US 3873806 A
A vaporizer-humidifier having a small insulated vaporization chamber within a larger storage chamber, heating means within the vaporization chamber and a fan above the chamber for drawing air through and vapor from the vaporization chamber and dispelling it. The vaporization chamber has an open lower end communicating with a sediment collecting reservoir, which reservoir is connected by a one-way valve with the large storage chamber to permit liquid therein to flow into the sediment collecting reservoir and then up into the vaporization chamber as the liquid therein is vaporized. Sediment purged from the liquid settles in the removable sediment collecting reservoir.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [1 1 Schossow VAPORIZER-HUMIDIFIER  Inventor: George W. Schossow, 2316 Lilac Ln., White Bear Lake, Minn. 55110  Filed: Oct. 1, 1973 2 11 Appl. No.: 402,288
Related U.S. Application Data  Division of Ser. No. 832,279, June 11, 1969, Pat. No.
219/284-295, 362; 126/1l3',261/141, 142, 72, DlG. 46; 128/186, 192; 21/118, 117, 119
[ Mar. 25, 1975 2,810,381 10/1957 Knight 219/272 X 2,847,547 8/1958 Gordon 219/273 2,847,548 8/1958 Gordon ct al.... 219/276 3,450,860 6/1969 Kneisley 219/272 Primary ExaminerA. Bartis Attorney, Agent, or Firm-John C. Barnes  ABSTRACT A vaporizer-humidifier having a small insulated vaporization chamber within a larger storage chamber, heating means within the vaporization chamber and a fan above the chamber for drawing air through and vapor from the vaporization chamber and dispelling it. The vaporization chamber has an open lower end communicating with a sediment collecting reservoir, which reservoir is connected by a one-way valve with the large storage chamber to permit liquid therein to flow [561 112323533212132531iEZEFSSSEZJSEEFQn ;1 UNITED STATES PATENTS porized. Sediment purged from the liquid settles in the CQWan removable sediment ollecting reservoir 2,152,157 3/1939 Sittler ct a1. 219/272 2,162,462 6/1939 Reid 219/275 X 6 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures l l l II I I I I I I I I I O O j T:
PATENTED HARE 519. 5
SHEET 1 BF 5 PMENTEU M25191? SHLET 2 [IF 5 PATENTEUMAR25 1915 3,873,806 sum 5 9f 5 F/GJ' VAPORIZER-HUMIDIFIER This is a division of application Ser. No. 832,279, filed June 11, 1969, now U.S. Pat. No. 3,809,374, granted May 7, 1974.
This invention relates to an improvement in humidifiers and in one aspect to a vaporizer-humidifier for pro ducing and dispelling clean moist warm air.
At present the art is replete with vaporizers for the vaporization of fluid substantially immediately within a smaller vaporization chamber which has limited communication between a larger volume of liquid surrounding the vaporization chamber. The steam generated is expelled through a port at the top of the vaporization chamber. Examples of vaporizers of this type are illustrated in U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,847,547; 2,847,548; and 3,420,509. These units however do not offer any protection against scalds or steam burns. They do not provide means for varying the temperature of the expelled vapor, and are notself-cleaning or easily cleaned.
The art is also familiar with the numerous cold air humidifiers utilizing a centrally disposed rotating tubular and generally conical pump to draw liquid into an area for spraying and mixing the spray with air to be carried therefrom as vapor or liquid droplets to the space to be humidified. U.S. Pat. Nos. 1,853,853; 3,188,007; and 3,348,821 are examples of these cold or heatless humidifiers. Other types of cold humidifiers blow air through woven or sponge like water screens or carriers.
