Toilet Flushing System using Wastewater
A Toilet Flushing System using Wastewater (10) includes a mounting bracket assembly (24) for mounting within the tank (12) of a conventional water closet. The assembly (24) uses a release float (28) to rise with tank water level and eventually release a main float (26) when the tank water level reaches float release level. The main float (26), when released will cause a shutoff plunger (50) to engage a valve retaining arm (51) to release the valve release arm (56) and thereby shut off fresh water flow into the tank (12), and also activate flapper valve (34) to release flushing water into the toilet. Water is introduced into the tank (12) either via the fill valve (60) or via a drain pipe (10) interconnecting a gray water supply from the drain (16) of an adjacent sink basin (16).
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates generally to plumbing fixtures and systems and, more specifically, to a Toilet Flushing System using Wastewater.
2. Description of Related Art
Wastewater, or “gray water” flushing systems have been made in a variety of forms for numerous years. An early example is a “Combination Wash Basin and Toilet Conservation System” disclosed by Medrano, U.S. Pat. No. 4,358,864. While the Medrano system purports to use gray water from a wash basin to flush the toilet, it requires a complex toilet tank/flushing system that is not compatible with an off-the-shelf toilet. Teichroeb, U.S. Pat. No. 5,813,047 for “Toilet Flushing System that Allows use of Gray Water Drained from a Sink” also discloses a system that cannot be implemented in a stock toilet tank.
Aleman, U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,069,521 and 4,030,144 use a somewhat standard in-toilet equipment, however, does not connect to an adjacent wash basin, but instead requires a specially-installed gray water system for the entire building. Furthermore, there is no freshwater backup water supply for the gray water system to supplement the gray water when there is insufficient gray water available.
Sanders, et al, U.S. Patent Application Publication No. U.S.07/0174959 and U.S. Pat. No. 6,276,005 for “Water Recycling Device,” Rockwell U.S. Pat. No. 5,201,082 for “Gray Water Toilet System,” and Kimball, U.S. Pat. No. 5,084,920 for “Water Recycling System” all disclose sophisticated flushing systems that require that the gray water supply system be pressurized (rather than using a gravity-fed water source).
What is needed, then, is a flushing system for toilets that is easily installed in a conventional toilet tank, and uses gray water from an unpressurized gray water source.SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In light of the aforementioned problems associated with the prior devices and systems, it is an object of the present invention to provide a Toilet Flushing System using Wastewater. The system should take gray water from a drain pipe interconnecting the drain of an adjacent sink basin and utilize it as flushing water, without the need for a separate pressurized gray water system. The system should be installable into a conventional toilet tank without the need for a specialized toilet. The flushing system would allow for the use of fresh water or gray water for toilet flushing. Water level and flushing action of the system should be controlled by a pair of floats—a release float to release a main float at a release water level, and a main float that rises rapidly upon its release and causes fresh water inlet flow to cease and simultaneously lift the flapper valve to commence toilet flushing.
The objects and features of the present invention, which are believed to be novel, are set forth with particularity in the wended claims. The present invention, both as to its organization and manner of operation, together with further objects and advantages, may best be understood by reference to the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, of which:
The following description is provided to enable any person skilled in the art to make and use the invention and sets forth the best modes contemplated by the inventor of carrying out his invention. Various modifications, however, will remain readily apparent to those skilled in the art, since the generic principles of the present invention have been defined herein specifically to provide a Toilet Flushing System using Wastewater.
The present invention can best be understood by initial consideration of
The system 10 uses the flapper valve 34 and flush handle 20 of the original toilet's flushing system. In order to interface with a non-pressurized gray water supply source, the system 10 uses a pair of floats (rather than a single float to shut off water flow). Here, the first float simply provides a two-stage tank fill process; the second float actually performs two actions—shutting of the flow of fresh water into the tank, and also opening the flapper valve 34 to release flushing water into the toilet (i.e. thereby flushing the toilet).
The release float 28 (i.e. the first float) travels up and down along one or more float guides 30. The guides 30 shown here are elongate rigid bars that allow the floats to slide up and down freely.
A release plunger 36 comprises a rod 38 extending through holes formed in the release float 28 and the main float 26. The top end of the rod 38 has a head 40 that is enlarged so that it will not fit into the hole formed in the release float 28. The bottom end of the rod 38 connects to an L-shaped retaining arm 46 at a pivot point 42. The retaining arm 46 is attached to the lower mounting bracket 25 at pivot point 44. The retaining arm 46 terminates at its distal end in retaining finger 48. There are teeth or other features formed in the main float 26 with which the retaining finger 48 engages in order to prevent the main float 26 from floating upward (i.e. until the retaining finger 48 has disengaged from the teeth in the main float 26. As should be apparent, sliding the rod 38 up and down will cause the retaining arm 48 to pivot about pivot point 44 in a rocking motion. The retaining arm 46 includes weighting or biasing elements that cause the rest position to be with the retaining finger 48 being forced towards the main float 26.
A shutoff plunger 50 extends upwardly from its rigid attachment to the main float 26. As the main float 26 rises, the shutoff plunger 50 will also rise. As it rises, the plunger 50 will approach the valve retaining arm 51. The valve retaining arm 51 pivotally attached to the mounting bracket assembly 24 by pivot shaft 54, which permits the arm 51 to rock in the direction shown. The arm 51 terminates in a valve retaining finger 52, which can engage the distal end of the valve release arm 56, when the release arm 56 is rotated into the position shown.
