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Publication numberUS20080245091 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/732,733
Publication dateOct 9, 2008
Filing dateApr 4, 2007
Priority dateApr 4, 2007
Publication number11732733, 732733, US 2008/0245091 A1, US 2008/245091 A1, US 20080245091 A1, US 20080245091A1, US 2008245091 A1, US 2008245091A1, US-A1-20080245091, US-A1-2008245091, US2008/0245091A1, US2008/245091A1, US20080245091 A1, US20080245091A1, US2008245091 A1, US2008245091A1
InventorsDonald D. Logsdon
Original AssigneeLogsdon Donald D
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Plumbing control unit drainage device
US 20080245091 A1
Abstract
The present invention is a drain system for use with a manifold plumbing control unit (MPCU) including a drain pan having a sloping bottom surface with a peripheral wall forming a reservoir. The peripheral wall may include upwardly extending sidewalls, and upwardly extending endwalls secured to the edges of the sloped bottom surface. One or more attachment brackets may extend from the wall to facilitate attachment to one or more wall studs under the MPCU. The drain pan has a unique drain hole assembly in the bottom surface for attachment of a drainage line, that prevents the line from protruding upward to prevent blockage of the drain. A separate access opening is provided in the bottom surface to allow for passage of a water supply line to the MPCU. In alternative embodiments, splash shields may be provided to surround the MPCU to help contain and drain off any spraying or leaking liquid into the drain pan. Methods of installation are also provided.
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Claims(19)
1. A drain system for a manifold plumbing control unit comprising:
a drain pan having a sloped bottom surface;
a pair of elongate upwardly extending sidewalls attached to said pan and running along two opposite sides of said drain pan;
a pair of upwardly extending endwalls attached to said pan and to each end of the elongate sidewalls connecting the sidewalls to each other;
a drain hole at a lowest point of the bottom surface;
a downwardly extending wall attached underneath said bottom surface around said drain hole for receiving a drain line, the interior of said wall having a perimeter that is larger than that of said drain hole;
an access hole assembly in the bottom surface including an access hole for passage of a water supply line to the manifold plumbing control unit, and an upwardly extending wall surrounding said access hole.
2. The drain system of claim 1 wherein said drain hole is round, said downwardly extending wall is cylindrical, and the circumference of the interior of said cylindrical wall is larger than the circumference of said drain hole.
3. The drain system of claim 1 wherein a lip is formed inside said downwardly extending wall between said drain hole and said wall.
4. The drain system of claim 1 wherein the sloped bottom surface has a plurality of low points and a drain hole assembly at each such point.
5. The drain system of claim 1 wherein said upwardly extending access hole wall is cylindrical, and a rubberized covering is provided over said cylindrical wall for sealing engagement with an access line passing through said wall.
6. A drain system for a manifold plumbing control unit comprising:
a drain pan having a sloped bottom surface and a lowermost location on said surface;
at least one upwardly extending wall attached to and extending around outside edges of said drain pan;
a round drain hole at said lowermost location on said bottom surface;
a cylindrical wall extending downwardly from said drain hole for engagement with a drainage line, the circumference of the interior of said wall being larger than the outer circumference of said drain hole forming an annular lip that is flush with said bottom surface;
an access hole assembly in the bottom surface including an access hole for passage of a fluid supply line to the manifold plumbing control unit, and an upwardly extending cylindrical wall surrounding said access hole.
7. The drain system of claim 6 wherein the sloped bottom surface has a plurality of low points and a drain hole assembly at each such point.
8. The drain system of claim 6 wherein a rubberized covering is provided over said upwardly extending cylindrical wall for sealing engagement with an access line passing through said wall.
9. The drain system of claim 6 wherein the width of the reservoir body is approximately the same as the distance between parallel stud boards of a building wall such that the reservoir body fits snugly therebetween.
10. The drain system of claim 6 wherein at least one bracket extends out from the drain pan for attachment to at least one stud board of a building.
11. The drain system of claim 6 further comprising at least one splash shield having a lower flange that extends into said drain pan.
12. The drain system of claim 6 wherein a plurality of splash shields are provided in overlapping side relationship to each other, each shield also having a lower flange that extends into said drain pan.
13. The drain system of claim 6 further comprising a back splash shield and at least one side splash shield, each such shield having a lower flange that extends into said drain pan, wherein said back and at least one side shield are formed into an integrated unit.
14. The drain system of claim 11 wherein at least one opening is provided in at least one of said splash shields for passage of at least one fluid line from said manifold plumbing control unit.
15. The drain system of claim 14 wherein at least one rubberized boot is provided to cover each of at least one of said fluid lines extending through at least one of said openings.
16. The drain system of claim 15 wherein a plug is provided to seal any opening that does not have a fluid line passing through it.
17. A drain system for a plumbing manifold control unit comprising:
a drainage means having a sloped bottom surface;
a fluid retaining means extending around outside edges of said drain means;
an opening at a lowest point on the bottom surface;
an engagement means extending downwardly from said opening for receiving a drainage line, the perimeter of the interior of said engagement means being larger than the perimeter of said opening forming a lip that is flush with said bottom surface;
a passage means in said bottom surface for receiving a water supply line; and
an upwardly extending fluid retaining means surrounding said passage.
18. A method for installing a drain system for a plumbing manifold control unit comprising the steps of:
installing a drain pan between a pair of stud boards of a building, said drain pan having an upwardly extending peripheral wall, a sloped bottom surface, a lowermost location on said surface, a round drain hole at said lowermost location on said bottom surface, a cylindrical wall extending downwardly from said drain hole, the circumference of the interior of said downwardly extending wall being larger than the outer circumference of said drain hole forming a lip that is flush with said bottom surface, and an access hole in the bottom surface surrounded by an upwardly extending cylindrical wall;
inserting a drain pipe into said downwardly extending wall such that it abuts against said lip; and
passing a fluid supply line through said access hole.
19. The method of claim 18 further comprising the steps of:
extending said drain pipe to an exterior location of said building; and
sealingly installing a boot between said supply line and said upwardly extending cylindrical wall.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a drainage device for installation within the frame of a residential or commercial dwelling underneath a plumbing control unit to prevent leakage from the unit seeping into the wall of said structure, creating structural and other safety problems, including the possibility of mold.

