|I CLAIM :-
1. A cleaning receptacle assembly for use in fai-s u cleaning of the wall mounted fait/coil unit of an air conditioner, inctuding:- a lower part for confining excess cleaning fluids;
a rear part which may be supported beneath the fan/coi I unit and to extend substantially across the width of the tan coil unit for directing excess cleaning fluids away from the mounting wall and into me lower part;
a front part which extends from the rear part to form an opening into the lower part and which opening extends substantially across the width of the rear part and outwardly therefrom to receive excess cleaning fluids for passage into the lower part, and
support means for operatively supporting the receptacle wWi tne rear part beneath the fan/coil unit so as to direct excess cleaning fluids into the lower part.
2. A cleaning receptacle assembly as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the lower part is sealed.
3. A cleaning receptacle assembly as claimed in claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the lower part is provided with valve means through which collected cleaning fluid may be drained.
4. A cleaning receptacle assembly as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the lower part is in the form of a flexible bag which tapers inwardly and downwardly to a lowermost confining part disposed centrally beneath the opening.
5. A cleaning receptacle assembly as claimed in any one of he proceeding claims, wherein the rear part includes a relatively stiff mounting portion.
6. A cleaning receptacle assembly as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the rear part includes a resilient lip which is formed to engage behind the back face of the ran coil unit
7. A cleaning receptacle assembly as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the rear part includes a sleeve supporting a straight bar or tube which may be selectively positioned b the support means to hold said rear part in operative engagement with the fan/coil unit
8. A cleaning receptacle assembly as claimed in claim 7, wherein ihe support means attach to respective end portions of said straight bar or tube exposed out wardly beyond said supporting sleeve.
9. A cleaning receptacle assembly as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, including adjustable positioning means for positioning said opening so as to capture the excess fluids-
10. A cleaning receptacle assembly as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the front part includes a front sleeve in which a stiffening batten is supported to form said opening.
11. A cleaning receptacle assembly as claimed in claim 10, wherein said stiffening batten is a two part batten which may be released from said fiont sleeve.
12. A cleaning receptacle assembly as claimed in claim 10 or claim 11, wherein the adjustable positioning means is a tension member and the remote ends of the stiffening batten terminate adjacent the rear part whereby reaction of the batten ends against the rear part resulting from the tension member urges the rear part rearward.
13. A cleaning receptacle assembly as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein a seal is provided on the rear part for engagement with the mounting wall to direct excess cleaning fluids on the mounting wall beneath the fan/coil unit into the lower part
14. A cleaning receptacle assembly as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the rear part includes a sleeve supporting a straight member, the front part includes a sleeve in which a stiffening batten is supported to form said opening and wherein the lower part, the rear part and the fiont part are formed from flexible wateiproof materiaJ held in their operative form by said straight member and said saiffcmng batten.
15. A cleaning receptacle assembly as claimed in any one of die preceding claims, wherein the support means is a length adjustable sting which In use cooperates with the rear part to encircle the fan coil unit.
16. A cleaning receptacle assembly as claimed in claim IS, wherein the remote ends of the sling attach to respective end portions of a straight bar supporting said rear part.
17. A cleaning receptacle assembly as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein said rear part has a seal associated with its rear face which is formed to operatively engage with the mounting wall.
18. A cleaning receptacle assembly as claimed in claim 17, wherein said seal includes a lower external upwardly opening transverse pocket atttacned to the rear part and supporting an absorbent pad and being associated with drain openings formed in the receptacle to drain fluids from said pocket into the cleaning receptacle assembly.
19. A cleaning receptacle assembly as claimed in claim 18 and including a dependant flange overlying said drain openings in spaced relationship therewith.
20. A cleaning receptacle assembly as claimed in any one of claims 17 to 19, herein said seal is positioned substantially in the zone of the rearward force applied by the support means.
21. A cleaning receptacle assembly as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein said support means includes adjustable positioning means associated with the shaping member.
22. A cleaning receptacle assembly as claimed in claim 20, wherein the positioning means is a tension member which may be fixed at one end to tbe fan coil unit and at it other end to the shaping member.
