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Publication numberUS3865131 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 11, 1975
Filing dateSep 7, 1973
Priority dateSep 7, 1973
Publication numberUS 3865131 A, US 3865131A, US-A-3865131, US3865131 A, US3865131A
InventorsJacobson Edwin B
Original AssigneeJacobson Valves Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Valve assembly with reciprocal float unit
US 3865131 A
Abstract
A float unit is guided for reciprocal movement by the supply tube in a water closet. Held in a vertically spaced relationship by the float unit are upper and lower flexible washer-type seals. The lower seal extends inwardly over the upper end of the supply tube and is held fast with respect to a passaged extension member having its lower end threadedly received in the upper end of the supply tube. The upper flexible seal also extends inwardly beneath the bottom annular end of an adjustment member, the seating of the upper seal against the bottom of the adjustment member stopping the flow of water that would otherwise traverse a path upwardly through the supply tube, through the passaged extension member into a circumjacent pressure chamber between the extension member and a cylindrical spacer that determines the spacing between the lower and upper seals. When the float unit has moved downwardly, as when the toilet is flushed, the upper seal moves downwardly away from the annular bottom on the adjustment member to permit flow to occur to refill the tank or closet, the flow being past the upper seal through a tortuous passage or discharge chamber into a surge chamber disposed above the pressure chamber. There is a buoyancy chamber in the lower portion of the float unit which traps enough air to cause the float unit to move upwardly with the water as it rises in the tank. Provision is made for adjusting the level to which the water rises. Should a vacuum condition be imposed upon the supply tube, then the upper seal will flex downwardly away from the annular bottom seat on the adjustment member to pull air in a reverse direction from which the water flows when filling the tank or closet. By means of a drainage outlet at the bottom of the surge chamber, all water is drained from the surge chamber so that only the above-mentioned air is pulled in a reverse direction through my valve assembly to prevent syphoning of water back into the supply line.
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States Patent [191 Jacobson Feb. 11, 1975 VALVE ASSEMBLY WITH RECIPROCAL FLOAT UNIT [75] Inventor: Edwin B. Jacobson, Wanamingo,

Minn.

[73] Assignee: Jacobson Valves, Inc., Wanamingo,

Minn.

22 Filed: Sept. 7, 1973 21 Appl. No.: 395,075

[52] U.S. Cl 137/432, l37/4l4, 137/451, 73/322.5, 137/426 [51] int. Cl. Fl6k 31/24 [58] Field of Search 137/386, 414, 429, 430, l37/43l, 432, 433, 442, 444, 451; 73/3225 [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,135,287 6/1964 Kepka et al 137/432 X Primary Examiner-William R. Cline Assistant Examiner-David R. Matthews Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Stuart R. Peterson [5 7] ABSTRACT A float unit is guided for reciprocal movement by the supply tube in a water closet. Held in a vertically spaced relationship by the float unit are upper and lower flexible washer-type seals. The lower seal extends inwardly over the upper end of the supply tube and is held fast with respect to a passaged extension member having its lower end threadedly received in the upper end of the supply tube. The upper flexible seal also extends inwardly beneath the bottom annular end of an adjustment member, the seating of the upper seal against the bottom of the adjustment member stopping the flow of water that would otherwise traverse a path upwardly through the supply tube, through the passaged extension member into a circumjacent pressure chamber between the extension member and a cylindrical spacer that determines the spacing between the lower and upper seals. When the float unit has moved downwardly, as when the toilet is flushed, the upper seal moves downwardly away from the annular bottom on the adjustment member to permit flow to occur to refill the tank or closet, the flow being past the upper seal through a tortuous passage or discharge chamber into a surge chamber disposed above the pressure chamber. There is a buoyancy chamber in the lower portion of the float unit which traps enough air to cause the float unit to move upwardly with the water as it rises in the tank. Provision is made for adjusting the level to which the water rises. Should a vacuum condition be imposed upon the supply tube, then the upper seal will flex downwardly away from the annular bottom seat on the adjustment member to pull air in a reverse direction from which the water flows when filling the tank or closet. By means of a drainage outlet at the bottom of the surge chamber, all water is drained from the surge chamber so that only the above-mentioned air is pulled in a reverse direction through my valve assembly to prevent syphoning of water back into the supply line.

18 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures MEm' gFEm 1 1915 SHEET 30F 3 VALVE ASSEMBLY WITH RECIPROCAL FLOAT UNIT BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates generally to ballcock valve assemblies, and pertains more particularly to such an assembly that will prevent syphoning of water back into the supply line should there be a loss of supply pressure.

2. Description of the Prior Art The most common type of prior art ballcock valve requires that the valve close against the supply pressure. Consequently, the valve mechanism requires cumbersome linkages and float arms, the float usually being mounted at the distal end of the arm from the valve in order to get the requisite mechanical advantage to overcome the supply pressure. A number of these valves are not of the non-syphoning variety and really do not meet the fundamental code requirements and therefore are not provided as original equipment but are only sold as replacements.

Another type of prior art valve with which I am acquainted is that using a smaller float or cylinder than the valve alluded to above but which operates a pilot valve that in turn opens or closes the main valve. This type of ballcock is subject to malfunction from impurities contained in the water, the valve failing quite readily from rust accumulations and from so-called liming. These valves usually require strainers which become clogged from the various deposits and even disintegrate from rust and chemicals present in the water.

