Water softener abstract
A water softener cabinet for a water softener system employing
the side-by-side arrangement of a brine tank and a resin tank. The
brine tank is provided with a concave wall portion for removably
receiving the resin tank. This nested arrangement reduces the amount
of floor space required for the water softener system but maintains
the advantage of easy separability of the brine tank from the resin
tank to facilitate maintenance of the former.
Water softener claims
What I claim is:
1. A water softener cabinet for use with a generally upright resin
a cabinet body having an outer wall; and
a brine tank located in said cabinet body;
said brine tank having an interior volume for holding brine and
an exterior defined by a substantially upright wall of generally
uniform thickness, said wall having a re-entrant section such that
an interior surface of the wall section projects inwardly into said
interior volume and an exterior surface of the wall section defines
a generally upright recess in the exterior of the brine tank, said
recess being shaped and dimensioned to snugly receive said resin
tank therein while permitting insertion of said resin tank into
or removal of said resin tank from said recess by horizontal relative
motion between said brine tank and said resin tank; and wherein
said outer wall of said cabinet body has an opening for permitting
said horizontal relative motion between said brine tank and said
resin tank to take place unimpeded by the cabinet body.
2. A cabinet according to claim 1 wherein said outer wall of said
cabinet body and said upright wall of said brine tank are one and
the same, and said opening in said cabinet body is formed by an
entrance to said recess.
3. A cabinet according to claim 1 wherein said upright recess is
generally U-shaped having a curved central surface being shaped
to closely contact said resin tank over at least half its circumference
and said side surfaces being separated by a distance which allows
said resin tank to pass therebetween.
4. A cabinet according to claim 3 wherein said side surfaces extend
outwardly from said curved central surface at least as far as said
resin tank when said tank is in contact with said curved central
5. A cabinet according to claim 1 wherein said cabinet body is
made from a thin plastic sheet-like material.
6. A water softener system comprising a water softener cabinet
as defined in claim 1 and a resin tank for location in said recess.
Water softener description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
I. Field of the Invention
This invention relates to a water softener cabinet for housing
the tanks used in water softener systems, particularly those intended
for domestic use.
II. Description of the Prior Art
Water softener systems make use of two tanks, one for holding the
ion exchange resin used for water softening and the other for holding
a brine solution which is periodically circulated through the resin
in order to reactivate it after a period of use. The resin tank
is usually permanently attached to the water supply system, but
the brine tank should preferably be removable in order to facilitate
regular cleaning which has to be carried out.
In known systems, the tanks are either mounted side by side or
the smaller resin tank is mounted within the larger brine tank.
The side-by-side arrangement facilitates the removal of the brine
tank for cleaning but takes up a lot of space. The tank-in-tank
arrangement is compact, but removal of the brine tank for cleaning
The disadvantages of the two systems have been recognized and some
attempts have been made to overcome them. For example, Canadian
Pat. No. 1114529 issued on Dec. 15 1981 to Water Refining Company
Inc. discloses a system for enclosing a side-by-side arrangement
of tanks within a single cabinet. While providing an attractive
product, this system does nothing to solve the basic disadvantage
of the side-by-side tank arrangement, namely that it takes up an
undesirably large amount of floor space.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Accordingly, an object of the present invention is to provide a
water softener cabinet for use with the side-by-side tank arrangement
which nevertheless occupies little floor space approaching that
required by the tank-in-tank arrangement.
According to the present invention there is provided a water softener
cabinet for use with a generally upright resin tank, comprising:
a cabinet body having an outer wall; and a brine tank located in
said cabinet body; wherein a portion of said cabinet wall has a
generally upright recess for removably receiving said resin tank
therein; and wherein said brine tank has a generally upright wall
having a concave wall portion shaped to partially surround said
resin tank when present in said recess.
An advantage of the invention is that it provides a water softener
cabinet that occupies less floor space than the conventional side-by-side
tank arrangement while permitting the brine tank to be separated
from the resin tank in a simple manner so that the brine tank may
be removed for cleaning .
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a water softener cabinet according
to one embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a horizontal cross-section of the cabinet of FIG. 1 taken
at approximately its mid height;
FIG. 3 is a vertical cross-section taken on the line III--III of
FIG. 2; and
FIG. 4 is a rear view of the cabinet of FIGS. 1 2 and 3.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
A water softener cabinet according to the present invention is
indicated generally in the drawings by the reference numeral 10.
The cabinet consists of a cabinet body 11 and a cabinet top 12.
The body 11 contains a brine tank 13 as shown in Figs. 2 and 3.
In this particular embodiment the cabinet body is formed by a thin
sheet-like upright wall 14 and a thin, sheet-like bottom wall 15
which are interconnected at their edges in a water tight manner.
The inner surfaces of the walls 14 and 15 form the brine tank 13
so that the shape of the brine tank corresponds to the shape of
the cabinet body.