2. Description of the Prior Art

The use of drip or drain pans for the collection of moisture under any device which contains and circulates fluid is common. Many times such devices are a precautionary or safety measure to prevent fluids, such as oil, from entering the workplace and causing a safety or environmental hazard. An example of such a drainage tray is described in Pat. No. 4,941,901. This patent discloses a drain pan device specifically for collecting the condensate from wall mounted air conditioning units. Unlike the present invention the apparatus of this patent is not designed to be installed in an enclosed area, such as within a wall.

A relatively new device currently installed in many building structures is a manifold plumbing control unit (hereinafter a “MPCU”). The MPCU is a water distribution unit which supplies water to individual plumbing fixtures through dedicated ports and distribution lines. Such a device has separate hot and cold water inlets and ports to manage the entire plumbing system. These systems are being widely used in hot and cold potable water distribution systems in single and multifamily dwellings, as well as multiple unit structures.

Typically, the MPCU is installed within a wall of a dwelling or commercial structure between a pair of studs. The MPCU is secured in place by attachment to the pair of studs. Once installed, the structure can be built in the normal fashion around the MPCU (i.e., insulation can be placed in the wall and the wall covered in the normal fashion). An access panel is usually created in the wall so that the MPCU unit can be easily accessed for repairs or adjustments. Holes are drilled in the stud boards through which tubing leading to or from the MPCU is run, each such tube eventually extending to a desired water outlet, fixture, or faucet.

The tubing running from the MPCU is usually flexible Vanex® PEX tubing, or similar piping, which runs the entire length from the MPCU to the fixture as a single piece without the need of any fittings to further prevent the chance of leaking. If leaking occurs, it usually occurs at a connection point. Leaks can occur from improper installation of the connection, thereby creating an improper seal. When using the MPCU, the only connection points are at the MPCU unit and at the actual fixture to which water is being provided. As the MPCU has a multitude of fixture points based on the number of water lines installed, there is a great potential for one or more of the connections to leak based on improper installation of the fitting or the PEX tubing to the MPCU.

If, for any reason, the MPCU leaks, the moisture from such a leak is likely to soak into the wall in which the MPCU is installed. This may become problematic as the water may not be detected from some time, as it will be covered from view. If such a leak proceeds to go undetected, extensive water damage could occur. This damage could include the rotting of the wall structure, the floor structure under the wall structure, and damage to the surrounding area. The moisture from such a leak also creates a risk of the development of mold which can be toxic, and harmful to the inhabitants of the building.

Even in a situation where the leak is minor, it may go undetected for quite some time causing more substantial damage than a major leak that is immediately noticed. This is especially true for MPCU systems as the unit is designed to be placed in an integrated position within a wall of a structure to economize space. It is designed to be hidden, which decreases the visibility and access to the unit thereby making it less probable that the owner would notice a leak. An additional problem may occur from the water in the MPCU being under pressure in that a leak may manifest itself in the form of squirting water. In such a case the leak can spray water in many directions, causing damage to any of the adjacent wall surfaces.