The valve release arm 56 extends out from the flush shaft 58. The flush shaft 58 interconnects the flush handle 20 and the fill valve 60. The fill valve 60 serves to turn on and turn off the fresh water flow coming from the fresh water supply system. As will become clear below upon review of the description in connection with other drawing figures, the system 10 allows for the filling of the toilet tank with gray water (e.g. from an adjacent sink), or alternatively filling with fresh water from the standard fresh water system (normally connected to the toilet tank), when there is insufficient gray water to flush the toilet.
Finally, there is a flapper chain 32 (or other lanyard or the like) interconnecting the main float 26 and the flapper valve 34, such that when the main float 26 rises sufficiently, it will cause the flapper valve 34 to lift; thereby releasing water from the tank and into the toilet bowl (i.e. flushing the toilet). As should be appreciated, and as will be discussed below, the flushing action is actually managed by the actions of the floats 26 and 28, and not by the flush handle 20. This means that it is the water level within the toilet tank that actives the system 10 to flush, rather than a manually-actuated flush command to the flush handle.
It should be understood that the water filling the tank could be fresh water from the fill valve 60, or it could be from the gray water drain pipe (see
If a user uses the lavatory and the sink in the configuration of the present invention, the following method 74 will commence: the user uses the lavatory 102 and then the sink 110 (i.e. the user does not activate the flushing handle). As the user sends gray water down the sink drain, it will travel through the drain pipe and into the toilet tank 112. The release float will release the main float when the tank water level reaches the release level 114, which allows the main float to float upward until it pulls up on the flapper valve and causes a flush of the toilet 116.
If the user only uses the lavatory in the configuration of the present invention, the following method 76 commences: the user uses the lavatory 102 and then actuates the flush lever 118, which opens the fill valve to begin filling the toilet tank with water 120. When the tank level reaches the release level, the release float will release the main float 114, and the main float will rise until the flapper valve opens (to flush) and also releases the valve retaining finger so that the water valve is allowed to close 122.
Those skilled in the art will appreciate that various adaptations and modifications of the just-described preferred embodiment can be configured without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. Therefore, it is to be understood that, within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced other than as specifically described herein.
1. A toilet flushing system comprising:
- a release float element located within a toilet tank and configured to rise upwardly due to buoyant forces until it actuates a release mechanism;
- a main float element located within said toilet tank and configured to rise upwardly due to buoyant forces when said release mechanism is actuated; and
- a flapper valve actuatable by said upward rising of said main float element to open and drain fluid out from said toilet tank.
2. The system of claim 1, wherein said release float and said main float each comprise at least one bore formed therethrough, and said system further comprising at least one elongate float guide engaging said bores to direct the buoyant-force-directed travel therealong.
3. The system of claim 1, wherein said release float disengages a retaining finger from said main float when said release float rises responsive to the liquid level in the toilet tank reaching a release level.
4. The system of claim 1, wherein said main float is tethered to said flapper valve, whereby when said main float rises responsive to said release mechanism actuation and the liquid level in the toilet tank, said main float pulls on said tether sufficiently to open said flapper valve.
5. The system of claim 1, further comprising a sink basin fluidly interconnected to the toilet tank by a drain pipe, whereby fluid exiting a drain in said sink basin will enter the chamber formed within the toilet tank.
6. A toilet flushing method, comprising the steps of
- filling a toilet tank with fluid until it reaches a release level;
- releasing a main float element when said fluid reaches said release level, such that said main float is buoyantly forced upwardly by said fluid until a flapper valve is caused to open by said upward movement of said main float element; and
- whereby opening said flapper valve causes said toilet tank to drain into its associated toilet and thereby flushes the toilet with said fluid previously in said tank.
7. A lavatory, comprising:
- a toilet; and
- a toilet tank, said toilet tank including a system for flushing said toilet with fluid, comprising: a release float element located within said toilet tank and configured to rise upwardly due to buoyant forces until it actuates a release mechanism; a main float element located within said toilet tank and configured to rise upwardly due to buoyant forces when said release mechanism is actuated; and a flapper valve actuatable by said upward rising of said main float element to open and drain fluid out from said toilet tank.
8. The lavatory of claim 7, wherein said release float and said main float each comprise at least one bore formed therethrough, and said system further comprising at least one elongate float guide engaging said bores to direct the buoyant-force-directed travel therealong.
9. The lavatory of claim 8, wherein said release float disengages a retaining finger from said main float when said release float rises responsive to the liquid level in the toilet tank reaching a release level.
10. The lavatory of claim 9, wherein said main float is tethered to said flapper valve, whereby when said main float rises responsive to said release mechanism actuation and the liquid level in the toilet tank, said main float pulls on said tether sufficiently to open said flapper valve.
11. The lavatory of claim 10, further comprising a sink basin fluidly interconnected to the toilet tank by a drain pipe, whereby fluid exiting a drain in said sink basin will enter the chamber formed within the toilet tank.
12. The lavatory of claim 11, wherein said release float is juxtaposed vertically above said main float and said release float and said main float slidingly engage said one or more float guides with each said bore formed therein.
13. The lavatory of claim 12, wherein said release float engages a release plunger when it rises to a release level of fluid in said tank, said release plunger configured to actuate the disengagement of a retaining finger from said main float.
14. The lavatory of claim 14, further comprising a shutoff plunger extending upwardly from said main float, said shutoff plunger cooperatively located relative to said release mechanism to release said mechanism when said main float rises upwardly due to buoyant forces created by liquid in said tank after disengagement of said retaining finger.
15. The lavatory of claim 10, wherein said flapper valve controls water flow between said tank and said toilet.
16. The lavatory of claim 14, wherein said system comprises a pair of said float guides in spaced, parallel relation.
Filed: Aug 30, 2010
Publication Date: Mar 1, 2012
Inventor: Ralph Larson (Coronado, CA)
Application Number: 12/871,629
International Classification: E03D 1/35 (20060101);