Patent application title: GAS FIREPLACE
David Deng (Diamond Bar, CA, US)
Kirk J. Kirchner (Placentia, CA, US)
IPC8 Class: AF24B1187FI
Class name: Stoves and furnaces fireplaces or accessories condition responsive control
Publication date: 2011-03-03
Patent application number: 20110048401
Patent application title: GAS FIREPLACE
Kirk J. Kirchner
IPC8 Class: AF24B1187FI
Publication date: 03/03/2011
Patent application number: 20110048401
A gas fireplace can have a prefabricated firebox, a heat engine, a
controller, and a prefabricated hearth. The gas fireplace can have a
clean face, so as to appear as a wood burning fireplace. The controller
can be within and/or below the hearth. The hearth can be configured with
a false front or side to conceal the controller.
1. A gas fireplace comprising:a prefabricated firebox;a heat engine
configured to produce a fire in the firebox;a prefabricated hearth; anda
controller connected to the heat engine;wherein the controller is in the
2. The gas fireplace of claim 1, wherein the controller comprises a manual actuator.
3. The gas fireplace of claim 1, wherein the controller comprises an electrical controller.
4. The gas fireplace of claim 1, wherein the controller comprises an ignition button and a control knob.
5. The gas fireplace of claim 1, wherein the controller is not visible from a front face of the gas fireplace.
6. The gas fireplace of claim 5, wherein the on position is adjustable between high and low positions, wherein high and low refer to the height of a flame in the firebox.
7. The gas fireplace of claim 1, further comprising a gas log set.
8. The gas fireplace of claim 1, further comprising a screen.
9. The gas fireplace of claim 1, further comprising a prefabricated mantel, wherein the mantel is above and on the sides of the firebox and is connected to the hearth.
10. The gas fireplace of claim 1, wherein the gas fireplace is a vent free fireplace.
11. The gas fireplace of claim 1, wherein the hearth has a false front, openable to reveal the heater controls.
12. The gas fireplace of claim 11, wherein the false front comprises a hinged door.
13. The gas fireplace of claim 11, wherein the false front comprises a sliding panel.
14. The gas fireplace of claim 11, wherein a front of the hearth including the false front has a continuous profile as viewed from a side of the fireplace.
15. The gas fireplace of claim 11, wherein at least a portion of a side of the hearth has an identical profile to the false front.
16. The gas fireplace of claim 1, wherein the hearth has a false side, openable to reveal the heater controls.
17. The gas fireplace of claim 16, wherein the false side comprises a sliding panel.
18. The gas fireplace of claim 1, further comprising a box.
19. The gas fireplace of claim 1, wherein the gas fireplace is preassembled.
20. A gas fireplace comprising:a prefabricated firebox;a heat engine to provide fire in the firebox;a controller connected to the heat engine; anda prefabricated hearth at the bottom of the fireplace;wherein the controller is in the hearth and at least a portion of the hearth opens to reveal the controller.
21. The gas fireplace of claim 20, wherein a front of the hearth opens to reveal the controller.
22. The gas fireplace of claim 20, wherein a side of the hearth opens to reveal the controller.
23. The gas fireplace of claim 20, wherein the controller comprises an ignition button and a control knob.
24. The gas fireplace of claim 20, further comprising a screen and a gas log set configured to give the fireplace the appearance of a wood burning fireplace.
25. The gas fireplace of claim 20, wherein the gas fireplace is a vent free dual-fuel gas fireplace.
26. The gas fireplace of claim 25, wherein the vent free dual-fuel gas fireplace is configured to connect to a source of natural gas or a source of liquid propane.
27. The gas fireplace of claim 20, wherein the heat engine comprises a pressure regulator, a control valve, an air shutter, a burner assembly and an oxygen depletion sensor.
28. The gas fireplace of claim 20, further comprising a prefabricated mantel configured to be positioned proximate the firebox.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
This application claims the benefit of priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/239,035, filed Sep. 1, 2009, titled GAS FIREPLACE, the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference herein and made a part of this specification.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
Certain embodiments disclosed herein relate generally to gas fireplaces.
2. Description of the Related Art
There are many types of heating devices for home or office use, such as fluid-fueled heating devices or gas fireplaces. Some gas fireplaces are portable or easily moved and others are installed on or into a wall or fire box with a chimney. Some devices are direct vent and others are vent free. For example, a vent free gas fireplace can be added to a room that does not have a chimney or that was not originally designed for a fireplace. These devices can provide many benefits including adding heat and/or changing the aesthetics of a room.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In some embodiments, a gas fireplace can comprise a prefabricated firebox, a heat engine configured to produce a fire in the firebox, a prefabricated hearth and a controller connected to the heat engine. The controller can be in the hearth. The controller in some embodiments is not visible from a front face of the gas fireplace.
