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Title:
BUILT-IN AIR CLEANER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2008/114950
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Provided is a built-in wet type air cleaner that is supplied with water directly from a water pipe in a building. The air cleaner includes a water supply valve connected to the water pipe in the building to open and close, a water tank supplied with cleaning water from the water supply valve, a capturing member for capturing impurities from air, using water in the water tank, a drain valve connected to the water tank, a drain pipe connected to the drain valve and to another water consuming facility within the building, a water level detector for detecting a water level in the water tank, and a controller connected to the water supply valve and the water level detector, the controller opening the water supply valve after a preset duration elapses when the controller determines through a signal from the water level detector that the water level in the water tank is at or below a preset minimum water level, and the controller closing the water supply valve when the controller determines through another signal from the water level detector that the water level in the water tank has reached a preset maximum water level. The provided wet type air cleaner is smaller in size, negates the inconvenience of cleaning and replacing water, and is promotes recycling of natural resources.

Inventors:
KIM, Deok Yong (Punggok-ri, 314-3 Gochon-myeon, Gimpo si, Gyeonggi-do 415-813, KR)
Application Number:
KR2008/001354
Publication Date:
September 25, 2008
Filing Date:
March 10, 2008
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
KIM, Deok Yong (Punggok-ri, 314-3 Gochon-myeon, Gimpo si, Gyeonggi-do 415-813, KR)
International Classes:
B01D47/00
Foreign References:
JPH10292467A1998-11-04
US20060107499A12006-05-25
JP2000129748A2000-05-09
US6521027B12003-02-18
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JIMYUNG PATENT FIRM (6F Jungwoo Bldg, 1689-1 Seocho-dong, Seocho-Gu, Seoul 137-882, KR)
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Claims:
Claims

[1] A built-in wet type air cleaner directly supplied with water from a water pipe in a building, the air cleaner comprising: a water supply valve connected to the water pipe in the building to open and close; a water tank supplied with cleaning water from the water supply valve; a capturing member for capturing impurities from air, using water in the water tank; a drain valve connected to the water tank; a drain pipe connected to the drain valve and to another water consuming facility within the building; a water level detector for detecting a water level in the water tank; and a controller connected to the water supply valve and the water level detector, the controller opening the water supply valve after a preset duration elapses when the controller determines through a signal from the water level detector that the water level in the water tank is at or below a preset minimum water level, and the controller closing the water supply valve when the controller determines through another signal from the water level detector that the water level in the water tank has reached a preset maximum water level.

[2] The air cleaner of claim 1, wherein the drain valve is a check valve.

[3] The air cleaner of claim 1, wherein the water supply valve is a valve with one inlet and two outlets, and the drain valve is a valve with two inlets and one outlet, one of the two outlets of the water supply valve is connected to a main body of the air cleaner and the other of the two outlets is connected to a separate bypass pipe, one of the two inlets of the drain valve is connected to the main body of the air cleaner and the other of the two inlets is connected to the bypass pipe, and the drain valve and the water supply valve are separable from the main body of the air cleaner.

[4] The air cleaner of claim 1, further comprising a drain pump connected to the drain pipe.

[5] The air cleaner of claim 1, wherein the water tank has a shape narrowing progressively downward that is conical or hemispherical, and a drain hole is defined at the lowermost point of the water tank.

[6] The air cleaner of claim 1, wherein the water tank is sloped with one side formed lower than the other side, and a drain hole is defined at the lowermost point of

the water tank. [7] The air cleaner of claim 1, wherein the water consuming facility is a flushing toilet in a restroom. [8] A built-in air cleaner with an automatic water washed filter function, the air cleaner comprising: a washable filter that captures impurities in air; a water supply valve disposed at an upper portion of the filter and connected to a water pipe in a building; a water tank disposed at a lower portion of the filter to temporarily store water that has cleaned the filter; a drain valve connected to the water tank; a drain pipe connected to the drain valve and connected to another water consuming facility within the building; a water level detector for detecting a water level of the water tank; and a controller connected to the water supply valve and the water level detector, the controller for opening the water supply valve during a preset duration when the controller determines through a signal from the water level detector that a water level in the water tank is at or below a preset minimum water level, and the controller for closing the water supply valve when the controller determines through another signal from the water level detector that a water level in the water tank has reached a preset maximum water level.

