Low Temperature Responsive Drains Patents (Class 137/62)
  • Patent number: 9638094
    Abstract: A charge air cooler comprises an outlet tank having a drain mechanism integrated in a wall thereof. The drain mechanism comprises a first valve head disposed to a first side of the wall, a first spring member disposed between the first valve head and the wall, a second valve head disposed to a second side of the wall, a second spring member disposed between the second valve head and the wall, and a valve stem coupled to each of the first valve head and the second valve head. The valve stem is reciprocatingly disposed within an aperture formed in the wall. The drain mechanism is configured to be in a closed position when an internal pressure within the outlet tank is at least one of greater than a first pressure value and lower than a second pressure value.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 7, 2014
    Date of Patent: May 2, 2017
    Assignee: HANON SYSTEMS
    Inventors: Brian James Cardwell, Kastriot Shaska, Orest Alexandru Dziubinschi
  • Patent number: 9181933
    Abstract: A device, comprising a flow controller. The flow controller includes a body having walls that define a channel within the body, and a passive flow control valve. The passive control valve has a moveable member that includes a thermal shape memory material, the moveable member configured to change an aperture size in the channel in response to a reversible temperature-induced shape transformation of the thermal shape memory material.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 10, 2012
    Date of Patent: November 10, 2015
    Assignee: Alcatel Lucent
    Inventors: John Daly, Nick Jeffers
  • Publication number: 20150053278
    Abstract: A flushing device includes an enclosure having an access opening; a discharge conduit; a fluid system conduit; a platform situated within the enclosure, the platform having a top surface and a bottom surface, the top surface facing the access opening and movable to proximate the access opening; a flushing valve mounted on the platform and in fluid communication with the fluid system conduit, the flushing valve operatively connected to a flushing controller, the flushing valve controllable by the flushing controller; and a meter mounted on the top surface of the platform, the meter including a meter inlet and a meter outlet, the meter inlet in fluid communication with the flushing valve, the flushing valve in fluid communication with the meter and the fluid system conduit, the meter outlet in fluid communication with the discharge conduit.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 20, 2013
    Publication date: February 26, 2015
    Applicant: Mueller International, LLC
    Inventors: Harold Mosley, Wade Pope
  • Patent number: 8950418
    Abstract: A method for operating a fluid drainage control system to drain a fluid from a fluid dispensation system is provided. The method includes determining a first ambient air temperature, determining if the first ambient air temperature is less than a predetermined drain set point temperature, isolating the fluid dispensation system from a fluid supply source by closing a supply valve located inside a temperature controlled area in response to the first ambient air temperature being less than the predetermined drain set point temperature, and draining the fluid from the fluid dispensation system by opening a drain valve subsequent to closing the supply valve.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 16, 2013
    Date of Patent: February 10, 2015
    Assignee: Virid Services, LLC
    Inventor: Jon Lips
  • Patent number: 8944086
    Abstract: A plumbing freeze protection system comprises a fluid connection between a water supply line and a waste line. The fluid connection bypasses a plumbing fixture fluidly connected to the water supply line. A valve operable with the fluid connection alternately prevents water flow from the water supply line to the waste line, and allows water flow from the water supply line to the waste line within about 25 percent of maximum volumetric flow rate of the water supply line through the fluid connection. A timer is adapted to control the valve. The valve is open for a predetermined time period to deliver a short duration, high volumetric flow rate of water to the waste line to minimize ice formation in, and remove existing ice from, the water supply and waste lines.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 2, 2012
    Date of Patent: February 3, 2015
    Inventor: James F. Park
  • Patent number: 8689813
    Abstract: A valve for preventing freeze-fracturing prevents accidental freeze-fracturing due to the freezing of water by draining water from a flow pipe before the danger of freezing occurs when the temperature of ambient air drops. The valve for preventing freeze-fracturing includes a housing coupled to a pipe port and a draining chamber provided in a portion of the housing that faces the pipe port. The draining chamber has therein a water inlet hole, which communicates with an inside of the flow pipe, and a water outlet hole, which communicates with an outside of the housing. A storage chamber is provided in a portion of the housing that is opposite the draining chamber, and contains therein a phase change material, which decreases in volume while changing in phase from liquid to solid. A plunger is movably disposed in the draining chamber to open and close the water inlet hole.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 25, 2009
    Date of Patent: April 8, 2014
    Assignee: Korea Institute of Industrial Technology
    Inventors: Joung Ha Kim, Jae Ho Yun, Sung Hyun Kim
  • Patent number: 8561914
    Abstract: The temperature-responsive fluid flow control apparatus of the present invention comprises: a housing installed between the inlet and the outlet of a fluid pipe in which a fluid flows; a valve block installed inside the housing to allow inflow of the flowing fluid in the housing and to discharge a portion of the flowing fluid to the outside according to the change in the internal pressure; and a temperature-responsive device for generating a pressure difference in the valve block according to the temperature change of the temperature-responsive fluid filled therein. The temperature-responsive fluid flow control apparatus prevents the fluid flowing pipe from freezing by discharging a portion of the fluid flowing in the housing to the outside, when the temperature of the temperature-responsive fluid reaches a preset temperature as the external temperature drops.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 9, 2009
    Date of Patent: October 22, 2013
    Assignee: Sudo Premium Engineering Co., Ltd.
