US 2087157 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
July 13, 1937'. @UND 2,087,157
ART OF WATER SOFTENING Filed Mrh 19, 193'? 2 sheets-sheet 2 l NysNToQ TED STATES Pii'rlazrrr OFFICE ART 0F WATER. SOFTENING Leroy C. Lind, Rockford, Ill.
` s claims.
fThis invention relates to an improved method 0 tic purposes utilizing regeneratabe, granulated mineral such, for example, as zeolite. Heretofore, domestic water softening systems of "this character have employed permanent beds of softening mineral and have been arranged for' automatic or manual regeneration.` The automatic systems involve, a substantial vestment and embody relativelycomplicated apparatus which is apt to get out of adjustment frequently, necessitating repair by a ice man. Softeners of the manually regenerative type are less expensive but are open to the objection that the average householder, through carelessness or lack'of knowledge, will fail to'regenerate the softener regularly. As a result, properly softened waterl is not ordinarily available at all times. In addition, regeneration necessitates a substantial interruption of the soft water supply.
The primary object of the present invention is to overcome the above disadvantages and unlcertainties of operation by providing an improved method of supplyingV and conditioning water softening mineral which enables the eX-, hausted mineral at any installation to be replaced quickly and without appreciably interrupting the water supply, which simplifies the softening apparatus required and which enables the spent mineral from a number of individualy installations to be regenerated collectively and at a low cost without attention or inconvenience to the individual householders and this, without appreciably adding to the average cost of softened water. l
The invention also resides inthe novel construction of the individual softeners which facilitates rapid reconditioning thereof While at the same time insuring emcient utilization ofthe softening mineral at all tunes Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent `from the following detailed description taken in connection with the= -accompanying drawings, in which Figure 1 is a vertical sectional view of a Water softener embodying the present invention.
Fig. 2 is an elevational view of one of the mineral cartridges after removal thereof from thesoftener tank which isv shown in vertical section.`
Fig. 3 is a similar view illustrating the manner of `shaping-the cartridge'preparatory to insertion in the softener tank. v
Fig. 4 -is a cross sectional view taken along.
the lined-4 of Fig. 2, t
and apparatus for softening Water for domes,
initial inskilled serv-` .1937, Serial No. 131,794 (Cl. 210-24) Fig. 5 is a schematic view illustrating the different equipment that may be used in carrying out the method.
Fig. 6 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view illustrating a modified method of regenerating 5 `the softener cartridges.
While the invention is susceptible of various modifications, I have illustrated in the drawings and will herein describe in detail the preferred embodiment and method of practicing the invention. It is to be understood, however, that I do not intend to limit the invention by such disclosure but aim to cover all modifications and alternative methods and constructions falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as expressed in the appended claims.
The present invention contemplates the supplying and conditioning of Water softening mineral for a plurality of independent softener installations or stations each having a tank per- 20 .manently connected in a water supply system for the passage therethrough of Water to be treated. Generally stated, the method comprises packaging the mineral in individual water pervious containers to form a plurality of cartridges 25 substantially in excess of the number of such installations and each interchangeably mountable in the different softener tanks, inserting one or more cartridges in the respective tanks' soas to compel the flow of water therethrough, 30 periodically removing the cartridges from the tanks before the softening capacity of the mineral has been exceeded, and substituting regen-` erated cartridges for the withdrawn cartridges at the time of such removal, and subjecting the'removed cartridges to the action of a regenerating solution at a common regenerating station. As shown in Fig. 1, each individual softemng installation includes a tank l preferably in the form of an upright vertical cylinder of substantial length and of relatively smaller diameter as compared to its length. Near its upper end, the tank is connectedthrough a valve 8 and a pipe 9 to a source of water to be softened. The tank is closed at its lower end by a bottom wall la and 4has an outlet pipe iii leading through a valve II to the pipes through which softened water is to be delivered. The softener tank may be drained by opening a valve l2. To enable the mineral cartridges tobe inserted and removed readily, the tank is open at its upper end, preferably to its full cross sectionaly width and is adapted to be closed by a cover i3 which may be removed7 after looseningv a series of bolts M cartridges comprises a sack of strong yet relatively exible fabric or the like preferably comprisinga generally cylindrical body portion- I8 and a separately formed circular bottom piece I9 sewed to one end of the body. The 'other end is gathered together uniformly and properly closed in-any preferred way, such for example as by a cord 20 wound around the gathered portion and properlytied. The upper end of the sack, when contracted and tied in thisamanner', constitutes a handle by which the source for .lifting the sack out of the tank may be applied uniformly around the entire periphery of the sack and the latter removed conveniently from the tank.
