US20080029613A1 - Adjustable baseboard and molding system - Google Patents

Adjustable baseboard and molding system Download PDF

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Publication number
US20080029613A1
US20080029613A1 US11/838,597 US83859707A US2008029613A1 US 20080029613 A1 US20080029613 A1 US 20080029613A1 US 83859707 A US83859707 A US 83859707A US 2008029613 A1 US2008029613 A1 US 2008029613A1
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Prior art keywords
baseboard
conduits
fins
unit
conduit
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Abandoned
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US11/838,597
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William Friedlich
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Friedlich William
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William Friedlich
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Priority to US10/255,326 priority Critical patent/US7255152B2/en
Application filed by William Friedlich filed Critical William Friedlich
Priority to US11/838,597 priority patent/US20080029613A1/en
Publication of US20080029613A1 publication Critical patent/US20080029613A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24DDOMESTIC- OR SPACE-HEATING SYSTEMS, e.g. CENTRAL HEATING SYSTEMS; DOMESTIC HOT-WATER SUPPLY SYSTEMS; ELEMENTS OR COMPONENTS THEREFOR
    • F24D19/00Details
    • F24D19/02Arrangement of mountings or supports for radiators
    • F24D19/04Arrangement of mountings or supports for radiators in skirtings
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F28HEAT EXCHANGE IN GENERAL
    • F28FDETAILS OF HEAT-EXCHANGE AND HEAT-TRANSFER APPARATUS, OF GENERAL APPLICATION
    • F28F1/00Tubular elements; Assemblies of tubular elements
    • F28F1/10Tubular elements and assemblies thereof with means for increasing heat-transfer area, e.g. with fins, with projections, with recesses
    • F28F1/12Tubular elements and assemblies thereof with means for increasing heat-transfer area, e.g. with fins, with projections, with recesses the means being only outside the tubular element
    • F28F1/24Tubular elements and assemblies thereof with means for increasing heat-transfer area, e.g. with fins, with projections, with recesses the means being only outside the tubular element and extending transversely
    • F28F1/32Tubular elements and assemblies thereof with means for increasing heat-transfer area, e.g. with fins, with projections, with recesses the means being only outside the tubular element and extending transversely the means having portions engaging further tubular elements

Abstract

A baseboard system includes baseboard units through which conduits extend carrying heated fluids, and moldings about the free ends of the baseboards, to provide a generally uniform external surface configuration. The moldings are in the nature of conventional moldings made of wood, pressed wood, plastic or the like. The use of the moldings with the baseboards provides an efficient, cost-effective system that produces a uniform appearance and facilitates cleaning.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • This application is a Continuation-in-Part (CIP) of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/255,326, issued as U.S. Pat. No. 7,255,152 on Aug. 14, 2007.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • This invention generally relates to baseboard heaters, and, more specifically, to an efficient baseboard and molding system that provides sufficient heat exchange with desired heat distribution patterns while providing a substantially continuous profile having a substantially continuous external surface configuration along a selected portion of a wall of an enclosure to be heated.
  • 2. Description of the Prior Art
  • Numerous baseboard heaters have been proposed. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,597,033 to Cali discloses a functional baseboard panel that includes a heat transfer tube and a non-functional panel. This non-functional panel provides symmetry in the room and allows for expansion if more functional panels are needed in the room or area. Thus, the non-functional panels serve to provide expansion capability should additional functional sections be required, which could then replace the non-functional panels with functional panels. However, the non-functional sections are essentially blank versions of the function sections, and these are intended to possibly be converted at a future date to functional units. There is no teaching or suggestion that the non-functional panels be more in the nature of more conventional moldings made of wood or the like.
  • In U.S. Pat. No. 5,992,509 to Finnesz, a baseboard is disclosed that has a wooden cover B evidently for aesthetic purposes, though no mention is made that such cover should match any other or surrounding molding in a room or area. U.S. Pat. No. 3,141,499 to Bunten teaches a baseboard radiator with connector units, while U.S. Pat. No. 2,782,007 to Glatt teaches a baseboard radiator. In both of these patents, the baseboard appears to extend about the entire wall length, so that there is presented a uniformity about the room. However, in both cases, there is no suggestion that baseboard units be used in conjunction with matching, non-functional moldings.
  • In U.S. Pat. No. 2,909,981 to Stock, a ventilating system for a room is disclosed in which there is some coordination with a ventilating system cabinet. However, shelving is used in conjunction with the ventilating system cabinet so that there is no real symmetry or uniform appearance between the heating cabinet and the adjoining shelving.
  • Also, from the turn of the century until almost 1970, energy was relatively inexpensive, and not much attention was paid to insulation, thermal breaks, for example, cold air entering a living area from the outdoors or from a basement. At that time, if additional heat was required to increase the temperature in a living quarter additional heat exchangers, such as baseboards or radiators, were installed. Thus, for example, if a corner 15′ by 20′ bedroom, having two exposed walls, needed upwards of 20,000 BTUs to maintain the room at 70° F. when the outside temperature was 0° F., providing the 35′ perimeter along the two exposed walls with baseboards generating 600 BTUs per foot would yield 21,00 BTUs. However, while the room obtained its required BTUs the heat was not optimally distributed, with the bulk of the heat being provided at the exposed walls. Today's houses are built much tighter. The same room in modern construction would only need approximately 6,000 BTUs. While this could be achieved with a 10′ baseboard on one exposed wall using the conventional 600 BTU per foot units, there would be an even greater deterioration in the distribution of heat as the heat distribution would be quite uneven in the room making it less comfortable for the occupant(s). An alternative arrangement of a 4′ baseboard on the 15′ wall and 6′ baseboard on the 20′ wall would be better, but still uneven, and both solutions are less than desirable.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • It is an object of the present invention to provide a baseboard system that includes not only baseboard units but similarly shaped moldings at the free ends of the baseboard units, not only to provide an aesthetic appearance of a continuous molding about a wall of an enclosure to be heated, but which molding can also receive, as necessary, conduits carrying heated fluid.