The therapeutic efficiency of steam vapor has been widely known and accepted in medical circles. It has also been used in the home for many years because of its medical value and it is discussed in many of the prior art patents which have been granted to date. The heat type humidifiers known in the prior patents or prior art have involved an element of danger because they generated steam vapor by a boiling water device that involves risk in that it can and will burn people. Tragedies have resulted and law suits have been filed because of burns received from the heat type vaporizers. Because of the danger of burns, the promotion and use of steam vaporizers have fallen and they have been partly replaced by the safer, however less desirable medically, heatless humidifiers. Steam vapor or heat type humidifiers are however still available and are competitive with the cold humidifiers because of the desirable qualities that cold humidifiers do not have.
The major advantages of steam vapor are (1) it is pure distilled water vapor, free of mineral dust and undesirable disease-producing organisms, i.e., viruses, bacteria, yeast, molds and allergenic particles, i.e., pollens, house dust, etc., (2) it provides heat which is of known therapeutic value and also provides a degree of warmth to the sick room, necessary in the colder climates, (the heating of a sick room by hot air circulation can actually carry away the generated humidity via the cold air returns and the warm vapor reduces the heat and humidity loss in the sick room) and (3) it serves to heat sterilize the vapor-producing apparatus.
The major disadvantages of steam are (l) the danger of burns and (2) overheating a sick room in the hotter climates.
The advantages of cold humidifiers are (1) that it is safe from burns, and (2) it is desirable in hot weather to avoid overheating the sick room.
The disadvantages of a cold or heatless humidifier are (1) it may dissipate very dangerous germs from contaminated water or an unclean apparatus, (2) it dissipates allergies, fungi, molds and mineral dust, although the use of distilled water may partially alleviate this problem, distilled water is costly and therefore seldom utilized, (3) it dissipates small particles of water which require greater quantities of heat from the atmosphere to convert them into a gaseous vapor, (this actually cools a sick room and in trying to alleviate the problem the home heating system will'remove the generated humidity from the sick room through the cold air returns to the furnace) (4) it generally produces a blanket of dampness around the humidifier, and (5 it produces a damp, cold, clammy and uncomfortable humidity which is deleterious to the health and which almost voids any beneficial effects medically as it may cause sinuses to become more conjested, and arthritis to become more uncomfortable because of aggravation by the coldness and dampness.
The ideal humidifier would therefore be one that has all the advantages of the steam vaporizer while eliminating the danger of burns completely.
The vaporizer-humidifier of the present invention affords a unique safe means of producing warm humid air for medical uses, facial saunas, room or area humidifiers, and for central or forced air furnace humidifiers.
The present invention affords steam vapor in a manner to regulate temperature within a safe range.
The present invention provides a safe humidifier designed to be self-cleaning or easily cleaned, no demineralizing or pretreating of the source water is required.
The vaporizer-humidifier of the present invention produces vaporized water humidity avoiding the objectional deposits of mineral dust in the area to be humidified. The vaporizer-humidifier can thus serve to reduce static electricity as is necessary in hospital surgery departments.
The portable medical vaporizer-humidifier of the present invention adapts itself to be used in the open, to have a conduit connected thereto allowing the discharged warrn moist air to be mixed with medical gases, i.e. oxygen, anesthetic gases, etc. or to be carried to a distant point and concentrated or to be used as a facial sauna or to be inhaled directly from the conduit without danger of burns. The vaporizer-humidifier is scald and burn proof as the small volume of water in the vaporization chamber is rapidly mixed and cooled by the cold water present in the surrounding replenishable water supply reservoir or storage chamber in the event the unit should tip and fall or be opened for refilling. The mixing is accomplished by separation of the elements forming the vaporization chamber or upon the water therein pouring through air vents in the top of the vaporization chamber into the storage reservoir in the event the cover and base do not separate.
The present invention also provides a self-cleaning immersion heating unit and boiling chamber for use in humidifiers.