Attempts have been made to devise simpler types of valves, especially those utilizing a balanced pressure relationship, but the particular design known to me involves the likelihood of chattering. Also, the valve is quite noisy, at least when compared with a valve constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Accordingly, one object of the present invention is to provide a ballcock valve assembly that will be simple, low in cost, highly efficient and one which will meet all of the code requirements.

Another object of the invention is to provide a ballcock valve assembly that virtually eliminates friction. In this regard, it is to be noted that the use of O-rings is avoided along with any close tolerance fits that would be apt to introduce unwanted friction when the valve is operated.

Another object is to provide a valve assembly that is subjected to balanced pressures when closed and which will readily open when the water level falls, as when a toilet tank is flushed.

Another object is to provide a valve assembly that can be easily adjusted so as to increase or decrease the resulting level of water in the closet or tank when it is refilled.

A further object of the invention is to provide a valve assembly that will be relatively silent when in operation, a surge chamber being incorporated in the upper portion of the float unit so that the Water controlled by the valve assembly enters the surge chamber and then quietly flows over the upper edge thereof. An added precaution is incorporated into the type of valve assembly l have devised which causes the water entering the surge chamber to traverse a rather tortuous path, thereby further decreasing the velocity of the water so as to additionally minimize any noise that might otherwise occur.

Still further, an object is to utilize the force of the water flowing through the valve assembly to assist in holding the valve open until the desired level within the tank or closet is reached. Also, an aim of the invention is to utilize the weight of the water contained in the surge chamber to assist in keeping the valve open when water is flowing there-through, provision being made for the drainage of such water after the tank has been filled so that the weight of any remaining water in the surge tank does not militate against the closing action derived from the buoyancy chamber. Stated somewhat differently, the water contained in the surge chamber is effective to assist in opening the valve during the tilling of the tank, but after the valve has closed the draining of this water enhances the closing action rather than detracting from it.

Another important object is to provide a valve assembly of the foregoing character that: will not syphon liquid back into the supply line should there be a loss of supply pressure. More specifically, it is planned that a drain (the drain mentioned above) be provided at the bottom of the surge chamber so that even the small quantity of water present in the surge chamber during filling is not drawn into the supply tube.

Even more specifically, an aim of the invention is to block, in a positive fashion, any flow of either air or water into or out of the pressure chamber, thereby allowing the position of the valve assembly to be, if desired, on or below the highest water level line, yet retain the non-syphoning attribute; the positive blocking action is derived from the employment of a flexible water-type seal construction at the joint between the supply tube and float unit.

Still another object of the invention is to provide a valve assembly that will be composed of only a few parts and which can be inexpensively manufactured, and easily and quickly assembled at the factory. In this regard, the valve assembly can be completely constructed from suitable plastic materials, there being no i need for any metallic parts.

Still further, an object is to provide a valve assembly that can be easily installed, which does not require any precise indexing during the installation, and which requires little or no maintenance thereafter.

Yet another object is to provide a valve assembly that will be quite compact, thereby occupying only a limited amount of space within the tank or closet. and also enabling the valve assembly to be: easily packed and shipped, especially inasmuch as the valve assembly is generally cylindrical, involving only straight line dimensions which contribute to the simplicity as far as the packing and shipping thereof are concerned.

Briefly, my valve assembly includes a float unit guided for vertical reciprocation by the upper end portion of the supply tube extending upwardly within a water closet. Threadedly received. in the upper end of the supply tube is an extension member having a vertical passage or bore that forms a continuation of the passage contained in the supply tube. Horizontal passages extend radially outwardly from the upper end of the bore of the extension member to provide discharge ports. Threadedly carried on the upper end of the extension member is an adjustment member having an annular bottom surface that is engaged by an upper flexible washer-type seal when the float unit moves sufficiently upwardly, such engagement causing the valve to be closed. Only the outer peripheral portion of this seal is held by the float unit. Spaced beneath the seal just mentioned is a second flexible seal, being somewhat larger than the seal just alluded to, which also has its outer peipheral portion held in place by the float unit. Unlike the upper seal, though, the inner peripheral portion of the lower seal is secured between the upper end of the supply tube and a downwardly facing shoulder formed on the extension member so that the inner peripheral portion is clamped therebetween. The float unit has a downwardly depending cylindrical skirt forming a buoyancy chamber and an upwardly directed cylindrical cup which forms a surge chamber. When the float unit drops downwardly, as it does when the water closet or tank is flushed, the upper seal moves away from the annular bottom surface on the adjustment member which it engages when the unit is buoyed upwardly, thus enabling water to flow past the upper seal into the surge chamber. The upward flowing water is directed over a rather tortuous path so that its velocity is reduced and during one segment of its travel is deflected downwardly to assist in holding the valve open during the refilling process. The tortuous path over which the water flows includes an upwardly directed annular flange over which the water flows, means channeling the water radially outwardly and a downwardly directed flange depending into the surge chamber beneath which the water flows, the two flanges functioning as baffles so as to decrease the water velocity, the water thereafter silently flowing over the upper edge or rim of the surge chamber when refilling the tank. As the level of the water in the tank continues to rise, air that is entrapped within the buoyancy chamber buoys the entire float unit upwardly and a sufficient upward movement closes the valve, that is, causes the inner peripheral portion of the upper seal to engage the bottom annular surface on the adjustment member, to prevent further flow of water into the surge chamber. When the valve is fully closed, whatever water remaining in the surge chamber drains from this surge chamber so that no water remains in the surge chamber with the consequence that if there is a loss of supply pressure, any chance of syphoning water back into the supply line is obviated. The adjustment member, when rotated so as to move its annular bottom surface upwardly requires more buoyancy from the water in the tank to effect a closing of the valve because of the resulting increase in the water pressure in the tortuous passage or discharge chamber. This results in a higher water level. Rotation of the adjustment member in a reverse direction lessens the pressure within the discharge chamber, and a lower water level results. Hence, the level to which the tank or closet is filled is governed by the particular position of the adjustment member.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a fragmentary front elevation view of a typical water closet, a portion of the front wall being removed so as to expose to view my ballcock valve assembly and also the usual flush valve assembly;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of my valve assembly, the view being considerably enlarged with respect to FIG. 1; a

