spacing between stationary support members, such as the adjacent joists or studs. The segments are restrained from separation by means of a laterally extending marginal edge portion of the overlaying top segment being bent inwardly to wrap around the underlying marginal edge portion of the under segment of the span member.
Further adjustability of the bracket assembly may be achieved with the addition of one or more longitudinally adjustable pipe clamps slidably secured to the uppermost segment of the span member. The pipe clamps are preferably formed to receive and retain either PEX, plastic tubing, or copper pipe or the like. In a preferred form, each of the clamps is molded of a resilient material, such as commercially available ABS white #740. (ABS is a plastic molding material having the generic name Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene and obtained from multiple sources listed in the current Plastics Encyclopedia published by McGraw Hill of Heights Town, N.J.).
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The clamps are integrally formed with a supporting base portion with an oppositely extending clamping arms. One set of bifurcated clamping arms is formed to provide inwardly facing surfaces, preferably dimensioned to embrace the outer, exposed surface of the span member. The base portion of each clamp further encloses oppositely extending, bifurcated clamping arms each cooperating to provide inwardly facing clamping surfaces for resiliently embracing a respective tubing or piping member. Each of the integrally formed, bifurcated arms are provided with retaining portions permitting “snap action” during entry and retention of a respective pipe or tubing. Each clamp is further designed to provide longitudinal adjustment relative to the span member, and may be positioned on the span member, either before or after securing the span member to the adjacent joists or stud members. It will be apparent that facile installation of the bracket assembly has been greatly simplified by means of this assembly. The entire installation, except for applying fasteners for mounting to adjacent joists and studs, may be accomplished with manual manipulation of parts. There is no need of spring-like devices requiring special tools or soldering, each of which entails extra time for installation labor. The novel assembly includes a readily adjustable supporting span member with added versatility with installation.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the bracket assembly of this invention with supported tubing or piping members shown in phantom.
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the assembly of FIG. 1 as taken along lines 2-2 of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the bracket assembly of FIG. 1, and illustrating a respective lavatory installation of the assembly positioned between adjacent vertical wall studs.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the assembly of FIG. 1, and illustrating a representative radiant heating installation of the assembly positioned between adjacent horizontal floor joists.
FIGS. 3 and 4 illustrate the versatility in installation of the novel bracket assembly 10. FIG. 4 is directed to an installation utilized for under-floor radiant heating, whereas FIG. 3 illustrates an installation of a substantially identical assembly utilized for supporting water inlets positioned between a pair of spaced apart, adjacent, wall stud supporting members 28.
As will be apparent from the following detailed description, the present assembly may have a multitude of applications, and also may be modified, for instance, to be secured by use of pointed, arrow-like projections (not shown) designed to penetrate into the fibers of wood support members, such as joists or studs. With reference to FIG. 1, it will be observed that the assembly 10 is comprised of a longitudinally extendable span member 12. The span member 12 is comprised of two relatively slidable upper and lower segments 14 and 16, respectively, wherein the uppermost or top segment 14 overlays and is in slidable engagement with the underlying or bottom segment 16. Span member segments 14 and 16 are each preferably fabricated from relatively thin aluminum or galvanized steel sheet stock. The segments 14 and 16 may be stamped or extruded in accordance with conventional manufacturing practice. In the preferred embodiment, it will be noted from the view of FIG. 2 that both segments 14, 16 are angularly bent relative to a respective base portion 14 a, 16 a to provide the integrally formed side or apron portions 14 b,14 c and 16 b, 16 c. Again, from the view of FIG. 2 it will be noted that portions 14 a, 14 b, and 14 c each overlay corresponding portions 16 a, 16 b, and 16 c. As stated previously, the segments 14 and 16 are longitudinally slidable relative to one another, and the integral portions 18 b and 18 c provide marginal edge portions, which are inturned to slidably support the respective apron portions 16 b and 16 c of the segment 16. The inwardly bent marginal edge portions 18 b and 18 c of segment 16 act to prevent separation of the segments 14 and 16 until such time that they may be separated by longitudinal withdrawal. It will be further noted that the respective exposed end portions 20 and 22 are downturned with respect to FIG. 1, and are each preferably provided with apertures 20 a and 22 a, respectively. The apertures 20 a and 22 a are arranged to receive fasteners, such as wood screws 24 (see FIG. 4), or in the case of metallic studs or joists, nut and bolt assemblies (not shown). As stated previously, the end portions 20 and 21 may also be formed with a known, arrow-like configuration designed to penetrate wood fibers of studs or joists (not shown).
With particular reference to FIG. 1, and also to the disclosed installation embodiments of FIG. 3 and FIG. 4, it will be observed that the adjustable hanger bracket assembly 10 of this invention further includes additional adjustment means to provide adjustable spacing between supported tubular PEX or copper tubing 26 a and 26 b (PEX or copper tubing 26).
The present assembly further contemplates additional cooperating components for individually supporting tubing or pipe 26. The tubings 26 are adjustably separable and supported by pipe clamps 32, slidably received and movable relative to the span segments 14 and 16 before or after assembly to upstanding, spaced apart, stud members 28 (see FIG. 3) or between laterally spaced floor joists 30 (see FIG. 4). With particular reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, it will be noted that the pipe or tubing clamps 32 are designed for “snap-in-place” reception of tubing or piping 26. To accomplish this, the individual clamps 32 are preferably injection molded from ABS plastic material (White #740). The clamps 32 include bifurcated leg portions 41 arranged to be momentarily spread apart to receive and embrace the pipe or tubing 26, and are preferably dimensioned to be longitudinally slidable relative to the tubing 26, should such axial adjustment be necessary. As shown, a plurality of the clamps 32 may be used in spaced-apart relationship and mounted on the span member 12 and are each adjustably moveable for a desired position relative to the span member 12. This adjustability has special application for plumbing applications as shown in FIG. 3, where two conduits of tubing or pipe 26 are shown in laterally spaced relationship. One of the pipes or tubes 26 may be for transporting cold water, and the other hot water for lavatory application with spaced faucets (not shown).
Another very desirable application of the novel assembly is in the field of radiant underfloor heating, such as shown in FIG. 4. Here the span member 12 may be moved upwardly or downwardly either before or after installation of the tubing 26 and obviously movable for horizontal adjustment forward or rearward prior to permanent mounting with a fastener, such as the wood screw 24. Obviously, any of several fasteners may be used, depending upon the material of the joists or studs and the preference of the installer.
With further reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, it will be noted that each of the clamps 32 preferably includes resilient, bifurcated, clamping legs 34. The legs 34 preferably include inturned marginal edges 36 arranged to grasp and secure the marginal edges of the apron portions 14 b and 14 c. It will be understood that the above-described clamp 32 may be moved in either longitudinal direction relative to the span member 12 to suit the installer. The clamps 32 may be assembled to the span member 12 either before or after installation of the pipe or tubing 26 with a “snap-in-place” connection supplied by the legs 34 of the clamp 32 and the protuberance 35 at the marginal edge portion 36 of each leg. It will be apparent that choice of resilient material will be a factor in providing the resiliency required. The ABS molding material has been found to be quite satisfactory in both the support and adjustability of the individual clamps 32 relative to the span member 12 and to the tubing or piping 26. Protruding portion 40 at the distal ends of the upwardly extending bifurcated arms 41 also provide snap-in-place reception of a tube or pipe 26.
The foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Furthermore, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described. While the preferred embodiment has been described, the details may be changed without departing from the invention, which is defined by the claims.