  • It is another object of the present invention to provide a baseboard system as in the previous objects which effectively provides a continuous member projecting forwardly from the wall that has a substantially continuous external profile or surface configuration, that thereby eliminates edges and corners in the regions of the lateral or free ends of the baseboards, to enhance the appearance of the installation and to facilitate cleaning in the corners at the free ends of the baseboards while preventing damage to the baseboards themselves as well as possibly to vacuum cleaners or other cleaning devices used to clean around the baseboards.
  • It is still another object of the invention to provide a baseboard system that is simple in construction and economical to manufacture enabling use of multiple materials.
  • It is yet another object of the invention to provide a baseboard system which is efficient and can be easily modified or adjusted at the construction site to provide desired heat transfer properties or BTUs per unit length to heat a space of a given area, insulation and exposure while enhancing the heat distribution within the space.
  • It is a further object of the invention to provide a baseboard system, as in the previous objects, which is easy and convenient to install.
  • It is still a further object of the invention to provide a baseboard system, as suggested in the previous objects, which can accommodate any size or shape enclosure to be heated.
  • It is yet a further object of the invention to provide a baseboard system which can easily be adapted to any hot water heating system and sized for any standard plumbing parts.
  • It is an additional object of the invention to provide a baseboard system in which the baseboard heater and the moldings used therewith can be made of different materials.
  • It is yet an additional object of the invention to provide a baseboard system that can be used in new constructions or retro fitted in existing constructions without the need to modify the pipe layouts to or from the baseboards so that existing pipes could be used.
  • It still an additional object of the invention to provide a baseboard system whereby the heat exchangers can be easily adjusted or modified, even in the field, to generate desired BTU's per unit length to allow desired heat distribution(s) within various portions of an enclosure to enhance the comfort level within an enclosure without sacrificing esthetics while preserving a desired uniform aesthetic appearance.
  • It is another object of the invention to provide a baseboard system that has the ability to be retrofitted with existing plumbing, typically having larger diameter pipes, or for new insulations, typically utilizing smaller diameter pipes, without the need for additional plumbing above or below the floor or interior or exterior doors.
  • It is yet an additional object of the invention to provide a baseboard that has a removable foot or lower portion on the base thereof that facilitates sanding or other finishing of the floor without damaging either the new molding or the heating elements or the finishing equipment.
  • It is still an additional object of the invention to provide a baseboard system as in the previous objects which provides a raceway for telephone, cable, computer or other low voltage wiring in both the heating and the passive portions of the system, beyond the lateral ends of the active baseboard units.
  • In order to achieve the above objects, as well as others which will become evident hereinafter, a baseboard system in accordance with the present invention comprises a baseboard unit to be arranged along a wall proximate to floor of an enclosure to be heated. Heating means is provided within said baseboard unit. Said baseboard unit defining a predetermined external surface configuration including vertically spaced openings to allow ambient air to flow into the heated air to flow out of said baseboard unit and having a predetermined width defined by two opposing lateral ends. Said baseboard unit is formed of three vertically spaced members, a first opening of said spaced openings between a lower member and an intermediate member forming an inlet opening for admitting ambient air into said baseboard unit and the second opening of said spaced openings between said intermediate member and an upper member forming an outlet opening for discharging heated air. One feature of the invention is providing at least one of said members of said baseboard unit formed as an extruded member.
  • According to another feature of the invention, said lower member is detachably connected to the wall and selectively detached from the wall to provide access to a region between said intermediate member and the floor. In this matter, the portion of the floor below said intermediate member normally covered by said lower member can be finished or cleaned without damage to the baseboard or equipment used to finish or clean the normally covered portion of the floor.
  • According to another feature of the invention, at least one conduit is supported between the wall and the intermediate member. A plurality of fins, substantially equally spaced from each other, are provide along said at least one conduit and serve as a heat exchanger to heat ambient air entering through a lower of said vertically spaced openings, the spacing between said fins being selected to provide a desired BTU output per unit length of the baseboard unit. Advantageously, a plurality of different BTU-rated conduits are each provided with different fin spacings so that an appropriate conduit and fin spacing may be used at any given location within an enclosure to provide a desired BTU output from the baseboard, and different BTU output units may be provided along the entire or partial periphery of an enclosure to provide a desired heat distribution within the enclosure to enhance the comfort to the occupants. In accordance with the presently preferred embodiment, a plurality of conduits are provided each with one of “n” substantially uniform spacings between adjacent fins and, the baseboard is provided with one of said conduits having one of said “n” spacing to provide a desired BTU per unit length of baseboard. Preferably, two conduits are supported between the wall and the intermediate member, said conduits being vertically spaced from each other in a plane substantially parallel to the intermediate members, said fins being in contact with both said conduits. Each of said conduits is formed with a plurality of fins substantially equally spaced a distance “d”, said conduits being axially offset from each other along the length directions of said conduits a distance substantially equal to “d/2” to interleave the fins on the conduits to space adjacent interleaved fins of a distance substantially equal to “d/2”. In this way, the distance “d/2” is selected to provide a desired BTU per unit length of the baseboard and may vary or be adjusted by changing the distance “d” by selecting an appropriate conduit with desired fin spacing for any specific application. Preferably, the fins mounted on each of the conduits also serve as thermal spacers to fix the desired spacing between mating or cooperating conduits. By providing different fin spacing and, different BTU's per unit length, the overall dimensions, shapes or configurations of the baseboards, as well as any matching or cooperating moldings, may be maintained and the overall esthetic look or appearance of the system can be maintained while providing desired heat distribution patterns within an enclosure.
  • Preferably, in one embodiment the baseboard unit is formed of three vertically spaced horizontal members, a space between a lower member and an intermediate member forming an inlet opening for admitting ambient air into said baseboard unit and a space between said intermediate member and an upper member forming an outlet opening for discharging heated air. The lowermost members are preferably hollow and can serve as conduits for power and data cables. These members can advantageously be at least partially disassembled to simplify installation and to be at least partially removable to allow servicing of the floor, including finishing, sanding and refinishing.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Other aspects, objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent upon reading the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment of the present invention when taken in conjunction with the drawings, as follows.