It is therefore desirable to provide a convenient, universal drain system which can be hidden from view and provided under and/or around a MPCU in the wall of a building structure. It is also desirable to have a drain system which automatically drains leaking water from an MPCU unit to prevent structural damage and mold. Finally, it is desirable to have a drain system capable of containing a large leak that may spray water in many directions.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention addresses the above problems by providing a plumbing manifold control unit drain system including a reservoir body formed by a sloping bottom surface surrounded by a peripheral wall. In one embodiment, a pair of elongate sidewalls run generally parallel to each other on opposite sides of the bottom surface, and a pair of endwalls connect to the ends of the sidewalls. The sidewalls and endwalls all are secured to or integrated with each other and the edges of the sloped bottom surface. The integrated reservoir body is sealed at all the edges of the sidewalls, endwalls and bottom surface to prevent water from leaking from the reservoir. In other embodiments the drain apparatus has one or more vertically mounted attachment brackets extending from each endwall and/or one or more horizontally mounted attachment brackets extending from the ends of one of the elongate sidewalls for attachment to one or more wall studs under or around the MPCU.

The reservoir body has a drain hole assembly in the bottom surface for attachment of a drainage line (e.g., ½″ PVC schedule 40 pipe). A stop structure extends into the orifice of the drain hole to prevent the over insertion of a drain supply line. A separate access hole is provided in the bottom surface of the pan allowing for passage of a separate water supply line to the MPCU.

The present invention includes various methods and apparatus for an integrated manifold water distribution system which is to be installed under a MPCU to prevent leaking and damage to the building structure in which it is placed. A preferred embodiment the drain includes a generally rectangular reservoir pan with at least one drainage port on the bottom surface of the pan. The drainage port is designed with one or more stops to ensure that drainage tubing attached to the port does not extend upward past the bottom surface of the pan where it might otherwise create a lip that could prevent water from draining out of the reservoir. In some embodiments, the stop is in the form of a ridge; in other embodiments one or more prongs may be used. In one embodiment, the reservoir is an integrated rectangular unit having two shorter endplates that are installed in close proximity to the wall studs, and longer sideplates that run between the studs in the same direction as the wall surface. In further embodiments, the drain pan may have other styles and/or shapes. For example, the drain pan assembly can be rectangular, oval or kidney shaped in design. In alternative embodiments, the drain pan may extend around the supply line, rather than have the access opening run through the drain pan. In such an embodiment, a supply line access hole assembly is not required in the drain pan.

The bottom surface of the reservoir body is sloped in nature to allow any liquid drain to the lowest point of the bottom surface. At the lowest point of the bottom surface of the reservoir body is a drain hole assembly. The drain hole assembly consists of a circular orifice at a point on the bottom surface where liquid contained in the reservoir will drain through the drain hole orifice. The orifice connects to a short integral cylindrical tube that extends below the reservoir. A drainage pipe is then inserted into this tube to receive liquids draining through the orifice. The orifice and cylinder can be provided in various sizes and/or shapes, but preferably is of a size to accommodate standard piping or tubing to fit into the cylinder. An adhesive or sealant may be provided between the drainage pipe and the cylindrical tube to prevent leaking.

In one embodiment, the diameter of the orifice of the drain hole assembly is smaller than that of the cylinder, and of the drain tube inserted in the cylinder. This creates a generally horizontal lip or edge of material of the bottom surface which acts as a stop to block the drainage tubing from extending above the upper edge of the orifice into the reservoir where it would otherwise act as a dam to the flow of liquid out of the reservoir. While the diameter of the orifice is smaller than that of the cylinder, the orifice is still of a large enough size to allow for proper draining. No part of the drain structure in this embodiment extends up into the floor of the reservoir.

In an alternative embodiment, one or more prongs are provided along and flush with the plane of the bottom surface of the reservoir, extending in a generally horizontal direction towards the center of the orifice of the drain hole assembly. Each prong partially blocks the orifice and serves as a stop to prevent the drain tube or pipe from extending above the upper edge of the orifice into the reservoir where it would otherwise act as a dam to the flow of liquid out of the reservoir. Accordingly, the prongs ensure proper drainage of the reservoir. The prongs should be of sufficient size to prevent the drain tubing or pipe from extending above the horizontal plane created by the prongs, but the prongs should not be of such a size to prevent drainage through the orifice.

In a further alternative embodiment, the drain tubing is secured by sliding the drain tubing around the outside of the lower cylinder. If fully engaged, the drain tube will come in contact with the bottom surface of the pan on the outside of the cylinder, and cannot extend into the reservoir to create drainage problems. Sealant or adhesive may be applied between the tube and the cylinder to further prevent leaking.

It is to be appreciated that different embodiments of the drain hole assembly may use different combinations of prong(s), lip and/or cylinder.