FIG. 3 is a split sectional view taken in the direction of line 3-3 FIG. 2 with an intermediate portion of the buoyancy chamber having been removed for space reasons, the left side or half depicting the valve assembly in a closed position and the right side or half showing the valve assembly open, and

FIG. 4 is a split sectional view generally similar to FIG. 3, but with the left side or half illustrating the valve adjusted for one water level (the same level as in FIG. 3) and the right side or half illustrating the valve when adjusted for a higher water level.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT In order to fully appreciate the benefits to be derived from a practicing of my invention, a conventional toilet tank or water closet 10 has been shown in FIG. I. As is customary, a trip lever or handle 12 is employed, there being a trip arm 14 actuated by the lever 12. Carried at the free end of the arm 14 is a lift wire 16 which raises a flush valve ball 18 when the water closet is to be flushed. The ball 18 coacts with a seat 20 to prevent the water contained in the tank 10 from escaping via a downwardly extending discharge pipe 22 until the trip lever 12 is actuated for the purpose of flushing the tank 10. Also present is an overflow pipe 24 having an overflow passage 26 extending into the discharge pipe 22. Also, as is conventional, there is an inlet pipe 28 leading upwardly through the bottom of the tank 10.

Referring now to by ballcock valve assembly, which has been denoted generally by the reference numeral 30, it will first be pointed out that a molded plastic tube or riser 32 extends upwardly from the bottom of the tank 10, being connected at its lower end to the inlet or supply pipe 28. From FIGS. 3 and 4, it will be observed that the upper end portion 34 of the supply tube 32 has a slightly larger diameter than the lower portion 36, thereby permitting a shoulder to be formed at 38 with a cylindrical tip 40 extending upwardly therefrom with a horizontal, upwardly facing annular surface 42 at its upper extremity. The upper end portion 34 of the supply tube 32 is internally threaded, the threads being identified by the reference numeral 44. Recapitulating somewhat, the present riser or supply tube 32 differs from the conventional riser or supply tube largely by reason of the enlarged diameter portion 34, the shoulder 38 and cylindrical tip 40.

The purpose of the internal threads 44 is to accommodate a passaged extension member 46 having a lower threaded end or boss 48 which fits into the threads 44 on the upper end of the supply tube 32. The central or body portion of the extension member has been given the reference numeral 50 and is somewhat larger in diameter than the boss 48, thereby forming an annular shoulder 52 at the bottom and an annular shoulder 54 at the top, the body 50 itself having a cylindrical surface labeled 56. Extending upwardly through the threaded boss 48 and to a height approximately midway in the body 50 is a vertical passage 58 forming a continuation of the passage contained in the supply tube or riser 32. Four radial or horizontal passages 60 extend outwardly from the upper end of the passage, terminating in discharge ports 62.

At this time attention is directed to a float unit 64 comprising a cylindrical shell or body 66 having inwardly extending wall means 68 composed in part of an inwardly directed flange 70. The entire float unit 64 may be of molded ABS plastic. It will be observed that the inwardly directed flange 70 has an opening 72, the flange 70 terminating in a spaced relationship with the cylindrical tip 40 extending upwardly from the shoulder 38. More specifically, this clearance has been given the reference numeral 74. Attention is directed, though, to the fact that the opening 72 in the inwardly directed flange 70 has a diameter slightly less than the outer diameter of the tip 40 which extends upwardly from the shoulder 38. In other words, the inner peripheral portion (that circumjacent the opening 72) of the flange 70 will abut the shoulder 38 when the float unit 64 gravitationally moves downwardly. The cylindrical tip 40 serves as a guide so that the float unit 64 can be vertically reciprocated with respect to the supply tube 32.

The float unit 64 has a downwardly depending cylindrical skirt 76 forming a buoyancy chamber 78. More specifically, the buoyancy chamber 78 is comprised of the cylindrical skirt 76 and the bottom surface of the inwardly directed flange 70 belonging to the horizontal wall means 68. The chamber 78, as is evident from FIGS. 3 and 4, is open at the bottom and more will be said hereinafter concerning the role played by this chamber.

The wall means 68, as already explained, includes the flange 70. It will be observed that the upper side of the inner peripheral portion of the flange 70 forms a shoulder that will be referred to in greater detail hereinafter. At this time, however, attention is directed to an upwardly directed annular flange 79 forming an enlarged cylindrical inner portion 80 having a diameter greater than the inner diameter of the flange 70 forming the opening 72; the flange 79 also constitutes part of the wall means 68. The wall means 68 also includes an upper member 82 that has a shoulder at 84 plus a cylindrical inner portion 86 having the same diameter as the portion 80, thereby providing a vertical extension of the lower cylindrical portion when the upper member 82 is sonically welded to the upper face of the annular flange 79 at 88. There is an upwardly directed annular flange 90 integral with the upper member 82 that serves a purpose later to be described.