Description:

Description BUILT-IN AIR CLEANER

Technical Field

[1] The present disclosure relates to an air cleaner, and more particularly, to a wet type air cleaner that has a minimally sized water tank and is supplied with water directly from a water supply pipe. Background Art

[2] n general, air cleaners can be divided largely into dry type and wet type air cleaners.

A dry type air cleaner removes dust and harmful materials from contaminated air using a dry type filtering means, is smaller compared to wet type air cleaners, and employs an electrically activated filtering device or a carbon filter and various other types of filters to be highly efficient at collecting dust particles of a certain size and larger. However, in dry type air cleaners, clogging of the filters results in ventilation pressure loss, filters require replacement and cleaning, noxious gases and germ removal is ineffective, and there is no way to control humidity.

[3] In a wet type air cleaner, water is either discharged at contaminated air, or sprayed or cascaded to contact and filter air of contaminants. While this results in high efficiency of air cleaning, such a cleaner is structurally complex and large, and limitations imposed by water-related maintenance restrict wet type air cleaners mostly to industrial applications only.

[4] To take a few examples of such wet type air cleaners, a water cleaning wet type air cleaner of the related art is shown in FIG. 1. The air cleaner includes an inlet 11 through which contaminated air is suctioned from the outside and a passage through which the suctioned contaminated air passes into the body 10 of the air cleaner, a shower passage 12 formed below the passage to communicate with the inlet 11 to shower contaminated air, a shower nozzle 13 installed within the shower passage 12 to shower the contaminated air by spraying water thereon, a washer 20 communicated with the shower passage 12 to wash contaminated air when the showered contaminated air and shower water mix and flow therethrough and separate the water from the air after the air is washed, an impeller 50 that discharges the air cleaned and separated while passing through the washer 20 to the outside and a motor 51 driving the impeller 50, a water tank 30 storing washing water used to clean contaminated air and water that is separated while passing through the washer 20 to be recollected, an auto water supply valve 31 for restoring water to the water tank 30, a drain valve 32 for discharging washing water, a filling duct 33 through which additives for maintaining washing water are introduced, a cooler 34 that cools washing water, and a pump 40 for

pumping the washing water in the water tank 30 and supplying it to be sprayed from the shower nozzle 13 in the shower passage 12.

[5] Also, a centrifugal wet type air cleaner of the related art shown in FIG. 2, includes a main body 407 with an atomizing disk 470 that rotates to suction air and atomized water and a centrifugal impeller 408 that rotates together with the atomizing disk 470, a gas passage cylinder 413 installed in the main body 407 to maintain a predetermined distance therefrom in a longitudinal direction and maintain centrifugal force of moist air, an annular vortex chamber 504 disposed between the inner wall of the housing 409 and the gas passage cylinder 413 within the main body 407, and a cleaning water tank 401 installed at the lower portion of the main body 407 to supply washing water. Washing water is used by and collected in the cleaning water tank 401, after which impurities in air enter through a gas inlet 405. The water tank 401 and the gas inlet 405 form a passage in which the air is centrifugally separated using the density discrepancy between air and washing water.

[6] Various forms of wet type air cleaners have been proposed recently.

[7] For example, as shown in FIG. 4, an air cleaner has been proposed that does not have a built-in water tank, but operates instead by being immersed in water 3 filled in a water tank.

