US 3889303 A
A displaceable swimming pool cover includes a frame shaped to fit a swimming pool with a substantially airtight cover sheet secured to the frame for covering a substantial area of the pool. Air is fed beneath the cover sheet to inflate the cover sheet on its frame to float the unit and retain heat therein and means are provided to expel the air when it is desired to use the pool so that the frame and cover sheet unit will then sink to the bottom of the pool.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Kinzel DISPLACEABLE SWIMMING POOL COVER  Inventor: Augustus B. Kinzel, 1738 Castellana Rd., La Jolla, Calif. 92037 22 Filed: Mar. 27, 1974 21 Appl. No; 455,144
 US. Cl. 4/172.l3; 4/172.l2; 4/164  Int. Cl E04h 3/16; E04h 3/18  Field of Search 4/172.12, 172.13, 172.14, 4/172, 172.11
[5 6] References Cited UN1TED STATES PATENTS 3,092,843 6/1963 Wright 4/164 3,581,315 6/1971 Milliner 4/164 X 3,747,131 7/1973 Koliomicha /172.12 3,780,385 12/1973 Dunn 4/l72.l3
[ June 17, 1975 3,801,994 4/1974 Brown 4/172.l2 3,813,704 6/1974 Troiano 4/172.13 3,816,859 6/1974 Mosehauer 4/172.12
Primary ExaminerHenry K. Artis Attorney, Agent, or Firm-C0nnolly and Hutz  ABSTRACT A displa ceable swimming pool cover includes a frame shaped to fit a swimming pool with a substantially airtight cover sheet secured to the frame for covering a substantial area of the pool. Air is fed beneath the cover sheet to inflate the cover sheet on its frame to float the unit and retain heat therein and means are provided to expel the air when it is desired to use the pool so that the frame and cover sheet unit will then sink to the bottom of the pool.
13 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PATEFEHJUN 17 I925 1 DISPLACEABLE SWIMMING POOL COVER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION One of the major concerns of swimming pool owners is to heat the water therein so that thepool'will be comfortably usable when the ambient temperature so requires. Generally, this is accomplished by a circulating pump and heater. ,The amount of heat required is relatively large. For example, an average swimming pool may be approximately feet by 40 feet with an average depth of 5 to 6 feet which is about 30,000 gallons of water. To maintain the proper temperature heat loss by conductivity through the walls and the bottom of the pool must be replaced, 'as well as heat loss by convection and evaporation by the surface. The latter constitutes by far the greatest heat loss. Various attempts have been made to reduce this surface heat loss by use of covers of one type or another. One attempt has been to include an air bubble housing to cover the pool while in use. All covers, however, with the exception of the air housing, have the drawback that they must be removed and stored during use of the pool. Such removal and replacement is generally clumsy, burdensome and laborious or necessitates permanentfixtures on the deck with expensive installations. Theair housing while not having the drawbacks attendant with removability, is disadvantageous in that it isunsightly andthe pool user is actually in an enclosure instead of outzin the open whereby the quality of the 'air therein detoriates rapidly.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION An object of this invention is to provide a replaceable swimming pool cover which overcomes the above drawbacks. 3
A further objejct of this invention is to provide a method of helping to maintain the desired temperature in a swimming pool after it has been heated.
A still further object of this invention is to provide a pool covering device and method whereby a pool may be substantially covered quickly and 'without; effort while eliminating the cover during use of the pool and permitting recovering with essentially no effort in a relatively short amount of time. v
In accordance with this invention a displaceable swimming pool cover includes a frame shaped to fit a swimming pool with asubstantially airtight cover sheet secured'to the frame for covering a substantial area of the pool. Air is fed beneath the cover sheet to inflate the cover sheet on its frame and to cause the unit to float, thus providing a heat retaining cover, and means are provided to expel the. air when it is desired to use the pool for swimming and other uses sothat the frame and cover sheet will then sink to the bottom of the pool. The unit in essence is a floating air bubble house of negligible height with the bottom seal comprising the water of the pool.
When the air is expelled from under the cover, the frame and cover sink to the bottom of the pool by .means of the weight of the frame itself or, if desired, ex-
provided for inactivating the air feeding means when the frame has been raised to a predetermined heighth and reactivating the air feed should leakage cause the frame to sink to below the predetermined heighth.