    Inventor: Jaeyoung Jung
  • Patent number: 8490885
    Abstract: A thermally actuated valve employs a plunger and bore valve configuration. A thermally expansible wax actuator has an axial length that changes in response to the temperature in a cavity of the valve. At temperatures above a predetermined set point, the actuator produces axial force sufficient to extend the length of the actuator against a return bias and project the plunger and seal into the bore, closing the valve. The plunger defines a pressure relief fluid flow path from the valve cavity to the valve outlet. A pressure relief valve is arranged in the plunger and is responsive to pressure in the valve. The pressure relief valve opens to relieve pressure above a pre-determined level. The thermally actuated valve and the pressure relief valve are coaxial and employ a common outlet.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 23, 2010
    Date of Patent: July 23, 2013
    Assignee: Rostra Vernatherm LLC
    Inventors: Kevin Lamb, Kenneth Lionello, Michael J. Nihan
  • Patent number: 8443849
    Abstract: An irrigation system draining apparatus adapted for use with an irrigation system having a conduit with a fluid source connection, an air inlet, and at least one output port, the apparatus includes a suction device. The suction device has an input port that is adapted to access an interior of the conduit, and to drain fluid from the conduit by suction when the fluid source connection is closed and the air inlet is open. A method of draining an irrigation system includes closing a fluid source connection for the irrigation system, opening an air inlet of the irrigation system, and using a suction device to drain fluid from the irrigation system conduit through the one output port.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 1, 2008
    Date of Patent: May 21, 2013
    Inventors: Joseph Rosselli, Arto Cinoglu
  • Patent number: 8439062
    Abstract: A system and method for detecting water in locations in homes and buildings where it should not be present, and responding by terminating water inlet access to plumbing in said home or building or the like and optionally operating a dump valve, in combination with an approach to periodically testing system operability and providing a signal upon a component performing a predetermined number of operations. The method can further include the monitoring of signals and responding with maintenance and/or replacement.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 1, 2010
    Date of Patent: May 14, 2013
    Inventors: Keith J. Ziegenbein, Zachary J. Ziegenbein, Zebadiah W. Ziegenbein
  • Patent number: 8424550
    Abstract: A method for operating a fluid drainage control system to drain a fluid from a fluid dispensation system is provided. The method includes determining a first ambient air temperature, determining if the first ambient air temperature is less than a predetermined drain set point temperature, isolating the fluid dispensation system from a fluid supply source by closing a supply valve located inside a temperature controlled area in response to the first ambient air temperature being less than the predetermined drain set point temperature, and draining the fluid from the fluid dispensation system by opening a drain valve subsequent to closing the supply valve.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 16, 2010
    Date of Patent: April 23, 2013
    Assignee: Virid Services, LLC
    Inventor: Jon Lips
  • Patent number: 8327867
    Abstract: An antifreezing valve device for hydraulic and/or water storage systems includes a valve body having a water inlet and outlet which open into a chamber housing a linear thermostatic actuator, and a closing member operatively connected to the thermostatic actuator to be moved from a closed position for closing a sealing seat for ambient temperatures equivalent to or higher than a preset value, to an open position for discharging water from a system for lower ambient temperatures; the closing member is conformed with a cup-shaped support element sealingly slidable along the cylindrical body of the actuator, in order to define with this a closed chamber into which extends the actuator control rod. The device also includes first and second biasing spring members acting at opposite ends of the housing chamber on the closing member, respectively on the linear actuator, and guide element for sliding of the linear actuator and of the closing member.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 30, 2009
    Date of Patent: December 11, 2012
    Assignee: Caleffi S.p.A.