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a corner of an enclosure to be heated, illustrating the baseboard system of the present invention, including a baseboard provided at the terminal or lateral ends thereof with suitably configured moldings;
  • FIG. 1A is an enlarged corner detail of the region IA shown in FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 1B is an enlarged end detail of the region 1B in FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 2 is an enlarged cross sectional view of the baseboard unit shown in FIG. 1, as viewed along section 2-2;
  • FIG. 3 is an enlarged cross section view of the baseboard unit shown in FIG. 2, taken along section 3-3;
  • FIG. 3A is an enlarged detail view of the region 3A in FIG. 3;
  • FIG. 3B is similar to FIG. 3A but showing and alternate construction;
  • FIG. 3C is an enlarged detail of the region 3C in FIG. 3;
  • FIG. 3D is a perspective view of the unit shown in FIG. 3;
  • FIG. 3E is similar to FIG. 3D, but showing an alternate construction;
  • FIG. 3F is a perspective view of the baseplate shown in FIG. 3;
  • FIG. 3G is similar to FIG. 3F but showing an alternate construction of the baseplate;
  • FIG. 3H is similar to FIG. 3F but showing an alternate construction of the baseplate;
  • FIG. 3I is similar to FIG. 3F but showing an alternate construction of the baseplate;
  • FIG. 3J is a perspective view of the backplate and supporting brackets shown in FIG. 3;
  • FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view of an intermediate portion of the baseboard unit shown in FIG. 3, taken along line 4-4;
  • FIG. 5 is an enlarged cross sectional view of a molding in the corner of the room shown in FIG. 1, taken along lines 5-5;
  • FIG. 6 is similar to FIG. 5, but showing an enlarged cross sectional view of another molding section shown in FIG. 1, taken along the line 6-6 showing a generally solid cross section;
  • FIG. 7 is similar to FIG. 2 but showing two conduits extending through the baseboard unit that carry heated fluid in the same direction, having been split or diverted by a diverting coupler or connector unit instead of having one conduit carry heated water and the other conduit returning the cooled water in a closed loop system;
  • FIG. 8 is similar to FIGS. 5 and 5 but showing an alternate molding construction;
  • FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a fin construction suitable for use with the base board units in accordance to the invention;
  • FIG. 9A is a side elevational view of a fin shown in FIG. 9;
  • FIG. 9B is a front elevational view of the fin construction shown in FIG. 8, designating relevant fin spacings; and
  • FIG. 9C is a side elevational view of the fin construction shown in FIG. 9.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • Referring now more specifically to the drawings, and first referring to FIG. 1, an enclosure or room to be heated is generally designated by the reference numeral 10, a perspective view of only one corner of a typical room being illustrated. It will become evident from the description that follows that the present invention can be used about the entire periphery of a room or only along a portion of a wall of the enclosure.
  • The enclosure 10 includes a floor 12 and walls 14 and 16 that meet at a corner 18.
  • The baseboard system according to the present invention is generally designated by the reference numeral 20. The system 20 includes, in the example shown in FIG. 1, a baseboard unit 20A on the wall 14, such as below window W, and unit 20B somewhat centered in the middle of wall 16 between the corner 18 of the enclosure, and an opening in the wall, namely, door 19. The baseboard units 20A and 20B are arranged along the walls 14, 16, respectively, proximate to the floor 12. The baseboard units include heating means to be more fully described in connection with FIGS. 2-4 and 7.
  • Each baseboard unit 20A, 20B defines a predetermined external profile or surface configuration and, in the sample shown in FIG. 1, includes vertically spaced openings, to be more fully described in connection with FIG. 3, to allow ambient air Aa to flow into, and heated air Ah to flow out of the baseboard units. The baseboard units each have a predetermined width defined by two opposing lateral ends 20A′, 20A″ and 20B′, 20B″. The widths of the baseboard units used in a given enclosure need not be the same. Thus, the baseboard unit 20A, defined by terminal, lateral or free ends 20A′ and 20A″, is considerably wider than the baseboard unit 20B, defined by terminal, lateral or free ends 20B′ and 20B″.
  • One aspect of the invention is the provision of moldings 22, 24, 26 and 28, for example shown in FIG. 1, that abut the lateral ends of the associated baseboard units. These moldings have external profiles or surface configurations that substantially correspond to the profiles or external surface configuration of the baseboard units. In this manner, abutment of the moldings 22, 24 against the lateral ends 20A′ and 20A″, respectively, of the baseboard unit 20A, and abutment of the moldings 26, 28 against the lateral or free ends 20B′ and 20B″, respectively, of the baseboard unit 20B, as shown, substantially continue the profile or external surface configuration of the baseboard units before the lateral ends thereof to effectively provide a continuous member having a substantially continuous profile or external surface configuration having the appearance of the baseboards/moldings extending along at least a selected portion of a wall of the enclosure. Using moldings that have the same or similar external surface configurations or cross sectional dimensions as the associated baseboard units against which they abut both enhances the aesthetic appearance of the installation and eliminates the sharp edges that might occur at the lateral ends of the baseboard units, and also eliminates corners between such lateral ends and the wall, which are sometimes difficult to clean. Through the elimination of such corners and through providing a continuous and smooth surface configuration, the baseboard units themselves are protected against damage as are vacuum cleaners or other devices that may be used to clean in the region of the baseboard. FIGS. 1A and 1B are enlarged details of the moldings 24, 26 and 28 shown in FIG. 1.
  • It will be clear that the specific external surface configuration presented by the baseboard units and associated moldings is not critical to the present invention, and such external surface configurations may assume different shapes, sizes, etc. The external surface configurations of the baseboard units and associated moldings may correspond to the shapes of traditional moldings and match each other so as to enhance the aesthetic appearance of the system and blend with other like or similar moldings in a given structure or enclosure.
  • Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, additional details are illustrated of a presently preferred embodiment of a baseboard system in accordance with the present invention. Thus, the baseboard units 20A, 20B are each formed of three vertically spaced members, 36, 38, 40 to be described, a space being provided between the lower member 38 and an intermediate member 40 to form an inlet opening 44 for admitting ambient air Aa into the baseboard unit and a space between the intermediate member 44, or baseplate, and an upper member 36 to form an outlet opening 42 for discharging heated air Ah. Suitable attachment means is used for attaching the three members 38, 38, 40 of the baseboard units to the walls. In the presently preferred embodiment, such attaching means is in the form of a vertical, substantially flat backplate 30 that is secured to the wall by any suitable means, such as a series of fasteners or screws S extending through holes H within the backplate 30. The backplate includes protuberances projecting forward, away from the wall, at least one of the members of the baseboard units being configured to engage such protuberances. As suggested in FIGS. 2, 3, and 3J, such protuberances are generally in the form of horizontal projections 30 a, 30 b, 30 c and 30 d, that are inclined relative to horizontal planes. In one embodiment, at least one of the members comprising the baseboard unit, such as the faceplate 40, is formed of a flexible or deflectable material (for example steel or aluminum) and provided with projection-engaging means configured to engage the projections 30 a-30 d or supporting brackets (to be described), for example when the members are deflected from their normal undeflected states and snap into engagement with the projections 30 a-30 d when released to revert to their undeflected states.
  • In another embodiment of the invention the faceplate 40 may be extruded of a relatively rigid material, such as aluminum or steel, and provided with an upper lip, such as shown in FIGS. 3A, 3B, and a lower lip, such as shown in FIG. 3C for snapping onto associated brackets. Since such extruded base plate is relatively rigid the brackets on which the base plate is mounted may be made flexible or deformable and beads or gaskets may be used to allow the base plate to be snapped onto brackets and retained in place. See also FIGS. 3F-3I for other optional profiles can be used for the faceplates 40, showing differently configured upper and lower lips, these being merely illustrative. It should be evident that other configurations may also be used, the specific shape not being critical as long as the baseplate can be mounted on the brackets for covering the central portion of the baseboard unit including the conduits or pipes and the heat transfer fins.
  • For example, elastic gaskets or beads may be provided between the upper and lower points 32 b, 34 b of the support bracket and the longitudinal or horizontal ribs or protuberances 40 a, 40 b. Alternatively, a thin plastic strip 70 (FIG. 5) having a bead B may, for example, be provided to have a portion thereof received within a recess 70′ of the lower portion 56 to snap the lower portion 56 of the molding to the upper portion. A rigid or deformable member 56 d (FIGS. 5, 6 and 5B) may be provided to provide a press or friction fit and facilitate assembly. However, the lower portion may be secured by suitable fasteners, such as nails 70, without the use of a snap-in-place, as shown in FIGS. 6A-6D. Also, the manner of securing the brackets 32, 34 to the backplate 30 is not critical, as these may be welded to the backplate or secured thereto by means of rivets.
  • By referring primarily to FIGS. 3, 3D and 3E an upper bracket 32 is shown extending forward from the backplate 30, and a lower bracket 34 similarly extending forward and spaced below the bracket 32. The brackets 32, 34 have upper circular cutouts 32 a, 34 a, as shown in FIG. 3J, to receive correspondingly dimensioned pipes or conduits P1, P2, through which flow the fluids of the heating system. Thus, if the conduit P1 is the conduit through which heated fluid flows, and conduit P2 is the return for the cooled fluid. A U-shaped pipe P′ (FIGS. 1 and 2) joins the pipes P1, P2 at the remote or far end of the loop to redirect the water to pipe P2 and to the boiler. As will be described in connection with FIG. 7, both conduits, P1 and P2, can also conduct the heated fluid of the heating system, typically in a retrofit installation.
  • A plurality of bracket 32, 34 may be provided along the length of each baseboard (FIG. 3J), the number of such spaced brackets being determined by the width of the baseboard unit as well as the weight of the conduits supported thereby. Thus, two brackets 32 can be provided at opposing ends of the baseboard units, and, similarly, two brackets 34 can be provided at the ends of the baseboard units, although additional brackets may be provided in between as may be required or desired.
  • The upper brackets 32 are also provided with upwardly projecting points 32 b, while the lower brackets 34 are provided with downwardly projecting points 34 b, to be more fully described.
  • The upper member of the baseboard unit is generally designated by the reference numeral 36 (FIGS. 2, 3, 3D and 3E), and is shown to be in the form of a profiled member formed of thin material. The upper member 36 includes a lower, generally concave surface 36 a, almost a quarter of a quadrant of a circle, a round convex nose portion 36 b, with additional rounded or convex profiles 36 c, 36 d, as shown. As suggested, the dimensions and configurations of the convex profiles 36 b-36 d, may be selected to generally correspond with or imitate a conventional molding profile, shape or configuration. The concave surface 36 a is not normally visible by observers within the enclosure 10 except under close scrutiny or examination. The upper member 36 includes an upper projection-engaging hook 36 f that is configured to engage the protuberance 30 a, while a lower projection-engaging hook 36 e projects upwardly to engage downwardly directed projection 30 b, as shown. Because the upper member 36 is hollow and formed of a flexible and resilient material, it may be snapped onto the projections 30 a and 30 b by spreading or separating the projection-engaging hooks 36 e and 36 f and snapping them onto the projections of the backplate. As with the faceplate 40, the upper member 36 can also be extruded of a relatively rigid material such as aluminum or steel. In such a design, deformable members, beads or gaskets may be used to facilitate the snapping of the member 36 onto the projections 30 a, 30 b. Other locking or supporting devices or designs may be used.
  • A lower member 38 is provided secured to the backplate 30 and preferably is supported in a stable manner on the floor 12, as shown. In the presently preferred embodiment, the lower member 38 has a cross section generally in the shape of a foot or a shoe, having a rear inner depression 38 a supported by an elastic gasket or grommet E. Optionally, a second, forward depression 38 b may rest directly on the floor 12. Aside from the depressions 38 a, 38 b, the lower surface of the lower member 38 includes a lower wall 38 c. The upper part of the member 38 is formed of a profiled or curved surface including two convex regions, 38 d, 38 d′, between which there is provided a concave surface 38 e. To secure the lower member 38 to the backplate 30 it is provided with an upwardly directed projection-engaging hook 38 g configured to engage downwardly directed protuberance 30 c and an upwardly projecting protuberance-engaging member or edge 38 f intended to engage the downwardly projected protuberance 30 d.