It should be noted that sloped design of the bottom surface of the drainage assembly need not be symmetrical. The bottom surface can be concavely curved with the drain hole at the lowest. point of the curvature. If curved, the curvature need not be symmetrical. In a preferred embodiment, the drain hole assembly can be offset to either side of the reservoir and the curvature can be designed to make the area where the drain hole assembly is located at the lowest point of the bottom surface. In further embodiments, the device may have one or more drain hole assemblies to further assist in draining. If there are more than one drain holes, the bottom surface can be curved in such a manner has to have more than one low point, with a drain hole placed at each low point for proper draining.

In the preferred embodiments, in addition to a drain hole assembly, the reservoir assembly also contains a supply line access hole assembly. The access hole assembly allows for the passage of a water supply line up to the MPCU. In these embodiments, the access hole is placed so as to correspond to an input location on the MPCU, ordinarily relatively close to the center of the drainage reservoir, although different positions may also be provided depending on the requirements of the MPCU. The access hole is of a large enough diameter to allow the water supply line to pass through it. To prevent leakage through the access hole, a cylindrical segment extends upward into the reservoir body, preventing water or other liquid from draining out through the access hole. The access hole is not designed to act as a drain. The cylindrical segment extends a significant distance upward to block water in case the reservoir fills with liquid.

To further prevent leakage out of the supply line access hole, in some embodiments a rubberized boot can be placed over the top of the access hole creating a seal between the supply line and the cylindrical segment. The boot creates a seal by elastically constricting around the supply line and the cylindrical segment of the access hole to create a secure fit.

The height of the walls of the reservoir can vary, but should be of a substantial height to allow for the containment of a significant quantity of liquid as it drains from the drain hole assembly. While the reservoir assembly is designed to hold a certain amount of liquid in the event of a serious leak, liquid should normally drain out immediately. Accumulated water is not desirable due to contamination by bacteria and mold, and as a water source for insects and vermin that may inhabitate the structure. Accordingly, once any leaks are detected, they should be fixed as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

The reservoir can be secured to the wall in various ways. In some embodiments, the reservoir can be wedged between two stud beams by making the reservoir tray the same size as the distance between the two beams. As stud beams are normally placed at standard distances from each other, the reservoir body can be provided in standard sizes which apply to the standard distances. In some embodiments, one or more holes can be made in each of the endwalls through which a fastening device can be secured to retain the reservoir in place against the studs. In other embodiments, one or more brackets may be provided at the ends of the reservoir that come in close proximity to the wall studs, extending laterally for the attachment of the reservoir to the studs. In some embodiments, a pair of brackets is provided along the plane of one of the longer sidewalls of the reservoir. These brackets may create a flush surface with the sides of the stud facing outward form the wall. In some embodiments, one or more brackets are provided that extend vertically either in an upward or downward direction from the reservoir, to create a bracketing surface for the connection of the reservoir to the studs. The brackets can be an integrated part of the sideplate or endwalls, or alternatively can be separate components which are connected by fasteners to both the reservoir and stud boards. In some embodiments, weakened areas may be provided where the brackets attach to the sideplate or endwalls, allowing the brackets to be easily broken off for removal, if desired. The brackets may extend a distance from the drain reservoir to allow for proper attachment to the stud boards.

The brackets may be provided with one or more openings to allow for fasteners such as nails, screws, bolts, or other fasteners commonly known in the art to connect the brackets to the wall. The openings in the bracket for fasteners are placed away from the reservoir body to allow for the user to be able to insert and secure the fasteners without interference from the reservoir body. In some embodiments, clips are used to connect the reservoir to the stud boards. In some embodiments, bolts may be fastened to the wall, and the reservoir provided with brackets made to slip over or otherwise engage the bolts for proper attachment.

It is to be appreciated that different permutations and combinations of the various brackets and attachment means of these embodiments may be utilized in the same structure.

In some embodiments, an integrated spray skirt assembly is provided around the MPCU to prevent squirting leaks from causing water to come in contact with the wall surface or any other portion of the building structure. In some embodiments, the spray skirt is provided in the form of one or more sheets of material adjacent to the sides and top of the MPCU. These sheets include a backplate which is a generally flat piece of material that is water resistant, such as stainless steel or plastic. The backplate creates a generally vertical surface that runs parallel to the wall of the structure or other surface on the opposite side of the access opening to the MPCU. The bottom edge of backplate is shaped as to extend into the reservoir assembly overlapping the back wall of the drain pan so as to allow liquid that comes in contact with the backplate to run down the plate and into the reservoir.

