US20120159700A1 - Drain clearing apparatus - Google Patents

Drain clearing apparatus Download PDF

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Publication number
US20120159700A1
US20120159700A1 US12/979,498 US97949810A US2012159700A1 US 20120159700 A1 US20120159700 A1 US 20120159700A1 US 97949810 A US97949810 A US 97949810A US 2012159700 A1 US2012159700 A1 US 2012159700A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
drain
engaging
hollow shaft
air
clearing
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Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US12/979,498
Inventor
Martin Iacampo, SR.
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Iacampo Sr Martin
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Publication date
Application filed by Iacampo Sr Martin filed Critical Iacampo Sr Martin
Priority to US12/979,498 priority Critical patent/US20120159700A1/en
Publication of US20120159700A1 publication Critical patent/US20120159700A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E03WATER SUPPLY; SEWERAGE
    • E03CDOMESTIC PLUMBING INSTALLATIONS FOR FRESH WATER OR WASTE WATER; SINKS
    • E03C1/00Domestic plumbing installations for fresh water or waste water; Sinks
    • E03C1/12Plumbing installations for waste water; Basins or fountains connected thereto; Sinks
    • E03C1/30Devices to facilitate removing of obstructions in waste-pipes or sinks
    • E03C1/304Devices to facilitate removing of obstructions in waste-pipes or sinks using fluid under pressure
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E03WATER SUPPLY; SEWERAGE
    • E03DWATER-CLOSETS OR URINALS WITH FLUSHING DEVICES; FLUSHING VALVES THEREFOR
    • E03D9/00Sanitary or other accessories for lavatories ; Devices for cleaning or disinfecting the toilet room or the toilet bowl; Devices for eliminating smells

Abstract

A drain cleaning device that uses compressed air to clear obstructions in the drain pipes of water basins, toilets and the like. The drain cleaning device consists mainly of a force cup, a handle, flexible pipes for conveying compressed air, and quick connect couplings.