THE DRAWINGS DETAILED DESCRIPTION The displaceable covering device 10 comprises a frame 12 which generally conforms to the shape of the swimming pool P but is slightly spaced from the walls W by any suitable distance such as, for example, 6 inches. Atthe onset it is noted that the amount of heat savedis in direct proportion to the amount of pool surface that is'c'overed. For example, where the pool is 20 feet there would be.800 sq. feet of surface and a 6 inch wall clearan ce would comprise less than sq. feet. Accordingly, 92.5% of the pool would be covered and the heat loss would thus be reduced by 92 /2%. Of course, the margin may be as small or great as desired and the frame may even abut against the pool wall although some clearance is preferred.
As illustrated in FIG. 2, a suitable substantially airtight covershee t 14is mounted on frame 12. Cover sheet 14 may, for example, be made of polyvinyl chloride or polyethylene plastic and is loosely attached to the frame 12. The frame 12 is preferably made of a material which is heavy enough to cause the frame with its cover to sink to the bottom of the pool as shown in FIG. 3. Alternatively the frame may be light weight but have external weights attached to it to cause it to sink when in its deflated condition. The frame itself may be made of telescopic tubes to permit its adaptability to different size and shaped pools.
As illustrated in the drawings, means are provided for feeding air beneath the cover sheet 14. For example, the means may be an air compressor 16 disposed remote from the framel2 and having an air hose 18 which runs down the side of the pool (FIG. 2) in the clearance provided therebetween and extends under the frame terminating in an open end 20. Low pressure air is pumped into the water under the area covered by the cover sheet 14 and the cover sheet then assumes a flat bubble shape. When the bubble is large enough to permit sufficient lift the entire unit rises from the bottom of the pool to the surface. A pressure sensor 22 is provided for shuting off or controlling the air commpressor when the unit has been inflated or elevated to a pre determine d hei ghth. Thus, as illustrated in FIG. 2, upon inflation of the covering device a relatively flat bubble results which covers substantially the entire area of the pool except for the peripheral area left by the marginal clearance between the pool area and the device. r
When it is desired to use the pool, the air bubble is evacuated. 'This may be accomplished through the same air hose 18. Alternatively, a zipper 25 may be provided in the cover sheet 14 preferably at the shallow end ,of the pool whereupon by the user opening the zipper the air bubble collapses whereby the frame and cover then sink to the bottom of the pool with minimal interference to.users. Of course, other means of expelling air may also be provided. In place of the zipper, for example, any suitable number of plugs may be provided in the cover member to provide outlets for the air therebeneath. The cover sheet may be decorated to fit the decor of the pool area in its inflated condition or in the event it is visible in the deflated positiomsimilarly, as shown in FIG. 1 the cover sheet may incorporate advertising means which would be visible for example from passing aircrafts.
In an exemplary form of this invention the cover sheet 14 is an 8 mill thickness light blue vinyl sheet formed to cover an area of about 19 feet by 39 feet for use for a 20 foot by 40 foot pool. Cover sheet 14 carries its own skirt 24 about 1 foot long. Snaps 26 are secured to loops 28 at the edge of the skirt 24, for example, every 3 feet. The frame 12 may include a set of lower tubings 30 each of which is l inch diameter vinyl (P.V.C.) tubing 6 feet long which is passed through the loops and joined together in a conventional manner. As previously noted, the tubing may include telescopic sections to provide adaptability of the frame in size and shape to conform to the particular pool. The frame may also include an upper set of tubing 32 which may be secured to the cover skirt by snaps and loops located where the skirt is connected to the cover sheet proper. Alternatively, only a single set of tubes may comprise the frame located in the juncture of the skirt and the cover sheet proper. Where only a single frame unit is used, the bottom of the skirt could be lightly loaded or metal battened to keep the skirt in a vertical position. Suitable parts of curved tubing such as indicated by the reference number 34 are provided to compensate for corners or other curvatures or irregularities in the wall of the pool, so as for example to avoid covering steps at the shallow end so that the steps would not interfere with the frame completely sinking to the bottom of the pool when the air is expelled. If desired, meansmay be provided such as suitable guide devices secured to the pool wall to maintain proper clearance between the cover device and pool wall W to assure that the sinking frame will not rest on one of the lower steps.
