US 3692179 A
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United States Patent Moore  APPARATUS FOR CONDITIONING WATER SUPPLIED TO A WATER HEATER TANK  Inventor: Samuel J. Moore, 185 Brookside Lane, Fayetteville, NY. 13066  Filed: March3l, 1971  Appl. No.: 129,725
52 US. Cl. ..210/94,126/362,2l0/l36, 210/1s1,210/19s 51 Int. Cl. new 14/00  FieldofSearch ..210/l36,94, 175,181,198; 126/362  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,306,504 Tischler ..2 1 0/1 36 X Bates ..2l0/l98 R X,
, 3,692,179 [4 1 Sept. 19, 1972 Primary Examiner-Michael Rogers Attorney-Harry G. Martin, Jr. and J. Raymond Curtin  ABSTRACT The water supply main is connected to the inlet of the water heater by a supply line including a flow control orifice. A branch conduit line is connected to the supply line upstream from the orifice and extending to the inlet of a tank containing the water conditioning material, There is a second branch line extending from the supply line downstream from the orifice to the outlet of the conditioning tank. A check valve is connected in one or both of the branch conduit lines to prevent back-flow of hot water from the heater through the tank containing the conditioning material. The orifice in the supply line is dimensioned to permit back-flow from the heater through the supply line to the water main, due to the expansion of the heater water in the heater.
5 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The advantages of treating water How to a water heater, especially to eliminate the precipitation of the lime and formation of scale in the heater, are well known. It is also known the precipitation of lime can be eliminated if the flow of such water, or a portion thereof, to the heater is passed through a bed of polyphosphate material. Circumstances may develop under which hot water may back-flow from the heater into the bed of the conditioning material and if that happens, the conditioning materialis rendered useless. For example, if the major portion of the hot water in the heater is drawn off quickly, and replenished with cold water, the expansion of the cold water raised to the set point temperature of the heater, may result in backflow of hot water to the poly-phosphate bed.
In the system set forth in my co-pending application, Ser. No. 846,770, filed Aug. 1, 1969, now US. Pat. No. 3,606,017, I provided a tank in the line between the tank containing the conditioning material and the water heater. That tank was proportioned to accommodate the volume of the expanded hot water backflow so that it did not reach the conditioning material. Such an arrangement permits the hot water backflow, due to expansion, to move against the supply pressure, as is conventional in heater installations, without the necessity of the heater relief valve operating.
However there can be instances where such an expansion tank of any practical size will not prevent the hot water back-flow from reaching the conditioning material. For example, if there is a substantial reduction in the pressure of the water supply line, the entire contents of the heater will back-flow. Such a situation can develop in the event of a break occurring in the water main supplying the building in which the heater is installed.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention has as an object, apparatus for conditioning water supplied to a water heater, including a tank containing a bed of conditioning material and an arrangement wherein the entire contents of the hot water heater may back-flow from the heater without passing through the bed of conditioning material. More specifically, a line is extended from the water supply main to the inlet of the heater. A flow control orifice is installed in the line. A branch conduit line is connected to the supply line upstream from the orifice and serves to conduct water to a tank containing the conditioning material. A second conduit line is connected to the supply line downstream from the orifice to the outlet of the tank. Check valve means is connected in one or both branch circuits to prevent the back-flow of hot water through the tank containing the conditioning material. The orifice is dimensioned to provide for the back-flow of water from the heater due to the expansion of the water in the heater, without any substantial increase in pressure in the heater. BRIEF DESCRIP- TIQN OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a schematic illustration of the apparatus of my invention, incorporated in a water heater installation.
FIG. 2 is an enlarged vertical, sectional view of a check valve employed in the system.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT l0 designates a supply conduit line extending'from the water supply main to the inlet of the water heater 11. A flow control orifice 12 is connected in the line 11. A branch circuit conduit 13 is connected to the supply conduit line 10, upstream from the orifice l2 and extends to the inlet pipe 15 of a tank 17. The tank 17 is adapted to contain a bed ofpolyphosphate water conditioning material. I
A second branch line 20 is connected to the line 10, downstream from the orifice 12, the connectionbeing intermediate the orifice and the inlet pipe 21 of the heater 11. The line 20 extends to the outlet pipe 23 of the conditioning tank 17.