  • As with the upper member 36, the lower member 38 is preferably in the form of a profiled hollow member formed of thin sheet material that can be secured by deforming the lower member 38 so that the hook 38 g can snap into or engage with the downwardly directed projection 30 c while the lower hook 38 f engages the downwardly directed projection 30 d when the lower member 38 is permitted to revert to its normal, undeflected state, as shown. As with the faceplate 40 and the upper member 36, the lower member 38 can also be extruded of a relatively rigid material such as aluminum or steel. In such a design, deformable members, beads or gaskets may be used to facilitate the snapping of the member 36 onto the projections 30 a, 30 b. Other locking or supporting devices or designs may be used.
  • The front, generally flat faceplate 40 is secured to the brackets 32, 34 to cover the conduits or pipes P1, P2. Fins F that are supported on the conduits in heat transfer relationship. The faceplate 40 is provided with a longitudinal downwardly directed rib or protuberance 40 a in the region of the point 32 b and an upwardly directed edge 40 b proximate to the lower point 34 b. The features 40 a, 40 b are spaced from each other to snap over or otherwise engage and be supported by the brackets 32, 34, as shown. A profiled upwardly projecting extension 40 c, formed in any reasonable shape, may be provided to restrict the upper passageway or opening 42 between the intermediate portion or member 40 of the baseboard unit and the upper member 36.
  • Similarly, a lower passageway 44 is formed between the lower edge 40 b of the front or the faceplate 40 and the lower member 38. The openings 42, 44 are selected to optimize the flow of air A from the lower opening or passageway 44 up past the conduits P1, P2 and the fins F and ultimately, by convection, out the opening or passageway 42. The air that enters through the passageway 44 is ambient air at room temperature in the enclosure or room. After the air passes through the baseboard unit and contacts the plates or fins F of the heat exchanger, as has been described, the heated air exits through the upper opening or passageway 42. The specific construction of the heat exchanger is not critical, and any known heat-exchanging structures may be used. As best shown in FIG. 4, one presently preferred embodiment utilizes fins F, with extensions F′, F′ that have Z-shaped configurations in horizontal planes to enhance the surface areas and heat-transfer potential of the fins F, while reducing the depth D of the baseboard unit and projection of the baseboard unit from the wall on which it is mounted. However, any suitable fins may be used, bearing in mind that the objective may not be to optimize or maximize heat output but provide desired BTU generation per unit length of baseboard for a given space. The construction, size and number of fins can be readily modified to increase or decrease heat transfer into the enclosure, as to be more fully described in connection with FIGS. 9-9 c.
  • As best shown in FIG. 3, the lower member 38, being hollow and proximate to the floor 12, can be used as a raceway to receive and conceal cables C that may include power cables, telephone and data lines. As with the other members 36, 40, the lower member may be selectively disconnected from the backplate 30 to open the region between the lower edge of the faceplate 40, at 40 b (FIG. 3), and the floor 12. This significantly facilitates sanding or cleaning of the floor 12 in that normally concealed region, such as finishing the floor, without damage to the baseboard unit or the finishing equipment used.
  • In FIGS. 5 and 6, the cross-sectional configurations of moldings associated or may be used in conjunction with the baseboard units are shown in cross section. It will be clear from the comparison of FIG. 3, on the one hand, and FIGS. 5 and 6, on the other hand, that the general cross-sectional areas and dimensions of the baseboard unit as well as the moldings are generally the same, and mimic each other in outward appearance. In FIGS. 5 and 6, therefore, a molding 50 is illustrated that has an upper portion 52, an intermediate portion 54 and a lower portion 56. The size and shape upper portion 52 generally correspond to those of the upper member 36 of the baseboard unit, with the shapes and dimensions of the convex or curved 52 a-52 c generally corresponding to the shapes 36 b-36 d.
  • The recess 52 d generally simulates the opening or passageway 42, while the flat intermediate surface at 54 corresponds to the flat surface 40 of the face or frontplate of the baseboard unit. Also, the lower portion 56 of the molding generally simulates the lower member 38. As will be clear, the baseboard unit and moldings need not have the identical, precise or one-to-one correspondence in external shapes or configurations, as long as they generally mimic each so that a casual observer of the baseboard units and moldings would find them to generally have a similar or common configuration. Thus, the curvature 56 a of the molding should somewhat simulate the curvature 38 d of the lower member 38.
  • The moldings may be made of any suitable and conventional materials that can be formed to have the desired profiles. Thus, the moldings may be formed of wood, molded wood chipboard material or extruded or molded plastic or other suitable material.
  • One feature of the moldings 54 is that they may be provided with at least one horizontal channel or recess 54 b for receiving conduits P1, P2, without the heat transfer fins, to minimize heat transfer beyond the actual baseboards. The region between the upper and lower ends 52, 56 are suitable for receiving heating, fluid-carrying conduits or pipes P1, P2, beyond the lateral ends of the baseboard unit. As best shown in FIG. 1, the conduits within the baseboard unit 20B extend beyond the lateral ends 20B′, 20B″. The cavities or recesses 54 b allow the pipes or conduits to continue uninterrupted whether they extend through a baseboard unit or through a molding. Providing the recesses 54 b serves the additional function of making the moldings lighter and less expensive to manufacture, as the moldings with the recesses require less material. However, as evident from FIG. 6, moldings 50′ may not need to be provided with intermediate recesses 54 b. Only those moldings 50 that are intended to receive conduits P1, P2 need be provided with such recesses. The remaining moldings 55 (FIG. 6) may optionally be provided with such recesses 54 b, although the recess is not essential if the conduits P1, P2 do not extend to such moldings.
  • The recesses 54 b open rearwardly to open in a direction facing the wall of the enclosure, so that the moldings can be slipped over the conduits P1, P2, and secured to the wall without too much effort at the construction site.
