FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to devices for automatically topping up the level of pools and in particular swimming pools where water is supplied from a storage tank or a rain water diversion device.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
A variety of devices have been developed to automatically top up the level of pools. For example U.S. Pat. No. 7,003,817 teaches an auxiliary tank in communication with a pool which has an automatic fill device and an overfill drain, the height of which can be simultaneously adjusted. US 2004/0118203 discloses a capacitive liquid sensing device and a wireless system to activate a water supply.
WO 03/095769 employs a water delivery system controlled by electronics. A sensor and processor enclosed in a pool pump and filter compartment which keeps the pool free of wires, pipes and accessories. U.S. Pat. No. 5,878,447 teaches a transmitter connected to a water level sensor and a receiver assembly connected to a water fill valve, which operates to maintain a predetermined pool level.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,621,657 discloses a chamber in communication with a pool which has a vertically oriented water supply line with a diaphragm valve surrounded by an annular float and an adjustable overflow tube, the valve being actuated by a height adjustable overhead actuator bar. U.S. Pat. No. 3,908,206 teaches a tank in communication with an above ground pool with a water supply line connected to a float valve in the tank. The level in the tank and thereby the pool can be established and maintained at any desired height by raising or lowering the tank in accordance with calibrated indicia.
All of the above can be relatively complicated and difficult to manufacture, install, operate and maintain. There is therefore a need for an improved automatic top-up tap for pools.
OBJECT OF THE INVENTION
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a top up tap for pools, which is simpler than the prior art or at least provides a useful alternative.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
According to the present invention a pool top-up tap comprises a conduit from a rain water supply which tops up the pool and a valve assembly which closes off the conduit when the water in the pool reaches a predetermined level.
Alternatively, the conduit supplies rain water to a pool side reservoir which tops up the pool and has an integrated valve assembly which shuts off the water from the reservoir when the water in the pool reaches a predetermined level.
In one embodiment, the valve assembly comprises a float attached to an arm pivoted to the conduit and a stopper mounted on the arm which closes off the conduit when the float rises.
Alternatively, the valve assembly comprises a float attached to an arm pivoted on the reservoir which operates a valve to close off the water entering the pool when the water in the pool reaches a predetermined level.
In one embodiment, the conduit has a tee section upstream from the valve assembly which allows the flow to be diverted to an overflow.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
An embodiment of the invention is now described by way of example only with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is an elevation of a pool top-up tap;
FIG. 2 is an elevation view of FIG. 1 with a different valve system;
FIG. 3 is an isometric view of an alternative embodiment; and
FIG. 4 is a partially revealed elevation view of FIG. 3.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
The top up taps of both embodiments shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 are supplied from a pipe 1 connected to a water storage tank or a diverter which diverts rainwater from the down pipes of a roof. Pipe 1 is restrained at the side of the pool 2 by a water filled container 3 and directed vertically into the pool 2 and attaches to a float and ball valve assembly 4.
The housing of assembly 4 is cylindrical and connects to pipe 1 at the top and is open to the pool water at the bottom. Float 5 is retained in the assembly by pin 15 and moves upward in assembly 4 to force ball 6 against the opening of hose 1 thus closing off the flow when the water is at a predetermined level.
There is also a Tee section 7 in pipe 1 which allows water from pipe 1 to overflow at 8 when ball 6 closes off pipe 1. Alternatively valve, 9 can be closed and the flow from pipe 1 stopped. The whole system is designed for the high volume low pressure flows which come from rain water catchment systems.
The valve system of FIG. 1 can be replaced by the alternative embodiment shown in FIG. 2. A free float 10 is attached to arm 11 which is pivoted to collar 12 fixed on pipe 1 so that when float 10 moves upwards. A rubber stopper mounted on arm 11 closes off pipe 1. Once again the flow in pipe 1 is diverted to overflow 8 if valve 9 is open or is stopped altogether if valve 9 is closed.
FIGS. 3 & 4 show a further embodiment where the float valve is integrated with reservoir 23. Float 20 is attached to arm 21 which is pivoted to bracket 22 mounted on top of reservoir 23 and operates valve 24 to release water from reservoir 23 when float 20 falls. When float 20 rises to the desired water level, the valve 24 closes.
It will be realized that the foregoing has been given by way of illustrative example only and that all other modifications and variations as would be apparent to persons skilled in the art are deemed to fall within the broad scope and ambit of the invention as herein set forth. Throughout the description and claims of this specification the words “comprise” and variations of that word such as “comprises” and “comprising” are not intended to exclude other additive components, integers or steps.