    Inventor: Marco Caleffi
  • Patent number: 8141584
    Abstract: A water collection, storage, and distribution system includes one or more individual water storage tanks. Each water storage tank has its own microprocessor that controls the operation of the storage tank so that each storage tank can operate either as a stand-alone storage tank or can be integrated into a series or a daisy chain of storage tanks. Each individual storage tank monitors its water level, its temperature, and its flow rate. When a risk of freezing exists, based on time and temperature, the storage tank can dump water. When the water in the storage tank is approaching stagnation, based on flow rate and time, the storage tank can dump water. When a storage tank is part of a daisy chain of storage tanks, each individual tank monitors not only its own water level but also the water level of the next downstream storage tank and pumps water to the downstream storage tank as required.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 19, 2009
    Date of Patent: March 27, 2012
    Assignee: East West Manufacturing LLC
    Inventors: Scott Ellyson, Jeff Sweeney
  • Patent number: 7970494
    Abstract: A system is disclosed that advantageously monitors a status of a relief valve coupled to a water heater or other pressure vessel. By monitoring the relief valve, the system can limit the energy and water wasted resulting from the relief valve's failure. The system can have first and second sensors that monitor a temperature and pressure within the relief valve, and a water flow from the relief valve, respectively. If the temperature or pressure within the relief valve exceeds predetermined thresholds, or a water flow from the relief valve continues for greater than a predetermined interval, the system can restrict a flow of gas, electric current, or water to the water heater.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 20, 2009
    Date of Patent: June 28, 2011
    Assignee: LiquidBreaker, LLC
    Inventor: Giovanni Fima
  • Patent number: 7654280
    Abstract: An anti-freezing hydrant is provided with a hollow valve rod of which a back end is provided with a lump formed with an oblique cone where a water leakage hole is formed communicating with the valve rod. A one-way valve is provided in a inner water inlet in a valve chamber of a valve and comprises a rubber cushion being made of a soft rubber and thus elastically suppressing the inner water inlet. The bore of a back pressure stopper in a back pressure is a complement of an inner inclined cone with the oblique cone. Thus, the rubber cushion may enhance the capability of sealing of the valve. Further, the back pressure stopper may also be a good sealant for the inclined cone.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 28, 2008
    Date of Patent: February 2, 2010
    Assignee: Long Tai Copper Co., Ltd.
    Inventor: Faucet Wu
  • Patent number: 7407113
    Abstract: A thermostatic valve incorporated within a plumbing system for regulating the flow of fluid. The thermostatic valve includes two valve assemblies operatively cooperating to preclude the flow of scalding water. The first valve assembly and second valve assembly respond to different fluid temperatures, as well as, over separate periods of time. The thermostatic valve can be incorporated in an “end-line” device such as a showerhead or faucet assemblies to create an “anti-scaled” plumbing fixture. The invention includes a valve housing having a first compartment and a second compartment, a fluid passageway, a first valve assembly, a second valve assembly, a first spring, a first stopper, a first flange, a first-thermostatic cylinder, a second spring, a second stopper, a second flange, a second thermostatic cylinder, and a third spring.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 30, 2005
    Date of Patent: August 5, 2008
    Assignee: American Valve, Inc.
    Inventor: Frederick Guterman
  • Patent number: 7377286
    Abstract: A drain valve having a temperature responsive member that holds the drain valve in a water conserving mode when water is above freezing yet allows the drain valve to drain when the water is near freezing to prevent freeze damage to the irrigation system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 30, 2006
    Date of Patent: May 27, 2008
    Inventors: Lloyd Herbert King, Jr., Michael Belgeri, James Keeven
  • Patent number: 6918402
    Abstract: The present invention provides a flow control apparatus and method. In accordance with the present invention, the flow control apparatus comprises a thermostat that automatically actuates valve to enable water to flow through the valve when the temperature of the air or water is at or near the freezing temperature of water (32° F.). When the temperature of the air or water rises above freezing, the thermostat causes the valve to close, thereby preventing water from flowing through the valve. Therefore, when the apparatus is coupled to an end of a water conduit, such as a water spigot or hose, water is allowed to flow through the conduit when the air or water temperature is at or near freezing to prevent the conduit from bursting due to water freezing and expanding within the conduit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 20, 2004
    Date of Patent: July 19, 2005
    Inventor: Bruce Harvey
  • Patent number: 6892747
    Abstract: A temperature and pressure sensitive valve is disclosed herein. The valve has a valve piston for regulating flow through the valve, a valve piston guide for directing movement of the piston, the piston guide having one or more passages there through, a thermal element for enabling movement of said piston, and an elongated housing having an anterior and posterior end and an interior wall able to house the piston, guide and thermal element. The housing further has two or more passages able to aid the piston in regulating flow, with at least one of the passages placed towards the anterior end of the housing, and at least one of the passages placed towards the posterior end of the housing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 10, 2003
    Date of Patent: May 17, 2005
    Assignee: Research by Copperhead Hill, Inc.