Whereas the skirt 76 extends downwardly, a cylindrical wall 92 extends upwardly from the wall means 68, more specifically from the flange 70, to form a surge cup or chamber 94 open at the top. A tubular boss 96 extends from the wall 92 just above the flange 70 to provide a drainage outlet or orifice 98 for water that has collected in the surge chamber 94 after the valve assembly has closed. The tubular boss 96 connects with a back-fill tube 100 extending horizontally and then downwardly into the overflow pipe 24. It will be understood that the tubular boss 96 forms a restricted orifice 98 having a fairly small cross section which permits the surge chamber 94 to become filled and overflow the upper edge of the cylindrical wall 92 after the valve assembly 30 becomes closed in a manner subsequently described.

The shoulder 52 on the underside of the body 50 of the passaged extension member 46 has already been referred to. Owing to the threaded connection of the extension member 46 with the upper end portion 34 of the supply tube 32,,the inner peripheral portion of a flexible or elastomeric washer-like seal 102 can be accommodated between the shoulder 52 and the upper end 42 of the supply tube 32 as clearly shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. The extension 46 is simply tightened so that the shoulder 52 presses or clamps the inner peripheral portion of the washer-like seal 102. The outer peripheral portion of the washer-like seal 102 overlies the inner peripheral portion of the flange 70. Close inspection of the left side of FIG. 3 (and also the left side of FIG. 4) will reveal that there is an annular lip 104 projecting downwardly from the bottom surface ofthe otherwise generally flat seal 102, the lip 104 having a diameter such that it resides just outwardly of the cylindrical tip 40 and just inwardly of the flange (actually within the clearance previously identified by the reference numeral 74). The lip 104 enables the seal 102 to function in a bellows-like manner.

A second flexible washer-like seal 106 has the same outer diameter as the lower seal 102, thereby being sufficiently large so that its outer peripheral portion underlies the shoulder 84. Its inner peripheral portion, though, has a larger diameter than that of the seal 102. It will presently become manifest that the flow of water is between the inner peripheral portion of the seal 106 and the cylindrical surface 56 of the extension member 46. Also, the manner in which the seal 106 functions to shut off the flow of water will soon be explained.

The two seals 102, 106 are clamped or held in place as far as their outer peripheral portions are concerned by a cylindrical ring or spacer 108. More specifically, the upper member 82 of the wall means 68 is sonically welded at 88, as already indicated, and this causes the two seals 102, 106 to be held captive, although both can flex as will be more comprehensively explained during the operational sequence hereinafter presented. Thus, the height of the ring or spacer 108 is designed so that when the upper member 82 is sonically welded to the upper face of the annular flange 79, the outer peripheral portions of both of the seals 102, 106 will be firmly held. Of course, not only is the outer peripheral portion of the lower seal 102 held fast by being clamped between the upper surface of the flange 70 adjacent its opening 72 and the lower edge of the spacer 108, but its inner peripheral portion is clamped by virtue of the shoulder 52 on the extension member 46 pressing downwardly in the direction of the upper end 42 of the supply tube 32. Preferably the inner peripheral portion just mentioned is actually attached or secured to the upper end 42, such as by sonic welding when the selection of materials permits.

Between the inner cylindrical surface of the spacer I08 and the cylindrical surface 56 of the extension member 46 is a chamber 110 which functions as a pressure chamber, any water exiting through the discharge ports 62 entering such chamber.

The extension member 46 has an upper boss 112 with threads 114. The purpose of the boss 112 is to accommodate an adjustment member indicated in its entirety by the reference numeral 116. Here again, the adjustment member 116 can be of molded plastic, such as the previously mentioned ABS, having, internal threads 118 which engage the external threads 114 on the boss 112. A central body portion 120 has an outer diameter somewhat larger than that of the body portion 50 on the extension member 46. Thus, the lower end of the body portion 120 will overhang the central body portion 50 of the extension member 46, more specifically, the shoulder 54. Owing to the larger diameter of the body portion 120, however, there is what amounts to an annular shoulder that is always available as a seat 122 against which the inner peripheral portion of the upper seal 106 can engage the shut off the flow of fluid upwardly from the pressure chamber 110. It will also be noted that the outer diameter of the body portion 120 is less than the inner diameter of the upwardly directed flange 90 of the wall means 68, thereby providing an annular passage 124, which constitutes part of a discharge chamber more fully described hereinafter, between the body portion 120 and the inner surface of the upwardly directed flange 90.