The rear surface 16 of the cabinet body has a generally upright
recess 17 for receiving a generally upright resin tank 18 as shown
in FIGS. 2 and 4. The recess 17 is formed by an upright concave
wall portion 19 of the brine tank 13 which wall portion, in this
embodiment, is also a part of the cabinet body 11. The concave wall
portion 19 is generally U-shaped in plan view as can be seen from
FIG. 2 and comprises a curved central surface 20 and outwardly extending
side surfaces 21. The curved central surface 20 corresponds in shape
to the outer surface 22 of the resin tank 18 so that the curved
central surface closely contacts the outer surface of the resin
tank over part of the circumference of the latter, preferably over
at least half its circumference. In fact, although not shown in
the embodiment, the curved surface may extend around the resin tank
on each side to points beyond the maximum width of the resin tank,
so the resin tank is accordingly locked in position by the curved
central surface 20 in the sense that rearward withdrawal of the
resin tank 18 is permissible only if some flexing of the brine tank
or resin tank walls is possible. For this purpose, the walls of
the brine tank may be made of a slightly flexible material, as will
be explained later.
The outwardly extending side surfaces 21 of the concave wall portion
are separated by a distance which allows the resin tank 18 to pass
therebetween and they extend outwardly from the curved central surface
at least as far as the resin tank when the resin tank is in contact
with the curved central surface. In this way, the resin tank is
entirely hidden by the cabinet body 11 except when viewed from the
rear as shown in FIG. 4.
The resin tank is free-standing (possibly on an enlarged base 25--see
FIG. 4) and is connected to a water supply and to a water delivery
tube (not shown) in the conventional manner. Accordingly, the resin
tank is fairly immobile so that the cabinet 10 should be manoueverable
around the resin tank. For this reason, the recess 17 extends to
the bottom of the cabinet and to a height sufficient to clear the
top of the resin tank. The cabinet and resin tank can thus be separated
or joined by moving the cabinet forwardly or rearwardly, respectively,
relative to the resin tank.
At least one tube is connected between the resin tank and the brine
tank to allow the resin to be reactivated by the brine, and the
top 12 of the cabinet may contain control valves and timers or the
like for this purpose. However, since all of this is conventional
and well known in the art, it is believed that details need not
be provided here.
The cabinet body 11 and preferably the top 12 may be made from
a suitable material, for example rotationally moulded plastic material.
Such material is light in weight, relatively inexpensive and attractive
in appearance. Moreover, such material has the slight flexibility
necessary for resin tank withdrawal, as discussed above. The sides
and bottom, and even the top 12 of the cabinet may be formed integrally,
thus giving an attractive appearance and ensuring water tightness
for the brine tank 13. Alternatively, however, the top 12 (or at
least the control panel formng part thereof) may be removable to
assist separation of the brine tank and the resin tank. The resin
tank may be made from glass fiber reinforced plastic, but any suitable
material may be employed.
Although not shown in the drawings, a locating channel may be formed
in the top of the brine tank to receive a collar 26 normally present
on the resin tank. This assures proper alignment between the brine
tank and the resin tank as the latter is fitted around the former.
The softener cabinet and brine tank are preferably matched in size
in the manner shown so that the brine tank closely contacts the
resin tank. However, if the cabinet is designed to match in size
the largest of a series of conventional resin tanks (e.g., of 9
inch diameter), the same cabinet may be used with the smaller resin
tanks of the series. The brine tank would not then closely contact
the outer surface of the resin tank, but the resin tank would nevertheless
be nested within the cabinet and the brine tank would occupy little
space compared with a conventional side-by-side tank arrangement.
In the preferred embodiment described above, the brine tank is
formed by the inside surfaces of the cabinet body. In an alternative
embodiment, however, the cabinet body and brine tank may be separate,
i.e. the cabinet body may be formed by a cover surrounding a brine
tank located therein. In such an embodiment, the brine tank is formed
with a concave wall portion as discussed above and the cover surrounding
the brine tank has a corresponding recess or slot to allow the resin
tank to pass therethrough.
In summary, as can readily be seen from the drawings, the brine
tank is formed by a thin wall 1415 of substantially uniform thickness
having an internal surface defining an interior volume for holding
brine and an external surface which preferably forms the outer wall
of the cabinet body. The wall has a re-entrant section formed by
the concave wall portion 19 and the internal surface of this re-entrant
section projects inwardly into the interior volume of the brine
tank. Externally of the brine tank 13 the re-entrant section of
the wall defines an upright recess and this is shaped and dimensioned
to snugly receive the resin tank 18. Horizontal relative movement
between the brine tank 13 and the resin tank 18 permits insertion
of the resin tank into, or removal of the resin tank from, the recess.
The outer wall of the cabinet body has an opening for permitting
this horizontal relative motion between the brine tank and the resin
tank to take place unimpeded by the cabinet body. When, as shown,
the wall forming the brine tank and the wall forming the cabinet
body are one and the same, this opening is the entrance to the re-entrant
With this arrangement, the brine-holding volume of the brine tank
13 extends partially around the sides of the resin tank 18 (when
in position in the recess), so that there is very little unused
space within the envelope of the cabinet body, and yet the resin
tank 18 and the brine tank 13 can be separated from each other by
a very simple operation involving merely pulling the brine tank
in the horizontal direction.
By arranging the brine tank to partially surround the resin tank,
the total floor space occupied by the water softener apparatus can
be minimized for any required brine tank volume, while the advantage
of easy separation of the brine tank and the resin tank is maintained.
Other variations of the invention will be readily apparent to persons
skilled in the art and all such variations are included within the
scope of the present invention as defined by the following claims.