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Publication numberUS3928874 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 30, 1975
Filing dateOct 10, 1974
Priority dateOct 10, 1974
Publication numberUS 3928874 A, US 3928874A, US-A-3928874, US3928874 A, US3928874A
InventorsAlbertson James F
Original AssigneeAlbertson James F
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
No-overflow toilet
US 3928874 A
A non-overflow commode having a float- or pressure-operated switch sensitive to an abnormal water condition in the commode and a valve or the equivalent operated by the switch to prevent the flushing system from emptying into the toilet when a clog in the plumbing lines exists.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [1 1 Albertson Dec. 30, 1975 NO-OVERFLOW TOILET [76] Inventor: James F. Albertson, 813 Pleasant Lane, National City, Calif. 92050 [22] Filed: Oct. 10, 1974 21 Appl. No.1 513,554

[52] US. Cl 4/1; 4/67 R; 4/249 [51] Int. Cl. A47K 17/00 [58] Field of Search 4/67 R, 67.4, 34, 1, 57 R, 4/249 [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,056,087 9/1936 Andrews 4/67 R 2,061,310 11/1936 Kleiser, Jr... 4/67 R 3,393,408 7/1968 Martin I 4/1 3,719,957 3/1973 Riedel 4/1 3,719,958 3/1973 Wilhelm 4/1 Primary Examinerl-lenry K. Artis [57] ABSTRACT A non-overflow commode having a floator pressureoperated switch sensitive to an abnormal water condition in the commode and a valve or the equivalent op erated by the switch to prevent the flushing system from emptying into the toilet when a clog in the plumbing lines exists.

Where multiple toilets on successive stories of a multi-story building are drained into a common trunk line, an electronic circuit is used to interconnect the toilets such that blockage of a lower toilet prevents the flushing of all higher toilets to prevent a back-up problem from higher toilets.

9 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures US. Patent Dec. 30,1 75 SheetlofZ 3,2,8'74


US, Patent 1 No OVERFLOW TOILET BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Blockage of toilets and the subsequent overflow is a common problem and results in a most unsightly and unsanitary situation, and where a number of toilets draining into a common trunk line are disposed on successive stories of a multi-story dwelling, the blockage of the trunk line beneath one of the lower toilets will cause the back-up of sewage from each higher toilet into the lower toilet, which can cause an almost "continuous flow of sewage into the affected bathroom which will clearly cause considerable damage if the condition remains undetected for a substantial time period.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention solves the above recited problem and involves in its simplest form a valve or other flush-blocking mechanism in the toilets fresh water supply system which is closed upon being energized by a switch which is sensitive to either pressure or a high water level in the toilet, so that the toilet flush system is automatically disenabled upon the occurrence of a potential overflow condition. For the protection of bathrooms in a multi-story building from back flow of sewage from upper level toilets, an electronic circuit is provided to disenable all the toilet flush systems on higher floors than the affected commode.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. I is a side elevation view, partially cut away, of a typical toilet installation with the overflow prevention system;

FIG 2 is an enlarged sectional view taken on line 2-2 of FIG. 15

FIG. 3 is a diagram of the system;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view, similar to FIG. 2, but showing an alternative external float type switch;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view showing a pressure diaphragm type switch;

FIG. 6 is a partially cut away side elevation of a typical toilet showing a pressure switch in an alternate location;

FIG. 7 is a partially cut away side elevational view of the toilet mounting showing a pressure switch disposed in a sealing member; and

FIG. 8 is a schematic diagram of a representative circuit used with a plurality of toilets in a multi-story building. i

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT A typical residential commode is illustrated in FIG. 1, having a fresh water supply line 10 having a manually operated valve 12 therein and leading to a water closet 14. The water closet is normally provided with a float valve structure, which is not shown, to shut off the water flow from the supply line, and an outlet in the bottom of the water closet is sealed by a cup, not shown, which is suspended by a chain from a control handle assembly 15 which is operable externally of the water closet to flush the toilet. When the handle is turned, water cascades through the water closet outlet into the toilet bowl 16 and is usually distributed around the bowl rim by a canal 18 with spaced parts 20. The flush assembly thusfar described, including the supply line 10, the water closet, the outlet therein and the 2 necessary valves are termed generally the flush system for purposes of the appended claims.

The remaining water system of the toilet is termed the evacuation passageway in the description and Claims and includes the toilet bowl and the connected drain line 22. The upper portion 24 of the drain line has a downwardly inclined or hooked portion 26 which connects with the toilet bowl 16 so that when the commode is flushed, the water overflows into the drain line and a combination of inertia and siphon action evacuates the bowl without the use of valves.

The invention in its basic form comprises two parts which may be of several different configurations. First,

an electric switch which is activated by an abnormal water condition is provided in the evacuation passageway, and second, a means is introduced into the flush system to render it inoperative in response to a voltage received when the switch is activated.