[8] In a related art air cleaner, to prevent air that is filtered and discharged from having an overly high moisture content, the air cleaner includes a ventilating portion 80 with an inlet 81 and outlet 84, an inner wall moisture supplying device that moistens the inner wall of the ventilating portion 80, and a fan 70 that suctions air through the inlet 81 and discharged air out through the outlet 84. A storage tank 50 is formed in communication with the blower 80, and through a water level adjuster that adjusts the water level of the storage tank 50, the water level in the storage tank 50 can be adjusted. The air cleaner is structured to raise the water level in the storage tank 50 to wet the floor surface 82 and rib 60 with water from the storage tank 50, and lower the water level so that impurities in suctioned air that come into contact with the rib 60 soaked with water are removed. The storage tank 50 stores water, and is communicated at the lower inside portion of the ventilating portion 80.

[9] In addition, many different types of air cleaners capable of bringing a maximum amount of air and moisture into mutual contact, such as an air cleaner with a spiral blade, are being developed.

[10] However, the above-described examples of wet type air cleaners, without exception, all employ the procedure of first suctioning indoor air, adsorbing impurities from the air with water stored in the air cleaner, and then discharging the cleaned air.

[11] Accordingly, because water within a wet type air cleaner includes various impurities that were contained in air prior to filtering, if the water is not changed at appropriate

intervals, filtering efficiency is reduced, and when impurities adhere to the inside of the air cleaner, the service life of the air cleaner is also reduced.

[12] That is, in related art wet type air cleaners, due to the size being larger than a comparable dry type air cleaner, and the necessity to frequently change the water in the water tank, the wet type air cleaner, despite having high filtering efficiency, is inconvenient to use in indoor environments including living quarters such as houses, and mid-sized environments such as hospitals, hotels, and offices. Disclosure of Invention Technical Problem

[13] Therefore, an object of the present invention is to provide an ultra-compact wet type air cleaner that can be easily used in everyday living environments.

[14] Another object of the present invention is to provide a wet type air cleaner that eliminates the hassle of having to change cleaning water by automatically changing cleaning water within the air cleaner. Technical Solution

[15] To achieve these and other advantages and in accordance with the purpose(s) of the present invention as embodied and broadly described herein, a built-in wet type air cleaner directly supplied with water from a water pipe in a building in accordance with an aspect of the present invention, the air cleaner including a water supply valve connected to the water pipe in the building to open and close, a water tank supplied with cleaning water from the water supply valve, a capturing member for capturing impurities from air, using water in the water tank, a drain valve connected to the water tank, a drain pipe connected to the drain valve and to another water consuming facility within the building, a water level detector for detecting a water level in the water tank, and a controller connected to the water supply valve and the water level detector, the controller opening the water supply valve after a preset duration elapses when the controller determines through a signal from the water level detector that the water level in the water tank is at or below a preset minimum water level, and the controller closing the water supply valve when the controller determines through another signal from the water level detector that the water level in the water tank has reached a preset maximum water level.

[16] To achieve these and other advantages and in accordance with the purpose(s) of the present invention, a built-in wet type air cleaner directly supplied with water from a water pipe in a building in accordance with another aspect of the present invention, the air cleaner including a washable filter that captures impurities in air, a water supply valve disposed at an upper portion of the filter and connected to a water pipe in a building, a water tank disposed at a lower portion of the filter to temporarily store

water that has cleaned the filter, a drain valve connected to the water tank, a drain pipe connected to the drain valve and connected to another water consuming facility within the building, a water level detector for detecting a water level of the water tank; and a controller connected to the water supply valve and the water level detector, the controller for opening the water supply valve during a preset duration when the controller determines through a signal from the water level detector that a water level in the water tank is at or below a preset minimum water level, and the controller for closing the water supply valve when the controller determines through another signal from the water level detector that a water level in the water tank has reached a preset maximum water level.

[17] The foregoing and other objects, features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description of the present invention when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

Advantageous Effects

[18] The present invention provides a wet type air cleaner having superior filtering performance over dry type air cleaners, and which eliminates the inconvenience of having to regularly change filtering water in wet type air cleaners of the related art, by automatically changing the filtering water.