In some embodiments, two sideplates may also be provided. The sideplates prevent liquid from exiting from the sides of the present invention, or coming into contact with the stud boards or other parts of the building structure. The bottom edges of the sideplates are designed to overlappingly extend into the reservoir assembly. The edges of the sideplates overlappingly connect to the back plate on one edge, and the front panel on the other edge. The sideplates overlap in such manner as to prevent moisture from escaping. It is to be appreciated that any overlapping relationship between the backplate, sideplates and reservoir may be employed such that the water squirting or otherwise escaping from the MPCU is directed into the reservoir and prevented from coming into contact with the building structure.

In most embodiments, the sideplates are provided with access holes which correspond to the water supply lines which exit the MPCU then pass through the sideplates. Ordinarily, holes are drilled through the stud board, and the supply lines travel through the sideplate and stud boards and into the next segment of the wall frame and eventually to various fixtures. The holes in the sideplate generally correspond to the elevation of the exit ports of the MPCU. After the supply lines are installed though the sideplates, rubberized caps (small boots) are placed over the lines to cover the holes in the sideplates, creating a water tight seal to prevent leaking through the holes in the sideplate. If any of the holes in the sideplate are not used (i.e. the sideplates have more holes than waterlines from the MPCU), they can be plugged with rubberized caps to create proper seals.

In some embodiments, a front plate may also be provided to protect the area of the wall in which access to the MPCU is obtained. The front plate may have an access panel which can be removed or opened for maintenance on the MPCU. Alternatively, the entire front plate can be removed for maintenance. The access panel can be attached in any manner commonly know in the art.

In some embodiments, a top plate may be provided above the MPCU with edges that overlap the frontplate, back plate and sideplates. The top plate prevents liquid from exiting over the top of the spray skirt. Openings and boots may also be provided on the top plate to allow passage of any pipes on tubes leading to or from the MPCU, and for sealing of any such openings.

It is appreciated that the components of the components of the splash skirt assembly can be fastened in place by connecting to the walls by ay means customarily used in the art. The edges of all the components overlap in such a manner as to direct water down the splash skirt assembly to collect in the reservoir.

It is contemplated that any combinations of the frontplate, backplate, and sideplates can be constructed as integrated pieces to simplify the structure and assembly of the device. For example, the backplate and sideplates can be constructed from one piece allowing for the user to just install one item, rather than three. It is further contemplated that portions of the spray skirt assembly can be installed. For example, the spray skirt assembly can be installed without the top plate, or alternatively, the sideplates might not be installed and instead the stud boards can act to prevent moisture from escaping. Rubberized boots can even be placed directly over the holes in the stud board. Further, it is contemplated that any or all of the portions of the spray skirt assembly can be integrated with the reservoir assembly.

Due to possible leakage of the unit, rubberized boots can be placed over the supply lines where the lines travel through the sidewalls, creating a barrier to prevent any leakage out from within the area between the wall studs. In some embodiments, these boots are made from an EPDM plastic material that has elastic (elastomeric) properties and/or thermoplastic rubber (TPR). The material from which the boots are made should allow the configuration to stretch enough to create a seal around the tubing and/or drain housing without overextending the flexibility of the material which could lead to cracks.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a drain pan for installation inside a wall of a building below a MPCU to collect and direct any leaking water away from the MPCU to prevent damage to the wall.

It is also an object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for collecting water or other liquid leaking from an MPCU or other liquid containing object in the wall of a building structure.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a unique drain pan for use with an MPCU having a unique structure that prevents accommodation of water leaking from the MPCU, and allows for passage of water supply line(s) to the MPCU.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide leakage protection from an MPCU in lateral directions such as sidewall and topwall protection, if desired.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a self draining reservoir assembly.

It is a further object of the present invention which can be installed and secured to the wall in various ways depending on the wall structure.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a reservoir assembly that can be installed in various building structure types with varying wall thicknesses and distance between stud boards.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide methods for installation of drain pans and related structures for use with an MPCU that collect and direct any leaking water away from the MPCU to prevent damage to the wall.

Additional objects of the present invention shall be apparent from the detailed description and claims herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of an embodiment of the drain pan of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is bottom perspective view of an embodiment of the drain pan of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of one embodiment of the drain pan of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a bottom plan view of one embodiment of the drain pan of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of one embodiment of the drain pan of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a sectional side view of the embodiment of the drain pan of the present invention along line A-A of FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is an end view of one embodiment of the drain pan of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is an opposite end view of one embodiment of the drain pan of the present invention.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of an embodiment of an interior shield of the present invention.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of an embodiment of an interior shield and drain pan of the present invention showing a typical wall installation prior to installation of an MPCU.

FIG. 11 is a side view of the installation illustrated in FIG. 10.

FIG. 12 is a front view of the installation illustrated in FIG. 10.