Several variations of the switch assembly are shown, the first being afloat-operated switch 28 having a pivotal float element 30 which is disposed in the toilet bowl itself slightly above the normal water line 31 and is journalled through a sealed bearing 32 in the side of the bowl and connected to the switch element 34 which is mounted in a suitable protective cup 36. A similar switch assembly 38 is shown in FIG. 4, in which a cup 40 is mounted externally of the toilet bowl and contains a plunger operated switch element 42 activated by a float 44 which is elevated by the ingress of water from the toilet bowl through a duct 46 which is disposed slightly above the normal water level 31 in the toilet bowl.

Both of these switches are connected in typical fashion to an external power supply as diagrammed, in FIG. 3, and are in off" condition until the toilet bowl water rises above normal, in which case the switches are activated and pass current to a blocking means in the flush system. It will be understood that during a normal flushing of the toilet these switches may be activated for a brief periodduring the initial rise in the toilet bowl water level, and is taken into consideration in choosing the particular blocking means as detailed hereinafter.

In order to avoid fouling of the switch assembly by the toilet water, a pressure switch 48 diagrammatically illustrated in FIG. 5 may be used instead of the float switches outlined above. The pressure switch is installed in a cup 50 on the outside of the toilet bowl and the switch element 52 has a plunger 54 which extends into contact with a diaphram 56 which is sealed in a hole 56 which is cut into the side of the toilet bowl. The pressure switch may be mounted adjacent the water level or in the drain line 22 as illustrated in FIG. 6, in which case it would be subject to little or no pressure when the toilet is flushed, but significant pressure would exist when a clog occured due to the height of water above the switch.

A slight variation of the pressure switch is shown in FIG. 7, in which the pressure sensitive element 60 of the switch extends through a. sealing compound 62 which is used to seal the length of drain line in the toilet to its continuation beneath the floor 64 of the building.

The particular one of the above mentioned switches which is used is electrically coupled to a means in the flushing system to block the flow of water into the toilet bowl one such blocking means, diagrammatically illustrated in FIG. 6, is a solenoid 66 mounted within the water closet and having a plunger which prevents operation of the handle assembly 15. The solenoid would be practical for use in conjunction with one of the switches disposed at the waterline, since activation of the switch during a normal flush would not prevent one load of water from emptying into the toilet bowl, but subsequent flushing would not be possible should the water line fail to recede to the normal level after flushing. The other switches could also be used in conjunction with the solenoid 66.

The other blocking means comprise solenoid driven shut-off valves, one being illustrated at 68 in the supply line and the other being mounted at 70 at the water closet outlet. The valve 70 would not be suitable for use with one of the water line switches as it would interfere with a normal flush, but would be ideal for use with one of the pressure switches mounted in the drain line as illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 7 since these switches would never be triggered except when a clog existed in the line.

The blocking means in the flush system would not be effective in preventing the back-up of sewage from the drain line, which can happen in a multi-story building in which toilets on different stories are connected to a common vertical trunk line and the blockage occurs in the trunk line. In this event, the lowermost commode above the clog will receive all the sewage from the upper level toilets as they are flushed. To prevent this situation, a circuit is provided, as illustrated schemmatically in FIG. 8, which activates the blocking mechanisms of all the toilets above the lowermost toilet in the affected part of the trunk line but does not effect toilets onlower floors.

Other electronic arrangement than that illustrated are clearly possible within the scope of the invention. In the illustrated embodiment however, a circuit is shown which is designed for a four-story building, with the switches and valves in the toilet being indicated by S and V respectively followed by a number indicating the story of the building, on which the toilet is located. A common power supply 72 which could be used to serve all the toilets even without the multi-story cooperative circuit is wired to all the switches and valves as shown such that any individual switch which is triggered would activate the associated valve or blocking means and prevent the flushing in that particular toilet.

A second power supply 74 is connected to the three transistors 76 which return to ground through the valves, which represent a resistance, so that the valve side of each transistor, as well as the transistor bases which are grounded through the lines 78, would normally be at ground potential so that the transistors would be in a non-conductive state. If one of the toilets becomes clogged however, for example the second story toilet, a voltage is dropped across the V valve causing a potential to exist at the base of the central transistor, which will then conduct a current from power supply 74 across valve V causing a voltage drop and a potential to exist at the base of the uppermost transistor, and so forth, so that all the valves above the second story level will be activated and shut off, but the valve on the first story toilet will remain unaffected.

It will be understood that the particular circuit of FIG. 8 may be altered with the addition of any diodes, resistors, and other circuitry within the electronic art to perfect the functioning thereof. The invention lies primarily in the use of the circuit in conjunction with the valves and switches as disclosed in a multi-story 'commode situation rather than in the circuit by itself. Also, the invention will function properly on any type of toilet and is not restricted to the water closet typeillustrated which is popular in dwellings.

