(19)
(11)EP 3 653 941 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
20.05.2020 Bulletin 2020/21

(21)Application number: 18382805.2

(22)Date of filing:  15.11.2018
(51)Int. Cl.: 
F24D 17/00  (2006.01)
E03B 7/04  (2006.01)
F24D 19/10  (2006.01)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
KH MA MD TN

(71)Applicant: Capa Monzón, Pablo
35010 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ES)

(72)Inventor:
  • Capa Monzón, Pablo
    35010 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ES)

(74)Representative: Isern Patentes y Marcas S.L. 
Avda. Diagonal, 463 Bis, 2°
08036 Barcelona
08036 Barcelona (ES)

  


(54)FLUID RECIRCULATION SYSTEM


(57) Fluid recirculation system comprising one or more by-pass lines, which communicate the outlet of a pipe at the points of consumption with another point of the installation, a pumping module configured to be installed on one of the branches, which comprises a processing circuit, a power source and a recirculation pump, an activation module configured to be installed at a point of consumption, which comprises a valve that regulates the passage of the fluid through said by-pass ducts and a means of drive configured to mechanically actuate the valve, and finally at least one communication cable that links one of the drive means to the processing circuit, the cable being configured to send signals through the corresponding pipes between the drive means and the processing circuit, and the latter being configured to contact each cable.




Description

OBJECT OF THE INVENTION



[0001] The object of the present invention is to register a fluid recirculation system, especially suitable for Domestic Hot Water Installations (DHWI), although not limited thereto, which incorporates notable innovations and advantages over the current state of the existing technique.

[0002] The invention proposes the development of a recirculation process on an existing Domestic Hot Water Installations (DHWI) based on a water pump, a by-pass pipeline and a valve, located at the point of consumption.Thanks to its particular configuration, this system can be arranged at more than one point of consumption of the installation without affecting its operation and working safely.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION



[0003] Different types of devices are known in the current state of the technique that have the objective of redirecting the fluid from the hot water pipe to the boiler, inverting the flow of the cold pipe in order not to waste the water that is no a the desired temperature, and making it recirculate until it reaches the desired temperature.

[0004] One type of these devices consists of a system whose function is to recirculate the water coming from the boiler using the current installation, until it reaches the desired temperature. The characteristic of these devices is that they do not need the installation of a water storage tank near the tap. An example of a device is that shown in the document EP2554919. This device consists of an apparatus that is installed between one of the tap of the Domestic Hot Water Installations (DHWI) and its water intake. It is needed to have a socket nearby, however according to safety regulations in most countries, this socket, must be outside the volume delimited by the vertical planes located 0.5 m from the faucet sink, so its installation becomes expensive or unsightly. On the other hand, the intermediate faucets between the boiler and the device will also have sanitary hot water without waste if the device has been previously activated. For this reason, the device must be placed on the faucet farthest from the boiler, being a drawback if the faucet is a shower. Likewise, due to the nature of its operation, if during the water pumping process another user opens cold water from an intermediate tap, the energy used in heating the water is wasted indefinitely until the intermediate tap is closed, this characteristic makes necessary the installation of similar devices in each of the intermediate taps to avoid this waste to occur, resulting on an important incretent of the installation costs. Therefore, this device is not suitable for homes with collective boilers. Finally, in the event that during the pumping process, the user activates the system by mistake or if he changes his mind about the temperature he wishes to use, the process can not be cancelled, and the user must wait for the water heating process to finish.

[0005] Another system with a similar functioning concept is shown in document ES1060933U.
In this case, the system consists on pressure probes, solenoid valves and a pump located in the water intake of the boiler, the latter being configured to change the direction of advance of the water through the cold water pipe to the entrance of the boiler, and on the other hand a tap adapted with a valve-piston pressure multiplier, which when operated generates an overpressure in the cold water network that exceeds that of the external network, this pressure differential is detected by the pressure probes, sending an electrical signal that closes the main water inlet solenoid valve to the general circuit and activates said pump. A thermal sensor incorporated in the tap detects that the water has reached the appropriate temperature and allows the outlet of the tap, causing the pressure drop in the circuit, and when this drop is detected, the pressure probes reopen the water intake of the general network and circulate it in the usual direction. The main drawback of this solution is that the pressure probes do not detect with sufficient precision when the difference in pressure is due to the opening of a tap or other reasons, resulting on an erratic operation of the system and therefore making it inefficient. On the other hand, to stop the water management, the thermal sensor must give the signal to the tap that it allows the water to escape, regardless of whether the user is prepared to use the water, so it is very likely that water will be wasted, anyway. Finally, the system closes the general outlet, so if another tap of the same branch is opened, a vacuum effect can be generated that can cause failure in other elements of the installation and in the pump itself.

[0006] Similarly, in document ES2409082A1, a system is composed with a pump and adapted tap comprising a thermostatic bypass between the hot and cold water pipes, which is kept open as long as the water is hot, and closes when it is hot, while comprising a flow switch that controls the operation of the pump. The drawback is generated when the installation comprises more than one tap with this system, since one would invalidate the operation of the other tap.

