US 20060112480 A1
A vacuum relief valve releases vacuum force at a pool suction cover when the suction cover is obstructed. A valve plunger rests against a valve seat within a valve body under normal pool operating conditions. A biasing member maintains the valve plunger against the valve seat. The biasing member compresses and moves the valve plunger to a position away from the valve seat when the suction cover is obstructed. Once the obstruction is removed, the valve plunger is automatically returned to its resting position against the valve seat. The valve body is attached to fluid conduit that carries a source of air to the pump when the valve plunger is moved away from the valve seat.
1. A pool system, comprising: p1 a pool body; p1 a suction cover built within said pool body; p1 a pump that communicates with said suction cover; and p1 a vacuum relief valve located in a piping system on a suction side of said pump, said vacuum relief valve allowing a source of air to enter said piping system and cavitate said pump responsive to blockage of said suction cover and automatically block said source of air responsive to said suction cover becoming unblocked.
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The present invention relates to a vacuum relief valve for a pool system.
Conventional water circulation systems for swimming pools, whirlpools and the like typically include a suction pump and one or more suction covers built into the bottom or side of the pool and connected to the suction side of the pump. During normal water circulation operation, water is drawn through a line via the suction pump and circulated through any of filtration, aeration, chemical treatment and other equipment, prior to being returned to the pool body via return jets.
Large volumes of water are pumped through suction covers of this type, and as a result suction forces at the suction cover may become extremely high. The suction force can become so extreme that when a human body part comes into contact with the suction cover the body part may become trapped in the suction cover.
Safety valves that continuously draw air into the suction side of a pump are known. Disadvantageously, these safety valves compromise the performance of the pump and the return jets. Safety valves that automatically open and bleed air to the pump when a suction cover becomes blocked are also known. However, these safety valves are complex in design and manufacture. Also, once these valves have been tripped, it is necessary to manually reset the valves.
Accordingly, it is desirable to provide a safety valve which is not complex and that does not detract from the performance of the pump and return jets.
A vacuum relief valve assembly according to the present invention provides vacuum relief at a pool suction cover when the vacuum at a suction cover becomes excessive.
The vacuum relief valve assembly of the present invention includes a valve body, a valve plunger and a biasing member. The valve plunger is located within the valve body and rests against a valve seat when the pool water circulation system is operating under normal conditions. The biasing member is attached to the valve plunger and maintains the valve plunger against the valve seat under normal operating conditions.
The valve body defines a flow path between atmosphere and a fluid conduit. When a pool suction cover becomes obstructed by a body part or the like, the suction force of the pump increases thereby overcoming the biasing force of the biasing member. The biasing member then compresses and moves the valve plunger away from the valve seat. Atmosphere enters the fluid conduit and is carried to the pump thereby cavitating the pump and causing the suction force at the suction cover to drop. Once the suction cover is unobstructed, the biasing member decompresses and the valve plunger returns to its resting position against the valve seat. There is no need for manual resetting.
The vacuum relief valve assembly of the present invention provides an uncomplicated vacuum relief valve that eliminates the need for manual reset after an obstruction is removed from the pool suction cover.
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:
During normal pool water circulation operating conditions, pump 16 creates a suction force at the suction cover 14 thereby causing fluid to enter a piping system 18. The piping system 18 carries the fluid from the suction cover 14 of the pool body 12 to various equipment stages such as a sanitizer 20, a filter 22 and a heater 24. The fluid is then delivered back to the pool body 12 at an inlet fitting 26 via the piping system 18.
The vacuum relief valve assembly 10 is located on the suction side of the pump 16. In the event the suction cover 14 becomes obstructed, the pump 16 creates increased vacuum pressure at the suction cover 14. Subsequently, the vacuum relief valve assembly 10 allows a source of air, such as atmosphere, to enter the piping system 18 and thereby cavitate the pump. The vacuum level at the suction cover 14 consequently drops. In the event the obstruction is caused by an occupant of the pool, when the vacuum pressure is relieved, the occupant should be able to move away from the suction cover 14. Once the suction cover 14 becomes unobstructed, the vacuum relief valve assembly 10 automatically returns to a normal position and prevents atmosphere from entering the piping system 18.
A biasing member 34 is located within the valve body 28 and is attached between the valve plunger 30 and the inner side of the valve body 28. The biasing member 34 maintains the valve plunger 30 firmly against the valve seat 32. Preferably, the biasing member is a spring. It should be understood that other types of biasing members may be utilized. Pressure spacers 36 may be utilized as support for the biasing member 34 on an inner side of the valve body 28. The pressure spacers 36 provide the biasing member 34 with increased force to maintain the valve plunger 30 against the valve seat 32 when utilizing the pump 16 which has a high horsepower output.
The valve body 28 of the vacuum relief valve assembly 10 defines a cylindrical boss 33 which maintains the biasing member 34 in proper position within the valve body 28. The inner diameter of the biasing member 34 is greater than the outside diameter of the cylindrical boss 33, therefore allowing the biasing member to fit over the cylindrical boss 33 at the inner side of the valve body 28.
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That the foregoing description shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense is thus made apparent. A worker of ordinary skill in the art would recognize that certain modifications would come within the scope of this invention. For that reason, the following claims should be studied to determine the true scope and content of this invention.