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Publication numberUS3743181 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 3, 1973
Filing dateApr 19, 1972
Priority dateApr 19, 1972
Publication numberUS 3743181 A, US 3743181A, US-A-3743181, US3743181 A, US3743181A
InventorsBentley R
Original AssigneeBentley R
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Air treatment apparatus
US 3743181 A
Abstract
A humidifier includes a ducting system associated with an apparatus housing, a moisture pad which rotates to pick up liquid from a pool in the bottom of the housing and a blower for drawing air into the housing and subsequently forcing it out. The blower is actuated, usually by some humidity-sensing device, to blow a stream of air over and through the moist pad, which air exits in a more humid state than when it entered. A container of deodorizing liquid or the like is mounted on the housing above the moisture pad for dispensing said liquid to the pad. The liquid may be for deodorizing, disinfecting and/or medication, such as some prescription drug needed by the occupant of the enclosure serviced by the humidifier. Control equipment is included to regulate the feed of the liquid to the pad.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [19] Bentley AIR TREATMENT APPARATUS [76] Inventor: Roy G. Bentley, 1356 Luckee Avenue, Heath, Ohio 43055 [22] Filed: Apr. 19, 1972 [211 Appl. No.: 245,521

[5 6] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 11/1969 Stiles 261/92 X 6/1967 Fazio 261/18 R X [451 July 3,1973

Primary ExaminerWilliam E. Wayner AttorneySidney W. Millard et al.

[ 5 7 ABSTRACT A humidifier includes a ducting system associated with an apparatus housing, a moisture pad which rotates to pick up liquid from a pool in the bottom of the housing and a blower for drawing air into the housing and subsequently forcing it out. The blower is actuated, usually by some humidity-sensing device, to blow a stream of air over and through the moist pad, which air exits in a more humid state than when it entered. A container of deodorizing liquid or the like is mounted on the housing above the moisture pad for dispensing said liquid to the pad. The liquid may be for deodorizing, disinfecting and/or medication, such as some prescription drug needed by the occupant of the enclosure serviced by the humidifier. Control equipment is included to regulate the feed of the liquid to the pad.

8 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures THERMOSTAT CONTROL L, OR JUNCTION BOX Patented July 3, 1973 3 Sheets-Sheet l E2; n xom 1 1 I L 29522 mo 3 g 2 6528 E. 8 2 -n mm 3 2. ow 2525:... Q

Patented July 3, 1973 3,743,181

3 Sheets-Sheet 2 :7: 1"; I 1*; 1\ II: I 11::55 :1 ;T;:: I I

62 52 58 E E 5;: 1 54 76 74 q HUMIDIFIER 1a e 66! 92 F IG.3

CONTROL ACT 4 HUMIDISTAT HUMIDIFIER 34 24 2 AC FIG. 4 SOLENOID HEAT BLOWER Patented July 3, 1973 3 Sheets-Sheet 5 AIR TREATMENT APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Within the past few years, the consumer market has found a need, or at least a desire, for sprayed materials which serve to (l deodorize the air within a house, (2) disinfect the air in hospitals and/or homes, and (3) medicate the air for victims of respiratory ailments.

These various airborne vapors are most often dispensed from aerosol cans of the liquid; however, the need for periodic spray applications is an inconvenience to most people and it would be desirable to have an automatic system for dispensing the desired vapor. The instant invention provides such apparatus which may be installed in combination with a conventional humidifying system. It may be installed in an existing duct system or even on a portable humidifier as found in many homes having electrical heat, etc.

One problem with individual aerosol cans per se, is that they are so limited in volume, and if they are handdispensed, the spray can must be actuated in each separate room involved to achieve the desired effect; for example, in the kitchen for kitchen odors, in the bathroom for bathroom odors and in every room in the house where pets are free to roam. While it is conceivable that a plurality .of aerosol cans (one for each room) could be automatically actuated by some timed device, it would be quite inconvenient to perform the number of can replacements necessary in the period of time involved. Thus, the need is for a large quantity of the desired vaporable liquid material which is automatically dispensed and this invention provides apparatus to accomplish that result.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION The apparatus includes a humidifier having a blower and a rotating foraminous pad mounted as a unit within a housing where the blower is actuated by some exterior source, either manual or automatic, and directs air against the pad. The pad, in turn, rotates and passes through a pool of water in the bottom of the housing where the pad picks up water and moves it into the blower path. As a result the blown air departs from the housing in more humid condition than when it entered.

