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Publication numberUS3920031 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 18, 1975
Filing dateApr 18, 1969
Priority dateApr 18, 1969
Publication numberUS 3920031 A, US 3920031A, US-A-3920031, US3920031 A, US3920031A
InventorsMaxfield Don A
Original AssigneeMaxfield Don A
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Safety shutoff device
US 3920031 A
Abstract
A safety shutoff device which includes a fluid supply line; A valve in the supply line with control means for controlling the flow of fluid through the valve; check means for maintaining the control means open; and means, for activating the check means so that the control means can close which include a support housing with an internally mounted plunger, biasing means for urging the plunger towards a receptacle end of the housing, a flexible guide sleeve connected at one end to the valve and at its other end to the housing, and a flexible line passed through the guide sleeve and connected at one end to the plunger and at its other end to the check means whereupon the check means is activated by movement of the plunger in the housing.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Maxfield Nov. 18, 1975 SAFETY SHUTOFF DEVICE 3,520,314 7/1970 Ryen 137/67 [76] Inventor: Don A. Maxfield, 1972 South,

Eighth East Salt Lake y Utah Przmary Bummer-M. Cary Nelson 84105 Assistant Eran1iner-Richard Gerard [22] Filed: Apr. 18, 1969 [57] [21] Appl. No.: 817,526 A safety shutoff device which includes a fluid supply line; A valve in the supply line with control means for controlling the flow of fluid through the valve; check 2 6 33583 means for maintaining the control means open; and [58 Fie'ld /67 75 122/504 means, for activating the check means so that the con- 2O0/61 6 'i 74 trol means can close which include a support housing with an internally mounted plunger, biasing means for urging the plunger towards a receptacle end of the [56] References cued housing, a flexible guide sleeve connected at one end UNITED STATES PATENTS to the valve and at its other end to the housing, and a 1,881,807 10/1932 Maurer 251/66 X flexible line passed through the guide sleeve and con- 2,624,359 1/1953 nected at one end to the plunger and at its other end to the check means whereupon the check means is ac- 2 3 96 5H960 tivated by movement of the plunger 1n the housmg. 3,473,553 10/1969 Collins 137/312 12 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures US. Patent Nov. 18,1975 Sheet 1 of2 3,920,031

U.S. Patent Nov. 18, 1975 Sheet 2 of2 3,920,031

SAFETY SI-IUTOFF DEVICE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION this invention. For purpose of clarity, a portion of the drip-pan positioned under the water heater is shown broken away. I

FIG. 2 i sa side view of the preferred control valve activation device of this invention. i

. FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken in the plane of line 3-3 of FIG. 2 looking in the direction of the arrows.

FIG. 4 is a front view of one type of swinging check control valve that is particularly suited for use in this invention.

FIG. 5 is aside view of the swinging check valve shown in FIG. 4.

An evenmore serious problem is encountered with very substantial damage. Accordingly, a great need has.

arisen for an improved safety device which shuts off the water of other fluid supply to the water heater, the I brine tank, or the like, when an undesirableleak oc- CUI'S.

- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In its broadest form, the invention comprises a fluid supply line; avalve in said supply line having control means, biased towards a closed position, for controlling the flow offluid through said valve; check means con- 'nected to the valve for holding the control means in an open position; and means for activating the check means to close the control means which comprises a support housing, a plunger movably mounted in said support housing, a material receptacle in said housing, biasing means coac ting between said housing and said plunger for urging saidplunger towards said material receptacle,,a guide connected proximate one end to the housing and proximate its other end to the valve, and a flexible line passed through said guide and connected proximate one end to said plunger and proximate its other end to said check means wherein movement of the plunger in the housing moves said check means and said control means is biased towards its closed position.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention a water soluble material is placed in the activation devices material receptacle for holding the devices plunger in a predetermined position when the water soluble material is out of water contact.

-, In .another embodimentof the invention the liquid supply line is the water supply line for a water heater and they support housingforthe means for activating the check means, is positioned in a drip-pan located substantially under the water heater.

i In stillfanother embodiment of the invention the support housing is an elongated perforated tube and the 'plungeris a piston slidably mounted in the tube.

