Water purifier abstract
A water purifier includes a housing that contains a purification
material for purifying the water. The water purifier is placed a
flow of circulating water in the spa. The purification material
preferably can be a silver-containing material.
Water purifier claims
What is claimed is:
1. A method of purifying water in a spa, comprising the steps of:
providing a water purifier having a housing containing a purification
material that kills bacteria in water and having openings that permit
water to enter and exit said housing within a flow of water in said
circulating water from said spa over said water purifier;
exposing said purification material contained in said housing to
said circulated water; and
using a support attached to said housing, retaining and supporting
said housing in the flow of said circulated water either (i) within
the core of a filter contained in the spa or (ii) by attaching the
housing to the underside of a skimmer basket contained in the spa.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein said water purifier is supported
in a manner causing said water purifier to be retained within a
spa filter core.
3. The method of claim 1 further comprising the step of dissolving
an oxidizing agent in said water, wherein said purification material
includes silver and a ceramic.
4. The method of claim 3 wherein said oxidizing agent comprises
ozone, a low level of chlorine, or potassium peroxymonosulfate.
5. A method of purifying circulating water in a vessel selected
from the group consisting of pools, spas, and hot tubs and having
a filter with a core having a diameter, comprising:
a. placing in the core of the filter a purification material, contained
in a housing of diameter substantially equal to the diameter of
the core, that kills bacteria in water; and
b. exposing the purification material to the circulating water.
6. A method of purifying water in a vessel selected from the group
consisting of pools, spas, and hot tubs, comprising:
a. pumping the water to circulate it in the vessel;
b. providing a housing having a plurality of openings and containing
purification material being formed into particles either larger
than each of the plurality of openings or contained in a porous
container within the housing;
c. installing the housing in the vessel so that the housing is
either (i) positioned within the core of a filter contained in the
vessel or (ii) attached to the underside of a skimmer basket contained
in the vessel; and
d. contacting the water with the surface of the purification material
by circulating the water within the housing.
7. A method according to claim 6 further comprising dissolving
an oxidizing agent in the water.
8. A method according to claim 7 in which (i) the step of installing
the housing in the vessel comprises positioning the housing within
the core of a filter contained in the vessel, (ii) the purification
material comprises zinc, and (iii) the step of contacting the water
with the surface of the purification material causes release of
Water purifier description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The invention relates to water purifiers.
A spa is a small pool used for bathing or hydrotherapy in which
water is heated and circulated. A typical spa has a volume of less
than about 1500 gallons. The spa can include hydrotherapy jet circulation,
hot water/cold water mineral baths, air induction bubbles, or combinations
thereof. Other common terminology for spas includes hydrotherapy
pools, therapeutic pools, whirlpools, hot spas, hydrotherapy spas,
or hot tubs.
Generally, the water in the spa is not drained, cleaned or refilled
for each individual bather. Thus, it often is desirable to have
a reliable water purification system for the spa. The water in a
spa can be purified, for example, by adding chlorine to kill microorganisms
that thrive in the warm water. The spa water is typically filtered
as it is circulated.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention features a water purifier for purifying water
in a spa. In general, the water purifier includes a housing having
a diameter of less than 2 inches, an internal volume that is between
30 and 200 cubic centimeters, and openings that permit water to
enter and exit the housing. The water purifier contains a purification
material within the internal volume of the housing that purifies
water in contact with the material.
The preferred housing is cylindrical and has a length less than
8 inches, more preferably less than 7 inches. The internal volume
of the housing is preferably between 50 and 150 cubic centimeters.
The water purifier preferably includes a support attached to the
housing that causes the housing to be retained in a flow of circulating
water in the spa. The housing can be supported within the spa filter
core or in a recessed area on the underside of the spa skimmer basket
located in the circulation system of the spa. The means for supporting
can be a stem, umbrella, t-shaped apparatus, or other arrangement
capable of retaining the housing within the spa filter core, or
a press fitting for attaching to the underside of the skimmer basket.