In some embodiments, a gas fireplace can comprise a prefabricated firebox, a heat engine to provide fire in the firebox, a controller connected to the heat engine, and a prefabricated hearth. The hearth can be at the bottom of the fireplace and connected to the mantel. The controller can be in the hearth and at least a portion of the hearth can open to reveal the controller.
Further features and advantages of the disclosure will become apparent to those of skill in the art in view of the detailed description of preferred embodiments which follows, when considered together with the attached drawings and claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
In order to better understand the embodiments of the disclosure and to see how it may be carried out in practice, some preferred embodiments are next described, by way of non-limiting examples only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which like reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout similar embodiments in the attached drawings.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a gas fireplace.
FIG. 2 shows a front elevation view of another embodiment of a gas fireplace.
FIG. 3 is a front elevation view of a firebox with heat engine.
FIG. 4 is a front elevation view of a gas fireplace showing access to the controls.
FIG. 5 illustrates a detail exploded perspective side view of another embodiment of fireplace.
FIG. 6 is a detail perspective side view of another embodiment of fireplace.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
In designing a fluid-fueled heating device, such as a gas fireplace, there are many different and sometimes competing considerations that the designer has to balance. These considerations include aesthetics, reliability, cost to manufacture, ease of installation, typical costs of installation, accessibility of the controls, etc. As an example, some gas fireplaces have the controls on the face of the fireplace; this may increase their accessibility but may also be considered to be less aesthetically pleasing. Alternatives to this solution include remote controls, installing wiring to place the controls away from the fireplace, and hiding the controls behind a grate.
As another example, it is also desirable to increase the size of the opening in the face of a firebox in the fireplace. It is desirable to make the opening as large as possible in the space available to provide the largest room available for the fire. It is also desirable for the fireplace to have a clean, uncluttered look. Excess materials, panels, grates, etc. can distract from the beauty of the fireplace and make certain aspects of the fireplace out of proportion or out of place.
For the purposes of this application, a "clean face fireplace" is a gas fireplace without obvious controls on the front or sides of the fireplace. A "fully clean face fireplace" is a clean face fireplace without metal grates above, below or within the opening of the firebox. A "natural clean face fireplace" is a fireplace that looks like a natural fireplace. This would be because there is nothing on the face of the fireplace that a normal wood burning fireplace would not have. In other words, from the perspective of the passerby, it is simply a firebox or a firebox with mantel and hearth.
A clean face fireplace may have a remote control and/or wired controls. Both of these configurations have certain drawbacks. For instance, remote controls are easily lost or broken. Depending on the climate where the gas fireplace is used, it may be primarily used during certain times of the year. This can leave an entire season during which a remote control can be misplaced.
Wired controls are more permanent and often require installation in a wall close to the fireplace. Wired controls can be installed similar to a light switch or electrical outlet. Though wired controls cannot be easily lost like a remote control, installation is time consuming, increases the cost of the fireplace and is not something that the typical consumer can do on their own.
Other fireplaces have been designed to hide the controls behind a removable grate or drawer. This allowed the controls to be conveniently located and easy to find. Unfortunately, the grate or drawer decreases the size of the firebox so that the fire is smaller, fills up less space and has less of a presence in the fireplace. The grate or drawer can take up a large section or portion of the fireplace. This grate or drawer can be within the firebox so that the firebox has an additional floor of the chamber where the fire is or it can be below the firebox.
Turning now to FIG. 1, a gas fireplace 10 is shown. In the preferred embodiment, the gas fireplace 10 in FIG. 1 is a vent free fireplace, in other embodiments, other forms of fireplaces could be used, such as a direct vent fireplace and still retain some advantages. As can be seen, the gas fireplace 10 may have a firebox 2 defining an opening 3 for viewing the fire, a heat engine 4, a screen 6, a hearth 8, and a mantel 12. The gas fireplace 10 can have no visible controls on the face of the fireplace and is desirably a clean face fireplace. Looking at FIG. 5, in certain fireplaces, the opening 3 can have a floor 11 and the firebox can have a bottom 13. In some embodiments, the floor 11 and the bottom 13 are the same.