It will be understood from the subsequent description that the aforementioned humidifying unit can be of the conventional portable type of humidifier filled with water manually at periodic times, or it can have some sort of automatic water feed system involving a float valve or other control. Further, the humidifying unit itself can also be mounted in combination with a builtin heating and cooling system and the usual duct work in a commercial establishment, a single dwelling house or even a motor vehicle.

A container of the desired liquid (deodorizing, disinfacint, and/or medicating) is mounted on top of the humidifier housing and dispenses the liquid through an outlet from the container, in drop-wise fashion directly onto the rotating porous pad without ever encountering the pool of water prior to its encounter with the pad. The amount of liquid dispensed onto the pad is controlled by a valve in the flow path from the container into the housing. It includes a cylinder having two openings through its sidewall. Two coaxially mounted pistons are adapted to reciprocate within the cylinder for opening and closing the two openings. The inner end of each of the pistons includes structure for sealingly engaging the other piston, to thereby seal the passage between the two openings in the cylinder sidewall. One of the pistons isaxially adjustable along the cylinder axis by means of a micrometer type of dial gauge which is calibrated in drops per minute of the liquid being dispensed. The other piston is normally biased into sealing engagement with the adjustable piston. Upon a predetermined signal or by manualadjustment, the second piston is retracted to a predetermined stop and such retraction allows fluid to flow into the cylinder from above and out the other side, between the separated ends of the two pistons.

One mechanism which has been found to be desirable is a solenoid actuated retraction of the biased piston. The solenoid itself is actuated by a humidistat which is connected to the humidifier and across the leads of the blower to thereby operate or stop both simultaneously (although a timed delay could be incorporated with either one). The humidistat in such an instance is usually located on the wall of the enclosure whose air is to be treated or in a return duct which exhausts air from the room whose air is being treated.

It has been found that gallon containers of the liquid air-treating material is preferable because it will provide a supply which is adequate for about 45 to 60 days of normal use in a single-family dwelling of 2,000 to 2,500 square feet of living space. Obviously, larger or smaller containers of said liquid can be used as desired, should circumstances dictate otherwise. For example, the prescription life of some medications might be of 2 or 3 weeks duration, in which case a quart container of the liquid would be all that would be needed or acceptable.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic view of the ducting system, the heating and cooling apparatus, and the control mechanisms into which the humidifying and air treatment apparatus of this invention is incorporated.

FIG. 2 is an enlarged diagrammatic view of the humidifying and air treatment apparatus of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an enlarged sectional view of the liquid dispensing apparatus of this invention.

FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic view of the control elements and one circuit usable in this invention.

FIG. 5 is a sectional exploded view of the elements of FIG. 3.

FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken along line 66 of FIG. 5.

PREFERRED EMBODIMENT FIG. 1 illustrates diagrammatically many of the pieces of apparatus found in a conventional home air heating and cooling system. It includes a return air duct 12 for directing air through a filter I4 and a blower 16 which forces air through a furnace or air heating area 18 and out through ducting 20 leading to the room or larger enclosure to be heated.

During the summer months, the furnace or heating area 18 is not in operation but cooling coils 22, mounted in the outlet area above the heating chamber 18, serve to cool the air which is in turn moved through the same ducting system 20.

As illustrated in FIG. 1, a humidifier 24 is often incorporated in the ducting 20 above the cooling coils 22. It is mounted to draw air from the duct 20 by a second blower 26, force it through a moisture pad 28 and back into the duct for further passage to the aforementioned enclosure.

A control or junction box is connected by a plurality of electrical connections to a thermostat 32 and a humidistat 34, which operate in the conventional manner. in the embodiment illustrated, the humidistat samples the air from the return duct 12, but it is obvious that the humidistat could be located in the enclosure whose air is to be treated. No particular discussion need be made in relation to the control box and other electrical apparatus, as the operations of these are well known to those having ordinary skill in the art. One operable circuit diagram is illustrated in FIG. 4 but many others fall within the scope of this invention.