Preferably, the stem is less than 12 inches long and is removable
from the housing. The stem is preferably sectioned to facilitate
adjusting the length of the stem (and overall length of the water
purifier) for the particular spa filter core. Most preferably, the
stem is composed of an upper piece that is 6 inches long and a lower
piece that is 5 inches long that fit together via a friction fitting
to form a stem that is 10.5 inches long.
The purification material preferably can be a silver-containing
ceramic material, for example, a composition including silver, an
aluminum oxide, and zinc.
The water purifier can provide one or more of the following advantages.
Since the water purifier can be directly inserted into the core
of the spa filter or attached to the underside of the skimmer basket
of the spa, the water purifier can be used without modification
of the plumbing system of the spa. When installed properly in the
core of the spa filter, the preferred water purifier exerts little
or no back-pressure on the filter as water is circulated. The water
purifier can be used in spas regardless of water flow rate.
In addition, when the purification material is a silver-containing
material, the water can be effectively purified using oxidizing
agents other than chlorine alone (e.g., potassium peroxymonosulfate,
ozone, or a combination thereof). The purification material and
water purifier are not adversely affected by the heat of the water
in the spa.
The water purifier is suitable for purifying water in spas having
volumes of less than about 1500 gallons. It is preferred that the
water purifier receive filtered water.
The term "circulated," as used herein, means continuous
flow of the water to expose the water to the water purifier, for
example, as it is pumped through a filter. The circulated water
passes through the skimmer of the spa and the spa filter core.
Other advantages and features of the invention will be apparent
from the description of the preferred embodiment, and from the claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a water purifier.
FIG. 2 is a side plan view of the water purifier.
FIG. 3 is a side plan view of the water purifier, perpendicular
to that shown in FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a side plan view of a second water purifier.
FIG. 5 is an end view of one end of the water purifier.
FIG. 6 is an end view of the other end of the water purifier.
FIG. 7 is a view of a spa filter core including the water purifier.
FIG. 8 is a view of a second spa filter core including the water
FIG. 9 is a view of a spa filter core including a third water purifier.
FIG. 10 is a view of a third spa filter core including the water
FIG. 11 is a view of a skimmer basket including the second water
Referring to FIGS. 1-4 water purifier 10 has a housing 12 that
is cylindrical and has a diameter of 1.25 inches and a length of
6.5 inches. Housing 12 has an internal volume of about 70 cubic
centimeters for containing the purification material. Housing 12
has openings 30 that permit water to enter and exit the housing
and the internal volume. When water enters and exits the housing,
the water contacts the surface of the purification material. Support
stem 14 is attached to one end of housing 12 which causes housing
12 to be retained within a spa filter core once the water purifier
is placed in the filter core. Water purifier 10 generally can be
made of a plastic or other suitable material, like PVC, polyethylene,
polyacetal, polypropylene, glass filled polypropylene, talc filled
polypropylene, or other moldable plastics. Suitable plastics have
good chemical resistance (e.g., toward oxidation), good heat resistance
(e.g., up to about 110.degree. F.), and good bending strength. The
preferred water purifier 10 can withstand flow rates of 175 gallons
per minute in a spa filter core at 110.degree. F.
Referring to FIGS. 1-3 support stem 14 is composed of upper stem
16 and lower stem 18 which are removably-attached by a friction
fitting at the end of upper stem 16. Support stem 14 is 10.5 inches
long, although the length of the stem can be adjusted. Lower stem
18 can be removed from the structure to adjust the position of water
purifier 10 in the spa filter core. Alternatively, the length of
support stem 14 can be adjusted by cutting off a portion of the
stem at a serrated section 19 along the length of support stem 14.
It is preferred that the stem material be brittle enough to allow
the length to be adjusted by breaking at the serrations.
Referring to FIG. 4 an alternate water purifier 10 has a friction
fitting 28 that attaches to the underside of a skimmer basket located
on an end of housing 12.
Referring to FIGS. 1-6 housing 12 has top 20 which includes loop
22. Loop 22 simplifies retrieval of water purifier 10 from the core
of the spa filter by providing an accessible area to grasp or hook.