[19] In addition, because the wet type air cleaner according to the present invention is configured to be supplied with water directly from a water pipe within a building and discharge filtering water into a preinstalled water system in the building, water may be changed several times a day depending on how frequently the water system is used. Also, because there is no need to store a large amount of water in the air cleaner itself, the water tank may be minimized in size, and a smaller wet type air cleaner can be manufactured as a result, which can provide an impetus for further developments in the air cleaner industry. Brief Description of the Drawings

[20] FIGS 1 through 4 are diagrams of wet type air cleaners according to the related art;

[21] FIG. 5 is a schematic structural diagram of a built-in wet type air cleaner according to the present invention;

[22] FIGS. 6 and 7 are embodiments showing connections (to a toilet system, for example) of a built-in wet type air cleaner according to preferred embodiments of the present invention; and

[23] FIGS. 8 through 11 are different embodiments showing the exterior shape and installed locations of water supply pipes and drain pipes for a built-in wet type air cleaner according to a further embodiment of the present invention. Best Mode for Carrying Out the Invention

[24] Hereinafter, specific embodiments will be described in detail with reference to FIGS.

5 through 7.

[25] FIG. 5 is a schematic structural diagram of a built-in wet type air cleaner according to the present invention. As shown, the built-in wet type air cleaner is formed of a main body 50, a water supply valve 55, and drain valves 56 and 56'.

[26] The main body 500 includes an impurity capturing member 51 that captures impurities from air using supplied cleaning water, an inlet 52, an outlet 53, a water level detector 54 that detects the level of the cleaning water, and a water tank 57 that stores the cleaning water.

[27] The impurity capturing member 51 may be one that is the same as or similar to one for a wet type air cleaner according to the related art described above, or may be a new and different type for a wet type air cleaner. Because the impurity capturing member is not a characteristically essential element of the present invention, a description thereof will not be provided herein.

[28] Contaminated indoor air is suctioned through the inlet 52, and filtered air is discharged through the outlet 52. Because impurities in air tend to concentrate around the floor of an indoor space, the inlet 53 may be provided at the lower portion of the main body 50 of the air cleaner, and the outlet 54 may be provided at the top or upper portion of the main body 50 in order to discharge filtered air.

[29] The water level detector 54 performs the function of detecting the water level of cleaning water within the water tank 57. The water level detector 54 may be a mechanical device using a float, an electronic device that senses water level through voltage measurement, or may be any other type of water level detector. However, because it must be connected to a controller (not shown) to notify the controller of the level of cleaning water within the water tank 57, the water level detector 54 includes a signal transmitting member to perform said notification.

[30] Also, the water level detector 54 must detect the water level between preset maximum and minimum water levels, and in the present embodiment, the minimum water level is when water has been completely drained.

[31] The water supply valve 55 is opened and closed by the controller, and water is supplied from a water pipe within a building to the water tank 57 within the air cleaner.

[32] Preferably, the water supply valve 55 may be temporarily opened only when the water level in the water tank 57 reaches a preset minimum level to allow water to be supplied, and may be closed to remain in said state when the cleaning water reaches a preset maximum water level.

[33] As an exception, if the controller determines that water in the water tank has not been changed for an extended duration, and that water is being depleted slowly due to natural evaporation to fall between the maximum and minimum water levels, the

controller may open the water supply valve 55 to fill the water tank to the maximum water level.

[34] The water supply valve 55, being controlled and operated by the controller, includes an electrical/electronic driver, and may also include a manually operated opening/ closing device allowing manual opening/closing thereof, in consideration of the air cleaner's 50 running costs.

[35] The drain valves 56 and 56' perform the function of draining water from the air cleaner, and are one-way (in a direction from inside the water tank to the outside thereof) valves (or valves preventing reverse flow) through which water flows. Valves preventing reverse flow include a wide variety of configurations that are widely known, and thus, descriptions thereof will not be provided herein. If the drain valves 56 and 56' are mechanical valves that are opened by water pressure fluctuation, they do not need electrical/electronic elements connected to the controller. In this case, of course, the drain valves are not controlled or operated by the controller.

[36] The drain valve 56 provides a passage for discharging water in the water tank contaminated with captured impurities, and may be disposed at the bottom surface of the water tank 57 to completely drain water.

