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Title:
A MIXER VALVE APPARATUS AND A WATER DELIVERY APPARATUS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2006/120443
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A mixer valve apparatus (10) comprises a body (12) defining a cold water manifold (48) and a hot water manifold (50). The cold water manifold (48) receives water from a cold water supply pipe (72). The hot water manifold receives water from a hot water supply pipe (74). The hot water supply pipe (74) extends inside the cold water supply pipe (72). The cold water manifold (48) has a cold water inlet (26) and the hot water manifold (50) has a hot water inlet (42). The hot water inlet (42) is arranged within and completely surrounded by the cold water manifold (48). A mixing chamber (66) mixes water from the hot and cold manifold. A mixed water outlet (70) passes mixed water out of the body (12). A shower assembly uses the hot pipe within the cold pipe to act as a riser rail for the shower head mounting.

Inventors:
Pegden, Peter J. H. (102 Cotterdale, Sutton Park Hull, Yorkshire HU7 4AE, GB)
Gibbs, Roderick J. (13 Essex Drive, Rugeley, Shropshire WS15 1JX, GB)
Application Number:
PCT/GB2006/001717
Publication Date:
November 16, 2006
Filing Date:
May 11, 2006
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
BRISTAN GROUP LIMITED (Birch Coppice Business Park, Dordon Tamworth, Staffordshire B78 1SG, GB)
Pegden, Peter J. H. (102 Cotterdale, Sutton Park Hull, Yorkshire HU7 4AE, GB)
Gibbs, Roderick J. (13 Essex Drive, Rugeley, Shropshire WS15 1JX, GB)
International Classes:
F16L39/00; E03C1/04; E03C1/06; F16K11/22; F16K27/02; F16L39/02
Foreign References:
GB2050157A
FR2713301A1
EP0080591A1
FR2201746A5
EP0080591A1
EP1227190A2
GB2050157A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Croston, David (Withers & Rogers LLP, Goldings House 2 Hays Lane, London SE1 2HW, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims
1. A mixer valve apparatus comprising a body defining a cold water manifold and, a hot water manifold, the cold water manifold being arranged to receive cold water from a cold water supply pipe and the hot water manifold being arranged to receive water from a hot water supply pipe extending inside the cold water supply pipe, the cold water manifold having a cold water inlet and the hot water manifold having a hot water inlet, the hot water inlet being arranged within and completely surrounded by the cold water manifold, a mixing chamber for mixing the water from the cold and hot water manifolds and a mixed water outlet in communication with the mixing chamber to allow mixed water to pass from the mixing chamber out of the body.
2. A mixer valve apparatus according to claim 1, in which the cold water inlet has a first flow area and the hot water inlet has a second flow area, smaller than the first flow area and arranged inboard of the first flow area looking in the direction of fluid flow.
3. A mixer valve apparatus according to claim 1 or 2, in which the cold and hot water inlets are coaxial.
4. A mixer valve apparatus according to any preceding claim, in which a flow rate valve is provided to allow the user to vary flow rate.
5. A mixer valve apparatus according to claim 4, in which the flow rate valve is arranged downstream of the mixing chamber and upstream of the mixed water outlet.
6. A mixer valve apparatus according to any preceding claim, in which the cold water inlet is arranged to receive a 25mm diameter pipe and the hot water inlet is arranged to receive a 15mm diameter pipe.
7. A mixer valve apparatus according to any preceding claim including a thermostatic mixing device arranged to mix hot and cold water flows to produce a mixed warm water outlet flow.
8. A shower assembly comprising a cold water pipe, a hot water pipe extending inside the cold water pipe, a mixer valve arranged to receive respective hot and cold water flows from respective hot and cold water pipes, said mixer valve mixing the respective flows to produce a mixed warm water flow at a selected temperature, the mixer valve having an outlet supplying a shower head via a flexible shower hose, the shower head being carried by mounting means mounted on the cold water pipe.
9. The shower assembly according to claim 8 in which the mounting means is adjustably, preferably slidably, mounted on the cold water pipe.
10. The shower assembly of claim 8 or 9 in which the hot and cold water pipes extend from the ceiling of a room, in which the shower is installed, to the mixer valve.
11. The shower assembly of any of claims 8 to 10 including a mixer valve according to any of claims 1 to 7.
Description:
A Mixer Valve Apparatus and a Water Delivery Apparatus

The invention relates to a mixer valve apparatus and a water delivery apparatus particularly, although not exclusively, for use in a shower assembly.

Normally, the supply to a shower mixer valve comprises two separate pipes, one carrying cold and the other hot. In exposed pipe installations, this means that the pipe carrying hot water can be uncomfortably hot to the touch whilst the cold pipe can be cold enough to generate condensation which, in turn, can cause problems of water, limescale and corrosion.