23. A method of in-situ cleaning components of a wall mounted fan/coil unit of an air- conditioner, the method including:- providing a cleaning receptacle assembly for use in in-situ cleaning of components of a fan/coil unit of the type described and Including:- a tower part for confining excess cleaning fluids;
a rear part which may be supported beneath the fan/coil unit and to extend substantially across the width of the fen/coil unit for directing excess cleaning fluids away from the mounting wall and into the lower part; a front part which extends from the rear part to form an opening into the lower part and which opening extends substantially across the width of the rear part and outwardly therefrom to receive excess cleaning fluids for passage into the lower part, and
support means for operatively supporting the rear part beneath the fan coil unit so as to direct excess cleaning fluids into the lower part
supporting the cleaning receptacle assembly operatively beneath die fsn coil unit applying a cleaning fluid to the components of the fan/coil unit to be cleaned
flushing the components with water or other flushing fluid to carry away the contamination released therefrom by the cleaning fluid, either through the drain and/or into the cleaning receptacle, and
removing the cleaning receptacle with the excess fluid contained therein or emptied therefrom;
flushing the fan and evaporator with water or the like fluid to carry away the contamination removed therefrom by the cleaning fluid either through the drain or into the cleaning receptacle, and
removing the cleaning receptacle with the excess fluid contained therein or emptied therefrom.
24. A method as claimed in claim 23 and where the component to be cleaned includes the drain sub-assembly of the fan coil unit, including releasing the drain sub-assembly to enable it to be suspended within the cleaning receptacle.
This invention relates to methods of and/or apparatus for in-situ cleaning of components of indoor wall hung fen/coil units.
Split-type air conditioners and variable refrigeration flow air conditioners both utilize indoor wall hung fan/coil units to deliver cool air to the room to be conditioned. These indoor wall hung fan coil units contain the evaporator and an air circulation tan and in use, they are mounted at an elevated position on a wall of the room to be air-conditioned, hcrdrtafter called the "mounting wall" so as to circulate cooled air through the room. In a typical installation the fan coil unit is connected to an associated outdoor unit by refrigerant lines, electrical and control leads, all hereinafter collectively referred to as "service lines" through a conduit or a wall cavity along ith a drain pipe for draining the condensed water. For this purpose the fhii/coil unit has a drain tray disposed beneath the evaporator and connected through the drain pipe to an external drain for draining condensate from the evaporator. The nutdoor unit may service more than one indoor unit such as a wall hung fan coil unit
Typically, in air conditioners of the type described above, the drain tray in the fan coil unit and the air flow directing vane and Its drive are often formed as a removable drain sub-assembly. After the outer front casing and filters and their support housing of the fen/coil unit have been removed, this sub-assembly may be detached from the ian coii unit to provide better access to the fan assembly from beneath and to the inside of the evaporator. The evaporator typically extends partially around the upper part of the fan assembly which draws room air therethrough and circulates the conditioned de-humidified air through a lower opening via the flow directing vane into the room to be air conditioned. The condensed water is discharged through the drain pipe.
It is possible ID clean the evaporator in-situ by applying cleaning fluid to the outer face followed by careful flushing to remove the contaminants,, allowing flushing fluids and released contamination to be captured by the in-built chain tray for drainage thnnigh the drain pipe. However the close spacing of the evaporator coil fins effectively prevents externally applied cleaning fluid or flushing fluid passing through the evaporator onto the fen assembly which can also become extremely dirty in use causing it to operate inefficiently. Further if the drain tray is removed to provide better access to the fen assembly, such removal and/or the subsequent in-situ cleaning thereof will result in contamination of at least part of the conditioned space with dislodged refuse and or cleaning fluids. In addition, unless the drain trey is removed it cannot be adequately inspected for confirmation of effective cleaning.