Description

    TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates generally to drain opening devices, and specifically to the use of compressed air to push obstructions from clogged drains.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Water drains typically get clogged due to materials becoming lodged in traps, joints, and other locations. Typically the material causing the blockage or clogging can be freed by applying hydraulic pressure, liquid or gaseous, on the upper region of the drain. Numerous devices available for applying pressure to the blockage, yet they are all deficient in one manner or another.
  • Devices commonly referred to as “plungers” comprise a force cup with a handle attached thereto. The force cup is brought into contact with the drain entrance and pushed down by the handle, thereby forcing water to engage the clog with hydraulic pressure and push it down the drain and ultimately out of the way. A force cup device typically does not have sufficient volume to apply sustained and increasing pressure so as to be effective against the blockage material.
  • The combination of low and unsustained pressure exerted by force cup devices, and the required reciprocating motion of the plunging action of plungers using force cups, which causes splashing and messy loss of water from the immediate vicinity of a clogged drain, has led to the development of other types of devices. For example, piston devices comprising a piston slidably received within a circular cylinder are an improvement over force cup devices. The piston devices typically comprise a fixed tube with a piston that transits therein to apply pressure at the exit end of the tube. These devices are often adequate for unclogging drains. yet they require many parts and multiple seals thereby increasing the cost of manufacture and the susceptibility of failure during use. Each piston must have a seal between the piston and the cylinder it slides in so as to be effective. The piston must also be sealed to the push rod. Such devices, while functional, have yet to receive widespread acceptance over the simple force cup plunger alone.
  • There has been a long felt need in the realm of the plumbing arts for a device suitable for removing blockages from drains in a way that is economical to manufacture, sell, and use, and which is reliable, efficient, and sanitary.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • According to the present invention there is disclosed a drain clearing apparatus comprising a drain engaging element adapted to be mounted to a drain; a hollow shaft, attached at one end to the drain engaging element; an air hose connector attached to the hollow shaft at an opposite end from the drain engaging element; and a flexible air hose having an air hose connector for conveying compressed air from a compressed air source. The drain clearing apparatus also has a drain engaging opening adapted to the drain engaging element so as to make an airtight connection with the opening of the drain. The drain clearing apparatus includes the feature of having the hollow shaft attached to the drain engaging element by a threaded coupling, and it uses a force cup at the drain engaging element. The hollow shaft of the drain clearing apparatus is rigid and is able to transmit axial force and to contain compressed air within itself, and the air hose connector on the hollow shaft couples with an air hose that connected to a compressed air source, the air source being an air compressor, and the air line connector is a quick connect connector.
  • According to the present invention there is disclosed a method for clearing blockage from a drain comprising the steps of providing a drain engaging element adapted to be mounted to a drain; attaching a hollow shaft at one end of the drain engaging element; affixing an air hose connector to an end of the hollow shaft at an end opposite from the drain engaging element; attaching a flexible air hose, having an air hose connector, to the air hose connector affixed to the hollow shaft; placing a drain engaging element in airtight contact with a drain; and directing a flow of compressed air through the flexible hose, air hose connector, and hollow shaft to the drain engaging element. The method includes the further step of adapting a drain engaging opening to the drain engaging element, and attaching the drain engaging element to the hollow shaft by a threaded coupling. The method includes the steps of using a force cup as the drain engaging element and making the hollow shaft sufficiently rigid to transmit axially directed force and sufficiently rigid to contain high pressure air within itself. The method including connecting a source of compressed air to the flexible air hose and turning on the source of compressed air, and using a portable air compressor as the source of compressed air. The final steps of the method include using a quick connect connector as the air line connector and sealing the sealing the drain engaging element upon the blocked drain and directing the compressed air to push the blockage from the drain.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The structure, operation, and advantages of the present invention will become further apparent upon consideration of the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying figures (FIGS.). The figures are intended to be illustrative, not limiting. Certain elements in some of the figures may be omitted, or illustrated not-to-scale, for illustrative clarity. The cross-sectional views may be in the form of “slices”, or “near-sighted” cross-sectional views, omitting certain background lines which would otherwise be visible in a “true” cross-sectional view, for illustrative clarity.
  • FIG. 1 is an oblique view of the invention showing the main parts.
  • FIG. 2 is an orthogonal partial cutaway view of the main part of the invention, showing internal details.
  • FIG. 3A is a cross sectional exemplary view of the invention in use against a drain blockage in a toilet bowl.
  • FIG. 3B is a cross sectional exemplary view of the invention in use against a drain blockage in a water basin.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
  • In the description that follows, numerous details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that variations of these specific details are possible while still achieving the results of the present invention. Well-known processing steps are generally not described in detail in order to avoid unnecessarily obfuscating the description of the present invention.
  • In the description that follows, exemplary dimensions may be presented for an illustrative embodiment of the invention. The dimensions should not be interpreted as limiting. They are included to provide a sense of proportion. Generally speaking, it is the relationship between various elements, where they are located, their contrasting compositions, and sometimes their relative sizes that is of significance.
  • In the drawings accompanying the description that follows, often both reference numerals and legends (labels, text descriptions) will be used to identify elements. If legends are provided, they are intended merely as an aid to the reader, and should not in any way be interpreted as limiting.
  • Referring now to FIG. 1, the main elements of a drain clearing apparatus 10 are shown in oblique view. The drain clearing apparatus 10 includes a force cup 14 made of flexible and pliable material such as natural or synthetic rubber, a rigid handle portion 16 that is hollow, a quick connector 20 consisting of a male portion 20 a and a female portion 20 b, another quick connector 30, and a flexible tube portion 24 that connects to a light weight, portable air compressor 26. The air compressor 26 is not part of the invention, but the inventor envisions that the invention 10 itself, when purchased, might be supplied with an air compressor ideally matched to the drain clearing apparatus 10 and its operation.