What amounts to a knob portion 126 is integrally disposed above the body portion 120 having an upstanding rib 128 (FIG. 2). Formed on the underside of the knob portion 126 is a downwardly facing annular groove 130 that cooperates with the upper edge of the cylindrical flange 90 so as to direct the water, when flowing, in a reverse direction, more specifically downwardly. The passage formed by the groove 130 forms a second portion of the tortuous discharge chamber. The member 82 which is sonically welded to the lower portion of the wall means 68 at 88 has a horizontal shoulder or platform 132 associated therewith against which the redirected water impinges. The shoulder132 directs the water radially outwardly, assisted by a horizontal flange portion 134 that is integral with the knob 126 and which is circumjacent the annular groove 130. The horizontal passage formed above the shoulder constitutes still another portion of the discharge chamber. A downwardly extending flange or skirt 136, integral with the radially extending flange 134, then causes the water to flow vertically downwardly once again. The skirt 136 forms a vertical passage which provides the final portion of the tortuous disscharge chamber. The flange 134 just mentioned terminates above the upper surface of the flange 70 belonging to the wall means 68 so that the water must then flow radially or horizontally outwardly. Between the wall 92 forming the surge chamber 94 and the outer surface of the flange 136 is sufficient clearance so that the water is free to flow upwardly, filling the surge chamber 94 in the process, and then spilling over the upper edge of the wall 92.

Although it will become clearer during the operation, it can be explained at this stage that the adjustment member 116 functions to determine the height or level of the water within the closet or tank 10. When retracted to a higher elevation, the adjustment member 116 effects a higher level of the water than it does when it is advanced downwardly to a lower position.

OPERATION It has already been explained that the adjustment member 116 determines the height of the water within the tank or closet 10. The range of high to low level adjustments realizable with ballcock valve assembly 30 is illustrated in FIG. 1, where the higher level has been indicated by the reference numeral 150 and the lower level by the reference numeral 152. The higher level 150 is determined by retracting the adjustment member 116 upwardly by rotating the adjustment member in a counterclockwise direction as indicated by the arrow 154 in FIG. 2. Conversely, the level 152 is achieved by rotating the adjustment member 116 in a clockwise direction as denoted by the arrow 156. It will be understood that the rib 128 is grasped by the user in effecting the rotation in either the direction indicated by the arrow 154 or the direction indicated by the arrow 156, access to the adjustment member being readily achieved through the top of the tank or closet 10.

At the left in FIGS. 3 and 4, the desired water level 152 is depicted. Although mentioned above that this produces a low water level, the manner in which the low water level 152 is realized will be better understood from the description given below.

With no water in the tank, as is the case when the float ball valve 18 has been raised from its seat 20 by actuating the trip level 12 to flush the tank or closet 10, the float unit 64 drops gravitationally downwardly, being limited in its downward travel by the engagement of the flange against the shoulder 38 on the supply tube or riser 32, as can be discerned from the right side of FIG. 3.

The above action causes the upper seal 106 to move downwardly in unison with the float unit 64, because it is only its outer peripheral margin or edge portion that is held by the wall means 68, more specifically by reason of the clamping action of the shoulder 84 against the upper side of the seal 106 to clamp the portion downwardly against the upper edge of the spacing ring 108. This spaced relation of the seal 106 with respect to the seat or shoulder 122 can be noted from the right side of FIG. 3.

Inasmuch as the supply tube or riser 32 provides water under pressure, such as from a pump or municipal water system, the water immediately flows upwardly as indicated by the directional arrows 158, the flow progressing upwardly through the passages 58 and 60 in the extension member 50 as denoted by the arrows 160. The water is discharged from the ports 62 into the pressure chamber 110. The lower flexible seal 102 prevents any downward flow of water, whereas the spaced relation of the upper seal 106 with respect to the seat 122 allows water to flow upwardly as denoted by the arrows 162, the water continuing upwardly through the annular passage 124 (the beginning of what has been referred to as a tortuous discharge chamber) formed by the body portion in the inner surface of the upwardly directed flange 90, the flow in this region being indicated by the arrow 164. When the liquid reaches the downwardly facing annular groove (also part of the discharge chamber), its direction is reversed from an upward one to a downward one, the reversel being indicated by the arrow 164. The water, owing to the fact that it is now moving downwardly, impinges upon the shoulder 132 (also part of the tortuous discharge chamber), the downward force so derived acting in a direction to assist in keeping the float unit 64 and the seal 106 spaced downwardly from the shoulder or seat 122. The arrow 166 at the right in FIG. 3 denotes the impingement force that is provided by reason of the reversal imparted to the water by reason of the groove 130, assisted, of course, by the upstanding annular flange 90. The water flows radially outward over the shoulder 132 and then the downwardly directed annular flange 136, this being concentric with the upstanding flange 90, causes the water once again to be diverted, this time vertically donwardly so that it strikes or impinges upon the upper surface of the flange 70. The vertical path just described is denoted by the arrows 168 and forms the final portion of the tortuous discharge chamber. The reversal of the flow by reason of the striking of the upper surface of the flange 70 has been identified by the arrow 170. Additional arrows 172 signify the filling of the surge chamber 94, and the arrows 174 indicates the water as it flows over the upper edge of the cylindrical wall 92. It should be understood that the arrows 174 represent the flow downwardly along the exterior of the cylindrical wall 92. It should be recognized that the water flowing over the upper edge of the cup or cylindrical wall 92 does so throughout a 360 circle when the surge chamber 94 is viewed from above, this perhaps being best appreciated from an inspection of FIG. 2. It perhaps is not obvious though that the water constitutes a cylindrical thin sheet that literally clings to the outside of the wall 92 with the consequence that there is no splashing and no accompanying objectionable noise as it flows downwardly via the path indicated by the arrows 175.