The vaporizer-humidifier of the present invention is of the heat type but restricts the dangerous aspects of prior devices by providing an isolated insulated vaporization chamber within a larger cold reservoir. Further, it provides a self-cleaning immersion heater in the vaporization chamber, a vaporization chamber which has a scale resistant interior lining, a vapor dispelling fan for reducing the temperature of the vapor and reducing the air pressure in the vaporization chamber and the time to generate the vapor, and means affording the vapor to be directed remotely with relationship to the 3 humidifier unit. It provides an impurity collection system and a novel water feed system for the vaporization chamber. The construction of the vaporization chamber, communicating air and water passage and surrounding reservoir, with the fan above the chamber afford an advantage heretofore not presented by the prior art.
The above advantages of the present invention and further features and details of the invention will be more fully understood after reading the following description which refers to the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a vertical sectional view taken diametrically through the center of one embodiment of the vaporizer-humidifier constructed in accordance-with the present invention; l
FIG. 2 is a plan view of the base of the vaporizerhumidifier generally as seen along lines 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a bottom view of the top portion of the vaporizer-humidifier as seen along the lines 33 of- FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a plan view of a second embodiment of a vaporizer-humidifier constructed in accordance with the present invention for use on a central heating unit or room-size unit;
FIG. 5 is a vertical sectional view of the vaporizerhumidifier of FIG. 4; and
FIG. 6 is a detailed sectional view of the valve in the passage between the water reservoir and the vaporization chamber.
REferring now to the drawing, and particularly to FIGS. 1 through 3, there is illustrated a portable medical vaporizer-humidifier 10 which comprises a top portion 11 and a base portion 12. The base portion 12 is formed to comprisea storage chamber 13 for holding a limited water supply to replenish the supply of water in an inner isolated and insulated vaporization chamber 14 formed as hereinafter defined. As illustrated the base 12 is generally circular and tub-shaped with a bottom wall 16 and a circular side wall 17. The storage chamber 13 is adapted to be filled with liquid, such as tap water, having natural impurities therein including such minerals as calcium, iron, magnesium sodium and potassium, and possibly dust particles. This base is supported by buttons 18 disposed beneath the bottom wall 16. The central portion ofthe bottom wall 16 may have an offset depressed wall portion 19, as indicated in FIG. 1. A circular disc 20 of rigid closed cell polymeric foam material is adhered to the wall portion 19. This disc is formed with a circular groove to receive the lower end of a tubular member 39 which forms the side wall of the vaporization chamber 14. A passageway 62 is formed in the disc 20 to allow water from the storage chamber 13 to enter the vaporization chamber 14. A one-way check valve 61 prevents the flow of hot water from the steam chamber in the other direction and thus the water in the storage chamber will not be heated.
The cover 11 is adapted to telescopically fit over and onto the top of the circular side wall 17 of the base 12.
The cover 11 comprises a generally planar, and in the illustrated embodiment circular, plate member 21,'depending from which is a circular flange 22 having an inner diameter to receive the top of the circular side wall 17. Supported above the plate 21 is a dome-shaped cap 24 within which is a spaced generally hemispherically-shaped member 26 to define therebetween a vapor discharge or exhaust chamber 27. Generally circular tubular members 25, fitted inthe cap 24 and member 26, define openings which lead from the outer surface of the cap 24 to communicate with the inner chamber formed by the wall 26 in which is disposed a drive motor 28 for a fan 30. The fan 30 is supported from the motor 28 by the drive shaft 31. The motor 28 and fan 30 are supported from a frame 32 disposed within the cap 24. The shaft 31 extends through an enlarged central opening 29 in the frame 32, which opening 29 together with openings 30a in the top plate of the fan 30 draw air through openings 25 into the inner chamber 26 to cool the motor and to afford sufficient air flow through the unit to maintain the discharged vapor at a safe temperature when a second air flow control, to be hereinafter described, is completely closed. The frame 32 has peripheral openings 34 communicating with the vapor, discharge chamber 27 through which the vapor and motor cooling air are discharged. The fan 30 is positioned directly above the vaporization chamber 14 and a central opening 35 disposed in the plate 21 is positioned in registry with an opening 36 in the bottom plate of the fan defining the inlet area of the fan 30. The opening 36 is centrally positioned relative to the fan blades 37.