  • FIG. 2 shows the drain clearing apparatus 10 of the present invention in partial cutaway, orthogonal view. The force cup portion 14 is made of flexible polymeric material such as rubber. Force cup 14 consists of two main parts, an upper plenum chamber 15 and a lower invertible cup 13 having a circumferential orifice 12. The function and operation of the invertible cup portion 13 will be described hereinbelow. Also shown in FIG. 2 is the rigid handle portion 16, which is connected by a threaded coupling 23 to the force cup 14, or by any other suitable means. The rigid handle 16 is circularly cylindrical in cross-section and contains therein, an axially centered, inner passageway 17 communicating between the upper plenum portion 15 of the force cup 14 and the rigid handle's uppermost end 18, which has attached thereto the male portion 20 a of a quick connect coupling 20 of the sort commonly used for conveying fluids, both liquid and gaseous, from one conduit to another. In the present case, the male portion 20 a of a quick connect coupling 20 is connected to the flexible compressed-air conveying hose 24, by means of the female portion 20 b of the quick connect coupling, so that the flexible compressed-air conveying hose 24 is connected to the rigid handle 16. The male portion 20 a of the quick connect coupling 20 is attached to the rigid handle portion 16 by reliably air-tight means (not shown) such as screw threading, adhesive bonding, polymer welding, or any other of many conceivable techniques, the net result being that the communicating passageway 17 is continuous from the mouth 19 of the male coupling portion 20 a to the lower end 11 of the rigid handle 16 inside the plenum 15. The function of the passageway 17 is to communicate pressurized air from the flexible hose 24, by means of the quick connect coupling 20 when its two components 20 a 20 b are engaged, to the force cup 14. While the quick connect coupling 20 has the male portion 20 a connected to the handle 16 and the female portion 20 b connected to the hose 24, it is within the terms of the present invention to mount the male portion 20 a to the hose 24 and the female portion 20 b to the handle 16.
  • At distal end 28 of the flexible hose 24, there is disposed a second quick connect coupling 30 wherein the male portion 30 a is secured to the flexible hose 24 to engage with a corresponding female quick coupling portion (not shown) that is affixed to an outlet port of the portable air compressor 22, as shown in FIG. 1. Compressed air, denoted by the arrow 34 located at the end 11 of the air-conveying passageway 17 inside the rigid handle 16, moves from the compressor 26 by way of the flexible tube 24, and quick connects 20 and 30, to the plenum chamber 15 of the force cup 14.
  • During use of the drain clearing apparatus 10, the compressed-air conveying flexible hose 24 is connected at one end by means of the quick connect coupling 30 to an air compressor 26, and at its other end 21 to the rigid handle 16 by means of the quick connect coupling 20. As will be shown in detail hereinbelow, the user of the drain clearing apparatus 10 causes the force cup portion 14 of the invention to be brought into air tight contact with the region adjacent the drain of a toilet or water basin wherein the outflow of water is obstructed by a blockage. The user exerts axially directed force upon the rigid handle 16 so as to compress the flexible force cup 14 against a surface that is immediately adjacent to and surrounding the drainage passageway so as to bring about an air tight seal against the loss of fluid or gaseous pressure inside the force cup 14 which is intended to work against the object or material that is obstructive of the flow inside of said drain. The air compressor 26 is then turned on so that air pressure and air volume are brought to bear against the blockage material and against any water that is disposed upstream of said blockage material, thereby pushing said blockage to a wider part of the drain.
  • The unique operation of the drain clearing apparatus 10 becomes more specifically evident in the orthogonal cross sectional illustrations of FIGS. 3A and 3B. FIG. 3A shows in cross sectional schematic view a toilet bowl 40 having an outflow drain segment 42, containing therein water 44 that is blocked from outflow by an obstruction 46. The invertible flexible cup portion 13 of the force cup 14 is shown engaging the walls 41 of the neck 43 of the toilet drain 42, thereby creating a seal against the outflow of fluid pressure, water or air, from inside of the force cup. Arrow 47, shown located within the plenum 15 of the force cup 14. As compressed air 47 enters the volume defined by the inside of the plenum 15 and the region 48 above the water surface 45, the pressure of the air is transmitted by those processes that are well-known among those who are skilled in the hydraulic arts such that a net force F is conveyed to the blockage obstruction 46. The final result is that the force F pushes the blocking obstruction 46 out of contact with the walls 41 of the outflow drain 42, and thence to a wider part of the drain, thereby affecting the desired result, which is removal of the obstruction from the water drain of the toilet bowl 40.
  • FIG. 3B shows the operation of the drain clearing apparatus 10 in relation a water basin 50, shown in schematic cross sectional view. The drain portion 52 of the basin 50 is shown with an obstructing mass 56 disposed within the drain so as to block the passage of trapped water 54. In the view shown in FIG. 3B, the invertible flexible cup 13 of the force cup 14 is shown inverted to a position inside of the plenum 15. In this way, when the user of the invention pushes the force cup 14, the invertible cup 13 gets creates a seal against the flat surface 51 that surrounds the drain region 52 of the basin 50. The sealing effect of the invertible cup 13 against basin surface 51 prevents the flow of fluids, liquid or gaseous, from within the volume that is defined by the inside of the plenum 15 and the volume 58 inside the drain and above surface 55 of the trapped water 54. Thus, as incoming compressed air, which is indicated by arrow 57, fills the volume 58, the hydraulic pressure, or pneumatic pressure, of the air is transmitted by those processes that are well-known to those who are skilled in the hydraulic arts such that a net force F′ is conveyed to the blockage obstruction 56. The final result is that the blocking obstruction 56 is pushed downward along the walls 53 of the outflow drain 52 to a wider portion thereof, thereby ultimately affecting the desired result, which is removal of the blockage 56 from the water drain 52 of the basin 50.
  • Although the invention has been shown and described with respect to a certain preferred embodiment or embodiments, certain equivalent alterations and modifications will occur to others skilled in the art upon the reading and understanding of this specification and the annexed drawings. In particular regard to the various functions performed by the above described components (assemblies, devices, etc.) the terms (including a reference to a “means”) used to describe such components are intended to correspond, unless otherwise indicated, to any component which performs the specified function of the described component (i.e., that is functionally equivalent), even though not structurally equivalent to the disclosed structure which performs the function in the herein illustrated exemplary embodiments of the invention. In addition, while a particular feature of the invention may have been disclosed with respect to only one of several embodiments, such feature may be combined with one or more features of the other embodiments as may be desired and advantageous for any given or particular application.