It is known in some European household installations to provide separate hot and cold water supply pipes, each having an outer, fluid-tight pipe around them so that in the event of a leak, the fluid is contained.

It is also known to provide a hot water tube inside a cold water tube in a basin mixer spout, downstream of the faucet valve. In those circumstances, the water is only mixed on exiting the spout as individual hot or cold water controls are provided.

One known water supply apparatus is shown in European Patent Application No.1227190. In that system, hot and cold water is supplied separately to an electronically controlled valve which mixes the separate hot and cold streams to supply warm, mixed water to a shower. The mixed water passes from the valve, which is normally located in the space between the ceiling and floor or in the loft space of a building, to the shower down a water pipe in a riser rail. A control panel or dial for the valve is located on the riser rail and the cable to transmit control signals from the control panel to the valve passes up the riser rail. The remote location of the valve necessitates an electronic control which can be prone to failure.

It is an object of the invention to provide an improved mixer valve apparatus and water supply apparatus.

According to a first aspect of the invention, there is provided a mixer valve apparatus comprising a body defining a cold water manifold and a hot water manifold, the cold water manifold being arranged to receive cold water from a cold water supply pipe and the hot water manifold being arranged to receive hot water from a hot water supply pipe extending inside the cold water supply pipe, the cold water manifold having a cold water inlet and the hot water manifold having a hot water inlet, the hot water inlet being arranged within and completely surrounded by the cold water manifold, a mixing chamber for mixing the water from the cold and hot water manifolds and a mixed water outlet in communication with the mixing chamber to allow mixed water to pass from the mixing chamber out of the body.

That valve is advantageous in that it allows the provision of a tube-in-tube supply to the mixer valve. In that way, the cold water pipe can be arranged to surround the hot water pipe. The cold water in the cold water pipe surrounding the hot water pipe insulates the hot water pipe and reduces the possibility of the user receiving a burn. It also provides an elegant aesthetic solution to an exposed pipe installation.

According to a second aspect of the invention there is provided a shower assembly comprising a cold water pipe, a hot water pipe extending inside the cold water pipe, a mixer valve arranged to receive respective hot and cold water flows from respective hot and cold water pipes, said mixer valve mixing the respective flows to produce a mixed warm water flow at a selected temperature, the mixer valve having an outlet supplying a shower head via a flexible shower hose, the shower head being carried by mounting means mounted on the cold water pipe.

The cold water inlet is preferably arranged to receive a 25mm diameter pipe and the hot water inlet is arranged to receive a 15mm diameter pipe.

According to a third aspect of the invention there is provided a hot and cold water supply manifold comprising a body defining fluid pathways therein, a cold water inlet, a cold water outlet and a cold water pathway therebetween, a hot water inlet, a hot water outlet and a hot water pathway therebetween, the cold water outlet defining means to receive a cold water pipe, the hot water outlet defining means to receive a hot water pipe so

that when a cold water pipe is received in the cold water outlet and a hot water pipe is received in the hot water outlet, the hot water pipe extends inside and is surrounded by the cold water pipe.

The cold and hot water pipes are preferably circular and most preferably are arranged coaxially.

A mixer valve apparatus, a shower assembly and a hot and cold water supply manifold will now be described in detail by way of example and with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:-

Fig.l is a cross-section through a thermostatic mixer valve apparatus in accordance with the first to third aspects of the invention,

Fig.2 is a cross-section taken through the thermostatic mixer valve apparatus of Fig.1 on line H-II,

Fig.3 is a cross-section through an alternative thermostatic mixer valve apparatus in accordance with the first to third aspects of the invention,

Fig.4 is a cross-section through the thermostatic mixer valve apparatus of Fig.3 taken on line IV-IV in Fig.3,

Fig.5 is a cross-section through a hot and cold water supply manifold in accordance with the sixth aspect of the invention,

Fig.6 is a cross-section through the hot and cold supply manifold of Fig.5 taken on line VI-VI in Fig.5,

Fig.7 is a front elevation of a water supply apparatus in accordance with the fifth aspect of the invention applied to a shower assembly with parts shown in cross-section for clarity, and

Figs.8a to 8c are schematic sectional views of part of the thermostatic mixer valve apparatus.

In Fig.l a thermostatic mixer valve apparatus 10 comprises a hollow tubular body 12. The body 12 includes an inlet part 14, a mixing part 16 and an outlet part 18. The body 12

further comprises a mounting formation 20 protruding from the rear face thereof to enable the body 12 to be mounted, for example to a shower cubicle wall.