Depending below the plate 21 and secured thereto is the tubular member 39 which defines with the insulative base member 20, the vaporization chamber 14. The tubular member 39 is preferably cylindrical and is formed of a light nonporous closed cell rigid polymeric foam insulating material, the interior surface of which is coated to prevent the collection of scale, to insulate the vaporization chamber 14 from the storage chamber 13. The bottom of the member 39 fits in a mating groove 40 formed in the top of the base member 20. Adjacent the upper portion of the tubular member 39, or the end thereof secured to the plate 21, is a plurality of air vent holes 41 which are above the water level of the reservoir 13 and which permit air to be drawn into the upper portion of the vaporization chamber 14 by the fan 30. The air and vapor formed by the boiling liquid in the vaporization chamber 14 is then drawn through the opening 35 to be moved by the fan through the vapor discharge chamber 27. Air enters the base 12 to move through the vent holes 41 through one or more inlet ports 42 formed with an adjustable cover 43 in the cover plate 21 to allow for variation in the amount of air entering the base 12 and the temperature of the steam discharged. The vent holes 41 will also permit the hot water in the vaporization chamber to pour out and mix with the water in the reservoir if the unit is tipped and the cover and base do not separate and destroy the vaporization chamber. The chance of burns from the hot water is thus eliminated.
Disposed within the vaporization chamber 14 is a heating element 44 preferably comprising an electrical resistor sealed within an outer protective sheath which sheath is preferably coated with a smooth corrosionresistant self-cleaning coating such as polytetrafluoroethylene, commonly sold under the trademark Teflon or an equivalent heat-resistant, hard, smooth material which will withstand the expansion and contraction. Also disposed within the vaporization chamber 14 and adjacent to the heating element 44 is a thermostatic safety switch device 45. The immersion heating element 44 has the greater portion thereof positioned closely adjacent the bottom of the vaporization chamber 14 to utilize as much of the liquid which may be stored in the supply reservoir as possible before operation is discontinued. Operation is discontinued by the area adjacent the heating element 44 reaching a temperature of about 220F. or greater as determined by the sensitivity of the element 45. The heating element 44 will not reach this temperature except when the supply of water in the vaporization chamber is nearly depleted exposing the heating ring of the heating element 44.
The vaporizer-humidifier of the present invention also includes a suitable electric circuit to energize the motor 28 and the heating element 44, and in this circuit is included the conventional electrical plug 51 affording connection of the circuit to a source of electricity, which via suitable conductors and through an interlock switch 52 provides electrical power through a circuit breaker 49 to the heating element 44 and to the motor 28. The interlock switch closes with the cover 11 in place and the switch resting against a shelf 53 supported from the outside of wall 17. The thermostatic safety switch device 45 will shunt the circuit breaker to open the same when its operating temperature is reached. Opening of the circuit through the circuit breaker can close a circuit to an alarm buzzer (not shown), and to indicate audibly that the water supply needs replenishing. The signal could be visual and not audible, i.e. a light. The thermostatic safety switch device 45 comprises a bimetallic bar which upon attaining a temperature of 220F., for example, closes a set of contacts, to short circuit the circuit breaker and deenergize motor 28 and heater 44. It would also energize the alarm. v The cap 24 may be formed at its uppermost point with a discharge nozzle 55 whichmay be adjustable 360F. relative to the .top of the cap to determine the direction of the discharge of the warm moist air. The discharge end 56 of the nozzle 55 may be formed with a suitable fastener to receive the end 57 of a conduit 58 through which the warm moist air may be directed to a distant location, for example, into a tent over a bed, directly to an oxygen tent or to another unit, e.g., a furnace plenum. Also adaptedfor connection on the end 56 of the discharge nozzle 55 may be a cone or molding forming a chamber for a facial sauna.