    Inventor: Robert D. Dulin
  • Patent number: 6883534
    Abstract: A freezeless wall hydrant has a normally horizontal fluid inlet tube with an interior end and exterior end. A hollow valve fitting is rigidly secured to the interior end of the inlet tube for a connection to a source of pressurized fluid. A valve seat is located on an interior end of the valve fitting. A valve body is longitudinally movably mounted in the inlet tube adjacent to the valve fitting. A pressure relief valve is mounted on the inlet tube between the interior and exterior ends thereof so that if residual water within and adjacent the exterior end of the inlet tube freezes and exerts pressure on residual fluid within the inlet tube adjacent the interior end thereof, the pressure relief valve will actuate to purge some of the high pressure fluid to decrease the pressure being exerted by such fluid to the interior of the inlet tube.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 14, 2003
    Date of Patent: April 26, 2005
    Assignee: WCM Industries, Inc.
    Inventors: William T. Ball, Cody W. Jackson, Lawrence Almasy
  • Patent number: 6857442
    Abstract: A freezeless wall hydrant has a normally horizontal fluid inlet tube with an interior end and exterior end. A hollow valve fitting is rigidly secured to the interior end of the inlet tube for a connection to a source of pressurized fluid. A movable ball is located with a fluid conduit that extends from the interior of the inlet tube to the location of the potable water source. When the water pressure inside the inlet tube increases because of the presence of ice, the high pressure of such water moves the ball to open fluid flow of the high pressure fluid to the source of potable water which will be at a lower pressure, thus reducing the fluid pressure within the inlet tube and saving it from rupture.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 30, 2003
    Date of Patent: February 22, 2005
    Assignee: WCM Industries, Inc.
    Inventors: William T. Ball, Cody W. Jackson, Lawrence Almasy
  • Patent number: 6830063
    Abstract: A freezeless wall hydrant is provided that has an elongated inlet pipe comprised of a hollow tube. The tube is connected to a valve and fitting assembly on its inner end for connection to a source of water under pressure. On the outer end, the tube is connected to an adjusting element with an outlet port that is associated with the valve and fitting assembly to open or close the tube to fluid flow and allow for fluid flow out of the tube when the valve is in the open position. The tube is comprised of a flexible material that enlarges in diameter in an area along its length when it is subjected to trapped fluid therein under high pressure so that the tube will not rupture. The tube returns to its normal diameter after the high fluid pressure therein is abated.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 9, 2003
    Date of Patent: December 14, 2004
    Assignee: WCM Industries, Inc.
    Inventor: William T. Ball
  • Patent number: 6805150
    Abstract: The invention concerns a device consisting of at least a valve comprising a body (1) with a through channel (5), provided with several orifices and in particular orifices (4) serving both as intake and/or through passage, which orifices (4) are provided to enable, by means of accessory components, two bodies to be juxtaposed, and provide a common supply to several valves. The communication between the intake channel (5) and the outlet port (9) is provided by means of a cylindrical bore and a slide valve mobile in said bore. The outlet port (9) is located above the channel (5) and a bleed orifice (16) is located beneath said channel. Said bleed orifice (16) is in communication with the outlet port by means of the slide valve.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 12, 2002
    Date of Patent: October 19, 2004
    Assignee: York Neige
    Inventors: Jean-François Dion, Pierrick Jouneau
  • Patent number: 6805154
    Abstract: A freezeless wall hydrant has a fluid inlet end connected to a source of pressurized water, and a fluid outlet end. A check valve is placed in the bore of the valve body and is spring loaded to open only when extreme water pressure within the inlet valve lifts a spring loaded piston element to permit the highly pressurized water to move through the bore in the valve body and be relieved as it escapes rearwardly into the original source of pressurized water.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 5, 2003
    Date of Patent: October 19, 2004
    Assignee: WCM Industries, Inc.