Flow control means are provided to prevent reverse flow of water from the heater 11 through the tank 17. Such flow control means are conveniently provided by a check valve connected in one or both of the branch circuit conduits 13, 20, as for example, the check valve 30 in line 13 and the check valve 31 in line 20.
The check valves 30, 31 may be of any conventional form, preferably of the vertical type. As illustrated in FIG. 1, the valves 30, 31 are mounted in vertically disposed sections of the conduit lines 13, 20 and while the check valve 30 in line 13 will function to prevent reverse flow of hot water from the heater 11 through the tank 17, preferably, if only one check valve is to be used, it is mounted in line 20. Also, the check valve 31 preferably includes means for visual indication of the flow of water from the tank 17 to the heater 11.
The valve 31 may incorporate the structural arrangement shown in FIG. 2 to provide the combination flow indicator and check valve. The valve 31 consists of a transparent, cylindrical member 40. Upper and lower end members 41, 42 are clamped in liquid tight relation against the ends of the cylinder 40 by a plurality of tie bolts 43. Gaskets 44 serve to make the joint between the ends of the cylinder 40 and the end members liquid tight.
A plug 50 of resilient material, such as rubber or the like, is positioned in the lower end member 42, as by being inserted in the contiguous end of the conduit member 20. A funnel member 51 has a stem 52, extending through the plug 50. A spherical indicator 53 is positioned in the upper open end of the funnel and when so positioned, serves as a check valve to prevent downward flow of water through the device, as will be apparent from the disclosure in FIG. 2. The indicator 53 becomes buoyant during the upward flow of water through the stem 52, the indicator moving to the dotted line position 55. The flow of water through the funnel 51 imparts rotary motion to the indicator 53 to which different color coatings may be applied to clearly indicate the flow of water from the tank 17 to the heater 1 1.
With check valve 30 or 31 installed in the lines 13, 20, the heater relief valve 57 would operate, due to expansion of the heated water in the heater, if the section of the supply conduit 10, intermediate the branch circuits 13, 20 were omitted. However, as previously stated, the supply conduit 10 extends to the heater inlet 21 and the orifice 12 is located intermediate the connection of branch circuits 13, 20, to the conduit 10. This orifice is dimensioned to accommodate reverse flow of hot water from the heater 11 without effecting any substantial pressure rise in the heater. In other words, the reverse flow due to the expansion of the hot water, acts against the supply main as is the usual conventional situation and while the check valves 30 or 31 serve to prevent the hot water reverse flow from entering the tank 17, the orifice 12, nevertheless, provides for sufficient reverse flow through the supply conduit line 10, due to expansion of the water in the heater 1 1.
While for purposes of illustration, a preferred embodiment of this invention has been described; it will be apparent that the invention may be otherwise embodied within the scope of the following claims.
1. Apparatus for conditioning water supplied from a water supply main to a water heater having an inlet, comprising a closed tank having an inlet and outlet and adapted to contain a bed of water conditioning material intermediate said inlet and outlet; a supply conduit line extending from the main to the heater inlet; a flow reducing orifice connected in said supply conduit line; said orifice being dimensioned to accommodate reverse flow of water through said supply conduit line from the heater due to the expansion of the heated water therein; a first branch conduit connected to said supply conduit line upstream from said orifice; said first branch conduit extending to the inlet of said tank; a second branch conduit connected to said conduit line downstream from said orifice and extending to the outlet of said tank; said branch conduits effecting forward flow of water through said tank from the main to said heater, and flow control means operable to prevent reverse flow of water from said heater through said tank to said main.
2. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein said flow control means consist of a check valve connected in said first branch conduit.
3. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein said flow control means consist of a check valve connected in said second branch conduit.
4. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein said flow control means consist of check valves connected in said first and second branch conduits.
5. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein said flow control means consists of a check valve connected in one of said branch conduits and comprising a vertically disposed, transparent cylindrical sleeve; upper and lower end members positioned on the ends of said sleeve and fixed thereon in liquid tight relation; said end members being formed with axially aligned conduit receiving apertures for the passage of water through said sleeve; a plug of resilient material arranged in the aperture of said lower end member; a funnel positioned in said sleeve and having a stern extending through said plug member and a spherical indicator member positioned in said funnel and serving to prevent the flow of water downwardly through said sleeve; said indicator member being movable upwardly from said funnel upon upward flow of water through said sleeve.