Claims (20)

1. A drain clearing apparatus comprising:
a drain engaging element adapted to be mounted to an opening of a drain;
a hollow shaft, attached at one end to the drain engaging element;
an air hose attached to the hollow shaft at an opposite end from the drain engaging element for conveying compressed air from a compressed air source into the drain engaging element.
2. The drain clearing apparatus of claim 1 wherein the drain engaging element has a drain engaging opening adapted to make an airtight connection with the opening of the drain.
3. The drain clearing apparatus of claim 2 wherein the drain engaging element is attached to the hollow shaft by a threaded coupling.
4. The drain clearing apparatus of claim 2 wherein the drain engaging element is a force cup.
5. The drain clearing apparatus of claim 2 wherein the hollow shaft is rigid and able to transmit axially directed force.
6. The drain clearing apparatus of claim 2 wherein the hollow shaft is rigid and able to contain high pressure air within itself.
7. The drain clearing apparatus of claim 1 wherein an air hose connector couples one end to the air hose to the hollow shaft and the air hose is connected to a compressed air source.
8. The drain clearing apparatus of claim 7 wherein the compressed air source is an air compressor.
9. The drain clearing apparatus of claim 7 wherein the air hose connector is a quick connect connector.
10. A method for clearing blockage from a drain, comprising the steps of:
mounting a drain engaging element attached to a hollow shaft to a drain;
attaching the hollow shaft to a source of compressed; and
directing a flow of compressed air through the hollow shaft to the drain engaging element.
11. The method of claim 10 further comprising:
connecting the hollow shaft to the source of compressed air by a flexible air hose.
12. The method of claim 10 further comprising:
placing the drain engaging element in airtight contact with the drain.
13. The method of claim 11 including the further step of using a force cup as the drain engaging element.
14. The method of claim 11 including the further step of selecting the hollow shaft to be sufficiently rigid to transmit axially directed force.
15. The method of claim 14 including the further step of making the hollow shaft sufficiently rigid to contain high pressure air within itself.
16. The method of claim 11 including the further step of connecting a source of compressed air to the flexible air hose.
17. The method of claim 11 including the further step of providing compressed air to the flexible air hose by turning on the source of compressed air.
18. The method claim 17 including the further step of using a portable air compressor as the source of compressed air.
19. The method of claim 10 including the further step of connecting the hollow shaft to the flexible air hose with a quick connect connector.
20. The method of claim 10 including the step of sealing the drain engaging element upon the blocked drain and directing the compressed air to push the blockage from the drain.
US12/979,498 2010-12-28 2010-12-28 Drain clearing apparatus Abandoned US20120159700A1 (en)

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Cited By (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
WO2014191810A1 (en) * 2013-05-31 2014-12-04 Sam Outillage Method and device for supplying a hand-held pneumatic tool with a pressurised fluid, in particular compressed air, from a source of such a fluid, in particular a portable bottle
US10744525B1 (en) 2019-06-03 2020-08-18 Diversitech Corporation Multi-cartridge drain guns, accessories therefor, and methods of use and manufacture thereof

Citations (6)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US1804874A (en) * 1929-09-28 1931-05-12 Hribar Martin Drain cleaner
US4063317A (en) * 1975-11-13 1977-12-20 Michael Santore Hydro-pneumatic pipe, tube and drain cleaner
US20060282941A1 (en) * 2005-06-15 2006-12-21 Long-Sheh Wang High pressure plunger
US20070266485A1 (en) * 2006-05-17 2007-11-22 Tackett Shelby G Drain clog removing apparatus
US7877821B1 (en) * 2008-09-11 2011-02-01 Giuseppe Prestia Portable compressed-air gun for unclogging single drains
US8083864B2 (en) * 2008-02-22 2011-12-27 Edward Ho Cleaning device

Patent Citations (6)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US1804874A (en) * 1929-09-28 1931-05-12 Hribar Martin Drain cleaner
US4063317A (en) * 1975-11-13 1977-12-20 Michael Santore Hydro-pneumatic pipe, tube and drain cleaner
US20060282941A1 (en) * 2005-06-15 2006-12-21 Long-Sheh Wang High pressure plunger
US20070266485A1 (en) * 2006-05-17 2007-11-22 Tackett Shelby G Drain clog removing apparatus
US8083864B2 (en) * 2008-02-22 2011-12-27 Edward Ho Cleaning device
US7877821B1 (en) * 2008-09-11 2011-02-01 Giuseppe Prestia Portable compressed-air gun for unclogging single drains

Cited By (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
WO2014191810A1 (en) * 2013-05-31 2014-12-04 Sam Outillage Method and device for supplying a hand-held pneumatic tool with a pressurised fluid, in particular compressed air, from a source of such a fluid, in particular a portable bottle
US10744525B1 (en) 2019-06-03 2020-08-18 Diversitech Corporation Multi-cartridge drain guns, accessories therefor, and methods of use and manufacture thereof

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