It will be understood that during the filling of the surge chamber 94 that some of the water travels outwardly through the tubular boss 96 and through the backfill tube 100 leading into the overflow pipe 24. An arrow 176 indicates the flow through the passage or orifice 93 provided by the boss 96. Although this water is lost, the amount thereof is negligible with respect to the amount that flows upwardly through the surge chamber 94 and over the upper edge of the cylindrical wall 92.

As the water flows over the upper edge of the cylindrical wall 92, the level of the water in the tank continues to rise until the water lines 152 at the left in FIGS. 3 and 4 is reached. Whereas the water line 152 represents the desired water level within the tank 10 for a given angular adjustment of the member 116, more specifically the knob portion 126 thereof, the level within the buoyancy chamber 78 is at a lower height, this line being indicated by the reference numeral 178. More specifically, the air within the chamber 78 is progressively compressed as the water enters the lower, open end of the skirt 76. It might be helpful to assign the reference numeral 180 to the various arrows denoting the force acting upwardly in a direction tending to close the valve assembly 30. Thus, the air, as it is compressed, acts against the underside of the flange '70 to urge the float unit 64 upwardly.

The buoyant action of the entrapped air within the buoyancy chamber 78 is resisted by the weight of the float unit 64 plus the weight of water contained in the surge chamber 112. However, when the combined weight of the unit 64 and the water in the surge chamber 94 is overcome, the entire unit 64 is urged upwardly as can be understood from the left side of FIG. 3. It will be noted that the flange 70 has moved out of engagement with the shoulder 38. Also, it will be observed that the seal 106 has been moved upwardly so as to engage and seat against the lower end or shoulder 122 belonging to the body portion 120 of the adjustment member 116. When such a situation prevails, the further flow of water upwardly is prevented as can be readily comprehended from a study of the left side of FIG. 3. Before the valve assembly 30 is closed, that is before the seal 106 seats against the shoulder 122, the forces acting upwardly (from the buoyancy provided by the entrapped air in the chamber 78 as indicated by the arrows 180) are steadily increasing in that the water in the tank 10 is rising, and it is when these upward forces equal the downward forces (from the weight of the float unit 64, the downward impingement of the water as denoted by the arrows 166 and 168, plus the weight of the water in the surge chamber 94) produce a fast closure of the seal 106 against the shoulder or seat 122. 1

It will be appreciated that at the time the flush is initiated, there is a maximum degree of buoyancy within the chamber 78. This is derived from the water line 178. However, when the tank 10 is emptied, there is no water level 152. Stated somewhat differently, there is no buoyancy whatsoever to raise the float unit 64, and it, quite obviously, drops down so as to open the valve assembly 30, that is lower the seal 106 away from the shoulder 122 with which it has been seated up to this time, all as indicated at the right in FIG. 3.

In actual practice, the travel from closed to open and vice versa is only on the order of one-sixteenth inch. This has prompted the split sectional view selected for FIG. 3, for if two separate figures were submitted then a facile comparison of what occurs when the valve assembly 30 opens and when it is closed could not be made. The side-by-side relationship pictured in FIG. 3 permits such a comparison. It should be evident that once the seal 106 engages the shoulder or seat 122 to stop further flow that the water contained in the surge chamber 94 is drained outwardly through the tubular boss 96 and the backfill tube 100.

Inasmuch as one feature of my valve assembly 30 is its non-syphoning capability, it will now be supposed that there is a complete loss of water within the supply tube or riser 32. It will be remembered that the air is entrapped within the buoyancy chamber 78, creating forces acting in the direction of the arrows 180, and that this air is maintaining the valve assembly 30 closed as pictured at the left in FIG. 3. If there is a loss in supply pressure, though, then a vacuum exists in the supply tube 32 which can only pull the water remaining in the pressure chamber 110 and the annular passage 124 thereabove, the water simply being sucked" downwardly into the supply tube 32. Any water within the surge chamber 94 quickly drains through the tubular boss 96, through the backfill tube 100 and thence into the overflow pipe 24. Attention is directed to the presence of the lower flexible seal 102, particularly the manner in which the inner and outer peripheral portions are anchored or held fast. Such an anchoring of the peripheral edges will cause the seal 102 to block positively any movement of either air or water into the pressure chamber or out of the pressure chamber 110. What this means is that the position of the valve assembly with respect to the water line can be quite high, actually on or below the highest water level that is desired, yet retaining the above-alluded to nonsyphon feature.

It cannot be stressed too extensively that only air, and just an insignificant quantity of water, can be drawn into the tube 32 when there is a loss of line pressure within the supply tube 32, there being no opportunity for water to flow in a reverse direction in that any water contained in the surge chamber 94 has already drained from the previous fill through the tubular boss 96 and the backfill tube 100 connected thereto. Consequently, there can be no contamination of the water supply to which the pipe 28 is connected.