Thus, thorough cleaning of the fan/coil unit, including the fan assembly, usually requires the removal of die fan/coil unit from the wall so that it can be taken away for cleaning. In order to remove the fan/coil unit from the wall to perform such a thorough cleaning operation, the refrigerant, which in use is circulated through the evaporator, has to be pumped down to the outdoor unit where it is contained so that the Interconnecting refrigerant lines can be disconnected without discharging the refrigerant gases to atmosphere, the other service lines must also be disconnected. The fan coil unit can then be removed for cleaning in a suitable prepared environment Once cleaned, the fan coil unit needs re-installing and re-coxuiection. When performing such a removal and refitting task there is a risk of nurturin or distorting the copper pipe refrigerant lines attached to fan/eoil unit due to work hardening of these pipes. After the fan/coil unit Is reconnected the evaporator and refrigerant lines have to be pressure tested, usually with dry nitrogen, which is then released so evacuation can be carried out before die system can be re-commissioned.
This operation including the re-commissioning con take several hours and thus the cost involved is significant. Where such cleaning is necessary it is often preferable or more desirable or cost effective to install a complete new air conditioner.
It is also possible to remove the fen assembly from the fen/coil unit for cleaning. However this is a time consuming task which itself may contaminate die conditioned space and the reinstalled fan, probably as a result of slightly different alignment of die fan supports, often operates with increased noise. This can be very disadvantageous in commercial installations. This invention aims to provide a method of and/or apparatus for in-situ cleaning of the components of indoor wall hung fan coil units, such as the evaporator, fan assembly, the drain tray or drain subassembly, which will alleviate at least one of the abovementioBecJ disadvantages.
The apparatus of this invention may be utilized in a cleaning method which leaves the drain tray in place, in which case some or much of the applied washing fluids win be collected in the drain tray and pass through the drain pipe and only excess cleaning fluid and flushing fluid as well as removed contaminates not collected by the drain tray will spill from the fan coil unit and provide potential contamination to be discharged into the conditioned room. Alternatively the apparatus of this invention may be utilized for a cleaning method in which the drain tray or drain sub-assembly is removed or moved to an out of the way position, in which case substantially all the applied cleaning fluid and flushing fluid as well as removed contaminates will spill from the fen/coil unit and provide potential contamination to be discharged into the conditioned room. The term "excess cleaning fluids" as used hereinafter encompasses cleaning fluid and flushing fluid and removed contaminants discharged in either cleaning method. Further the expression dearang fluids referred to herein include a reference to decontaminants such as coil cleaning fluid or powder or gel cleaner.
SUMMARY OF INVENTION
With the foregoing in view, mis invention in one aspect resides broadly in a cleaning receptacle assembly for use in in -situ cleaning of an indoor wall hung fan coil unit, including:- a lower part for confining excess cleaning fluids;
a rear part which may be supported beneath die fan/coil unit and to extend substantially across the width of the fan/coil unit for directing excess cleaning fluids away from the mounting wall and into die lower part
a front part which extends from the rear part to form an opening into the lower part and which opening extends substantially across the width of the rear part and outwardly therefrom to receive excess cleaning fluids for passage into the lower part, and
support means for operativety supporting the rear part beneath the fan/coil unit so as to direct excess cleaning fluids into the lower part.
The excess cleaning fluids are preferably directed into the lower part by arranging the rear part to form an operative sealing engagement with the fan/coil unit. Alternatively where an effective seal is formed between the mounting wall and the rear part so as to direct excess cleaning fluids into the lower part, the support means may support the rear part adjacent but below Che fen/coil unit Preferably the rear part engages with both the ran coil unit and the mounting wall so as to direct excess cleaning fluids into the lower part
The cleaning receptacle could be of rigid form or bag like with frame means defining the opening. It could be clear for observation of the removed contaminates, opaque or translucent. Preferably the receptacle assembly is so formed that the shape of die opening is maintained such that the front part does not extend outwardly fiom the rear part sufficiently to significantly inhibit an operator working on the fan coil unit whereby refuse dislodged during preliminary operations, including removing the dram sub-assembly, passes through the opening to be confined with the excess cleaning fluids.
The support means may be formed as adjustable floor supported legs adapted tor supporting the rear part More preferably, for portability and security of attachment in use, the support means includes a sling which in use cooperates with the rear part to encircle the fan/coil unit so as to secure the rear part to the fan coil unit alongside the lower rear edge of the fan coil unit- The sling is preferably selectively length adjustable whereby its supporting length may be adjusted to maintain the cleaning receptacle assembly secured to the fan/coil unit in its operative position or at a selected lower position while manipulating the rear part into its operative position.