Turning now to FIG. 2, the porous pad 28 is connected electrically to rotate when the blower 26 is in operation. At its lower extent, it passes through a pool of water 36, illustrated schematically by broken lines in FIGS. 1 and 2. A water inlet line 38 is illustrated here only by way of example. It will be appreciated that water may be fed to the pool 36 manually or by some automatic filling device which may for example be controlled by a float valve (not shown). The blower 26 withdraws air from the duct 20 and forces it over and through the moisture pad 28. The result is that the air which exits from the humidifier housing 40 back into the ducting 20 is more humid than when it entered.

The aforementioned apparatus is conventional. This invention is concerned with further treating the air which passes through the humidifier. Said treatment is with a vaporable liquid stored in container 42. It is preferred that the container 42 be of clear plastic material so that the liquid level 44 can easily be observed and thereby allow the home owner or workman to know when replacement or filling of the container should be considered. The liquid itself may vary from household to household, its exact composition is relatively immaterial. The chemistry of the treatment liquid is not part of the invention beyond the broad concepts herein defined.

As is illustrated, it is preferred that the container be mounted in inverted position with a cap 46 threaded to its top. The threaded cap includes a valve 48 of any conventional design which will serve the purpose, to be outlined. Valve 48 is designed to normally prevent the exit of fluid from the container 42 until such time as it is depressed, as illustrated in FIG. 3. With the cap 46 affixed to the container 42 and inverted to seat in the receiving body 50, the valve 48 will be depressed and allow fluid to .flow out of the container and into the cavity 52. Flow from the cavity 52 into reservoir 54 will be by gravity through two apertures 56 in dividing wall 58. The apertures 56 through wall 58 are best illustrated in FIG. 6. it will be appreciated that different shapes or sizes of apertures 56 may be used if desired.

To allow free flow of the fluid from the container 42 through valve 48, a valve 60 is provided at its upper inverted end. it will also be understood that with a valve such as illustrated at 60, liquid would tend to flow out through valve 48 into cavity 52 and overflow the receiving body 50 without some means for sealing and blocking such flow. To remedy this a sealing ring or gasket 62 is provided around the inside of the cavity 52 to seal against the cap 46. Initially the weight of the fluid in the container 42 will help the gasket seal the edges of the cavity 52 but thumbscrews 64 which are designed to thread through apertures in the sidewall of the receptacle 50 will hold the cap and container in position regardless of the liquid level. This contributes to the sealing effect of the gasket 62 and, in addition, prevents accidental tipping of the container.

An aperture 66 leads from the reservoir 54 into a cylinder 68 which contains two coaxially mounted pistons for sealing and periodically opening the aperture 66. The operations of the pistons will be described subsequently; however, for purposes of description it will be assumed that the pistons are retracted enough to allow fluid to flow through aperture 66 in the top sidewall of the cylinder and out through the plurality of lower apertures 70 in the bottom sidewall of the cylinder.

As illustrated in FIG. 3, the fluid will exit from apertures 70 in droplets 72 which will fall by gravity onto the surface of the rotating moisture pad 28. Air from blower 26 will vaporize some of the droplets 72 in their gravitational drop toward the mousture pad; subsequently, the droplets 72 will evaporate with the water from the pad and be conveyed onto the ducting 20 as previously explained.

Obviously, not all of the droplets 72 will be vaporized immediately. Some will be carried by the moisture pad 28 into the water pool 36 and subsequently will be vaporized in aqueous combination. This fact is obvious but not particularly significant, as it will be clear to those in the industry that the deodorizing, medicating and/or disinfecting liquid could be fed directly into the pool of water 36 without dropping onto the moisture pad 28. However, the apparatus described and the direct gravitational application of the droplets 72 to the moisture pad has been found to be most efficient. Volatile mixtures of appropriate ingredients tend to get the deodorizing liquid into the moving airstream more quickly than applications directly to the pool 36. Some mixtures of deodorizing liquid are more volatile than water; as a result, if such fluids are fed directly to the pool 36, they might tend to be overpowering in their fragrance rather than merely deodorizing as is intended, especially in the first gush of air after blower 26 was activated. Additionally, there is no easy way to control the amount of deodorizing liquid vaporized when it is applied directly to the pool of water; however, the illustrated valving system which meters the deodorizing liquid directly onto the moisture pad allows one to more accurately control the quantities believed to be needed.

