BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to a whirlpool tub fitting, and more particularly to a fitting that minimizes water retention within a whirlpool bath system.
Whirlpool baths are used for recreational and medicinal purposes in homes, rehabilitation centers, and hospitals.
Conventional whirlpool baths pump water from the interior of the bathtub through a water circulation system of generally inaccessible piping located on the outside of the bath. Water is intaked through a suction fitting within the bath, communicated through the exterior piping, and forced back into the interior of the bath through jets positioned therein.
Disadvantageously, conventional whirlpool baths may not completely drain the exterior piping after use and may retain a least some quantity of water therein. Failure to completely drain the exterior piping may create a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi found in bath residue. To mitigate such lack of complete drainage, many manufacturers recommend that the whirlpools be regularly drained and cleaned. However, no conventional whirlpool bath circulation system can be fully drained. Complete cleaning of the water circulation system is typically achieved only with specialized equipment that will heat, convey, and concentrate special cleaning solutions throughout the water circulation system piping.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Accordingly, it is desirable to provide a whirlpool bath water circulation system that minimizes water retention therein.
The whirlpool tub fitting assembly according to the present invention includes a cover, a threaded nut, a threaded fitting, and an offset elbow. Each fitting assembly is located in a respective aperture in the tub wall and the threaded nut is threaded onto corresponding fitting threads to retain the threaded fitting in the tub wall. The cover is attached to the fitting to cover a conduit formed within the threaded fitting. The conduit includes an internal diameter that receives the offset elbow, which is bonded therein. Water circulation system piping is then bonded to the offset elbow.
The threaded fitting defines a first axis, which is generally perpendicular to the tub wall. The threaded fitting defines axis A. The conduit formed within the fitting defines a second axis B, which is transverse to the first axis A. The inner diameter defined by the conduit defines axis B. The conduit defines a threaded fitting draft angle of approximately 15 degrees relative axis A. As the tub wall is angled at approximately 3-5 degrees and the fitting draft angle is approximately 15 degrees, any water within the piping will drain into the tub rather than being retained therein.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The present invention therefore provides a whirlpool bath water circulation system that minimizes water retention therein.
The various features and advantages of this invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description of the currently preferred embodiment. The drawings that accompany the detailed description can be briefly described as follows:
FIG. 1A is a general top view of a whirlpool tub for use with the present invention;
FIG. 1B is a general side view of a whirlpool tub for use with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is an exploded view of a suction assembly;
FIG. 3 is an assembled view of a fitting assembly;
FIG. 4 is a sectional view of a threaded fitting; and
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
FIG. 5 is a front view of a threaded fitting assembly.
FIGS. 1A and 1B illustrates a whirlpool bathtub assembly 10. It should be understood that although a particular tub is illustrated, “Whirlpool bathtub” is intended to encompass all types of tubs, whirlpools, Jacuzzis, and other containers in which it is necessary to circulate a fluid. The whirlpool bathtub assembly 10 includes a water circulation system 12, which communicates water from a suction assembly 14 located within the tub 16 through a multiple of jets 18 also located within the tub 16. A pump 20 circulates the water through piping 22 (illustrated somewhat schematically) located external of the tub 16. It should be understood that various water circulation system piping arrangements will benefit from the present invention.
The piping 22 is connected to the suction assembly 14 and each of the jets 18 through a threaded fitting 24, which is preferably located through an aperture 28 formed into a tub wall 26 which forms the interior of the tub 16. The tub wall 26 defines a tub wall draft angle in which the tub wall 26 is sloped inward toward the bottom of the tub 16. The tub draft angle is typically approximately 3-5 degrees.
Referring to FIG. 2, the suction assembly 14 is illustrated in an exploded view. The suction assembly 14 includes a suction cover 30, a threaded nut 32, the fitting 24, and an offset elbow 34. It should be understood that although a particular component arrangement is disclosed in the illustrated embodiment, other arrangements will benefit from the instant invention. It should be understood that the water jet 18 as well as other components will likewise benefit from the threaded fitting 24 of the present invention.
Each threaded fitting 24 is located in respective aperture 28 in the tub wall 26 and the threaded nut 32 is threaded onto corresponding fitting threads 35 to retain the fitting 24 in the tub wall 26 (FIG. 3). The suction cover 30 is attached to the fitting 24 to cover a conduit 36 formed within the threaded fitting 24. The conduit 36 defines an inner diameter 38 which receives an outer diameter section 40 of the offset elbow 34. The piping 22 (FIG. 1) is then mounted into the offset elbow 34. It should be understood that attachment such as heat staking, snap fit, adhesives and the like will also benefit from the present invention.
Referring to FIG. 4, the threaded fitting 24 defines a first axis A, which is generally perpendicular to the tub wall 26. Axis A is defined by the fitting threads 35. The conduit 36 formed within the threaded fitting 24 defines a second axis B, which is transverse to the first axis A.
The second axis B preferably defines a fitting draft angle of approximately 15 degrees relative axis A. As the tub wall 26 is angled at approximately 3-5 degrees and the fitting draft angle is approximately 15 degrees, any water within the piping 22 (FIG. 1) will drain into the tub rather than being retained therein. An opening 42 from the conduit 36 is preferably located offset within the face of the threaded fitting 24. That is, the opening 42 is located below the center of the threaded fitting 24 when viewed facing toward the tub wall 26.
The foregoing description is exemplary rather than defined by the limitations within. Many modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in light of the above teachings. The preferred embodiments of this invention have been disclosed, however, one of ordinary skill in the art would recognize that certain modifications would come within the scope of this invention. It is, therefore, to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described. For that reason the following claims should be studied to determine the true scope and content of this invention.