The remote ends of the sling may attach to respective end portions of the rear part, or in the flexible bag-like embodiment of the invention, to opposite ends of a relatively stiff bar supporting the rear part.
The lower part may be sealed for containing all excess cleaning fluids confined thereby or it may be provided with an outlet valve for discharging the fluids confined therein to a suitable container. While the cleaning receptacle assembly may be in the form of a rectangular bucket tike article it is preferred that die lower part tapers inwardly and downwardly to a lowermost collection part disposed substantially centrally beneath the opening so that any cleaning fluids accumulated therein will bang centrally beneath the fan coil unit so as not to apply uneven and potentially an upsetting load to its support from the fan coil unit which could result In spillage of the confined fluids and/or to tacilitate drainage therefrom. Preferably the rec ptacle assembly, other than the support means and the shape maintaining means for the opening i$ formed from fabric or film or a combination thereof; such as a waterproof reinforced plastics cloth or film, to form a bag-tike assembly which may be rolled or bundled to assist its portability in confined spaces and or minimize its storage space in a work van for example.
The rear part may have a relatively stiff mounting portion which may be held upwardly at its ends for operative engagement along its length with the fan/coil unit or wall. In flexible bag-like embodiments of the invention such stiffness may be provided or assisted by forming an attachment to a suitable bar such as by a track spline or sleeve utilized ra the support means.
The rear part may utilize a firm engagement to the fan coil unit to provide an operative sealed connection thereto but preferably the rear part engages behind the lower part of the back face of the fan/coil unit to direct excess cleaning fluids into the lower part and U inhibit leakage of excess fluids at the interface between, the rear part and the back face of the fan/coil unit The near part may include a resilient lip to engage behind the fan/coil unit This lip may be a relatively broad lip to enable the person performing the cleaning operations to insert their hand beneath the fan coil unit and manipulate the lip into operative engagement behind die fan coil unit as the rear part is moved upwardly toward its operative position, in stages if necessary, by the support means. Preferably, for this purpose, this lip is i the orderof 30mm to 50mm deep.
The rear part may have a seal assembly associated with its rear face which in use abuts die mounting wall to direct excess cleaning fluids into the lower part This seal assembly may be removably attached thereto. The seal assembly may be flange like and resilient or ft may have absorptive qualities to capture some or all of die excess cleaning fluids which may pass to the back face of the rear par The seal assembly may include a lower external transverse channel or pocket integral or sealably attached to the receptacle assembly and preferably associated with dram openings provided in the receptacle to drain fluids diverted by the seal assembly into the channel or pocket, into the receptacle. The seal assembly may include a removable strip of sponge, chamois or felt or the like extending fully across the rear part of the cleaning receptacle and preferably exposed to the wall directly behind a stiff porrion of the rear part so as to be held, in use, "m engagement with the wall. In a flexible bag-like embodiment of the cleaning receptacle assembly the seal assembly is preferably positioned behind the sling supported bar supporting the rear part to maximize engagement pressure with the wall. Further, in a flexible bag-like embodiment of the invention the front part may be formed with a sleeve or similar connection for a shaping member, which may be a bowed, bent or flexible bar, slat or tube, to form and maintain the opoiing shape. The ends of a supporting sling may be attached to the receptacle assembly at positions spaced from the rear port to provide, in use, a reactive force to the rear part toward the mounting wall. Preferably the support means also includes adjustable positioning means associated with the front part for positioning the opening so as to capture the excess cleaning fluids.
Preferably the adjustable positioning means is a tension member. In a preferred form the remote ends of a shaping member terminate adjacent the outer ends of the rear part whereby reaction of the shaping member against the rear part resulting from the tension member will assist in urging the rear part into engagement with the mounting wall- The shaping member may be weighted to provide increased load for the tension member and the appropriate rearward force applied to the rear part to achieve this operative engagement.
In the embodiment associated with a rear seal, it is preferred that the seal be positioned substantially in the Zone of a rearward force applied to the rear part by the adjustable positioning means.
Preferably the adjustable positioning means is an adjustable tie cooperating with the centra! portion of a shaping member and which may be released for portability or storage.