    Inventors: Alfred F. Dickey, Cody W. Jackson, William T. Ball
  • Publication number: 20040200524
    Abstract: The present invention provides a flow control apparatus and method. In accordance with the present invention, the flow control apparatus comprises a thermostat that automatically actuates valve to enable water to flow through the valve when the temperature of the air or water is at or near the freezing temperature of water (32° F.). When the temperature of the air or water rises above freezing, the thermostat causes the valve to close, thereby preventing water from flowing through the valve. Therefore, when the apparatus is coupled to an end of a water conduit, such as a water spigot or hose, water is allowed to flow through the conduit when the air or water temperature is at or near freezing to prevent the conduit from bursting due to water freezing and expanding within the conduit.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 20, 2004
    Publication date: October 14, 2004
    Inventor: Bruce Harvey
  • Patent number: 6782908
    Abstract: A washer system which includes a first reservoir containing a freezable washer liquid and having a drain port therein. The drain port is in fluid communication with the freezable washer liquid when the first reservoir is in at least a full state. The washer system also includes a temperature sensor for measuring a critical temperature corresponding to approximately a freezing temperature of the freezable washer liquid, a drain plug sealingly communicating with the drain port, and an electrical control unit in operative communication with the temperature sensor and the drain plug. The electrical control unit controls the drain plug to drain the liquid from the first reservoir in response to the critical temperature.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 24, 2002
    Date of Patent: August 31, 2004
    Assignee: Ford Global Technologies, LLC
    Inventors: Ellen Cheng-chi Lee, Kevin Richard John Ellwood, Scott Alan Wojan
  • Patent number: 6722386
    Abstract: The present invention provides a flow control apparatus and method. In accordance with the present invention, the flow control apparatus comprises a thermostat that automatically actuates valve to enable water to flow through the valve when the temperature of the air or water is at or near the freezing temperature of water (32° F.). When the temperature of the air or water rises above freezing, the thermostat causes the valve to close, thereby preventing water from flowing through the valve. Therefore, when the apparatus is coupled to an end of a water conduit, such as a water spigot or hose, water is allowed to flow through the conduit when the air or water temperature is at or near freezing to prevent the conduit from bursting due to water freezing and expanding within the conduit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 10, 2003
    Date of Patent: April 20, 2004
    Inventor: Bruce Harvey
  • Publication number: 20030196694
    Abstract: The present invention provides a flow control apparatus and method. In accordance with the present invention, the flow control apparatus comprises a thermostat that automatically actuates valve to enable water to flow through the valve when the temperature of the air or water is at or near the freezing temperature of water (32° F.). When the temperature of the air or water rises above freezing, the thermostat causes the valve to close, thereby preventing water from flowing through the valve. Therefore, when the apparatus is coupled to an end of a water conduit, such as a water spigot or hose, water is allowed to flow through the conduit when the air or water temperature is at or near freezing to prevent the conduit from bursting due to water freezing and expanding within the conduit.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 10, 2003
    Publication date: October 23, 2003
    Inventor: Bruce Harvey
  • Patent number: 6626202
    Abstract: The present invention provides a flow control apparatus and method. In accordance with the present invention, the flow control apparatus comprises a thermostat that automatically actuates valve to enable water to flow through the valve when the temperature of the air or water is at or near the freezing temperature of water (32° F.). When the temperature of the air or water rises above freezing, the thermostat causes the valve to close, thereby preventing water from flowing through the valve. Therefore, when the apparatus is coupled to an end of a water conduit, such as a water spigot or hose, water is allowed to flow through the conduit when the air or water temperature is at or near freezing to prevent the conduit from bursting due to water freezing and expanding within the conduit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 28, 2000
    Date of Patent: September 30, 2003
    Inventor: Bruce Harvey
  • Publication number: 20030172970
    Abstract: A temperature and pressure sensitive valve is disclosed herein. The valve has a valve piston for regulating flow through the valve, a valve piston guide for directing movement of the piston, the piston guide having one or more passages there through, a thermal element for enabling movement of said piston, and an elongated housing having an anterior and posterior end and an interior wall able to house the piston, guide and thermal element. The housing further has two or more passages able to aid the piston in regulating flow, with at least one of the passages placed towards the anterior end of the housing, and at least one of the passages placed towards the posterior end of the housing.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 10, 2003
    Publication date: September 18, 2003
    Inventor: Robert D. Dulin
  • Patent number: 6532986
    Abstract: A freezeless wall hydrant has a fluid inlet end connected to a source of pressurized water, and a fluid outlet end. A check valve is placed in the bore of the valve body and is spring loaded to open only when extreme water pressure within the inlet valve lifts a spring loaded piston element to permit the highly pressurized water to move through the bore in the valve body and be relieved as it escapes rearwardly into the original source of pressurized water.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 12, 2002
    Date of Patent: March 18, 2003
    Assignee: WCM Industries, Inc.