  • The moldings are preferably also provided with at least one horizontal channel at the lower end thereof, proximate to the floor of the enclosure for receiving electrical and/or data cables that normally would be received within the lower member 38 of the baseboard unit and extend beyond the baseboard unit.
  • Referring to FIGS. 5 and 6, the lower horizontal channel is in the form of a recess 54 c in a lower portion of the moldings proximate to the floor of the enclosure that extends rearwardly from a front surface of an intermediate portion of the moldings. A cap 56 cooperates with the moldings to cover the recesses and to form therewith the horizontal channel for receiving the cables C.
  • In the embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 1-3 and 5, the spaced pipes or conduits P1, P2 are arranged in a closed-loop system so that one of the conduit, such as the upper conduit P1, carries heated fluid, while the other conduit, P2, carries cooled fluid. This is also illustrated in FIG. 2. In FIG. 7, both the upper and lower conduits P1, P2 carry fluid from a common feeder conduit 60 to the baseboard. The heated fluid flows along direction 66 and is received within a T-shaped coupling 64 for splitting the heated fluid from the common feeder conduit 60 to each of the conduits P1, P2 within the baseboard. A similar T-shaped coupling (not shown) would also be used at the other end of the baseboard in such a retrofit installation. To ensure that both conduits P1, P2 are provided with substantially equal amounts of heated fluid, the coupling 64 is preferably provided with a deflecting plate 66 within the coupling for directing substantially equal amounts of heated fluid to each of the conduits. This arrangement would typically be used in a retrofit construction that previously used, for example, a single ¾″ inlet and outlet conduit or pipe 60 extending through the heat exchangers with the feed or inlet at one end and the return or outlet at another end. The coupling 64 can convert the ¾″ pipes into two ½″ conduits P1, P2, since the single ¾″ pipe can carry a volume of water approximately twice the volume carried by two ½″ pipes (actually 12.5% more), so the changeover to the two conduit system does not materially effect the levels of water pumped through the system and would not require further modifications, changes of pumps, etc.
  • The conduits P1, P2 may be, for example, half-inch ID thin walled pipe, or another common size of pipe. The fins F are typically much thinner than the outer case or backplate, as many such fins are typically mounted closely spaced to each other on the conduits or pipes in order to increase the effective surface area through which heat exchange can take place.
  • Also, while Z-shaped fins or plates have been illustrated, it should be clear that any other suitable shapes can be used in order to conform to the required dimensions of the baseboard units, as well as the efficiencies required for heat transfer.
  • As suggested previously, a combination of baseboard units and associated or corresponding moldings can be used about the entire perimeter of a room or enclosure, or only along some of the walls. This choice will depend on the amount of heat that is to be brought into the enclosure, as well as the distribution of heat, as well as other properties of the enclosure, including the number of windows, doors, etc.
  • FIG. 8 shows an alternate construction of a molding 80 that generally conforms to the shape of the moldings shown in FIGS. 5 and 6. However, the molding 80 is itself is easily and conveniently constructed using individual members. Thus, an upper member 80 a corresponds generally to the upper portion 52, the central member 80 b corresponds generally to the intermediate portion 54 and the lower member 80 d corresponds generally to the lower portion 56. Suitable spacers 80 c and 80 e are used to provide desired spacing from the wall and to provide pipe-receiving and cable-receiving compartments 80 f and 80 g, respectively. Again, the specific profiles are not critical so longs as they generally correspond to the associated baseboard heater units with which they are used. While the previous embodiments discussed the use of suitable materials for construction during extrusion, it is obvious from the embodiment, that suitable materials for this embodiment may differ to include wood, plastic, or tile rather the extruded materials.
  • Referring to FIGS. 9-9 c, an alternate fin construction is shown that may facilitate as well as provide a means for adjusting the efficiency or BTU per unit of length assembly of the units. The fins F include a circular hole H′ and semi-circulator cut-out H″, as shown. By mounting fins F1 on pipe P1 with the cut outs H″ open downwardly and fins F2 on pipe P2 with the cut outs H″ open upwardly on pipe P2 as shown, the pipes can be abutted and rested on each other to properly space them from each other. In one embodiment, the fins are advantageously welded, at W, to their associated pipes about the peripheries of the holes H′. Since the fins F1 and F2 are identical, only one pipe with fin design need to be used and cut to size on a site and assembled as shown in any desired lengths.
  • Good heating/plumbing practice typically attempts to limit the length of a hot water loop that extends through baseboards before the water is returned to the boiler. If the length of the loop is made longer the hot water is sufficiently cooled off by the time it reaches the last baseboard on the loop of the system to be ineffective in heating the baseboard. For example, for 180° F. water supply, loops are typically kept to below 70′ long. This results in an approximate 20° F. drop in temperature at opposite ends of the loop, or a 22% drop in temperature. When larger systems are required they are typically broken up into multiple zones, each with its own pump and thermostat so that the heated water can be more directly fed to the baseboards in each loop, thereby assuring that the baseboards become sufficiently heated. By using the double conduits within the baseboard system of the present invention, with the one half inch pipes, for example, and utilizing a U-shaped pipe P′ (FIGS. 1 and 2) at the most remote end of a given loop, the hot water returns within the return pipe at a diminished temperature. However, the heat released by the two pipes within the same baseboard substantially averages the temperature to an intermediate temperature within each baseboard along the entire length of the baseboard unit. Therefore, there are no “cold” spots in the system on a new installation of the type shown in FIG. 1. Thus, with the present invention the loops can be made significantly longer before the water is returned to the boiler. With a 200° F. supply, the system can tolerate a 40° F. drop in temperature, since the supply and return conduits average 180° F., for only a 10% drop in temperature within the heat exchangers or baseboards over a loop length twice the length used in conventional systems.
  • A further advantage of the two conduit baseboard system in accordance with the present invention is that, for new installations utilizing ½″ pipes, the total surface area of the two conduits is approximately 33% more than the surface area of a single ¾″ pipe. For this reason, there is more heat transfer through the surfaces of the pipe themselves and, therefore, fewer fins are required to provide the same total heat exchange.