Alternatively the junctions between the front and rear parts may be so formed as to hold a shaping member in its operative position spaced from the rear part or the supporting sling attached to the front part may be utilized for mis purpose. Further the front part could be held externally such as by an outwardly projecting strut at each end or by a bowed or U-shaped frame.
In a preferred form the cleaning receptacle assembly tapers from the opening to a narrow lower end which may communicate with a storage container through a tap or the like to enable cleaning fluids and contaminates to be drained front the cleaning receptacle prior to removal from the fan/coil unit to mmitnize the risk of spillage during removal of the cleaning receptacle. It also enables these fluids to be drained while in use, should the collected fluid weight become excessive to be supported from the unit or lifted therefrom by an operator, especially if the unit is elevated to the extent that it must be accessed from a ladder or platform. In another aspect this invention resides in a sealing arrangement for a cleaning receptacle for use with in-situ cleaning of a fan/coil unit of an atr-conditionei, the sealing arrangement being substantially in the form of the rear part and/or its cooperation with the seal assembly and or the front part or support means as variously described above.
In yet a further aspect this invention resides broadly in a method of in-situ cleaning components of a fancoil unh, the method induding;- providing a cleaning receptacle assembly having:- a lower part for confining excess cleaning fluids;
a rear part which may be supported beneath the fan coil unit to extend substantially across the width of the fan coil unit for directing excess cleaning fluids away from the mounting wall and into the lower part;
a front part which extends from the rear port to form an opening into the lower part and which opening extends substantially across the width of the rear part and outwardly therefrom to . receive excess cleaning fluids for passage into the lower part, and
support means for operaiively supporting the receptacle with the rear part beneath the fan coil unit so as to direct excess cleaning fluids into the lower part:
supporting the cleaning receptacle assembly operaiively beneath the fan/coil unit;
applying a cleaning fluid to the components of the fen/coil unit to be cleaned
flushing the components with water or other flushing fluid to carry away the contaminates released theref om, either through die associated drain pipe and/or into the cleaning receptacle assembly, and
removing the cleaning receptacle assembly with the excess cleaning fluids contained therein or drained therefrom.
Preferably the flushing fluid is applied to the tan under pressure as a jet or spray so as to cause the fan to spin to assist removal of fhe contaminates thereon. This pressure may be in the order of 40psi to 50psi and be conveniently applied by a hand held spray such as a portable garden spray or it may be applied at a higher pressure with imlustria] spraying apparatus. The flushing fluid may be applied . continuously to the fan under visual control or alternatively a full length spray head could imply flushing fluid mstantaneously over the full length of the fan. The cleaning- operation of the Gin assembly may be carried out without removing the drain tray or the drain tray sub-assembly by directing the cleaning fluids onto the fan assembly through the air flow outlet path behind the drain tray. Alternatively the drain tray or the drain tray sub-assembly may be removed or shifted out of the way, conveniently while leaving the drain connection in place if possible, to provide better access to the &n assembly.
Partial cleaning may be effected without removing all the covers or support housings, such as the support for the removable fitters, from the fan/coil unit but it is preferred that the covers be removed for better access and ready visual confirmation of the positioning of the rear part behind or in operative relationship with the rear wall of the fan/coil unit If necessary the fixings securing the fan/coil unit to the wall may be released or loosened to enable a lip or other portion of the rear part to be inserted behind the back wall of the fan/coil unit.
In order that the various aspects of this invention may be more readily understood and put into practical effect reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings which illustrate preferred embodiments of this invention, and wherein:-
Pig. 1 is a diagrammatic cross-sectional end view which illustrates the upper portion of a cleaning receptacle assembly suspended beneath a fan coil unit
Fig.2 is a front view of a preferred form of cleaning receptacle assembly according to this invention;
Fig.3 is a diagrammatic perspective view of a fan/coil unit with the covers and filters removed, and showing the drain sub-assembly partially removed but suspended within a cleaning receptacle assembly secured to the fan/coil unit;
Fig.4 is an xpl ded perspective view of the upper portion of a cleaning receptacle assembly, and Fig.5 is a part-sectional view of the preferred sealing arrangement utilized in the embodiment of Fig.4.
DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS
The fan/coil unh 10 ilhistrated in Fig, 1 is a diagrammatic iUustration only of the major components included in many variations of fan/coil units which are generally similar but vary in configurations of mouldings, evaporators, fan assemblies, drain assemblies, air deflectors and the like. Α· ilta&sted, a typteai f¾n/e§ii unit Id ha§ » eaer plasties bousing i 1 wftten is atiseh^ te a mounting wall 12 ihreugh a metal suppsrt feraekei 13, T¼ hduging 11 sjapsrts an glsn te fesm I type &*» ¾5sembly 1 bebted and fegatath a partially eBeempa^ing evapw&OF assembly l i end front of the internal elr guide wail 16 which extends down to form the rear edge 17 of the air outlet 18. The ftoat of tbe air outlet 18 is formed by a removable drain tray 27 which supports a driven air flow deflector 20 which extends across and closes tine outlet IS, as shown to dotted tines at 21, when the fen/coil unit is inoperative. The drain tray 27 and the air flow deflector 20 form a removable drain sub-assembly 19.
Removable mesh fihere 22 are supported by the housing 11 across the ah" inlet 23 to the evaporator assembly 15 and a slotted outer cover 24 which is normally removable upon release of securing screws (not shown) covers the evaporator assembly IS and filters 22. The air flow deflector is driven by an electronically controlled motor 25. The fan motor and the various sensors and switching components are supported b a housing 26 at one end of the an coil unit 10. In operation the fan 14 sucks room ah- through the inlet 23, filters 22 and evaporator assembly 15 and discharges conditioned air through the outlet 18, with condensed water removed from the conditioned air being collected in the drain tray 27 and discharged through the drain pipe.
Over time, the evaporator assembly 15 and the fan assembly 14 become laden with contamination as do with the suction filters 22 which are in a removable housing (not shown) and which can be readily removed and cleaned. A typical ftbsitu clean would normally entail removing the slotted cover 24, followed by die fine mesh filters 22 and their support housing and then applying a cleaning fluid such as commonly sold under the trade mark COIL SHINE to the exposed outer face of the evaporator assembly 15, followed by flushing with water to remove the dislodged contaminating matter and to cany it through or across the evaporator 15 for Election in the drain tray 27 and thence discharged through the drain pipe provided. This drain pipe along with the other service lines pass through a passage 28 in the wall 12 to the outdoor unit and external drain respectively.
However such a cleaning operation does not effectively clean the fan assembly 14 as access thereto is substantially concealed by the evaporator assembly 15, the drain tray 27 and the air flow deflector 20 and its supports. White the air flow deflector may be removed, either separately or with the drain sub-assembly 19, depending on the configuration, to clear the air outlet 18 of obstructions to accessing ihe fan 14, any fluids sprayed through the cleared air outlet 18 will flow back thcremrough and contaminate the conditioned space.
To alleviate this according to one embodiment of this invention there is provided a cleaning receptacle assembly 30 formed from waterproof fabric or film 31 which docs not react with the cleaning fluid and which is preferably a flexible reinforced plastics material which can be readily seam welded for sealed joints. This fabric film 1 is formed into a triangular shaped bag 32 which is hung apex down from a cross bar 34 supported in a sleeve 35 formed m the rear part 36 which sits immediately below the fan coil unit 10. This bar 34 is supported by the remote ends of an adjustable strap 37 having an intermediate buckle connection 39 whereby the traps 37 may be adjusted to operativefy secure the bar and its suspended bag 32 from the unit 10. An upstanding resilient flange or Hp 38 is formed across the rear part 36 above the cross bar sleeve 35. This lip 38 can be positioned between the back wall 40 of the unit and the mounting wail 12, such as just below the metal support bracket 13.
A further sleeve 41 extends across the upper edge Of me front part 42 of h« cleaning receptacle assembly 30 and arranged to accornrnodate a curved bow like batten 44 which may be removably secured therein. This batten 44 holds the f ont part 42 away from the back part 36. An eyelet 46 is positioned centrally along this front part 42 to enable a tension member 43 to be attached thereto and to the fan/coil unit TO, or the secured strap 37, to hold the batten 44 and thus the front part 42 in its outwardly extending position to form the open end 33 of the receptacle assembly 30.