FIG. 4 is presented for the purpose of illustrating the convenient manner in which the water level 152 can be changed. The left side of FIG. 4 corresponds to the left side of FIG. 3 and the same water line 152 appears at the left in FIG. 4 as at the left in FIG. 3. However, the right side of FIG. 4 graphically represents a changed angular position of the adjustment member 116. More specifically, as far as the right side of FIG. 4 is concerned, the knob 126 has been rotated by grasping the rib 128 and twisting the member 116 counterclockwise or in the direction of the arrow 154, as viewed in FIG. 2, to thereby retract or raise the entire member 116. What occurs is that the clearance between the seat 122 and seal 106 is increased because the adjustment member 116 cannot move upwardly because of its threaded connection to the boss 112 which is integral with the extension member and hence spatially fixed at this time in that the member 46 is threadedly attached to the riser 32. Since the area in that portion of the tortuous discharge chamber facing downwardly in appreciable, the flow of water acting against this downwardly facing area produces an effective or reactive force downwardly on the upwardly facing area of the discharge chamber, such area being provided by the float unit 64 itself. Stated somewhat differently, the greater the flow, the greater the pressure in the tortuous discharge chamber (the path defined by the arrows 164, 166, 168 and 170) and consequently the greater the force (in addition to weight) urging the float unit 64 downwardly. Of course, the water in the pressure chamber 110 also acts downwardly on a limited area, but this area is considerably less and even though subjected to a greater pressure (supply pressure) the force (pressure X area) is not nearly as effective. Therefore, a higher degree of buoyancy is required to hold the valve assembly 30 closed under these conditions. When such a set of circumstances exists, then the water level is raised from the level 152. The higher water level has been denoted in FIG. 4 at the right by the reference numeral 150, this being the same numeral utilized to indicate the higher water level in FIG. 1. The higher level required of the water within the buoyancy chamber 78 has been assigned the reference numeral 184.

It should be appreciated that the buoyant action must be increased in order to close the valve assembly 30. In other words, the additional force must be supplied by the entrapped air. Derivation of this additional upward pressure against the underside of the flange 70 can only come about from the higher water level 150 (and a greater compression of the air in the chamber 78 as denoted by the higher level 184). When this condition is established, then the float unit 64 moves upwardly, carrying with it the seal 106, so as to cause the seal 106 to seat against the shoulder 122 to prevent further flow. Once this condition is reached, then the water contained in the surge chamber 94 escapes downwardly through the backfill tube 100 in the same fashion as previously described with the valve setting for the lower water level 152.

The direct opposite occurs when the adjustment member 116 is tightened or advanced downwardly. This decreases the clearance between the valve seat 122 and the saal 106. The resulting reduced rate of flow from the pressure chamber 110 into the discharge chamber (which starts with the passage 124 and which has also been defined by reference to the arrows 164-170) produces a lesser pressure within the discharge chamber. This results in a reduced force urging the float unit 64 downwardly which in turn necessitates less buoyancy, meaning a lower water level, such as the level 152 (but depending on how much the adjustment member 116 has been rotated in the direction of the arrow 156 in FIG. 2).

As shown in FIG. 2, appropriate legends can be embossed on the knob 126 in addition to the arrows 154, 156 so that the user is adequately informed as to the direction he should twist or rotate the adjustment member I16, either by grasping the rib 128 with his fingers or employing a suitable implement to affect such rota- I tion, such as by means of pliers.

I claim:

1. A valve assembly including vertical supply means having at least one outlet port and a downwardly facing shoulder at an elevation above said port, a float unit guided by said supply means forming a pressure chamber into which fluid flows which passes through said outlet port, a first flexible sealing member provided with a generally flat, annular configuration having its outer edge portion fastened to said float unit and its inner edge portion underlying said shoulder so that when said float unit moves sufficiently upwardly said inner edge portion engages said shoulder to prevent upward flow of fluid from said pressure chamber, a second flexible sealing member provided with a generally flat, annular configuration having its inner edge portion supported by said supply means at an elevation below said port and its outer edge supported by said float unit to prevent downward flow of fluid from said pressure chamber.

2. A valve assembly in accordance with claim 1 in which said supply means includes a tube having a shoulder thereon for limiting the downward movement of said float unit and thereby determining the amount of downward movement of said first flexible sealing member relative to said downwardly facing shoulder.

3. A valve assembly in accordance with claim 1 in which said float unit includes a cylindrical body having inwardly extending wall means forming a surge chamber above said wall means and a buoyancy chamber below said wall means.

4. A valve assembly in accordance with claim 3 in which said supply means includes a tube and means threadedly attached to the upper end of said tube, said threaded means having a vertical passage continuing upwardly from said tube and a horizontal passage extending to said outlet port, said threaded means projecting above said wall means and formed with a downwardly facing groove above said first sealing member so that fluid first passes upwardly between said first sealing member and said downwardly facing shoulder when said first sealing member has moved downwardly from said downwardly facing shoulder, the fluid continuing upwardly to said downwardly facing groove where it is deflected downwardly by said downwardly facing groove onto said wall means.

5. A valve assembly in accordance with claim 4 in which said downwardly facing groove has an annular configuration, and said wall means has an annular upstanding flange disposed beneath said groove so that fluid passing said first sealing member flows upwardly past the inner surface of said annular flange and downwardly past the outer surface thereof after being deflected by said downwardly facing groove.

6. A valve assembly in accordance with claim 5 in which said threaded means has a downwardly directed annular flange spaced outwardly from said first annular flange so that fluid deflected downwardly from said downwardly facing groove passes beneath the lower edge of said downwardly directed flange before flowing over the upper edge of said surge chamber.

7. A float valve assembly in accordance with claim 6 in which said cylindrical body has an outlet port adjacent the upper surface of said wall means so that any fluid remaining in said surge chamber after said first sealing member engages said downwardly facing shoulder is drained from said surge chamber.

8. A valve assembly in accordance with claim 4 in which said threaded means has a downwardly facing shoulder confronting the inner edge portion of said second sealing member to press said inner edge portion against the upper end of said tube when said threaded means is in a lower position to prevent fluid within said pressure chamber from contacting said inner edge portion.