FIG. 13 is a top view of the pan installation illustrated in FIG. 10.

FIG. 14. is a perspective view of an embodiment of an interior shield and drain pan of the present invention showing a typical wall installation following installation of an MPCU.

FIG. 15 is a front view of the installation illustrated in FIG. 14.

FIG. 16 is a side view of the installation illustrated in FIG. 14.

FIG. 17 is a top view of the pan installation illustrated in FIG. 14.

FIG. 18A is a perspective view of an embodiment of a tube shield of the present invention.

FIG. 18B is a side view of the tube shield of FIG. 18A.

FIG. 19A is a perspective top view of an embodiment of a tube shield of the present invention installed on a tube.

FIG. 19B is a lower perspective view of the tube shield of FIG. 19A.

FIG. 20A is a bottom perspective view of an embodiment of a boot shield of the present invention.

FIG. 20B is a top perspective view of the boot shield of FIG. 20A.

FIG. 20C is a side view of another embodiment of a boot shield of the present invention.

FIG. 20D is a top perspective view of the boot shield of FIG. 20C.

FIG. 21 is a top perspective view of an embodiment of the drain pan of the present invention.

FIG. 22 is bottom perspective view of an embodiment of the drain pan of the present invention.

FIG. 23 is a front plans view of one embodiment of the drain pan of the present invention.

FIG. 24 is a side elevational view of one embodiment of the drain pan of the present invention.

FIG. 25 is a bottom plan view of one embodiment of the drain pan of the present invention.

FIG. 26 is a top plan view of one embodiment of the drain pan of the present invention.

FIG. 27 is a sectional side view of the embodiment of the drain pan of the present invention along line A-A of FIG. 26.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to the drawings wherein like reference characters designate like or corresponding parts throughout the several views, and referring particularly to the embodiment of FIGS. 1-8, it is seen that the invention includes a reservoir body 50, capable of receiving and holding a quantity of fluid that may leak from the fluid manifold control unit. The reservoir is preferably elongate in shape, in order to allow it to fit within the wall of a structure, under the fluid manifold unit. In the illustrated exemplary embodiment, the reservoir has four sidewalls which connect in the general form of a rectangle. An elongate back wall 52 and an elongate front wall 53 with bracket extensions 64 & 65, run the length of the reservoir. The position of body 50 is interchangeable as the front wall 53 with brackets 64, 65 may be made to face either direction by rotating the reservoir 50 body 180 degrees. The front and back walls are interconnected by two endwalls 54, which are shorter in length than the front and back walls. All walls should be of a tall enough height to allow for the reservoir to collect a substantial amount of fluid without overflowing. The sides of the body 50 are preferably flat in order to allow for installation in the wall of a building unit.

In several embodiments, the reservoir body 50 has a sloped bottom surface 56 which connects to the bottom of each of the front, back and end walls to form a basin. A drain opening 70 is located at the lowest point of the bottom surface 56. There are no ridges or other obstructions around opening 70 that might otherwise prevent fluids from exiting from the drain unit 50 (see cross sectional view of FIG. 6). In other embodiments, the bottom surface may be arcuate, concave, or curved with drain 70 at the bottom or apex of the curve. At or near the center of the bottom surface 56 is a supply line access assembly which allows for a supply line 91 to run through the reservoir body 50 to the fluid manifold control unit or MPCU 125 (see FIGS. 21-27). The supply line access assembly includes a separate opening 80 in the bottom surface 56 of the reservoir body with walls 81 which extend upward from the bottom surface of the reservoir body to prevent liquid from leaking out through access hole 80. Wall 82 is preferably cylindrical, but may be of any shape that corresponds to the shape of the supply line used. The access hole 80 should be large enough that commonly found water supply lines 91 can easily fit through the access hole 80, as shown in FIG. 27. The access hole need not have a snug fit with the water supply line to the manifold as a rubber cap or boot 95 may be used to seal the line 91 to wall(s) 81 (See FIGS. 20-21.) The height of wall(s) 81 may be of any suitable height, but preferably as tall as the walls 52-54 of the reservoir.

In some embodiments, the reservoir body 50 is provided with one or more connecting brackets to allow the reservoir body to be connected to the stud boards 82 of a wall in a manner that is convenient to the user. The illustrated embodiments show a pair of vertically mounted brackets 60, 61, and a pair of horizontally mounted brackets 64, 65. Such brackets may be provided with one or more securing holes 67 though which fasteners commonly know in the art, such as nails or screws in order to attach the brackets to the stud boards 82. In some embodiments, a weakened area 62 may be provided between side brackets 64, 65 and body 50 to allow brackets 64 and/or 65 to be easily broken off for removal, if desired, as shown in FIGS. 21-23. Due to the design of the brackets of the reservoir body, it is not necessary to provide or use a horizontal and vertical bracket on each side; only one bracket on each side may be used if the reservoir body is securedly attached. When provided, vertical brackets 60 and/or 61 attach to the interior surface of the stud boards 82, and the horizontal brackets 64 and/or 65 secure to the outside face of the wall stud boards. The horizontal and vertical brackets as discussed may extend from the reservoir body in any manner in which the bracket can be easily secured. For example, the vertical brackets may extend either in an upward or downward direction from the reservoir body 50.