Returning again to FIGS. 3 and 5, the piston 74 illustrated on the left-hand side, is axially adjustable within the cylinder 68 by means of a Vernier-like dial gauge 76 threaded on its outer end. Byway of illustration, it is preferred that the mating threads 78 be machined at 64 threads per inch. The dial 76 can be calibrated in drops per minute or some other convenient quantity designation which will control the amount of liquid from container 42 which passes between the ends of the two pistons when the valve is opened. By way of illustration only, the dial 76 is shown with a radial flange 79 which is connected to one end of the cylinder wall by a plate 80 penetrated by bolts 82. The plate 80 traps flange 79 and prevents its axial movement while allowing it to rotate and adjust the adjustable piston 74.

A cone-shaped soft sealing cavity 86 on the inner end of piston- 74 is adapted to sealingly engage a coneshaped male member 88 on the inner end of the other piston 90. Piston 90 is normally biased toward piston 74 and together the ends 86 and 88 seal the cylinder and prevent fluid flow from aperture 66 to apertures 70. The spring biasing in question is accomplished by a conventional solenoid illustrated schematically at 92. The solenoid is connected to the piston 90 by a conventional screw or rod 94 which includes appropriate stop means for limiting the withdrawal of the piston 90 when it is actuated. No particular discussion of this operation appears necessary as it is well known to those having ordinary skill in the art.

Having thus explained the basic concepts of the invention, it will be obvious that the container and associated parts and apparatus may easily be adapted to and mounted on conventional and existing humidifying apparatus. As illustrated herein, an aperture is cut in the top of the housing 40 of the humidifier and the receptacle-conduit-valving combination is simply bolted in place over the aperture. This concept may be employed with built-in humidifiers, portable humidifiers having no such elaborate duct work as is illustrated or even in the heating system of motor vehicles.

Having thus basically explained the apparatus, itself, the expected and conventional operation of the total system will be outlined. First, the thermostat 32 will signal through the control box 30 that heat is needed. The furnace and heating box 18 will be actuated and when it reaches a certain temperature, the blower 16 will switch on to draw air from duct 12 through filter 14 along with some fresh air, not illustrated. Such propelled air will flow through the burner box 18 and out through the ducting 20. While this is going on, the humidistat 34 will sense the moisture content of the air in duct 12 and at such time as it gets below a certain preselected amount, the humidifier blower 26 will be activated through controls 30 and simultaneously the moisture pad 28 will begin to rotate. Following a short delay from the actuation of the blower 26, the solenoid 92 will be energized, withdrawing the piston 90 and separating sealing surfaces 86 and 88. Deodorizing or other fluid will flow from aperture 66 through the cylinder 68 and drop through apertures 70 onto the rotating moisture pad 28 where it will be vaporized and carried into the ducting system 20 to the indicated enclosure.

While the invention has been described with respect to a heating system, it is understood that the invention is equally operable under the cooling or summer conditions. In the summer months, it is desirable that the level of water be relatively low, the humidity is normally higher in those months and a pad 28 which is only slightly moist will serve adequately.

Obvious modifications will appear to those having ordinary skill in the art and it is not intended that the language used to describe the invention, nor the drawings illustrating the same be limiting on the invention, rather, it is intended that the invention be limited only by the wording of the appended claims.

I claim:

1. In the combination of a ducting system, a blower, a moisture pad, power means for operating the blower and the pad, and means for dispensing and vaporizing a deodorizing or disinfecting liquid into the air in the ducting system,

the ducting system being structured to conduct the treated air to an enclosure and return air from the enclosure,

the blower being positioned to force air into a path leading to the pad and subsequently into the ducting system leading to the enclosure,

the pad being located in a housing having an opening leading into the portion of the ducting system which leads to the enclosure, the pad being foraminous and being mounted for rotation in a path with the lower extent passing through a pool of water, whereby air from the blower passing through the moisture pad will evaporate water and other vaporable material it carries,

the improvement comprising:

a container of said liquid being connected to means for dispensing said liquid into said housing, said liquid being (1) partially vaporized substantially immediately and moving out of the housing with the air into the duct system and (2) partially mixed with the water in the pad and in the pool where it will continue to vaporize in combination with the water in the pad,

the means for dispensing includes a. valve connected to an outlet from said container which valve is opened and closed by apparatus actuated by humidistat means for sensing the humidity of the air in the return ducting.