The sack fabric is sufficiently thin and coarse to permit the yready ow of water therethrough but is sufficiently flne to properly retain granulated zeoliteA mineral of ordinary neness. The cross sectional 'shape of the sack corresponds to the internal wall of the tank, and is so correlated in size to the transverse cross-section of the Wall that the side wall of the sack will expand automatically under the weight of the mineral contained therein into f ull contact with the tank walls and form an effective liquid seal which avoids the possibility of Water being bypassed around the mineral' cartridge. To this end,` the sack is formed of a diameter which, when expanded under the weight of the Vmineral therein and after normal shrinkage, is slightly larger than the internal diameter of the tank (see Fig. 2). To the same end, the sack is `filled only partially with mineral thereby enabling the mineral in the sack to be spread out longitudinally of the latter and the effective diameter of the cartridge as a whole to be so reduced that the cartridge will slide readily into the' upper end of the tank, and yet will, 'after being inserted, expand into full engagement with the inner tank wall. Advantage is thus taken of the granular or flowable character of the softening mineral in providing an effective yet imlrle form of seal between the mineral and the vThe extent to which the sack may be filled while permitting proper distribution of the mineral body preparatory to insertion in the tank may of course vary considerably. Ordinarily, this will be in proportion to the difference in the cross-sectional sizes of the' sack and the tank. To insurethe formation of 'aneffective seal, the sack. need only be lslightly larger in diameter than the interior of the tank, proper allowance being made'for normal shrinkage of the fabric .of which the sack is made. For example, it has been found that with a tank having an internal diameter of nine inches, the sack may have a diameter approaching ten inches. Of course, the greater difference. between-the diameters of theA sack and tank, the larger will be the number of folds or the sizes of the folds which may be formed when the sack is inseliil .in il??? tank These folds are not, however, conducive to the formation of tridge and do not detract from the effective sealing action which is obtained under the weight of the mineral as it settles down in the sack after insertion of the cartridge in the tank.
4The tank 'I is made substantially longer than the individual cartridges I1 in order that several cartridges of the same or different lengths may be inserted so as to proportionately increase the capacity of the softener. It has been found desirable to employ cartridges containing different quantities of mineral, for example, twenty and ten pound cartridges as shown in Fig. l, all having the same diameter soI as to be usable interchangeably in the tanks of the different installations. By employing cartridges of this character, the capacity of the softener as a wholev may be adjusted in smaller increments and thus more readily adapted to the'requirements of a given household. When several cartridges are thus used in one tank, one is supported directly on top of the other as shown in Fig. l so that the water flows successively through the mineral in these cartridges. The amount of mineral contained in the larger cartridges is preferably sufficiently to satisfy the requirements of a small size household during the period between successive reconditioning operations.
It is contemplated that the cartridges Will be-replaced regularly at intervals well within the normal period of service use sult in complete exhaustion of the softening mineral at any installation. To effect such replacement, the valve 8 is closed to shut off thewater supply, the valve I2 is opened to drain the tank, and the valve II is closed to avoidthe possibility of draining the soft water delivery lines and the subsequent trapping of air therein. After the cover I3 has been removed from the tank, the cartridges I1 are released by lateral movements of the handles andlifted out one by one. An equal number of cartridges containing fresh or regenerated mineral is inserted in the tank. Tov ac-' complish this, the operator usually holds the cartridge in horizontal or tilted position as illustrated in Fig. 3 for the purpose of distributing the' mlneral longitudinally of the sack and thereby reducing 'the effective diameter of the cartridge. While thus contracted, the cartridge may be slid into the open end of the tank and will fall readily to the bottom., Then, by grasping the handle and applying a slight lifting force, the sack may be located properly in upright position and will, under the Weight of the mineral therein, become unlformly expanded against the tank Wall as illustrated in Fig. l.
After the Vrequired number of regenerated cartridges have been placed in the tank, the drain valve I2 is closed and theinlet valve 8 is opened to admit sufficient Water to substantially fill the tank. This avoids the possibility of the air, which by-pass channels around the car-v that Would normally re would otherwise be trapped in the upper part of with fresh ones so that the interruption and proper-Washing, the regenerated car tridges indicated at Hb are ready for re-use.
If desired, the cartridges may be regenerated in smaller numbers in elongated vertical tanks 23 of the character shown in Fig. 6 land' having aplate 24 at the lower end whic-h may be removed to permit withdrawal of the cartridges after regenerai tion and washing. After the cartridges are placed in the tank 23 in the manner shown, the salt or other regenerating solution may be introduced at the upper end and caused to ow down through l the mineral in the different cartridges and out through a valve 25. Any desired number of such regenerating tanks may be employed at the common regenerating station.
The cartridges containing thespent and regenerated mineral may be transported between the central regenerating station and the individual softener installations by a truck 26 or other suitable conveyance.