A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS So that the invention may be more readily understood and carried into effect, reference is made to the accompanying drawings which are offered by way of example only and are not to be taken as limiting the invention, the scope of which is defined by the appended claims which are intended to embrace equivalent structures.

FIG. 1 is a plan elevation view of a conventional water heater equipped with the safety control device of FIG. 6 isa sectional view taken in the plane of line 6-6 of FIG. 5 and looking in the direction of the ar- DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT In FIG. 1 of the drawings there is shown a water heater 10 standing in drip-pan 12 positioned on floor 14. Water is supplied to theheat'ers water storage tank through supply line 16 which has a conventional shutoff valve 18 and a swinging check valve 20, hereinafter described, provided therein. Check valve 20 can be'ope'rated with an activation device, also hereinafter described, to prevent the flow of water through line 16 when water flows into drip-pan l2 and contacts housing 22 of the activation device. Hot water flows from heater 10'through discharge line 24.

The preferred activation device of this invention for activating check valve 20 is illustrated in FIGS and 3. As shown, the device comprises a housing 22 with a plunger 26 mounted therein proximate one end. The opposite end of the housing serves as a receptacle 28 for material plug 30, hereinafter described. Biasing means such as spring 32 coacts between plunger 26 and the back wall 34 ofhousing'22 to'urge the plunger against plug 30. A flexible line such as wire 36 isaffixed at one end to plunger 26 so that when the plunger moves in housing 20 the wire is moved through end port 38 in the housing 22. A flexible guide such as plastic tube 40 is connected to the end 34 of housing'22 in a position so that wire 36 passes therethrou'gh."

Preferably housing 22 is an elongated tube with a plurality of perforations 42 provided therein proximate receptacle end 28 so that a liquid can easily flow into contact with plug 30. A'lever or handle 44 can be attached to plunger 26 for urging the plunger to move away from plug 30 so that a replacement'plug can be placed in the housing 22. When an activation lever is provided, as described, a guide slot 46 is provided in the housing so'that plunger 26 'can reciprocate back and forth therein. An offset slot 48 can also be provided in communication with slot 46 so that handle 44 I can be held in a fixed position in housing 22 even when a plug 30 is not positioned in'the tubes receptacle end 28. Removable cap' 50 is attached to the housings receptacle end 28 through the use of threads, or the like, so that plug 30 can be replaced when required. As an alternative to a removable cap, an opening can be provided in the sidewall of housing 22 proximate receptacle 28 so that plug 30 can be placed directly in the receptacle through the opening in the housing.

FIG S. 4 through 6 illustrate one type of safety check valve 20 that can be used in this invention. As shown, the valve comprises a housing 52 having a rotatably mounted control flap 54 positioned therein that is urged against valve seat 56 with biasing means such as coiled spring 58 attached to housing 52 and control plate 60. The control plate is in turn fixedly attached to shaft 62 which is rotatably mounted in housing 52. Flap 54 is connected to shaft 62 so that it can be moved from an open position to a closed position, and visa versa, by merely rotating the shaft back and forth. Notch 64 is positioned in control plate 60 to coact with one end 68 of shaft 66 which is connected with bracket 70 to valve housing 52. The other end 72 of shaft 66 is connected to line 36 so that when said line is activated by the movement of plunger in housing 22 shaft 66 is rotated to move its end 68 away from the notch 64 in control plate 60 and spring 58 urges flap 54 to move to its closed position against valve seat 56. End 74 of flexible tube 40 is fixedly connected to valve housing 52 with bracket 76 to ensure activation of flap 54 whenever plunger 26 moves a predetermined distance in housing 22.

ln operation, the receptacle end 28 of housing 22 is filled with a material plug 30 such as sugar, salt, or the like, which dissolves when contacted with a predetermined fluid, or a material such as a dry sponge which can easily change its dimensions when contacted with :said fluid. When the housing is fitted with a filling cap 50 the cap is securely affixed to housing 22 and the thus filled housing is then placed in a position calculated to come in contact with a predetermined fluid if said fluid is allowed to run free. If, for example, the device of this invention is to be used for closing a water heaters supply line when the heaters storage tank begins to leak, housing 22 can be placed under the water heaters tank, preferably in a drip-pan. Then when the heaters tank begins to leak the material in the receptacle end 28 of housing 22 is either dissolved, softened, or expanded, whereupon plunger 26 moves in the housing towards its capped end and wire 36 is pulled through tube 40 thereby rotating shaft 66 releasing control flap 54 to be urged into contact with valve seat 56 and the water supply to water heater is shut off.