In the base 12 of the vaporizer-humidifier and penetrating the wall 17, may be a transparent tube 59 to form a water level indicator for the storage chamber 13 and generally for vaporization chamber 14.
The vaporizer-humidifier 10 is scald and burn proof as the separation of the cover 11 from the base 12 destroys the vaporization chamber 14 and any water therein readily mixes with the colder (room temperature) water in the storage reservoir as cylindrical surface 39 is separated from a mating groove 40 in the disk 20. Separation of the cover also electrically disconnects the heater 44 and motor 28. The moving air through the vaporization chamber 14 produces a vapor discharge having a temperature considerably less than steam and this is controlled by the covers 43 on the air inlet opening or openings 42. The unit 10 is easily cleaned of any scale or deposit which accumulates in the vaporization chamber each time the base is refilled simply by rinsing.
The valve, generally designated 61, is a one-way valve for a passage 62 leading from the reservoir 13 into vaporization chamber 14. The valve illustrated uses a ball 63, heavier than water, to prevent water flow from the vaporization chamber 14 into reservoir 13. This prevents the heating of water in reservoir 13.
Referring now to FIGS. 5 and 6 of the drawing there is shown a vaporizer-humidifier 69 formed generally for use in connection with a room-size humidifier or central heating unit. This particular embodiment is for the central heating unit and comprises a cabinet or frame 70 defining a storage chamber 71 between a bottom wall 72, a top wall 73 and circular or rectangularly disposed side walls 74. The bottom wall 72 is formed with a generally centrally disposed opening 75. Disposed centrally within this chamber 71 is a small insulated vaporization chamber 76 defined by a cylindrical member 77 formed of a rigid polymeric foam material. The lower portion of the member 77 is cone, funnel or chute shaped and converges to extend through the opening in the bottom wall 72 and has a bottom opening 78. In this manner the interior of the chamber 76 communicates with the inside of a removable deposit receptacle or common glass jar 80 threadably supported in a suitable cap or interiorly threaded flange 81 depending from the bottom of the wall 72. Also formed in the bottom wall 72 to communicate with the chamber 76 via the receptacle 80 is a small fluid passage 82 having a one-way valve (ball valve) 83 permitting liquid from the storage reservoir 71 to flow into the receptacle 80 and hence through the lower opening 78 of the member 77 into the vaporization chamber 76. In this valve the ball is buoyant to rise into and seal the passageway 82 to prevent hot water from returning to the storage chamber or into the sediment receptacle 80. The location provided for this valve keeps it out of contact with the hot water so it is not subjected to scale collecting thereon to alter its operation.
Disposed within the vaporization chamber 76 is an immersion heating element 84 formed of a sealed electrical resistor in a sheath coated with polytetrafluoroethylene to restrict any scale collection and to be self-cleaning. A thermostatic switch is positioned near the heating element to prevent overheating should the level of the water drop below the upper portion of the heating coil of the heater 84. The heater 84 may be a helical coil extending axially in the member 77 and is suitably connected through electrical conductors with a source of electricity. Positioned directly above the top wall 73 of the storage chamber 71 is a squirrel-cage blower 85 driven by an electric motor and having an inlet area 86 thereto positioned directly above an opening 88 formed in the plate 73. The blades of the blower 85 will serve to draw vapor and air from the vaporization chamber 76 into the squirrel-cage blower and exhaust the same through an exit port 90 into the plenum of the heating unit or into the room if used in a room humidifier. Air is drawn into the upper portion of the storage reservoir 71 above the normal level of the liquid within the storage reservoir 71 through an opening 91 which may have a regulated variable closure. The opening 91 can communicate with the plenum of the heating unit to allow warm air to be drawn into and over the vaporization chamber 76 and out through the squirrel-cage blower back into the hot air plenum where this clean mixture of air and steam is placed into the heating air to aid in heating, lessen the dust, and provide a generally more comfortable room and cleaner air.