The inlet part 14 of the hollow tubular body 12 comprises a cylindrical outer wall 22 closed at one end by an end wall 24. The end wall 24 has a first inlet aperture 26 formed therethrough having a first inlet diameter Dl. The aperture 26 is surrounded by an upstanding, circular outer pipe receiving wall 28. The inner diameter D2 defined by the outer pipe receiving wall 28 is slightly larger than the diameter Dl formed by the aperture 26. That provides a shoulder 30 against which the end of a pipe received in the pipe-receiving wall 28 can abut. The difference in diameters between diameters Dl and D2 is preferably equal to the wall thickness of a pipe to be received in the pipe-receiving wall 28.

The cylindrical wall 22 and the end wall 24 define a chamber 32 which is in fluid communication with the inlet aperture 26. The opposite side of the chamber 32 from the end wall 24 is closed off by an opposite end wall 34. A passageway 36 is formed through the opposite end wall 34.

An inner pipe-receiving formation 38 extends from the opposite end wall 34 towards the end wall 24. The inner pipe-receiving formation comprises a circular inner pipe receiving wall 40 which surrounds an inlet aperture 42. The inner inlet aperture 42 has a diameter D3 and the inner diameter of the circular inner pipe-receiving wall 40 has a diameter D4. The diameter D4 is larger than the diameter D3 so as to define a shoulder 44 against which an inner pipe received in the inner pipe-receiving wall can abut. Again, the difference in diameters D3 and D4 is equal to the pipe wall thickness. The inner aperture 42 opens into a fluid passageway 46 which passes through the opposite end wall 34. The fluid passageways 36, 46 pass through the opposite end wall 34 and each open into separate respective manifolds 48, 50. Each manifold 48, 50 is annular and the manifold 48 is separated from the manifold 50 by means of an annular wall 52, which carries an O-ring seal 54 in an O-ring channel 56.

A known thermostatic mixer valve 58 is received in the body 12 in the mixing part 16. The construction and operation of the thermostatic valve 58 is known and will only be described in cursory detail. The valve 58 comprises a thermostat 60 which expands or contracts against an abutment dependent upon the temperature of fluid passing through the valve 58. The starting position of the abutment is determined by the user. The thermostat acts upon a distributor 62 which in turn acts against a piston 64. The piston 64 is formed as a hollow cylinder with a sealed sliding fit against the O-ring 54. As can be seen in Fig.l, the length of the side walls of the cylindrical piston 64 is insufficient to close off both the manifolds 48, 50. When hot water is provided to one of the manifolds 50 and cold water to the other 48, the thermostatic mixer valve 58 acts to mix the fluid coming from the two manifolds. When the fluid passing through the thermostatic mixer valve 58 is too cold, the thermostat 60 will contract allowing the piston 64 to move to the right in Fig.l, thus opening up the hot water manifold 50 to allow hot water to flow through the valve 58. As the thermostat 60 reaches the desired temperature, the thermostat 60 expands, pushing the piston 64 to the left in Fig.l against the action of a spring (not shown) to open up the cold water manifold 48. The thermostat will eventually reach an equilibrium position where both the hot and cold water manifolds 50, 48 are open to a certain extent, allowing a stream of hot and a stream of cold water to flow therethrough and to be mixed to produce a mixed, warm water flow. The body 12 defines a mixing chamber 66 which has an outlet passageway 68 in fluid communication with an outlet spout 70.

The outer pipe-receiving wall 28 receives an outer pipe 72 so that the end of the pipe 72 abuts the shoulder 30. An inner pipe 74 is arranged inside the outer pipe 72 which is received in the inner pipe-receiving wall 40 so that the end thereof abuts shoulder 44. The inner diameter of the outer pipe 72 is sufficiently greater than the outer diameter of the inner pipe 74 to allow a useful flow of fluid therebetween. The pipes 72, 74 are secured to the apparatus 10 in known manner.

It can be seen that, in use, the inner pipe 74 can be arranged to carry hot water and the outer pipe 72 can be arranged to carry cold water. The cold water flows down the pipe 72 in the annular space defined between the outer surface of the inner pipe 74 and the inner surface of the outer pipe 72. Cold water then flows through the aperture 26 into the

chamber 32 and through the passageway 36 into the cold water manifold 48. Hot water passes down the inner pipe 74 through the aperture 42 and the passageway 46 into the hot water manifold 50. The separate fluid streams are then mixed by means of the thermostatic mixer valve 58 as described above and are passed to mixing chamber 56 and then out through outlet passageway 68 into the mixed water outlet spout 70. The thermostatic mixer valve 58 in Fig.l includes an integral flow control mechanism which may simply be a toggle function between maximum flow and no flow or it may allow progressive control of flow rate.

The valve apparatus 10 as shown in Figs.l and 2 is advantageous since it allows the use of a tube-in-tube supply configuration for the hot and cold water. The advantages of providing the hot water tube inside the cold water tube are described above.