I claim:

1. In combination, a water line for supplying water to a water storage tank; a valve in said water supply line having control means which allows water to flow through said valve and into said water storage tank when said control means is in an open position; said control means being biased to a closed position check means connected to said valve for maintaining said control means in said open position; a support housing positioned under said water storage tank; to be in communication with water leakage therefrom a plunger movably mounted in said housing; a material receptacle in said housing; a plug of material which changes its dimensions on being contacted with water positioned in :said material receptacle for holding said plunger in a predetermined position; biasing means coacting with :said plunger for urging said plunger against said plug of material in said material receptacle; and a connecting line coacting with a guide and connected at one end to 4 said plunger and at its opposite end to said check means wherein a predetermined movement of said plunger in said housing moves said check means such that the control means moves to a closed position to restrict the flow of water through said valve.

2. The combination of claim 1 wherein said water storage tank is a water heater.

3. The combination of claim 1 wherein positioning means are connected to said plunger that coact with said housing for holding said plunger in a fixed position in said housing.

4. The combination of claim 1 wherein said connecting line is an elongated flexible wire.

5. The combination of claim 4 wherein said guide is an elongated flexible plastic tube having an interior opening sized to receive said elongated wire.

6. The combination of claim 1 wherein said plug of material is a water-soluble material.

7. The combination of claim 6 wherein said housing is positioned in a drip-pan located under said water supply tank.

8. The combination of claim 6 wherein said housing is an elongated sleeve and said plunger is a piston mounted in one end of said sleeve.

9. The combination of claim 8 wherein positioning are connected to said piston which extend outwardly means are a guide slot in said sleeve.

10. A safety shutoff device for a water storage tank connected to a water supply line for supplying water to said tank, said safety shutoff device comprising a valve in said water line having control means which allows water to flow through said valve and into said water storage tank when said control means is in an open position, said control means being biased to a closed position check means connected to said valve for maintaining said control means in said open position; a support housing positioned under said water storage tank to be in communication with water leakage therefrom; a plunger movably mounted in said housing; a plug of material which changes its dimensions on being contacted with water positioned in said material receptacle for holding said plunger in a predetermined position; biasing means coacting with said plunger for urging said plunger against said plug of material in said material receptacle; and a connecting line coacting with a.

guide and connected at one end to said plunger and at its opposite end to said check means wherein a predetermined movement of said plunger in said housing moves said check means such that the control means moves to a closed position to restrict the flow of water through said valve.