  • As will also be evident from FIG. 1, by using the two conduit system with a U shaped loop P′ (FIG. 2) at the termination of the last active baseboard, there is no need for the pipes at the end of a loop to be directed through a floor or under a door, internal or external, to return to the boiler. Therefore, it will be appreciated that while adjustment of the BTU per unit length of each baseboard can provide different BTU's along different lengths or at different locations of an enclosure, such adjustability takes place only within the baseboard itself by adjustment of the fin spacings and/or configurations. The external sizes, shapes, dimensions and profiles of the baseboard units, and any associated moldings, remain the same to provide a more uniform and esthetic appearance that is more pleasing than has been the case in the past where differently-sized baseboards were at times arranged randomly and arbitrarily within an enclosure to provide the total desired BTU's but without any consideration or regard to the appearance of the overall system.
  • The adjustability suggested can best be appreciated by a reference to FIG. 9B. Here, each of the conduits or pipes P1, P2 are provided with fins F1, F2, as described. By providing several or a plurality of different conduits on which the fins are spaced at difference distances the inter-fin spacing and the total number of fins can be adjusted, all contributing to changes in the BTU outputs. While the fins F1 are shown spaced a distance d1 and the fins F2 spaced a distance d2, it will be evident that when assembled the distances between the resulting interleaved fins will be d3. The distances d1 and d2 are normally selected to be equal while d3 is equal to approximately one half of the distances d1, d2. In the field, contractors may order or be provided with a plurality of fin spacings, such as ½″, 1.0″, etc. Depending on how many BTU's per unit length are desired at any given location within an enclosure, the appropriate conduits with appropriate fin spacings may be selected so that the total number of fins and interleaved spacing d3 can be selected to provide the desired BTU outputs. Thus, while the fins are preferably welded to the pipes or conduits at the factory, the specific conduits used and the resulting heat exchanger can be assembled in the field or the construction site by simply juxtaposing the conduits P1, P2 as suggested in FIGS. 9B and 9C, on which appropriately spaced fins become interleaved as described. Using such adjustable construction BTU ranges of 100-750 BTU's per unit length can easily be achieved. The baseboards of the present invention as especially versatile, and can be modified to increase or decrease the achievable BTUs per unit length by modifying the surface areas of the fins. For example, the returns or flanges F′ (FIG. 4) may be increased in size or multiply folded. For example, for flat fins 2.75″ high by 1.0″ wide, the addition of ⅛″ flanges increases the BTU output by approximately 20% while using ¼″ flanges could increase the BTU output by 40%.
  • By way of example, a decision is made to provide approximately 159 BTUs per foot, along a distance of 38′ to achieve approximately 6000 BTUs of uniform heat. If furniture placement or a special heat loss situation exists, like a bay window facing North, and no output for one section is desired, and 572 BTUs per foot for another section, as well as 159 BTUs per foot for still another section and 277 BTUs for yet another section, this invention allows all of these sections to be used without any change in outward appearance or profile of the active and inactive system sections. Available components, that can be used simply or in combination(s): Units Used: BTUs/ft: Plain molding 0 Plain molding with 2 blank pipes 30 Baseboard heater with 2 blank pipes 100 Baseboard heater with 1 blank pipe 159 and 1 pipe with 1 fin per inch 2 pipes with 1 fin per inch 218 1 pipe with 1 fin per inch and 1 277 pipe with 2 fins per inch 2 pipes with 2 fins per inch 336 1 pipe with 2 fins per inch 454 and 1 pipe with 4 fins per inch 2 pipes each with 4 fins per inch 572
  • Adding ⅛″ flanges on that last-mentioned configuration would increase the output to approximately 700 BTUs per foot.
  • A person skilled in the art of construction and/or heating systems will be able to easily select the appropriate or necessary baseboard and molding sections, and lengths of each, to provide the necessary total BTUs, as well as to provide desired heat distribution within an enclosure to accommodate special conditions, room layout, thermal breaks, etc.
  • It will also be clear to those skilled in the art that the same baseboard system can be employed in a single enclosure or room or can be extended or carried through multiple rooms by bringing the heated fluid conducting pipes into any enclosures or rooms that need to be heated. The pipes can be looped, as suggested in FIG. 1, and can also be extended from room to room by bringing the pipes through the floors and beneath the floor substructure to another enclosure or room.
  • The invention has been shown and described by way of presently preferred embodiments, and many variations and modifications may be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention. The invention, therefore, is not to be limited to any specified form or embodiment, except insofar as such limitations are expressly set forth in the claims.

Claims (23)

1. A baseboard system comprising a convection baseboard unit to be arranged along a wall proximate to a floor of an enclosure to be heated; heating means within said baseboard unit, said baseboard unit defining a predetermined external surface configuration including vertically spaced openings to allow ambient air to flow into and heated air to flow out of said baseboard unit and having a predetermined width defined by two opposing lateral ends; and said baseboard unit being formed of three vertically spaced members, a first opening of said spaced openings between a lower member and an intermediate member forming an inlet opening for admitting ambient air into said baseboard unit and a second opening of said spaced openings between said intermediate member and an upper member forming an outlet opening for discharging heated air, wherein at least one of said members being formed as an extruded member.
2. A baseboard system comprising a convection baseboard unit to be arranged along a wall proximate to a floor of an enclosure to be heated; heating means within said baseboard unit, said baseboard unit defining a predetermined external surface configuration including vertically spaced openings to allow ambient air to flow into and heated air to flow out of said baseboard unit and having a predetermined width defined by two opposing lateral ends; and said baseboard unit being formed of three vertically spaced members, a first opening of said spaced openings between a lower member and an intermediate member forming an inlet opening for admitting ambient air into said baseboard unit and a second opening of said spaced openings between said intermediated member and an upper member forming an outlet opening for discharging heated air, wherein said lower member is detachably connected to the wall and selectively detached from the wall to provide access to a region between said intermediate member and the floor, whereby that portion of the floor below said intermediate member normally covered by said lower member can be finished or cleaned without damage to the baseboard or equipment used to finish or clean the normally covered portion of the floor.
3. A baseboard system according to claim 2, wherein said lower member is detachably connected to the wall by a snap-lock arrangement.