It will be seen that the ends of the sleeve 41 are positioned adjacent the sleeve 35 so that any inward force applied thereto, either by the operator or by the reaction from the batten 44 due to the tension member 43 supporting the front part 42 in Its outward attitude, is applied to the cross bar 34 fore rag it rearward toward the mounting wall 12. This rearward movement into contact with the tMninting wall 12 assists in maintaining the receptacle assembly 30 in position as adjusted by the operator to receive the excess cleaning fluids.
In this embodiment the cleaning receptacle 10 is about 2800mm long at it open upper end 33 so as to accommodate drainage from most of the commercially available fan/coil units which are between 700mm and 2100mm long. If desired the cleaning receptacle could be made in a smaller size for more convenient use whfa smaller fan coil units, or larger as required. A drain tube and/or tap or cock can be secured into the apex 47 of the bag 32 so that a bose may be connected thereto to enable the captured contents, or excess contents to be drained to a container If desired.
In use, after the fan coil unit 10 has been made safe by cutting all electrical power thereto, the operator firstly removes the cover 24 followed by the clip-in filters 22 and their support cowl (not shown) to expose the outer fece of the evaporator assembly 1 . The drain sub-assembly 19 which includes the flow deflector 20 and its motor 25 is then preferably released from the housing It to be supported in the receptacle assembly 30, as illustrated in Fig. 3, to provide clear access to the underside of the fan assembly 14. In many types of fan coil units the drain sub-assembly may be left hanging by its flexible connecting hose SO away from die air outlet 18 and within the receptacle assembly 30.
The cleaning receptacle 30 is positioned with hs rear part 36 adjacent the mounting wall 12 and moved upwardly by adjusting the straps 27, which can hold the receptacle assembly 30 at a selected height at any position during this operation, enabling the operator to monitor operative engagement of the lip 38 behind the housing U. This lip 38 extends a sufficient distance from Ihe sleeve 35 as to enable the operator to insert their hands between the bar 34 in the sleeve 35 and the floor of the fan/coil unit to guide the lip 38 into engagement behind the unit 10.
There may be obstacles, such as the unit's drain pipe passing into the wall passage 28, preventing full engagement of all of the lip 38 behind ihe rear wall 40 but even a small overlap between die Hp and the rear wall 40 will achieve an operative engagement and typically this overlap may be in the order of 10mm. The resilient lip 38 which is suitably formed by welding together two layers of the material from which the bag is formed has sufficient rigidity to maintain its upstanding attitude in use as well as sufficient pliability to enable it to deform about local obstacles to achieve a suitable overlap. If necessary the fixing of the unit 10 to the wall 12 may be eased or partly released to enable Ihe lip 38 to be operatively positioned.
A suitable cleaning fluid is then applied to the components to be cleaned such as ihe evaporator assembly IS, drain assembly 30 and tan 21, preferably by spraying to obtain a good coverage thereof. After the cleaner has been allowed time to effect its cleaning, the remnants are removed by spraying with a pressurized sprayer, such as a pump up garden type sprayer, at about 50psi. This removes most of the contamination from the evaporator assembly and spins the fan assembly to achieve n effective flushing thereof. All these fluids flow down into the cleaning receptacle 30 whereby the fluids are captured and do not soil the wall 27 or adjacent furnishings.
The cleaning operations of the evaporator and fan assembly may be carried out separately if done with the drain tray in place as the bulk of the fluids applied to the evaporator assembly 15 will be drained though the drain assembly 19 while practically all the fluids from (he fan cleaning operations will be discharged into the cleaning receptacle 30. In some instances, the drain assembly 19 may be blocked or restricted and applied pressure flushing may be required to clear the drain. Any excess fluid used for this purpose will fall into the cleaning receptacle and not foul the surroundings as might otherwise be the case.
If the dram assembly 19 was released it can then be re-installed. The cleaning receptacle is then removed by releasing the strap 37 and easing the lip 38 from behind the back wall 40. Any minor leakage can be readily cleaned up as the unit 10 is wiped to remove excess fluid before the cleaned filters 22 and covers arc reattached to complete the cleaning service.