9. A float valve assembly in accordance with claim 8 including ring means confronting the outer edge portion of said second sealing member to press said outer edge portion against said wall means.

10. A float valve assembly in accordance with claim 9 in which the lower edge of said ring means confronts the outer edge portion of said second sealing member and the upper edge of said ring means confronts the outer edge portion of said first sealing member to press the outer edge portion against an upper portion of said wall means.

11. A valve assembly including vertical supply means having at least one outlet port and a downwardly facing shoulder at an elevation above said port, a float unit guided by said supply means forming a pressure chamber into which fluid flows which passes through said outlet port, said float unit having an inwardly extending flange providing an upwardly facing shoulder at an elevation below said port, a first flexible sealing member provided with a generally flat, annular configuration havings its outer edge portion attached to said float unit and its inner edge portion underlying said downwardly facing shoulder so that when said float unit moves sufficiently upwardly said inner edge portion engages said downwardly facing shoulder to prevent upward flow of fluid from said pressure chamber, and a second flexible sealing member provided with a generally flat, annular configuration having its inner edge portion supported by said supply means at an elevation below said port and its outer edge overlying said upwardly facing shoulder to prevent downward flow of fluid from said pressure chamber.

12. A float valve assembly comprising a generally vertical member having a vertical passage and a radial passage terminating in an outlet port, an adjustment member threadedly connected with the upper end portion of said passaged member having a lower shoulder movable downwardly and upwardly with respect to said passage member, a cylindrical shell provided with inwardly projecting wall means forming a pressure chamber circumjacent said outlet port, the lower portion of said wall means being reciprocably guided, means for limiting the downward movement of said wall means, a flexible or resilient washer-type seal having its outer periphery held by said wall means and extending inwardly to a location beneath said shoulder, said seal being engageable with said shoulder, whereby fluid .can flow upwardly when said shell has moved gravitationally downwardly to position said seal in a spaced relation with said shoulder, and a second flexible or resilient washer-type seal for preventing downward flow of fluid from said pressure chamber, whereby when said adjustment member is rotated said shoulder is positioned with respect to said first seal to determine the amount of entrapped air within said shell beneath said wall means to cause sufficient upward movement of said shell and first seal to cause said first seal to move into engagement with said shoulder to block upward fluid flow.

13. A float valve assembly comprising a tubular member having its upper end internally threaded, an extension member having its lower end threadedly received in the upper end of said tubular member, .said extension member having a vertical passage extending upwardly from said tubular member and a radial passage extending horizontally from the upper end of said vertical passage, an adjustment member threadedly attached to the upper end of said extension member, said adjustment member having a shoulder circumjacent the lower end thereof, a sleeve having inwardly directed wall means, a lower portion of said wall means being guided for reciprocal movement by the upper portion of said tubular member, said tubular member having a shoulder limiting the downward movement of said wall means, said sleeve having a cylindrical skirt portion depending downwardly from said wall means to form a buoyancy chamber concentric with said tubular member which is open at its bottom and a cylindrical cup portion extending upwardly from said wall means forming a surge chamber which is open at its top, a first annular resilient washer having its outer periphery anchored to said upper wall means and having a central opening of a size less than that of the cross-section extension member containing said radial passage and less than that of said shoulder so as to be engageable with said shoulder, said wall means and adjustment member forming a discharge chamber and said wall means having an opening extending therethrough of a larger diameter than that of said adjustment member so that fluid may flow upwardly through said discharge chamber into said surge chamber when said sleeve has moved downwardly to position said first resilient washer in a spaced relation beneath said shoulder, and a second annular resilient washer having a central opening therein of a lesser diameter than the upper end of said tubular member so that said second resilient washer can be engaged by said extension member when its lower end is threaded sufficiently downwardly into the internally threaded upper end of said tubular member, the outer peripheral portion of said second resilient washer overlying said wall means to enable said extension member to be advanced downwardly so as to abut said second resilient washer.

14. A float valve assembly in accordance with claim 13 in which said second resilient washer is formed with an annular lip.

15. A float valve assembly in accordance with claim 13 in which a drain hole is provided at an elevation above the upper surface of said wall means so that fluid contained in said surge chamber is drained from said surge chamber when said first resilient washer prevents further upward flow into said surge chamber.

16. A float valve assembly in accordance with claim 15 in which said discharge chamber includes means on said adjustment member for directing the upward flow of fluid downwardly so as to assist in holding said first resilient washer in a spaced relation with said shoulder.

tric flanges, one of said concentric flanges being disposed on said wall means and the other on said adjustment member.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3135287 *Mar 7, 1962Jun 2, 1964Frank KepkaValve
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4079748 *Mar 25, 1976Mar 21, 1978Masuda Co., Ltd.Automatic stop valve
US4080986 *Jul 19, 1976Mar 28, 1978Adolf SchoepeBall cock float having improved anti-noise structure
US4186764 *Jul 22, 1977Feb 5, 1980Ole Gunnar SelvaagValve for controlling liquid flow
US5007452 *Mar 22, 1989Apr 16, 1991Antunez Bruce ABowl fill for a tank valve
Classifications
U.S. Classification137/432, 137/451, 73/322.5, 137/414, 137/426
International ClassificationF16K31/24, F16K31/18
Cooperative ClassificationF16K31/24
European ClassificationF16K31/24