Liquid may be piped or otherwise made available to the vaporizer-humidifier 69 and the control of the liqmined level, will open, tending to allow the liquid to fill the storage reservoir 71 back to a predetermined level automatically. A manual valve 93 is also positioned in the supply line to shut off the source of water for servicing the apparatus.
The heatin'g'element 84 and blower motor are operated through a humidistat. The heating element ina unit of this type is preferably rated at about 750 to 1,500 watts and operates upon such a small amount of water at a slightly reduced pressure that it is substantially instantaneously brought to a boiling temperature.
The heating member could have a variable wattage rating and a control which directly governs or regulates the amount of humidity generated. The steam is picked up by air drawn through the opening 91 and is drawn therewith through the opening 88 into the squirrel-cage blower 85. This unit 69 also permits the vapor that is placed into the air to be free of the normal minerals, allergens and germs in tap water. i
The jar or receptacle 80 performs a function in defining the liquid path into the chamber 76. The jar 80 also collects the minerals etc. which are purged from the The foam material forming the vaporization cham-z bers may be a polystyrene or polyurethane foam with at least the interior surfaces coated with polytetrafluoroethyleneior an epoxy resin coating, to provide a selfcleaning, i.e., scale resistant vaporization chamber, and will protect the foam, particularly the polyurethane foam from damage by the boiling water.
Additionally, when either vaporizer-humidifier is used for a remote application and the hose may be blocked at the exit, a damper (not shown) may be placed in the discharge side of the fan 85 in the exit passage 94 or in the cap 24 to communicate with passage 27. The damper will be biased to a normally closed position such that upon an increase in pressure in these areas above the normal, the damper will open to relieve the pressure and prevent damage to the unit. A similar air intake damper could be provided near the reservoirs 13 and/or 71 to open upon a drop in pressure should the intake openings be completely closed.
Having thus described my invention with reference to the drawing illustrating two embodiments of a vaporizer-humidifier constructed in accordance with my invention, what is claimed is:
1. A vaporizer-humidifier comprising means defining a supply reservoir,
chamber means defining an insulated vaporization chamber within said supply reservoir, said chamber means comprising a tubular member having opposite open ends disposed in vertically spaced relationship, the lower open end being a reduced opencontainer means'disposed beneath the lower open end of said tubular member, said container means being secured in fluid-tight condition with said tubular member and in communication with said chamber means through said lower open end for receiving minerals purged from aliquid therein, passage means affording the flow of liquid from said supply reservoir to said vaporization chamber, immersion heating means disposed in said vaporization chamber for heating liquid therein, and blower means'positioned with an inlet above said open upper end of said vaporization chamber and an outlet for removing vapor and ambient air therein from said vaporizer-humdifier.
2. A vaporizer-humidifier as described in claim 1 wherein said passage means define a passage and a oneway valve means therefore between the container means and the supply reservoir to permit liquid to flow therethrough into the vaporization chamber and to prevent any warm liquid from moving from the vaporization chamber to the supply reservoir.
3. A vaporizer-humidifier according to claim 1 wherein said heating meanscomprises a resistive immersion heater which has helical coils disposed in said tubular member.
4 A vaporizer-humidifier according to claim 1 wherein said heating means comprises a protective outer sheath and an electrical resistor positioned within and insulated relative to said sheath, and a thermostatic control adjacent said heating means to prevent heating thereof significantly above the boiling temperature of water. 9
5. A vaporizer-humidifier according to claim 1 wherein said tubular member comprises a hollow cylindrical member positioned vertically within said supply reservoir and having a funnel-shaped lower end terminating in said reduced opening, said container means comprises a receptacle removably supported beneath said tubular member and a portion of said supply reservoir, said passage means comprises an opening into said receptacle from said supply reservoir, and a one-way valve is positioned in said passage means to allow the flow of liquid only from said supply reservoir to said vaporization chamber.
v6. A, vaporizer-humidifier according to claim 1 wherein said tubular member has a scale resistant coating on the interior surface thereof.