In alternative embodiments, the brackets may not be provided with holes 67. Instead, the brackets may have integrated mounting prongs or clips to secure the unit 50 to one or more stud boards; or nails or screws may be forced directly through the brackets themselves at whatever locations are most desirable. In further embodiments, the brackets may have clamps which extend from the brackets and wrap around the stud boards for a secure connection. It is understood that any combinations of the above brackets and/or attachment mechanisms may be employed to attach the reservoir body 50 to the studs 82. It is to be appreciated that other embodiments of the invention may not have brackets at all, and attach directly to the stud boards directly from (through) one or both of the end walls 54. The end walls can be secured to the stud boards 82 by any means know in the art including the use of fasteners, nails, screws, adhesive, or simply wedging the reservoir in place.

FIGS. 2 and 22 illustrate side perspective views of embodiments of the present invention showing the underside of a reservoir body. In these views, the lower portion of the drain assembly is shown. A circular opening 70 is provided in the bottom surface 56 of the reservoir body 50. The circular opening is connected to a wall 72 which extends downwardly from the bottom surface of the reservoir body. Wall 72 is preferably cylindrical, but may be of any shape that corresponds to the shape of the drain pipe or hose 84 used. Drain pipe or hose 84 is inserted inside wall 72 to create a seal, ensuring that water or other liquid in the reservoir body 50 exits through pipe 84 and does not leak into the wall structure, as shown in FIG. 22. It is preferred that body 72 have a cylindrical form that is of an appropriate size as to allow a drainage tube of a standard size to be sealingly inserted therein. The drain hole opening 70 is more narrow than the inside edge(s) of wall 72, creating a lip 71 where wall 72 attaches to body 50. This lip prevents pipe or hose 84 from extending through opening 70 into the floor 56 of reservoir body 50, so as not to impede the exit of fluids through opening 70. Alternatively, drain pipe 84 may be inserted over the outside of wall 72. Sealant or adhesive may be placed between pipe 84 and wall 72.

In some embodiments, one or more prongs and/or a grate structure (not shown) may also be provided in opening 70, extending towards the center and/or encompassing opening 70 to prevent the drain pipe 84 from being inserted beyond the bottom surface of the reservoir, which could prevent water from properly draining.

FIGS. 2 and 22 further illustrate an embodiment of the curvature or slope of the bottom surface 56 of the reservoir. While the angle and shape of the bottom surface may vary, the curvature of the surface needs not be extensively angled, just enough to allow the liquid in the reservoir to run towards the drain hole 70 located at or near the lowest point of the bottom surface. It should also be noted that the drain hole 70 may be located at any location on surface 56 (e.g. in a corner), so long as it is at the lowest point in order to act as a drain.

FIGS. 3 and 23 illustrate side elevational views of embodiments of the present invention.

The proportions and relative size of the invention may vary based on the size and type of wall assembly in which the reservoir is to be installed. FIGS. 4 and 25 show bottom plan views of embodiments of the present invention. As shown, the curvature of the bottom surface of the invention is not centered in these embodiments.

FIGS. 5 and 26 are top plan views of embodiments of the present invention. FIGS. 6 and 27 are cross-sectional views along the line A-A of the prior figures. In FIGS. 6 and 27, exemplary heights of walls 54 and 81 are shown. The distances shown in these figures are illustrative only, and the actual proportion of each individual size and shape be varied greatly.

FIGS. 7, 8 and 24 are side elevational views of embodiments of endwalls 54 of the reservoir body 50. In the illustrated exemplary embodiments, vertical brackets 60, 61 extend upwardly from the end walls 54, and contain optional securing holes 67 for attachment of the invention to the stud boards 82 of a constructed wall.

FIG. 9 illustrates an embodiment of an interior shield 101 of the present invention. This shield is designed to be inserted between wall studs 82 where the MPCU 125 is installed, as shown in FIGS. 10-12 and 14-16. Shield 101 includes a back surface 103 and may also include left and/or right side surfaces 104, 105. Walls 104, 105 may be provided without any openings, allowing openings to be cut or drilled later, or they may include one or more openings 107 along the sides for receiving tubes 110 extending out from the MPCU 125. To the extent that extra openings 107 are provided, these may be plugged if not used. Shield 101 may also include a lip or flange 102 at the bottom for directing any leaking moisture into drain unit 50.