[0007] Therefore, there is still a need for a water recirculation system that goes unnoticed aesthetically, that is relatively cheap to install, that does not require a nearby outlet, and that is easy to install in any type of existing tap and that allows the user to change instantly any of the parameters of use without any compromise. The present invention has been developed in order to solve this existing lack.

3. DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION



[0008] The fluid recirculation system of the present invention is intended installations with more than one branch, in which there is a need to recirculate the fluid between two points of the installation, either to modify the existing temperature of the fluid, to filter it or to mix it with other components, an example of this are facilities with Domestic Hot Water Installations (DHWI) with recirculation, either with individual or boiler with collective boiler systems.

[0009] The present system comprises a pumping module installed in one of the branches and one or more activation modules, which can be located at any place along the system with independence of the distance with the pumping module.

[0010] The system can also be formed by one or more bypass ducts, which communicate the outlet of a pipe at the point of consumption with another point of the installation, this bypass duct could be within the pipe itself, or an additional return pipe or a conduit that connects the outlet of said pipe with another pipe in the system that reaches the point of consumption.

[0011] The pumping module (4) is formed at least, by one of each of the following components linked together:
  • A processing circuit (41)
  • A power source (42) and
  • A pump (3).


[0012] The installable activation module (5) at the consumption points is of the type that at least comprises:
  • A valve (51) linked to the corresponding by-pass line of the consumption point, which regulates the passage of water, either by directing it towards the outlet of the consumption point or directing it towards the bypass lines, and
  • A drive means (52) configured to mechanically actuate the valve.


[0013] A first aspect of the invention consists in that the system comprises at least one communication cable (7) that links at least one of the driving means (52) with the processing circuit (41) of the pumping module (4) for sending signals between them.

[0014] In a first alternative, the communication cable (7) is configured to move and / or lodge through the interior of the pipes and connected to the pumping module (4). In a second alternative, the communication cable (7) is part of the pipes, being integrated in the contour of these. Also, the processing circuit (41) is configured to contact each cable (7), with the purpose of providing and / or receiving the signal from each drive means (52). This signal can consist, for example, and preferably in the start-up signal of the pump when the valve allows the passage through the bypass duct (6).

[0015] The drive means (52) is linked to the valve (51), so that when the drive means (52) is activated, the valve 51 opens the passage of the bypass duct, while sending a signal to start the pump. Optionally, the valve can also assume the task of shutting the outlet at consumption point. When the water pump is turned on by the valve, it generates a current that creates a closed circuit fluid and de water recirculates through the pipes until hot enough.

[0016] The pumping module (4) can be installed in a branch where the pump (43) must be configured to circulate the fluid downstream or, alternatively, in a branch where the pump must be configured to circulate the fluid upstream. Additionally, to prolong the life of the pump (43) or to not affect the flow, the pump can be equipped with a clutch to be free when it is not activated or the pump module can have a bypass line parallel to the pump, enabled by at least one valve, so that when the pump is not being used, water circulates through this bypass line.

[0017] As regards the driving means (52), this may consist, for example, of a button, a switch, a thermostat, a timer or any other mechanical or electrical element that can generate a signal.

[0018] In a second aspect of the invention, the components of the activation module (5) can be found integrated in a tap 3), and optionally, also the bypass duct (6). In this case, the drive means (52) can form part of the hot water opening control itself, said control being configured to activate the valve (51) with a rotation in the opposite direction to its conventional opening, while simultaneously sending the signal to the processing circuit (41).

[0019] Additionally, the pumping module (4) may comprise a battery, configured to provide sufficient energy to the processing circuit (41) and to the pump (43) so that it is properly disconnected in the event of a power outage.

[0020] Optionally, the activation module (5) and / or the pumping module (4) can comprise automatic control elements, such as for example a temperature sensor, a pressure sensor, a timer, a programmable timer or a flowmeter, connected to the processing circuit (41), either through its same communication cable (7) or through another additional cable, the processing circuit (41) being configured to activate or stop the pump (43) when the element indicates it.

[0021] Preferably, one of the temperature sensors can consist of a thermostat, so that the predetermined temperature value can be selected by the user from the activation module (5) itself. Likewise, the processing circuit (41) and / or the activation module (5) may comprise a timer configured to send instructions previously defined by the user, such as, for example, to indicate that the pump (43) is stopped after a predetermined period of time.

[0022] These and other features and advantages of the fluid recirculation system object of the present invention will be apparent from the description of a preferred, but do not exclude embodiment, which is illustrated by way of non-limiting example in the accompanying drawings.

4. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0023] Figure 1.- It is a schematic example of a preferred embodiment of the fluid recirculation system of the present invention.

5. DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT



[0024] The preferred embodiment of the fluid recirculation system shown in FIG. 1 is configured for Domestic Hot Water Installations (DHWI), which comprise a general conduit (1) that branches to a branch of hot water (11) and a branch of cold water (12), a water heater (2) located in the hot water branch (11) and at least one point of consumption with tap (3, 3') of hot and cold water, to each of which arrives a pair of pipes (11', 12'), one of hot water (11') that comes from the branch of hot water (11) and another of cold water (12') that comes from the branch of cold water (12).