    Inventors: Alfred F. Dickey, Cody W. Jackson, William T. Ball
  • Patent number: 6530391
    Abstract: A temperature and pressure sensitive valve is disclosed herein. The valve has a valve piston for regulating flow through the valve, a valve piston guide for directing movement of the piston, the piston guide having one or more passages there through, a thermal element for enabling movement of said piston, and an elongated housing having an anterior and posterior end and an interior wall able to house said piston, guide and thermal element. The housing further has two or more passages able to aid the piston in regulating flow, with at least one of the passages placed towards said anterior end of the housing, and at least one of the passages placed towards said posterior end of the housing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 31, 2001
    Date of Patent: March 11, 2003
    Assignee: Research by Copperhead Hill, Inc.
    Inventor: Robert D. Dulin
  • Publication number: 20030041898
    Abstract: A temperature and pressure sensitive valve is disclosed herein. The valve has a valve piston for regulating flow through the valve, a valve piston guide for directing movement of the piston, the piston guide having one or more passages there through, a thermal element for enabling movement of said piston, and an elongated housing having an anterior and posterior end and an interior wall able to house said piston, guide and thermal element. The housing further has two or more passages able to aid the piston in regulating flow, with at least one of the passages placed towards said anterior end of the housing, and at least one of the passages placed towards said posterior end of the housing.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 31, 2001
    Publication date: March 6, 2003
    Inventor: Robert D. Dulin
  • Publication number: 20030024567
    Abstract: A drain valve for a cooling system of a locomotive engine includes an orifice disposed in fluid communication with the cooling system of the engine, a flow restricting element communicable with the orifice, and an actuator mechanism disposed in mechanical communication with the flow restricting element. The actuator mechanism is fabricated of a shape memory metal.
    Type: Application
    Filed: July 31, 2001
    Publication date: February 6, 2003
    Inventors: Andrew R. Spriegel, James R. Palumbo, Todd C. Cronin
  • Patent number: 6439260
    Abstract: Electrical control circuitry is provided for normally maintaining an electrically controlled water supply valve in an open condition and an electrically controlled water drain valve in a closed condition when a home is occupied and for arming the system by shutting off the water supply valve and for maintaining the water drain valve in an open condition. This action prevents pipe bursting and flooding, particularly during the winter, when a single manually operated conspicuously located switch is opened to arm the system upon departure from the home for an extended period. Should the home owner forget to arm the system, an electrical power interruption, which often can disable heating systems, causing pipe bursting and flooding, will automatically arm the system upon a power failure and the supply valve remains shut and the drain valve remains open until the homeowner returns and resets the system with a pushbutton switch.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 15, 2001
    Date of Patent: August 27, 2002
    Inventor: James Shuff
  • Patent number: 6427712
    Abstract: A novel shape memory alloy (SMA) actuator which responds to changes in ambient temperature. The actuator is capable of operating bidirectionally over a smaller temperature range than conventional SMA actuators by taking advantage of the R-phase characteristics of the SMA material. A coiled SMA spring 14 is provided with an enabled R-phase by limiting recoverable strain in the SMA material to less than about 1 percent. The force of the SMA spring 14 is counteracted by a non-SMA spring 15. The stronger of the two springs 14, 15 controls the position of an actuating element 13, with SMA spring 14 being the stronger spring while in its austenitic phase and being the weaker spring while in its R-phase. Triggering the actuator with entry into the R-phase rather than the martensitic phase during cooling reduces the hysteresis normally associated with an SMA actuator, allowing the actuator to react bidirectionally to smaller changes in ambient temperature.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 9, 1999
    Date of Patent: August 6, 2002
    Assignee: Robertshaw Controls Company
    Inventor: Gary Robert Ashurst
  • Patent number: 6374848
    Abstract: An automatic mechanism is provided for cutting-off water flow to a plumbing system of a house, an apartment, a business or the like, while at the same time draining water/plumbing systems when subjected to low/freezing ambient temperatures. The mechanism includes a valve body housing a reciprocal valve which is operative to place an inlet and an outlet in fluid communication while cutting off a drain port, and in a second position the inlet is closed and the outlet and the drain port are placed in fluid communication to drain the water system when the valve is shifted automatically under the influence of biasing means in reaction to low temperature sensing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 15, 1999
    Date of Patent: April 23, 2002
    Inventor: John D. McGhee
  • Patent number: 6374849
    Abstract: A test cock apparatus with freeze protection capability for controlling fluid pressure and flow in a backflow preventer valve, including a valve housing having interior walls defining a chamber therein and including an inlet port and a discharge port communicating with said chamber for permitting fluid flow therethrough. A temperature-responsive freeze protection element is positioned within the chamber and is axially moveable between a closed position in sealing engagement with the interior walls of the valve housing for preventing fluid flow through said discharge port, and an open position out of sealing engagement with the walls of the valve housing for permitting passage of fluid through the discharge port. The test cock apparatus also includes a test cock communicating with the chamber of the valve housing for monitoring fluid pressure therein.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 29, 2000
    Date of Patent: April 23, 2002
    Assignee: Conbraco Industries, Inc.