11. The safety shutoff device of claim 10 wherein said water storage tank is a water heater.

[2. The safety shutoff device of claim 10 wherein said connecting line is an elongated flexible wire and said guide is an elongated flexible plastic tube having an interior opening sized to receive said elongated wire.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1881807 *Nov 25, 1927Oct 11, 1932Spencer Thermostat CoRemote heat control mechanism
US2624359 *Apr 5, 1949Jan 6, 1953Kelite Products IncFuel safety shutoff
US2665714 *Jan 18, 1949Jan 12, 1954Greenwood Dolphice HValve
US2798503 *Sep 21, 1953Jul 9, 1957Aubrey CarverLeak-responsive automatic cut-off valve actuator for water heaters or the like
US2935196 *Mar 22, 1957May 3, 1960Porta Soft CompanyRegeneration system for liquidtreating apparatus
US3473553 *Nov 16, 1966Oct 21, 1969Collins Thomas HAutomatic water cut-off water heaters
US3520314 *Jan 18, 1968Jul 14, 1970Ryen HirshAutomatic shut-off means for the supply to a tank whose float valve control has become defective,allowing an overflow
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4136823 *Feb 17, 1977Jan 30, 1979Kullberg Bengt Gustav Adolf EApparatus for the prevention or limitation of water damage
US4805662 *Jan 21, 1988Feb 21, 1989Moody Ronald WHot water heater failure protection device with solenoid
US5029605 *Jul 26, 1990Jul 9, 1991Dowling Donald CFluid vessel overflow system
US5085205 *May 9, 1991Feb 4, 1992Rheem Manufacturing CompanyFuel-fired water heated with combination drainage pan and combustion air flow control apparatus
US5345224 *Apr 24, 1992Sep 6, 1994Brown Jimmy DLeak detection and management apparatus including a programmable message device for a hot water heater
US5632302 *Dec 22, 1995May 27, 1997Lenoir, Jr.; Robert M.Overflow protection shut-off apparatus for use with a water heater
US5694970 *Dec 12, 1996Dec 9, 1997Staranchuk; George P.Safety valve for water supply system
US5713387 *Sep 5, 1996Feb 3, 1998Armenia; John G.Conduit fluid containment system with automatic shut-off
US5771916 *Oct 8, 1996Jun 30, 1998Armenia; John G.Automatic shut-off for a conduit fluid containment system
US5857482 *Jan 6, 1996Jan 12, 1999Dowling; Donald C.System for control of fluid vessel overflows
US5881762 *Dec 17, 1997Mar 16, 1999Janesky; Lawrence M.Base-surround retrofit enclosure assemblies for containing leakage
US6024116 *Sep 9, 1998Feb 15, 2000Aquagard, LlcValve assembly and acuator operative for automatically shutting off water and gas supplies to a hot water heater upon detection of a water leak
US6253785 *Sep 18, 2000Jul 3, 2001Carlis L. Shumake, Jr.Automatic leak shutoff device
US6336469 *Apr 22, 1999Jan 8, 2002Adrian John NixonDomestic hot water service inlet shut off valve triggered by fluid level in overflow tray
US6543471 *Jun 18, 2002Apr 8, 2003James H. CarrollWater heater fail safe apparatus
US6792967Nov 13, 2003Sep 21, 2004Robert C. FranklinShutoff valve system with leak detector
US6895990 *Aug 25, 2004May 24, 2005James H. CarrollWater heater fail safe apparatus
US6899122 *Jan 28, 2004May 31, 2005Albert MeleSafety shutoff apparatus and method
US7082959Mar 21, 2006Aug 1, 2006Franklin Robert CShutoff valve system with leak detector
US7114514Sep 12, 2003Oct 3, 2006Andre HouleWater management and leak detection for hot water tank
US7421784Apr 13, 2006Sep 9, 2008Aos Holding CompanyMethod of manufacturing a water heater with a leak detection system
US7424896Apr 25, 2005Sep 16, 2008Martin James BAutomatic flow shut-off system
US7562673Feb 15, 2006Jul 21, 2009Martin James BAutomatic flow shut-off system
US7665482Jan 30, 2007Feb 23, 2010Mclean KerryFloat control fluid shut off valve mechanism
US7703476 *Jul 2, 2007Apr 27, 2010Carroll James HTrigger mechanism for a water heater fail safe apparatus
US7866336 *Sep 12, 2008Jan 11, 2011Luis GutierrezMechanical emergency liquid shut-off device
US8006714 *Aug 3, 2009Aug 30, 2011Martin James BAutomatic flow shut-off system
US8061380 *Aug 20, 2008Nov 22, 2011Martin James BAutomatic flow shut-off system
US8443823 *Oct 24, 2011May 21, 2013Irwin D. PragerFlood detection and valve shutoff device
USRE30493 *Jun 18, 1979Jan 27, 1981 Apparatus for the prevention or limitation of water damage
WO1998015760A1 *Oct 7, 1997Apr 16, 1998Innovative Research & Dev CorpAutomatic shutoff for conduit fluid containment system
WO1999054668A1 *Apr 22, 1999Oct 28, 1999David Thomas HairDomestic hot water service inlet shut off valve triggered by fluid level in overflow tray
Classifications
U.S. Classification137/67, 137/312, 251/74
International ClassificationF24H9/20, F17D5/02, F17D5/00
Cooperative ClassificationF24H9/2007, F17D5/02, F24H9/165
European ClassificationF24H9/16B, F24H9/20A, F17D5/02