[37] However, because contaminants in indoor air are concentrated more in the lower regions than the upper regions of the indoor space, when the air cleaner is installed on the floor of an indoor space to increase filtering efficiency, the drain valve 56' may be disposed at a lowermost side of the air cleaner.

[38] FIG. 6 is a diagram showing the water supplying/draining relation between an air cleaner 50 according to the present invention and a water consuming facility 60 such as a flushing toilet.

[39] Referring to FIG. 6, an air cleaner 50 according to the present invention will be described below as a mechanism that automatically changes cleaning water.

[40] As shown, the air cleaner 50 is installed to be supplied with water from a water faucet or water supply pipe 61, and drain water to the water consuming facility 60 through a drain pipe 62. FIG. 6 shows an embodiment in which the air cleaner is installed above the water consuming facility 60.

[41] Next, the controller of the air cleaner 50 controls the water supply valve to receive water supplied through the water supply pipe 61 until the water reaches the maximum water level. Immediately after installation, the water tank of the air cleaner is filled with water after the minimum quantity of water in the water consuming facility 60 and the drain pipe 62 is filled with water.

[42] When cleaning water reaches the maximum level, the impurity capturing member 51 is used in air cleaning to accumulate impurities captured over time.

[43] The water consuming facility 60 consumes water when performing its inherent

function, regardless of the operation of the air cleaner. For example, when embodied as a flushing toilet, it consumes water every time the toilet is flushed, whereupon its own water tank is emptied.

[44] In this case, the air cleaner 50 is installed above the water consuming facility 60, so that water pressure prompts the draining of water that was in the water tank 57 through the drain valve 56 (allowing liquid to flow uni-directionally), and in direction A through the drain pipe 62. Because cleaning water in the water tank 57 includes impurities, it is preferable that the water be completely drained in each draining. Thus, the capacity of the water tank 57 may be the same as or less than the capacity of the water consuming facility 60.

[45] When water is completely drained from within the water tank 57 and reaches a preset minimum water level or below, the controller opens the water supply valve 55 to admit a flow of water through the water supply pipe 61 in direction B and supply water from a water pipe within the building to the water tank 57. The water supply valve is kept open until the water capacity of the tank for the water consuming facility 60 and the drain pipe 62 are both filled to maximum level.

[46] Here, when the minimum water level is reached, the controller may, for example, open the water supply valve 55 after waiting a predetermined duration somewhere between 0 to 10 seconds after all the water has been drained from within the water tank 57. This is because the cleaning water can be drained in its entirety only after a predetermined time elapses from the point when the water level detector 54 detects that all the water has been drained, due to surface tension of water.

[47] Through the above process, the water tank 57 within the air cleaner 50 can automatically have its water replaced, by being supplied with water from an upper water pipe or with water cleaned by a cleaning filter (not shown).

[48] The frequency at which a water consuming facility 60 in a building is used determines the number of times that the water in the water tank 57 is replaced. For example, if the water consuming facility 60 is a toilet that is used several or more times a day, the cleaning water within the water tank 57 of the air cleaner may largely be maintained in a constant clean state, so that the cleaning efficiency of the wet type air cleaner can be maintained at an optimum level.

[49] While the above embodiment addresses a household flushing toilet with a dedicated water tank, even in cases such as public washrooms having flushing urinals without dedicated water tanks, the urinals may be connected as the water consuming facility 60. In this case, the cleaning water within the water tank 57 can be automatically and constantly replaced to maintain a clean state. Besides flushing toilets and urinals, various other water consuming facilities may be connected and used efficiently in the same way.

[50] FIG. 7 is a diagram showing another embodiment for supplying/draining water according the present invention.

[51] In the embodiment shown in FIG. 7, in anticipation of an arising need to reduce the frequency of cleaning water replacement within the water tank 57 to below the frequency in which the water consuming facility is used, or when the air cleaner 50 must be disengaged for service and maintenance, a bypass pipe 63 is installed to directly supply water from a water faucet or the water supply pipe 61 to the water consuming facility.