    Inventor: Julie Howell
  • Patent number: 6363960
    Abstract: This invention relates to a frost protection device for preventing sections of water pipes which are in danger of being affected by frost from freezing up. Said frost protection device consists essentially of a pressure control valve with a piston-type valve body which moves axially in a cylindrical housing. The pressure control valve also interacts with a valve seat which is connected to the section of pipe being monitored. According to the invention, the valve seat is located outside of the flow path defined by the section of pipe, in a branch which constantly communicates with said section of pipe.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 10, 2001
    Date of Patent: April 2, 2002
    Inventor: Dieter Gauss
  • Patent number: 6196246
    Abstract: A plumbing system which, when ambient outdoor temperatures drop below freezing, circulates water to prevent it from freezing, utilizing a check valve to prevent water from flowing back into the water main and further utilizing a relief valve which can open to the atmosphere and relieve pressure in the system if necessary. The system can have two separate circulation pumps, one for hot water and one for cold water.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 8, 1999
    Date of Patent: March 6, 2001
    Inventor: William D. Folsom
  • Patent number: 6145531
    Abstract: A temperature sensitive valve includes a body having an interior area, a top end having an inlet and a lower end having an outlet. The top end is design and configured to be removably secured to an exterior faucet located for allowing water to flow when the temperatures are approaching extreme cold conditions, such as freezing, so as to prevent the pipes from freezing, and eventually bursting. Located within the body, between the inlet and outlet, is a resilient tube situated in a bent position. Affixed to the resilient tube an elongated rod fabricated from a temperature sensitive material. As temperatures approach freezing conditions, the rod will decrease in size and thus move away from the resilient tube, enabling it to move upward and thus, become slightly unbent. This will provide for an opening to exist within the bent region of the tube and enable fluid flow.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 22, 1999
    Date of Patent: November 14, 2000
    Inventors: Craig Richard Cazenave, Clinton R. McCowen
  • Patent number: 6125873
    Abstract: A device for preventing water line freeze damage. The device incorporates air temperature sensing means to control a trickle flow in a water system, so that a trickle flow is initiated whenever the ambient air temperature drops below a predetermined point. The trickle flow inhibits freezing in the water system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 23, 1998
    Date of Patent: October 3, 2000
    Inventor: Daniel H. Brown
  • Patent number: 6121588
    Abstract: An actuation device comprising:at least two thermal actuators (5A,5B) electrically supplied, each thermal actuator (5A,5B) comprising relevant thrust means (4A,6A,4B,6B) being movable to perform a predetermined stroke;at least a working means (12) moved by means of said thermal actuators (5A,5B) and connected with the thrust means (4B,6B) of one of said thermal actuators (5A,5B);where said working means (12;12A;18) is able to take at least three different steady working positions (I,II,III) in function of the presence of supply to a first (5B) or a second (5A) or both said thermal actuators (5A,5B).According to the invention, said first thermal actuator (5B) is free to move with respect to said second thermal actuator (5A) and means (6A,11) are provided for transferring the thrust produced by the second thermal actuator (5A) to the first thermal actuator (5B), and causing a change in the reciprocal positioning of one thermal actuator with respect to the other.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 12, 1998
    Date of Patent: September 19, 2000
    Assignee: Eltek S.p.A.