I claim:

1. An improvement in a commode having a waste evacuation passageway comprising a toilet bowl with a drain line communicating therewith and a fresh water flush system having an outlet into said bowl and valve means to control the flow of water therethrough, said improvement comprising:

a switch assembly mounted on said commode and activated by an abnormally high water condition therein; and

water flow blocking means mounted in said flush system connected to and operated by said switch to prevent the flow of water therein when said switch assembly is activated by an abnormally high water condition in said commode.

2. An improvement according to claim 1 wherein said flush system includes a water closet having an outlet in the bottom thereof and said valve means is operable by a flush handle assembly mounted on said water closet, and said blocking means comprises a solenoid mounted on said water closet and having a plunger disposed to block said handle to prevent the movement thereof when said solenoid is activated by said switch.

3. An improvement according to claim 1 wherein said switch assembly is mounted on said toilet bowl and includes a float pivoted thereto and operably connected therewith such that the rise of water in the toilet bowl beyond a predetermined level activates said switch.

4. An improvement according to claim 3 wherein said flush system includes a water closet having a water supply line connected thereto and said blocking means comprises a valve in said supply line.

5. An improvement according to claim 1 wherein said blocking means comprises a valve at said flush system outlet.

6. Structure according to claim 1 wherein said switch assembly includes a cup mounted on the external surface of said toilet bowl to define an enclosure therewith adjacent the normal waterline in said bowl, said bowl has a duct therethrough slightly above the normal waterline communicating with said enclosure, and said switch assembly is disposed in said enclosure and is operated by a float.

7. Structure according to claim 1 wherein said toilet bowl has an opening therein and said switch assembly comprises a pressure operated switch extending therethrough into the toilet bowl.

8. Structure according to claim 1 wherein said drain line has an opening therethrough and said switch assembly is pressure operable and extends through said opening.

9. An overflow prevention assembly for a plurality of commodes disposed on successive stories of a multiplestory building, each of said commodes having an evacuation passageway including a toilet bowl and a drain line communicating therewith, and a fresh water flush system having an outlet into said bowl and valve means to control the flow of water therethrough, each of said drain lines being connected to a common trunk line, said assembly comprising:

a plurality of electrical switch assemblies, one being mounted on each of said commodes and capable of producing an electrical signal in response to an abnormally high water condition in the respective 6 cessively higher commodes in the multi-story building, whereby an abnormally high water level in any one of said commodes will block the flush systems of every higher commode.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2056087 *Jan 22, 1936Sep 29, 1936John D AndrewsElectrically operated flush valve
US2061310 *Sep 7, 1935Nov 17, 1936Jr Emil H KleiserToilet tank lever
US3393408 *May 1, 1967Jul 23, 1968Etta S MartinRodent barrier attachment for water closets
US3719957 *Oct 14, 1971Mar 13, 1973Riedel RFlush tank control
US3719958 *Jan 24, 1972Mar 13, 1973J WilhelmWater closets
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3984877 *Oct 9, 1975Oct 12, 1976Kirby James DFlush tank warning system
US3987502 *Jan 7, 1976Oct 26, 1976Hartmann Jack PPlumbing fixture for penal institution
US4160295 *Dec 23, 1977Jul 10, 1979Putyra Donald JToilet shroud
US4195374 *May 14, 1979Apr 1, 1980Acorn Engineering Co.Plumbing fixture overflow limiter
US4203173 *May 14, 1979May 20, 1980Acorn Engineering Co.Overflow inhibitor for plumbing fixtures
US4498203 *May 9, 1984Feb 12, 1985Bradley CorporationFlood preventer for fluid filling systems
US5448784 *Mar 22, 1994Sep 12, 1995Smiley; Everett J.Urinal assembly and electrically actuated valve for same
US6056261 *Oct 16, 1998May 2, 2000Sloan Valve CompanySensor-operated solenoid direct drive flush valve
US6058519 *Apr 19, 1999May 9, 2000Niccole Family TrustToilet overflow control
US6367096 *Jan 25, 2001Apr 9, 2002Niccole Family TrustToilet leak detector and overflow control
US6934977 *Oct 31, 2002Aug 30, 2005Richard QuintanaToilet leak detection and overflow prevention system
US7000627 *Dec 2, 2004Feb 21, 2006Donn Charles JohnsonToilet safety valve
US20050071914 *Oct 3, 2003Apr 7, 2005Keith MarshallFlushable toilet with flood control
US20080244815 *Apr 5, 2007Oct 9, 2008O'connell Joseph FrancisPlumbing base
US20090000018 *May 11, 2007Jan 1, 2009Michael QuinnToilet overflow control
WO1984004769A1 *May 25, 1984Dec 6, 1984Bradley CorpFlood preventer for fluid filling system
WO2006042053A2 *Oct 7, 2005Apr 20, 2006Richard QuintanaIntelligent flow control unit and water management system
U.S. Classification4/342, 4/406, 4/343, 52/34, 4/249, 4/427
International ClassificationE03D5/00, E03D1/00, E03D11/00, E03D5/02
Cooperative ClassificationE03D11/00, E03D5/026, E03D1/00
European ClassificationE03D11/00, E03D1/00, E03D5/02D