[52] In this case, the water supply valve 55 has one entrance and two exits, where one of the 2 exits is communicated with the main body of the air cleaner and the other exit is communicated with another bypass pipe. The drain valve 56 is a valve with two entrances and one exit, where one of the entrances is communicated with the main body of the air cleaner and the other entrance is communicated with the other bypass pipe.

[53] FIGS. 8 through 11 are different embodiments showing the structure of an air cleaner

50, and more particularly, the structure of the water tank 57 at the lower portion of the air cleaner 50.

[54] In the structure shown in FIG. 8, the floor of the water tank is flat so that the air cleaner can not only be installed vertically, but can be installed directly on a floor of an indoor space. When installed directly on the floor of an indoor space, the drain pipe 62 may be connected to a lowermost side instead of the bottom of the water tank 57, as described above.

[55] In the structure shown in FIG. 9, for complete draining and replacement of cleaning water in the water tank 57, the floor of the tank may be conical or semi-spherical, with the draining pipe 62 connected at the lowermost point thereof.

[56] Referring again to FIG. 9, while impurities settling on one portion 70 of the water tank can be entirely drained together with clean water supplied from the water supply pipe 61, impurities are likely to remain on the floor 70 at the side opposite to the water supply valve.

[57] To obviate this condition, as shown in FIG. 10, the side nearer to the draining pipe 62 may be declined lower than the side of the water supply pipe 61, and the drain pipe 62 may be connected opposite to the water supply pipe 61, to form a structure that prevents the deposition of impurities on the floor 70 of the water tank in FIG. 9.

[58] In the above description, the air cleaner 50 is installed above the water consuming facility 60 so that water pressure induces natural draining of the cleaning water; however, in the case depicted in FIG. 11, a drain pump 71 is additionally installed to drain the water.

[59] In particular, when the air cleaner 50 is disposed in a low region within an indoor

space (i.e., on the floor of the indoor space) in order to increase filtering efficiency of air, the air cleaner 50 may be in a lower position than the water consuming facility 60, in which case the drain pump 71 is needed to drain cleaning water from the water tank 57, since natural draining of the water through water pressure cannot occur.

[60] In another aspect falling within scope of the technical spirit of the present invention, the above-described automatic water supply mechanism may be applied to a dry type air cleaner employing a filter.

[61] According to a preferred embodiment, an automatic water cleaned air cleaner includes a water washable filter that captures impurities in the air, a water supply valve disposed at the upper portion of the filter and connected to and sealed against a water supply pipe in a building, a water tank disposed at a lower portion of the filter to temporarily store water for cleaning the filter, a drain valve connected to the water tank, and a drain pipe connected to the drain valve and connected to another water consuming facility in the building, and a water level detector for detecting the water level in the water tank.

[62] Here, the water supply valve and the water level detector are connected, and when it is determined through a signal from the water level detector that the water in the water tank has fallen below a preset water level, the water supply valve is opened for a preset duration. Then, when it is determined through a signal from the water level detector that the water has reached a preset maximum water level, the controller in the air cleaner closes the water supply valve. Thus, the air controller functions as a mechanism for automatically changing water, to automatically wash the internal filter.

[63] As the present invention may be embodied in several forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof, it should also be understood that the above-described embodiments are not limited by any of the details of the foregoing description, unless otherwise specified, but rather should be construed broadly within its spirit and scope as defined in the appended claims, and therefore all changes and modifications that fall within the metes and bounds of the claims, or equivalents of such metes and bounds are therefore intended to be embraced by the appended claims. Industrial Applicability

[64] Because the wet type air cleaner according to the present invention is configured to be supplied with water directly from a water pipe within a building and discharge filtering water into a preinstalled water system in the building, water may be changed several times a day depending on how frequently the water system is used. Also, because there is no need to store a large amount of water in the air cleaner itself, the water tank may be minimized in size, and a smaller wet type air cleaner can be manufactured as a result, for a high injustrial applicability.