2. The combination of claim 1 wherein the container is mounted on the top of the housing and the liquid is dispensed by gravity directly onto the moisture pad.

3. The combination of claim 2 wherein the valve comprises two openings through the sidewall of a cylinder, one opening being connected to the container outlet and the other being in fluid communication with the interior of the housing,

two pistons mounted within said cylinder, the inner ends of said pistons being adapted to abut in sealing relationship to prevent fluid flow from one cylinder opening to the other,

one of said pistons being manually adjustable along the cylinder axis and the other being biased toward the adjustable one.

4. The combination of claim 3 wherein the biased piston is retracted from the adjustable one by a solenoid actuated by apparatus which is actuated by the humidistat means, the retraction allowing liquid to flow from the container,

the axial retraction of the biased piston in the cylinder being limited by stop means and the axial distance traveled being controlled by the prior adjustment of the adjustable piston.

5. The combination of claim 1 wherein the valve comprises two openings through the sidewall of a cylinder, one opening being connected to the container outlet and the other being in fluid communication with the interior of the housing,

two pistons mounted within said cylinder, the inner ends of said pistons being adapted to abut in sealing relationship to prevent fluid flow from one cylinder opening to the other,

one of said pistons being manually adjustable along the cylinder axis and the other being biased toward the adjustable one.

6. The combination of claim 5 wherein the biased piston is retracted from the adjustable one by a solenoid actuated by apparatus which is actuated by the humidistat means, the retraction allowing liquid to flow from the container,

the axial retraction of the biased piston'in' the cylinder being limited by stop means and the axial distance traveled being controlled by the prior adjustment of the adjustable piston.

7. in the combination of a humidifier and a means for dispensing and vaporizing .a deodorizing or disinfecting liquid into the humidifier,

the humidifier including a housing holding a blower for directing a stream of air against a rotating porous moist pad, whereby the air passes through the pad, evaporates water and other vaporable material carried by the pad, and exits from the housing in a more humid state than when it entered, said housing including a pool of water through which the pad passes in its rotating path, the improvement comprising:

the dispensing and vaporizing means including a container mounted on top of the housing, an outlet from the container controlled by a valve said pad without first contacting the pool of water.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3323784 *Nov 5, 1964Jun 6, 1967Peter A FazioHumidifier with throw-away reservoir
US3480209 *Jun 14, 1967Nov 25, 1969Skuttle Mfg CoHumidifier and system
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3936283 *Sep 30, 1974Feb 3, 1976Frank SolisCompact gas purifier
US5036462 *Sep 29, 1989Jul 30, 1991Healthtech Services Corp.Interactive patient assistance and medication delivery systems responsive to the physical environment of the patient
US5341986 *Oct 21, 1993Aug 30, 1994Galba Mark AControl circuit and device for humidifying air in a heating system
US6584972 *Mar 14, 2002Jul 1, 2003Fisher & Paykel LimitedRespiratory humidification system
US6802314Mar 13, 2002Oct 12, 2004Fisher & Paykel LimitedRespiratory humidification system
US7051733Oct 23, 2003May 30, 2006Fisher & Paykel Healthcare LimitedRespiratory humidification system
US7263994Sep 17, 2003Sep 4, 2007Fisher & Paykel Healthcare LimitedRespiratory humidification system
US7962018Nov 19, 2008Jun 14, 2011Fisher & Paykel Healthcare LimitedHumidity controller
USRE39724Jul 27, 2004Jul 17, 2007Fisher & Paykel Healthcare LimitedRespiratory humidification system
WO1991005311A1 *Sep 28, 1990Mar 30, 1991Healthtech Services CorpInteractive patient assistance and medication delivery systems responsive to the physical environment
WO1995011411A1 *Oct 19, 1994Apr 27, 1995Mark A GalbaControl circuit and device for humidifying air
Classifications
U.S. Classification236/44.00R, 261/18.1, 261/92, 126/113
International ClassificationF24F3/12
Cooperative ClassificationF24F3/12
European ClassificationF24F3/12