An alternative design of thermostatic mixer valve apparatus is shown in Figs.3 and 4. The thermostatic mixer valve apparatus 80 is substantially similar to that shown in Figs.1 and 2 and parts corresponding to parts in Figs.l and 2 carry the same reference numerals.

The thermostatic mixer valve apparatus 80 is similar in all respects to that shown in Figs.l and 2 except that the thermostatic mixer valve 58 in the thermostatic mixer valve apparatus 80 does not include a flow rate control mechanism. Instead, a separate flow rate control mechanism 82 is provided downstream of the thermostatic mixer valve 58. Thus, the mixed water outlet passageway 68 feeds mixed water to an outlet chamber 84 and the flow rate of fluid from the mixed fluid outlet chamber 84 to the mixed fluid outlet spout 70 is regulated by the flow rate control mechanism 82 in known manner.

In Fig.5, a hot and cold water supply manifold 84 is shown in cross-section. The hot and cold supply manifold 84 comprises a body 86 having a hot water passageway 88 and a cold water passageway 90 formed therethrough. The hot water passageway 88 extends from a hot water inlet 92 via an elbow 94 to a hot water outlet 96. A cold water passageway 90 extends from a cold water inlet 98 via elbow 100 to a cold water outlet 102.

The hot water outlet 96 defines an inner pipe receiving formation 104 which comprises a circular recess terminating in a shoulder 106 against which the end of an inner pipe 74 can abut.

The cold water outlet 102 defines an outer pipe receiving formation 108 which also comprises a circular recess in the body 86 of the manifold 84 terminating in a shoulder 110 against which the end of an outer pipe can abut. The hot and cold water outlets are coaxial. The pipe receiving formations 104, 108 are arranged so that the inner and outer pipes 72, 74 received therein are coaxial. The pipes 72, 74 are secured to the pipe-receiving formations 104, 108 in conventional known fashion.

In Fig.7, a shower assembly in accordance with the second aspect of the invention is shown. The shower assembly 112 comprises the hot and cold supply manifold 84, inner and outer pipes 72, 74 extending from the manifold 84 to the thermostatic mixer valve apparatus 80. A shower head 114 is connected in fluid communication with the mixed fluid outlet spout 70 of the thermostatic mixer valve apparatus 80 by means of a flexible tube 116. The shower head 114 is carried in a shower bracket 118 which, itself, is slidably and lockably mounted to the outer pipe 72. hi that way, the outer pipe 72 acts as a riser rail for the shower assembly 112.

In use, the hot and cold supply manifold 84 receives mains cold water through the cold water inlet 98 and mains hot water through the hot water inlet 92. The hot water passes through the inner pipe 72 via the aperture 42 to the hot water manifold 50 in the thermostatic mixer valve apparatus 80. The cold water passes via the cold water pipe 72 around the outside of the hot water pipe 74 through the aperture 26 in the thermostatic mixer valve apparatus 80 and into the cold water manifold 48. The hot and cold water pass via thermostatic mixer valve 58 where they are mixed to create a mixed warm water flow which passes via the mixed outlet passageway 68 into the mixed water outlet chamber 84 via flow rate regulating valve 82 to the outlet spout 70. The mixed warm water then passes along the flexible tube 116 and out through shower head 114. The arrangement shown in Fig.7 is advantageous because the hot water pipe 74 is insulated by the outer cold water pipe 72. The outer pipe 72 acts as a riser rail for the shower which provides an elegant and

aesthetic solution to the problem of an exposed pipe shower installation. It should be noted that the thermostatic mixer valve apparatus 80 in Fig.7 is shown rotated through 90° degrees from its true position in the installation of Fig.7 for clarity purposes.

Figs.8a to 8c illustrate, schematically, cross-sections of alternative inlet configurations for the thermostatic mixer valve apparatus 10. In Fig.8a the inlet aperture 26 is rather larger than that shown in Fig.1 and the inner pipe receiving wall 40 protrudes outside the body 12. Where connection of the inner pipe to the inner pipe-receiving wall is likely to be fiddly, the embodiment of Fig.8a is useful.

The configuration shown in Fig.8b is similar to that of Fig.8a with the exception that the end of the inner pipe-receiving formation 40 is flush with the outer pipe-receiving wall 28.

In Fig.8c a further alternative configuration of the pipe-receiving formations 28, 40 is shown. In Fig.8c the inner pipe-receiving formation 40 is arranged within the chamber 32 and offset from the outer pipe-receiving wall 28. The arrangement of Fig.δc is less preferable than that shown in Figs.1-4 and 8a and b but can be useful where an unobstructed cold water flow from the aperture 26 to the passageway 36 is required.

Although circular cross-section pipes are shown, pipes of any cross-section may be used.