    Inventor: Daniele Cerruti
  • Patent number: 6050230
    Abstract: A locomotive cooling system including a conduit adapted to conduct therethrough a flow of coolant; a power source providing a nominal voltage; and a valve assembly including a valve body defining a drain passage communicable with the conduit, a plunger movable between a closed position in which the conduit and the drain passage are separated and an open position in which the conduit and the drain passage are in fluid communication. A control assembly moves the plunger between the closed position and the open position. The control assembly, including a temperature sensor for detecting the coolant temperature, and connected to the power source. The control assembly opening the valve assembly when the system is either at a first threshold coolant temperature when the power source voltage is nominal or a second threshold coolant temperature when the power source voltage is low.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 12, 1999
    Date of Patent: April 18, 2000
    Assignees: Prime Manufacturing Corp., General Electric Company
    Inventors: Steven J. Seiler, Lorin D. Blakeslee
  • Patent number: 6029686
    Abstract: A freeze protection plug has latching balls engageable bayonet-fashion with grooves in a fitting. The balls are normally held in engagement with the grooves by a cam, but move inward to release the plug from the fitting when the cam is moved by a thermal actuator carried by the plug. The balls are retained in tapered openings in the wall of the plug to reduce jamming. Helical ramps in the grooves permit the use of a strong, reliable plug ejecting spring, and make manual insertion of the plug easy. Insertion is aided by the ribs of a plastic cap, which facilitate manual grasping and rotation of the plug. A paint shield ring prevents failures resulting from paint bridges adhering both to the plug and to the fitting. A unitary molded lanyard with two oval loops prevents loss of the plug. The seal on the plug is located on the liquid system side of the latching balls and isolates moving parts from the liquid system, and is of small diameter.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 7, 1997
    Date of Patent: February 29, 2000
    Inventor: Fred L. Pirkle
  • Patent number: 6021798
    Abstract: An apparatus for preventing freezing of interior water pipes. A thermal switch is attached to a hot and/or cold water supply pipe in a remote location that is prone to freezing in cold weather. The thermal switch electrically communicates with a power source and with a solenoid-actuated valve. The solenoid-actuated valve is located in a conduit communicating the outlet of the water pipe adjacent a water usage station with the water outlet of a fixture located at the water usage station. This conduit is separate from the existing supply line communicating the outlet of the water pipe with the fixture and does not, therefore, interfere with the normal operation of the fixture.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 24, 1998
    Date of Patent: February 8, 2000
    Inventor: Steven E. Martin
  • Patent number: 6003538
    Abstract: A drain valve providing a drain sleeve having a first end, a second end and a flow-chamber therebetween. The first end includes a first diameter being smaller than a second diameter of the second end. The first diameter and the second diameter cooperate to define an annular shoulder therebetween. The first end is threadingly received by an air conditioner outlet and the drain sleeve has at least one drain hole therethrough near the shoulder for draining condensation from the air conditioner outlet. An outer cap is provided having an outer wall and an annular side wall projecting perpendicularly from an outer periphery of the end wall. The side wall is the outer cap is threadingly engageable with the drain sleeve second end. A sealing assembly is fixedly connected at a first end thereof to the end cap end wall and includes a second end thereof projecting inwardly from the end cap end wall towards the shoulder.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 27, 1998
    Date of Patent: December 21, 1999
    Inventor: Robert A. Smith
  • Patent number: 5785072
    Abstract: According to the present invention, water regulation assemblies disposed in the water supply path of conventional fixtures are modified to include a pressure relief assembly which permits release of water under elevated pressures. A shut-off seal of a fixture is by-passed by a pressure relief water path which opens in response to elevated pressures. This permits relief of elevated pressure in water supply lines which might otherwise produce a burst event within the water supply lines. The path includes a stopper having a compressed channel that opens to release water at the elevated pressure.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 30, 1997
    Date of Patent: July 28, 1998
    Assignee: The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois
    Inventors: Jeffrey R. Gordon, William B. Rose
  • Patent number: 5785073
    Abstract: According to the present invention, water regulation assemblies disposed in the water supply path of conventional fixtures are modified to include a pressure relief assembly which permits release of water under elevated pressures. A normal shut-off seal included in the water regulation assembly may be modified to release water in response to elevated pressure even when the seal is placed in a shut-off position. In particular, mating components included in the seal assembly are modified to separate at the elevated pressure. The seal may also be by-passed by a pressure relief water path which opens in response to elevated pressures. These features permit relief of elevated pressure in water supply lines which might otherwise produce a burst event within the water supply lines. In sliding plate type faucets where a seal is created by pressing of two plates together, pressure relief according to the present invention is obtained by permitting separation of the plates under elevated pressure.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 30, 1997
    Date of Patent: July 28, 1998
    Assignee: The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois
    Inventors: Jeffrey R. Gordon, William B. Rose
  • Patent number: 5715855
    Abstract: A temperature-actuated valve includes an elongated housing having anterior and posterior segments, the anterior segment being connected to an outdoor water supply. A valve within the anterior segment opens in response to freezing temperatures, defining a fluid path that allows water from the outdoor water supply to flow through one or more discharge ports; and which closes when the temperature rises above freezing. The valve generally includes a piston movable within the housing and having a valve head, and a valve seat formed in the anterior housing segment; seating of the valve head against the valve seat closes the discharge port(s). The device also includes means for conducting water from the anterior housing segment to the posterior housing segment, the latter comprising an expansion reservoir for freezing water. When water freezes, its expansion moves the piston so as to unseat the valve head and thereby allow water to be discharged through the discharge port(s).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 21, 1997
    Date of Patent: February 10, 1998
    Inventor: Brady J. Bennett