4. A baseboard system comprising a convection baseboard unit to be arranged along a wall proximate to a floor of an enclosure to be heated; heating means within said baseboard unit, said baseboard unit defining a predetermined external surface configuration including vertically spaced openings to allow ambient air to flow into and heated air to flow out of said baseboard unit and having a predetermined width defined by two opposing lateral ends; said baseboard unit being formed of three vertically spaced members, a first opening of said spaced openings between a lower member and an intermediate member forming an inlet opening for admitting ambient air into said baseboard unit and a second opening of said spaced openings between said intermediated member and an upper member forming an outlet opening for discharging heated air, at least one conduit supported between the wall and said intermediate member; and a plurality of fins substantially equally spaced from each other along said at least one conduit and serving as a heat exchanger to heat ambient air entering through a lower of said vertically spaced openings, the spacing between said fins being selected to provide a desired BTU output per unit length of the baseboard unit.
5. A baseboard system according to claim 4, wherein a plurality of conduits are provided each with one of “n” substantially uniform spacings between adjacent fins, and the baseboard is provided with one of said conduits having one of said “n” spacing to provide a desired BTU per unit length of the baseboard.
6. A baseboard system according to claim 4, wherein two conduits are supported between the wall and said intermediate member, said conduits being vertically spaced from each other in a plane substantially parallel to said intermediate members, said fins being in contact with both said conduits.
7. A baseboard system according to claim 6, wherein each of said conduits is formed with a plurality of fins substantially equally spaced a distance “d”, and said conduits are axially offset from each other along the length directions of said conduits a distance substantially equal to “d/2” to interleave the fins on said conduits to space adjacent fins of said interleaved fins a distance substantially equal to “d/2”, wherein said distance “d/2” is selected to provide a desired BTU per unit length of the baseboard.
8. A baseboard system according to claim 6, wherein each of said conduits is similarly formed with a plurality of fins adjacent ones of which are substantially equally spaced a predetermined distance from each other each fin being similarly configured as a generally elongate sheet of planer thermally conductive material having a predetermined length along a fin axis and having an open cutout at one end configured to conform to a mating surface of a cooperating spaced conduit and having an intermediate opening between said open cutout and another opposing end configured to receive an associated conduit to conform and receive an associated conduit to conform and contact with said associated conduit, said fin axes of all fins on an associated conduit being substantially aligned in parallel to dispose all open cutouts on each conduit generally aligned along a direction parallel to said conduit, whereby arranging a pair of conduits to position each conduit within said open cutouts formed with said fins associated with the other of said conduits fixed the spacing between said conduits and provides thermal contact between each of the fins and both conduits to maximize heat transfer from said conduits to the ambient air through said fins.
9. A baseboard system according to claim 8, wherein said fins are each rectangular having a length along said fin axis greater than a width normal to said fin axis.
10. A baseboard system according to claim 9, wherein said conduits are tubes having circular cross-sections, and said intermediate openings are circular openings dimensioned to correspond to the outside diameter of associated conduit to receive the conduit with little clearance.
11. A baseboard system according to claim 10, wherein said fins are thermally attached to associated conduit.
12. A baseboard system according to claim 11, wherein said fins are welded to associated conduit in the region of said intermediate openings.
13. A baseboard system according to claim 12, wherein said fins are welded to associated conduit substantially along the entire periphery of said intermediate openings.
14. A baseboard system according to claim 10, wherein said open cutouts are formed as semi-circular contours.
15. A baseboard system according to claim 14, wherein said circular openings and said semi-circular contours define center points that are substantially co-exlasive with the centers or axes of said conduits when mated together and define the spacing between said conduits when assembled in the baseboard.
16. A baseboard system according to claim 6, wherein said two conduits are connected one end to feed and return lines and connected to each other at the other end.
17. A baseboard system according to claim 6, wherein a T-splitter is used at each end to connect both conduits at one end to a feed line and to connect both conduits to a return line at the other end.
18. A baseboard system according to claim 6, wherein conduit is arranged to carry heated water from a supply line and the other conduit is arranged to carry cooled water to a return line, whereby the BTU per unit length provided by the baseboard is substantially on average of the BTUs provided by each of said conduits and associated fins.
19. A baseboard system comprising a convection baseboard unit to be arranged along a wall proximate to a floor of an enclosure to be heated; heating means within said baseboard unit, said baseboard unit defining a predetermined external surface configuration including vertically spaced openings to allow ambient air to flow into and heated air to flow out of said baseboard unit and having a predetermined width defined by two opposing lateral ends; moldings abutting at least one lateral end of said baseboard unit and having an external surface configuration substantially corresponding to said external surface configuration of said baseboard unit, whereby abutment of said moldings against at least one lateral end of said baseboard unit beyond the lateral end thereof to effectively provide a continuous member having a substantially continuous external surface configuration having the appearance of said baseboard and molding extending along at least a portion of a wall of the enclosure; and adjustable heat exchange means far adjusting the amount of BTUs per unit length of selected lengths of baseboard, whereby different lengths of baseboard can be selected to produce different BTUs per unit length to provide desired heat distribution without changing the size or shape of said external surface configuration, whereby a uniform appearance can be provided despite disparate BTU per unit length generated at different locations of the baseboard unit.
20. A baseboard system according to claim 19, wherein said adjustable heat exchanger means comprises a pair of spaced conduits and substantially uniformly spaced fins along said conduits, wherein said spacing between adjacent fins being selectable during assembly of the baseboard to provide desired inter-fin spacing with corresponding BTU per unit length generation.
21. A baseboard system according to claim 7, wherein one conduit is for carrying heated fluid and the other is for carrying fluid that returns in a closed loop system.
22. A baseboard system according to claim 7, wherein both conduits are for carrying heated fluid from a common feeder conduit feeding heated fluid to said baseboard, and a T-shaped coupling for diverting a portion of the heated fluid from the common feeder conduit to each of said conduit with said baseboard.
23. A baseboard system according to claim 22, further comprising deflecting means within said coupling for directing substantially equal amounts of heated fluid to both said conduits.
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