Housing 12 also has bottom 24 which includes knob 26. Knob 26 provides
a location for removably-attaching support stem 14 to housing 12
by way of a friction fitting. Removable-attachment of support stem
14 to housing 12 permits the housing containing the purification
material alone to be placed in more confined locations of the spa
water to purify the water.
Referring to FIGS. 7-11 water purifier 10 is supported in a flow
of circulating water in the spa within spa filter core 40 or on
the underside of a skimmer basket 50. Water is circulated through
filter core 40 or skimmer basket 50 and contacts water purifier
10. In contacting water purifier 10 the water is exposed to purification
material contained within housing 12.
In open top spa filter cores, as shown in FIGS. 7-9 water purifier
10 is installed by passing water purifier 10 through filter opening
42 in the top of filter core 40. Water purifier 10 is retained within
filter core 40 by resting on support stem 14 which extends into
pipe 44 at the base of filter core 40. The length of support stem
14 is sufficient to suspend the housing at least 1 inch above the
bottom of filter core 40. As mentioned above, the length of support
stem 14 can be adjusted accordingly.
Referring to FIG. 8 filter core 40 can contain stand pipe 46 running
the length filter core 40 and extending into pipe 44. Water purifier
10 can be placed within standpipe 46 in this filter configuration.
Referring to FIG. 9 an alternate water purifier 10 has a support
50 attached to the top of water purifier 10 that retains the water
purifier within filter core 40 by suspending it from the top of
the filter core. The support 50 has an expanding section 52 that
has a width that is greater that the diameter of filter opening
42. Support 50 can be attached at either end of housing 12 to loop
22 by, for example, a hook or knob 26 by, for example, a friction
Referring to FIG. 10 water purifier 10 can be used in closed top
spa filter systems. In a closed top system, water purifier 10 is
inserted from the bottom and is positioned to rest on a shelf on
the inside of filter core 40. Since support stem 14 does not extend
into pipe 44 in this filter system, stem 14 is shortened (e.g. upper
section 16 is used alone) to retain water purifier 10 in the proper
position in filter core 40.
Referring to FIG. 11 an alternative water purifier 10 can be attached
to skimmer basket 50 by inserting friction fitting 28 into recess
52 located on the underside of skimmer basket 50. Skimmer basket
50 and water purifier 10 is placed in the spa skimmer where water
purifier 10 is exposed to the flow of circulating water in the spa.
The preferred purification materials are described, for example,
in U.S. Pat. No. 5352369 and in U.S. Ser. No. 08/628405 entitled
"Self-Regulating Water Purification Composition" and filed
Apr. 5 1996 which are incorporated herein by reference. Examples
of these purification materials include silver metal on a support.
The support can be a ceramic and can include an inorganic oxide,
e.g., an aluminum oxide. The silver can be chemically deposited
on the ceramic support or dispersed as a powder, shavings, or turnings
with the ceramic support. The preferred silver content of the purification
material is between 0.1 and 10 weight percent. The purification
material can include a second metal, preferably zinc, copper, aluminum,
iron, or manganese, most preferably, zinc.
The purification material is preferably formed into particles larger
than the individual openings 30 in the water purifier, e.g., as
pellets or as a monolithic foam, so that the material is adequately
contained within housing 12. Alternatively, the purification material
can be contained in a porous container, for example, a mesh bag.
It is preferred that the purification material be used in the presence
of oxidizing agents dissolved in the water, such as, for example,
ozone, low levels of chlorine (less than about 1 ppm), or potassium
peroxymonosulfate (less than about 30 ppm), or combinations thereof.
In addition to acting as an anti-microbial agent, the purification
material can effectively remove metal ions, such as mercury, lead,
cadmium, iron, manganese, copper, nickel, chromium, barium, and
arsenate, particularly when the purification material includes silver,
an inorganic oxide such as alumina, and zinc. When zinc is included
in the purification material, zinc ions can be released into the
water which enhance disinfection of the water and provide algaestatic
Other embodiments are within the claims.