In a preferred form of this invention as illustrated in Figs.4 and S, the cleaning receptacle 60 is formed from cloth-like waterproof plastics material and includes an open topped triangular bag 61 having a lower part 62, shown broken away, a rear part 63 having a transverse sleeve 64 with a cross-bar 65 therein and an upstanding resilient lip 66 formed by welding a double layer of the plasties material together, and a front part 67. This lip is about 1mm thick and suitably 40mm high and extends across the width of the opening 68 to the cleaning receptacle 60.
The f ont part 67 also has a sleeve which is cutaway centrally thereof to enable flexible rods 70 aqd 71 to be inserted into respective sleeve portions 72 and 73 and then connected together by a joiner 76 to form a flexible batten assembly 74 which forms the shape of the bag opening substantially as illustrated. The rods are made less stiff along their remote end portions 75 (shown dotted In Fig.5) so that these portions curve more than the central part of the joined batten 74 forming an opening shape which retains a substantial width out toward its opposite ends.
Referring to Fig. 5 it will be seen that the seal assembly 83 comprises oppositely arranged channels or open pockets 77 and 78, Formed from one layer of the plastics material welded to the back face 7? of the rear part 63, which extend fully across the rear part 63 and support a removable absorbent seal 80 which has a central portion 81 exposed between the channels 77, 78. The exposed portion 81 is located directly behind die transverse sleeve 64. Λ row of weep holes 82 are farmed through the rear part 63 adjacent the base of the channel 78 to allow fluid captured by the seal 80 and drained into die channel 77 to flow into the bag 61. A shielding flap 84 hangs from the inner face of the sleeve 64 to prevent excess cleaning fluids flowing into the bag through the open end passing to the weep holes 82. The spacing of the flap 84 from die weep holes 82 ensures that they are not blocked by rearward movement of the flap 84.
In use, die lip 66 is positioned behind the back wall 40 of the housing 11, the base wall of which is illustrated at 85. The physical bulk of the channels 77.78 and the sea! 80 removably held therein, will force the resilient lip 66 to bend outwardly from its upper edge engaged behind the fen/coil unit 10, urging the seal 80 into engagement with the mounting wall 12. Further the reaction pressure applied by the ends of the batten 74 to the sleeve 64, resulting from the tension member support of the batten 74, which may be a tail of the strap extending from the buckle thereof and around the portion of the batten 74 exposed in the gap 69, will further force the sleeve 64 and rod 65 rearward to maintain an operative contact of the absorbent seal 80 with the mounting wall 12,
Suitably the cleaning fluid is applied through a trigger pump so that it may be carefully controlled while the flushing water is preferabl y dispensed from a portable pump-up garden type sprayer which is kept for water only so that it is immediately available to the service man for emergency flushing contaminants from himself as well as the unit 10. In use a 10 litre witter capacity should be sufficient for most cleaning operations and this captured amount of water will not apply an excessive load through the strap 37 to the mounted unit 10.
After use, the cleaning receptacle assembly 30 or 60 may be folded up to a slender article which may be readily stowed in a service van or the like. The removable batten parts 70, 71 further facilitate mis as after they are separated from one another at the joiner 76, the bag 1 may be rolled about the rear part 63 for «Kiipact storage in a tube or the like.
AdditionaJly the cleaning receptacle assembly 30 may include a barrier flap slidably supported on the adjustable sling so that it may be positioned to lie over the electronic controls and motor 25 at the end of the evaporator to shield that part of the unit from spray during the cleaning operation. A Velcro strip or the like may extend across the back wai I to enable the flap to be pulled tight between the strap and Velcro fastening ova- the parts to be protected at any positian there along. A screen filter may be incorporated in the cleaning receptacle assembly above the normal accumulated liquid level for catching solids prior to disposal.
It wilt of course be understood that the above has been given only by way of illustrative example of the invention and that all modifications and variations mereao s Would be apparent to persons sidlled in the art are deemed to fall widiin the broad scope and ambit of this invention as is defined in the appended claims.