[0025] In this example, the system comprises a pumping module (4) and an activation module (5) located at a point of consumption, such activation module (5) integrating in its interior the bypass conduit (6) that allows the return of water from the hot water pipe (11 ') to the boiler (2).

[0026] As can be seen, the pumping module (4) comprises a processing circuit (41), a power source (42) and a pump (43). The activation module (5) of this example, in addition to the bypass duct (6), comprises, inside it, a valve (51) linked to the corresponding bypass duct (6) and which regulates its passage from water, and an actuating means (52) configured to mechanically actuate the valve (51). The actuating means (52) of this example is represented as a push button.

[0027] Represented by a dotted line in the figure, the present system comprises a communication cable (7) that links the drive means (52) with the valve (51) and with the processing circuit (41). The communication cable (7) is configured to receive and send a signal through the inside of the pipe and the cold water branch (12, 12') to the processing circuit (41). In turn, the actuating means (52) is connected to the valve (51) so that when the actuating means (52) is activated, the valve opens the passage through the bypass conduit (6), sending simultaneously, a signal to the processing circuit (41).

[0028] This signal can consist of a start-up signal of the pump (43) so that the water coming from the hot water pipe (11 ') recirculates upstream through the cold water pipe (12') towards the heater (two). In this way, all the water in the closed circuit generated by the valve (51) and the bypass line (6) can be heated before it leaves the tap (3).

[0029] The place where the pump module (4) is installed will depend on how the DHWI is configured. In Fig. 1 a pump module (4) installed in the hot water branch (11) is shown, in this case being independent of the type of bypass duct used and the pump (43) must be configured to drive the water downstream of the hot water branch (11). Alternatively, provided that the bypass duct (6) communicates the hot water pipe with the cold water pipe at the point of consumption, the pump (43) could be installed on the cold water branch (12) and configured for to boost the water upstream.

[0030] The details, shapes, dimensions and other accessory elements, as well as the materials used in the manufacture of the water recirculation system of the invention, may be conveniently replaced by others that are technically equivalent and do not depart from the essentiality of the invention invention or the scope defined by the claims that are included below.


Claims

1. Fluid recirculation system for installations of the type comprising a general conduit (1) that bifurcates into at least two branches of pipes (11, 12) and one or several consumption points to which at least two of the branches reach of pipes them (11, 12), the system comprising at least:

• One or more bypass ducts (6), which communicate the output of a pipe (11 ') at the points of consumption with another point of the installation,

• A pumping module (4) configured to be installed in one of the branches (11, 12), comprising: a processing circuit (41), a power supply (42) and a recirculation pump (43),

• At least one activation module (5) configured to be installed at a point of consumption, comprising a valve (51) that regulates the passage of the fluid through said bypass ducts (6) and an drive means (52) configured for mechanically actuate the valve (51),

the system being characterized in that it comprises at least one communication cable (7) that links one of the drive means (52) with the processing circuit (41), the communication cable (7) being configured to send signals through the corresponding ones pipes (12, 12') between the drive means (52) and the processing circuit (41), and the latter being configured to contact each cable (7).
 
2. System according to claim 1, characterized in that the communication cable (6) is housed inside the corresponding pipes (12, 12').
 
3. System according to claim 1, characterized in that the communication cable (6) is integrated in the outline of the pipes (11, 11', 12, 12').
 
4. System according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the activation module (5) also comprises a bypass duct (6).
 
5. System according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the activation module (5) is integrated in a tap (3).
 
6. System according to claim 5, characterized in that the knob for opening the hot water of the tap (3) is configured to rotate also in the opposite direction to its conventional opening, sending a start signal of the pump (43) when it is rotated the control in the opposite direction, as well as a signal to stop the pump (43) when the control has been rotated back to its initial position.
 
7. System according to claim 6, characterized in that the hot water opening control of the tap (3) is configured to open the water passage through the bypass duct (6) when it is rotated in the opposite direction to its conventional opening, as well as closing it when the control has been rotated back to its initial position.
 
8. System according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the processing circuit (41) is configured to start the pump (43) when it receives a start-up signal from the drive means (52), as well as to stop it when the signal is stop.
 
9. System according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the activation module (5) comprises an automatic control element connected to the processing circuit (41), or through the same communication cable (6) of the drive means (52) or through another additional communication cable, the processing circuit (41) being configured to activate or stop the pump (43) when indicated by said automatic control element.
 
10. System according to claim 9, characterized in that the automatic control element consists of a thermostat, so that the predetermined temperature value by which the pump is stopped can be selected by the user from the activation module (5).
 
11. System according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the pumping module (4) comprises an automatic control element connected to the processing circuit (41), the latter being configured to activate or stop the pump (43) when said control element automatic I indicate it.
 
12. System according to claim 11, characterized in that the automatic control element consists of a chronometer, so that the predetermined maximum time in which the pump is running can be selected by the user.
 




Drawing














REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

Patent documents cited in the description