FIG. 4 illustrates an alternative arrangement wherein the cover sheet 14 is used with a flat pool since the pool slope or depth is not critical. FIG. 4 further illustrates the frame 12A to comprise a single set of tubes at the upper end of the skirt 24. FIG. 4 schematically shows how the unit forms a floating bubble B with the bottom seal being the water surface S and with skirt 24 extending below the water line.
Other modifications are also possible within the teachings of this invention. Thus for example the frame may'take the form of an X which maintains the corners of the sheet spaced apart. It is also possible to use the cover without any frame and maintain it over the pool by air pressure with the cover being so weighted that when the air pressure is released, the cover sinks.
Where the weight of the frame is not sufficient to cause it to sink, weights 36 would be hung from the frame at, for example, 6 feet intervals. The air feeding means may be an ordinary tank type vacuum cleaner attached to air tube 18 to inflate the unit with pressure indicator 22 cutting off the motor when the pressure is such that the frame has risen into a predetermined position where the frame is near or above the surface of the water but the bottom of the skirt is below the bottom of the water surface. Indicator 32 would also reactivate the air feed if leakage causes the frame to sink below its predetermined position.
With the above indicated cover device it is thereby possible to maintain a substantial area of the pool cover during non-use so as to retain the heat therein and conveniently displace the cover device to the bottom of the pool in a quick and simple manner when use of the pool is desired. All of this is accomplished without the necessity for special unsightly attaching fixtures.
What is claimed is:
1. A displaceable covering device for a swimming pool comprising a cover sheet of a size and to fit within and cover a substantial area of the pool, said cover sheet being substantially vertically movable to and from a first position near the water surface of the pool and a second-position well below the water surface, said cover sheet being substantially airtight, means for feeding air beneath said cover sheet at sufficient pressure to cause said cover sheet to rise to create a floating air bubble housing the lower portion of which is formed generally at the level of and in cooperation with the water surface, means to expel the air under said cover sheet to create a deflated condition of said cover sheet, means weighting down said cover sheet when in the deflated condition to cause said cover sheet to sink to said second position, a frame shaped to fit within and generally conforming to the shape of the pool, said cover sheet being secured to said frame, said frame being movable with said cover sheet whereby said frame and said cover sheet together comprise a covering unit, and said means for feeding air being disposed under said cover sheet at a location other than its attachment to said frame.
2. The device of claim 1 wherein said means weighting down said cover sheet comprises the weight of said frame itself.
3. The device of claim 1 wherein said means weighting down said cover sheet include weights secured to said frame.
4. In the device of claim 1 wherein the water surface itself comprises said lower portion of said housing.
5. A displaceable covering device for a swimming pool comprising in combination therewith, a swimming pool, a cover sheet of a size and shape to fit within and Cover a substantial area of said pool, said cover sheet being substantially vertically movable to and from a first position near the water surface of said pool and a second position well below the water surface at the bottom of said pool, said cover sheet being substantially airtight, means'for feeding air beneath said cover sheet at sufficient pressure to cause said cover sheet to rise to create a floating air bubble housing between said cover sheet and the water surface, restraining means connected to said cover sheet to generally maintain said cover sheet in a shape conforming to the shape of said pool with the air bubble housing being of generally low profile, said cover sheet being totally within said pool and conforming to its shape but slightly smaller therefrom when said cover sheet is in its inflated condition, means to expel the air under said cover sheet to create a deflated condition of said cover sheet, and means weighting down said cover sheet when in said deflated condition to cause said cover sheet to sink to said second position.
6. The device of claim 5 wherein said cover sheet is sheet.
9. The device in claim 8 including sensing means for inactivating said air feeding means when said cover sheet has been raised to a predetermined height.
10. The device of claim 1 wherein said means for expelling air includes a zipper in said cover sheet at the shallow end of the pool.
11. The device of claim 2 wherein said cover sheet includes a main flat cover portion and a peripheral skirt depending from the entire periphery of said cover portion, and fastening means mounting said frame to said cover at the juncture of said skirt and said main cover portion.
12. The device of claim 11 including means for maini taining said skirt substantially vertical when said frame is in said first position.
13. The device of claim 12 wherein said frame includes a relieved portion to conform to irregularities in the shape of the pool.