US 3714951 A
A conduit flushing device including an elongated, inflatable bag connected at one end by a tubular fitting to a source of fluid pressure, such as a water hose, and having a smaller diameter tubular nozzle on the opposite end, so that the fluid inflates the bag. The bag has longitudinal folds which facilitates collapse of the bag when the fluid pressure is shut off, and an elongated, deformable strip extends within the bag from the fitting to the nozzle and aids in maintaining the desired shape of the bag.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent m1 m1 1 Lundman Feb. 6, 1973 CONDUIT FLUSHER I 1,848,269 3 1932 Peterson ..l34/167 c ux 3 086 540 4/1963 Anderson ..l34/l67 C  Inventor: Philip L. Lundman, 1709 East Memo Blvd. Milwaukee Wis' 3,075,535 1/1963 Lasting ..134/167 C 5321 1 Primary ExaminerRobert L. Bleutge  Filed; Aug. 27, 1970 Att0rneyAndrus, Sceales, Starke & Sawall Appl. No.: 67,395
US. Cl. ..l34/167 C, 4/256 Int. Cl. ..B08b 9/02 Field of Search .134/22 C, 166 C, 167 C, 168 C,
 References Cited I UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,315,673 4/1943 Taylor "4/256 3,120,237 2/1964 Lang ..l34/l67 R X 1,308,469 7/1919 Amct ..l34/167 C UX  ABSTRACT A conduit flushing device including an elongated, inflatable bag connected at one end by a tubular fitting to a source of fluid pressure, such as a water hose, and having a smaller diameter tubular nozzle on the opposite end, so that the fluid inflates the bag. The bag has longitudinal folds which facilitates collapse of the bag when the fluid pressure is shut off, and an elongated, deformable strip extends within the bag from the fitting to the nozzle and aids in maintaining the desired shape of the bag.
2 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures CONDUIT FLUSHER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to improvements in conduit or drain flushing equipment and more particularly to an improvement in inflatable-bag type flushing devices.
It is known to utilize water pressure for flushing clogged drains, such as floor drains, water closet pipes, down spouts and other drains, and various devices have been devised to accomplish this. Some such devices have included hose and plug assemblies that are disposed in the drain and apply water pressure to the clogged pipe while avoiding water backup out of the drain.
Inflatable bags have been used as temporary plug assemblies for some units. In such a unit, a water hose, connected to the bag, fills the bag with water and expands it radially to plug the drain pipe, while water passes through the bag to apply pressure against any clogged section further down in the drain. These latter devices are easier to manipulate and are more versatile than devices which utilize rigid plugs. However, even the bag-type flusher devices can be difficult to manipulate in to some conduit configurations and they can be difficult to remove if the bag does not deflate sufficiently when the water pressure is turned off.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention improves the bag-type flusher devices for ease of operation and adaptability to different conduit configurations. Other advantages will appear in the description and drawings.
The conduit or drain flusher of the invention includes an elongated inflatable bag with a nipple fixture on one end that connects to a water hose or other source of fluid under pressure. The opposite end of the bag has a nozzle of smaller diameter than the nipple fixture, such that water passes through the bag while back pressure against the nozzle serves to inflate the bag in operation. When in a drain pipe or the like, the inflated bag serves as a plug or seal to restrict back flow of the water.
The bag of the invention has a series of pleats on at least one end, with the bag material folding against the pleats in longitudinally extending folds when the bag is deflated. The folds are directed in the same clockwise or counterclockwise direction, and facilitate deflation of the bag for removal from the conduit after the water pressure is turned off. To maintain the proper pleat arrangement, a series of clips, staples or other connectors fasten opposite sides of the folds together at the end.
A further feature of the invention is an elongated deformable strip extending longitudinally of the bag and connecting at the nipple end and the nozzle end. The bag being flexible, the shape of the strip thus determines the angle of the nozzle end relative to the nipple end and gives the desired configuration to the bag for maneuvering into a curved drain pipe or the like.
The drawings illustrate the best mode presently contemplated by the inventor for carrying out the practice of the invention.
In the drawings:
FIG. I is a plan view of the invention in use within a drain, parts thereof being sectioned;
FIG. 2 is a side elevation view of the bag of the invention; and
FIG. 3 is a view in section taken along lines 33 of FIG. 2.
DESCRIPTION In the drawings and particularly FIG. 1, a drain pipe 1 has a trap section 2 which is shown to be clogged. A flexible water hose 3 connected to a faucet, not shown, or other source of liquid under pressure, extends down through the open drain into pipe 1 to a drain flusher device 4 of the invention.
Drain flusher 4 operates to pass water from hose 3 through an inflatable bag 5 and a nozzle 6 on the opposite side of the bag from hose 3. Bag 5 is an elongated member constructed of a flexible material, such as canvas or the like. The canvas material can have a waterproof coating of resin or the like or a liner 7 of impervious material can be applied to the outer layer, as shown in FIG. 3. Liner 7 can be any suitable plastic material, such as nylon impregnated with neoprene, and may be sealed to the canvas outer layer.