As illustrated in FIG. 10, an exemplary reservoir body 50 is sized so as to extend roughly the distance between two stud boards 82 forming the wall structure. A drain pipe 84 connects to the drain hole 70 and runs downwardly therefrom, to a point where excess liquid can properly drain without causing damage to the structure. A supply line 91 runs through the access hole 80 to the MPCU 125. This allows for liquids to be supplied to the bottom of the MPCU even with the reservoir body in place. A cap or boot 95 is provided between supply line 91 and upper wall 81 to provide a seal to prevent moisture from draining out through opening 80.

In the preferred embodiments, side walls 104, 105 are generally parallel to the inner surface of the stud boards 82, and generally perpendicular to back shield 101. The a lip or flange 102 at the base of back shield 101 and side walls 104, 105 extends inwardly and overlaps the reservoir body 50, thereby allowing proper draining from the back and side walls into body 50.

Referring to FIGS. 14-16, it is seen that the illustrated exemplary embodiment of the back shield 101 extends vertically a distance greater than that of the MPCU 125. This prevents any leak from an outlet or inlet of the MPCU from spraying water on the adjacent wall which is now covered by the backplate 101. The illustrated back shield 101 has integrated side walls 104, 105; in other embodiments, the sideplates can be separate pieces. The back shield 101 and side walls 104, 105 may connect to an optional front plate and optional top plate (not shown) to form an integrated splash shield to prevent the wall structure from getting sprayed with moisture.

Referring to FIGS. 10 and 14-16, it is seen that the illustrated embodiments show one or more openings 107 in the side walls that correspond to the supply lines that exit the MPCU. The supply lies 110 extend through the openings 107 in the side walls and then through openings 109 in the stud boards 82. Rubberized caps 115 may be placed over the openings 107 in the side walls to create seals so leaking water will not run through the openings. Detail of the attachment of caps to supply lines 110 is shown in FIGS. 18 and 19. The bottom edge 102 of the back shield 101 and side plates 104, 105 are flared inward and fit along the inside wall of the reservoir body 50, so that water running down the walls will empty into the reservoir and be properly drained.

The reservoir body embodiments 50 of the present invention should be installed between a pair of stud boards 82 in the wall of a building before connection of the water supply line 91 to the MPCU. Body 50 may be attached to the stud boards using any of several different or combined attachment means, such as the use of screws or nails forced through holes in brackets 64 and/or 65, or forced directly through such brackets if no holes are provided, or forced directly through end walls 54 into stud boards 82. Alternatively or in addition, adhesive may be attached between end walls 54 and stud boards 82, or body 50 may simply be wedged between stud boards 82 using friction. Thereafter, supply line 91 is inserted through access hole 80 and through optional boot 95, and connected to the MPCU 125. Boot 95 is then pulled over upper wall 81 to provide a seal to prevent moisture from draining out through opening 80.

Drain pipe 84 is connected to drain hole 70 by being inserted inside downwardly extending wall 72, with lip 71 preventing pipe 84 from extending above the bottom surface of the reservoir floor 56 which might otherwise prevent proper drainage through hole 70. The frictional connection between pipe 84 and wall 72 may be sufficient to prevent leakage between these two structures, or sealant may be applied between pipe 84 and wall 72 to secure the seal, ensuring that water or other liquid in the reservoir body 50 exits through pipe 84 and does not leak into the wall structure. Pipe 84 is extended downwardly and away from body 50, leading to an exit point where excess liquid can properly drain without causing damage to the structure, such as through a wall to the exterior of the structure.

When either back, side and/or front skirts are used, these are generally installed by similar attachment means to the stud boards 82 prior to installation of reservoir body 50. However, these structures may also be installed after body 50 has been installed. The bottom edges 102, 104 and 105 of these skirts should be placed so as to overlap the inside walls of reservoir body 50. It is to be appreciated that side boots 115 should be provided over supply lines 110 as they are inserted through openings 107 in the side skirts, and then plugs are inserted into unused openings 107 to prevent side wall leakage.

It is to be appreciated that different versions of the invention may be made from different combinations of the various features described above. It is to be understood that other variations and modifications of the present invention may be made without departing from the scope thereof. It is also to be understood that the present invention is not to be limited by the specific embodiments disclosed herein, but only in accordance with the appended claims when read in light of the foregoing specification.

Classifications
U.S. Classification62/285, 137/15.18
International ClassificationF25D21/14
Cooperative ClassificationE03C1/12
European ClassificationE03C1/12