It willbe apparent from the foregoing that the number of cartridges will be in excess of the number of softener installations. Such excess will ordinarily be relatively small as compared to the total number of cartridges in -actual use at any time. However, owing tothe advantageous manner of maintaining the mineral in efiicient working condition, it has been found that the amount of mineral required at the individual softener installation to provide a given softening capacity is substantially less than with softeners heretofore used.
The improved'y method of utilizing zeolite mineral for the softening of water at a plurality of separated stations notonly eliminates the neces-- 4 sity of attention on the part of the individual householder and in many instances results in adecrease in cost of softened Water but also enables the individual softening equipment to operate in a much more effective manner than otherwise. 'I'he mineral itself, being regularly replaced before its softening vcapacity has been reached,` is always effective in assuring a supply of fully softened Water. 'Ihe periodic transporting and other handling of the flexible walled cartridge sacks effects a mechanical loosening and rearrangement of the granules of water softening 'mineraL In this manner, caking and channeling common in water softeners having permanent zeolite beds are electively eliminated.
From the foregoing, it will be observedthat the tank valves and associated equipment of each installation are of simple construction and substantially less expensive than presentday water softeners either of the manually operated or automatically regenerated types. Likewise, the cost of lregenerating the spent mineral may be effected on a mass production basis and therefore at a lower cost. It has been ,found that these reductions in equipment and regenerating costs practically offset the cost of handling the spent and regenerated cartridges and transporting them be- Y tween the regenerative plant and the different individual softeners in-the community. Accordingly, the householder may be assured of a continuous supply of properly softened water without attention on his part and at an average cost not appreciably greater, and frequently less, than with present day equipment. In addition, the initial investment in equipment is substantially less.
This application is a continuation in part of my 3 application Serial No. 108,172, led October 29;
I claim as my invention:
1. The method of supplying and conditioning regeneratable Water softening mineral for a plurality of independent installations having individual tanks of uniform cross-section and each permanently connected in the water supply systems at one of said installations fo-r the passage therethrough of the water to be treated, said method comp-rising providing individual water pervious mineral containing cartridges substantially in excess of the number of said installations and each mountable interchangeably in any one of said tanks, inserting cartridges in the respective tanks in numbers corresponding to the softening capacity required with the cartridges-in each tank arranged to compel the flow of water therethrough successively, periodically removing the cartridges from the respective tanks and substituting therefor at the time of removal an equal number of regenerated cartridges, and regenerating the removed cartridges collectively;
2. The method of supplying and conditioning regeneratable water softening mineral for a plu rality of independent installations each having a tank permanently connected in a water supply system for the passage therethrough of the water to be treated, said method comprising packaging the mineral in individual water pervious containers to form a plurality of interchangeable car tridges substantially in excess of the number of said installations, insertingcartridges in the respectivef tanks so as to compel the ow of water "therethrough, periodically removing the cartridges from the tanks and substituting therefor at the time of removal regenerated cartridges, and subjecting the removed cartridges collectively to the action of regenerating solution.
3. The' method of regenerating a water softener having an upright tank connected in a water supply system and one or more mineral cartridges partially filling the tank, said method comprising opening the upper endof said tank and draining the same, removing the cartridges through the tank opening, inserting regenerated cartridges, substantially filling said tank with water, and finally re'closing theta-nk opening.
4. A water softener comprising,4 in combination, an elongated upright tank adapted to be connected in a Water suply line for the ow of Water therethrough from end to end and having an opening at its upper end for exposing the tank substantially to its full internal cross section, a removable cover for closing said opening, and a removable cartridge in said tank comprising a sack containing granular softening mineral and composed of flexible material with water pervious ends and an effective cross-sectional area greater than the internal cross section of said tank so as to expand automatically .under the weight of said mineral into liquid sealing engagement with the internal tank wall, said mineral partially lling said sack whereby to permit of reduction in the cross section of the cartridge for" insertion thereof in said tank.
`5. A vwater softener comprising, in combination, a tank adapted to be connected permanently into a water supply line for the flow of water thereto from end to end and having acover adaptedwhen removed to open the tank substantially to its full crosssectional size, and a flexible walled cartridge containinggranular water-softening mineral adapted to be inserted into and removed from the tank through said end and in shape to but greater than tion, an upright tank adapted to be connected in a water supply line for the flow of water therethrough from end to end and having an` opening at its upper end for exposing the tank substantially to its full internal cross section, a removable cover for closing said opening, and a, water pervious cartridge in said tank removablel through said opening and containing granular softening mineraL-said cartridge having flexible walls dimensioned to expand under the weight of said mineral into liquid sealing engagement .with the internal tank wall substantially through 10 the length of the cartridge.
LEROY C. LIND.