Bag 5 inflates when filled with water, as in FIG. 1, or collapses to a slender configuration, as shown in FIG. 2, when water is not passing through the bag. To facilitate the collapse of bag 5, the canvas has end pleats 8 at each end of the bag. When deflated, the canvas folds over pleats 8 to form longitudinal folds 9. Folds 9 all fold over their respective pleats 8 in the same direction,
so that the bag will collapse to a more slender configuration. In a preferred form of the invention, the direction and the extent of the folds 9 are maintained by clips 10 that fasten the canvas from one side of each fold 9 to the other side of the fold. In this example, clips 10 are staples disposed on both ends of each fold 9, and thus do not restrict full inflation of the central portion of the bag, while serving to assist the return of the canvas into folds 9 when the bag collapses.
The construction at the ends of flusher device 4 also serves to maintain folds 9 in place. At the inlet end, a nipple fitting 1 1 connects the device to a threaded male fitting 12 on hose 3. Fitting 11 has a tubular shank 13 extending into bag 5, and the ends of folds 9 are flattened and disposed around shank 13, where they are held in place by an annularsleeve 14 which may be press fit tightly over the folds and shank, to secure bag v 5 to fitting 11. An annular seal 15, such as a rubber gasket, is located between folds 9 and sleeve 14 and extends longitudinally outward from the sleeve a short distance over bag 5 to restrict leakage within the sleeve.
Hose 3 conveys water into bag 5 via an axial bore 16 through shank l3. Bore 16 is approximately the same diameter as that of the hose so that water is freely admitted to the bag. Nozzle 6, on the other hand, has a smaller diameter bore 17. With this structure, back pressure builds up on the bag side of nozzle 6 when hose 3 supplies normal household water pressure to the flusher device. The back pressure causes the bag to inflate until, as shown in FIG. 1, the bag expands to the diameter of pipe 1.
As with the hose or inlet end of the bag, the canvas is secured to nozzle 6 in a manner maintaining the folds 9 in position over the end pleats 8. Folds 9 lie against the cylindrical outer surface of nozzle 6 and an annular seal 18 and annular sleeve 19 are press fitted over the folds, as their counterparts at the opposite end.
Another feature of the invention is provided by a deformable metal strip 20 extending longitudinally within bag from sleeve 14 to sleeve 19. Strip is secured at both ends between the respective sleeve and the respective nozzle tube or shank, and extends within a fold 9 in the deflated state. The strip should generally hold its shape except when forceably deformed, and should have a degree of resiliency when subjected to more moderate bending forces, so that it returns to its desired shape. The bag being flexible, strip 20 thus determines the longitudinal configuration of device 1, and the curvature of a pipe may be conformed to by bending the bag and strip. This structure permits easier manipulation into and out of curved drain pipes or other curved conduits.
OPERATION Flushing device 4 may be used to unclog various types of drains, conduits, down spouts and the like. In use, hose 3 is connected to fitting l1 and device 4 is directed into pipe 1 with the nozzle end down. If the pipe is curved, or has a trap, device 4 is first bent to a corresponding curvature by forceably deforming strip 20 within bag 5.
After the hose and flushing device have been worked into the pipe for a distance, so that bag 5 is at least wholly within the pipe for best operation, the water is turned on full force. Water passes into bag 5 and out nozzle 6 into the pipe beneath the bag, while the bag inflates to plug the pipe and restrict back flow of the water. The pressure build up down the pipe from the flusher device is normally sufficient to unclog the pipe. If the pipe is entirely plugged, the flusher device will slowly back up in the pipe, still avoiding water flow back out of the drain.
When the drain is freed, the water is turned off, and bag 5 will collapse with folds 9 returning over their respective end pleats 8. Since the bag automatically folds, the flusher device is returned to a slender configuration and can be easily drawn back out of pipe 1.
It is contemplated that nozzle 6 may be capped to confine water in the bag. In this use, bag 5 serves as an inflatable plug for temporary service. Also, it is con- -templated as being within the scope of the following claims, which distinctly claim and particularly point out the subject matter which is regarded as the invention.
1. In a conduit flushing device for connection to a source of fluid under pressure, said device including an inflatable plug member having a tubular inlet fitting to be connected to the source of fluid and a more restricted tubular outlet nozzle on the opposite end of the plug member, said plug member extending from the inlet fitting to the outlet nozzle and providing a flow path there etween, the improvement wherein he plug member comprises an elongated flexible bag having longitudinally extending folds in the deflated state, said folds extending substantially continuously from the inlet fitting to the outlet nozzle and the material of said bag being folded over in one direction, the ends of the bag being fixed in the folded over position at the inlet fitting and outlet nozzle ends, an annular sleeve member securing the folded ends of the bag to the inlet fitting and outlet nozzle respectively, and an elongated deformable strip extending longitudinally within the bag from the inlet fitting to the outlet nozzle, said strip being capable of holding its deformed shape when forceably deformed, the ends of the strip being disposed within the folds at the ends of the bag whereby the ends of the strips are fixed to the inlet fitting and the outlet nozzle respectively, by the annular sleeve members.
2. The device of claim 1 and including annular seals disposed between said sleeve members and the respective tubular fitting and nozzle.