The hearth 8 is an area which extends in front of, to the sides of and/or below the firebox 2. In some embodiments, the hearth 8 is brick, stone, concrete, wood, an imitation material, etc. The hearth 8 can be the lowest section of the fireplace. The hearth 8 may provide a base upon which the firebox rests. The hearth can be made from the same or a different material than the firebox 2. In a preferred embodiment, the hearth is made from the different material than the prefabricated firebox.
FIG. 2 shows another embodiment of a gas fireplace 10' similar to the gas fireplace 10 shown in FIG. 1. FIG. 2 illustrates a schematic view of a gas log set 14 and flames or fire 16. The gas log set 14 can give the fireplace 10' the appearance of a real wood burning fireplace.
Now looking at FIG. 3, part of the gas fireplace 10' is shown without the mantel or hearth. As illustrated, a frame 22 desirably at least partially encloses or surrounds the firebox 2, a hood 18, the heat engine 4 and a controller or heater controls 20. The firebox 2 can have a floor 24. In some embodiments, the heat engine 4 has certain components above the floor 24 and certain components below the floor 24. For example, a pressure regulator, control valve, and air shutter can be below the floor 24 and a burner assembly and oxygen depletion sensor can be above the floor 24. In some embodiments, a gas log set 14 can be used to hide or shield certain components of the heat engine 4 which are above the floor 24. For example, the components of the heat engine 4, shown in FIG. 1 can be shielded by a gas log set 14 to cause an appearance similar to that illustrated in FIG. 2.
The heater controls 20 can be in the hearth 8. The heater controls 20 can be below the upper surface 7 of the hearth and behind the front surface or panel 9 (FIG. 2).
The heater controls 20 can comprise an ignition control 26 and a flame control 28 (FIG. 3). The ignition control 26 can comprise a knob, button, switch, lever, or other mechanism configured to assist in igniting a flame in the firebox 2. For example, the ignition control 26 can be an ignition button which is part of a piezoelectric starter. The piezoelectric starter can have a small, spring-loaded hammer which, when the ignition button 26 is pressed, hits a piezoelectric crystal (such as a quartz crystal). The piezoelectric crystal creates a voltage when deformed and the sudden forceful deformation produces a high voltage and subsequent electrical discharge which ignites the gas.
The fuel control 28 can comprise a knob, button, switch, lever, or other mechanism configured to control the flow of fuel to combust in the firebox 2. For example, the fuel control 28 can incorporate a manual actuator such as a control knob that can be adjusted to adjust the height or size of the flame in the firebox. In some embodiments, the control knob has the following positions: pilot, off and on. In the off position, the control knob can block the flow of fuel into the firebox 2. In the pilot position, the control knob can allow fuel to flow to a pilot light or oxygen depletion sensor (ODS). In the on position the control knob can allow the fuel to flow to both the pilot or ODS and the burner assembly. The on position can be adjustable between high and low positions, wherein high and low refer to the height of a flame in the firebox.
Now looking at FIGS. 4-6, various embodiments and methods are shown to provide a clean face gas fireplace with heater controls 20 concealed from view. For example, in FIG. 4 the hearth 8 can have a panel defining a false front 30. The false front 30 can open to reveal the heater controls 20. In some embodiments, the false front 30 is hinged at one side 32 and configured to pivot open. For example, the false front 30 can be in a closed position when it is not needful to access the heater controls 20. Generally, after starting or turning off the heater it is not necessary to access the heater controls 20 until a change is desired. The change can be to turn the heater on or off or to change a size of the flame in the firebox 2.
In some embodiments, the false front 30 can have a mechanical latch 34 to secure the false front 30 in a closed position. In some embodiments, the mechanical latch 32 comprises a magnet and a spring. The false front 30 can be opened by pushing inward to release contact with the magnet and then moving outward.
FIGS. 5 and 6 show different embodiments of a false side 36, 36' of the hearth 8. In FIG. 5 the false side is attached at the bottom by a hinge. In FIG. 6, the false side is configured to slide out of place to allow access to the heater controls 20. As shown, the false side 36' is configured to slide towards the front of the fireplace. In other embodiments, the false side or front can be configured to slide upwards, downwards, to the front, back or sides, or away from the fireplace. In some embodiments, the false front or side can be configured to retract into the fireplace. In some embodiments, the false front or side can disengage or be removed from the hearth. The false front or side can slide on rails 38. In some embodiments, the false front or side can be configured to perform a combination of sliding and/or rotational movements.
A gas fireplace according to the disclosure provides many benefits. For example, the fireplaces disclosed herein can be clean face with no visible controls. In addition, the fire place can provide a larger opening as the controls are located below the firebox. Thus, there is no need for a grate in the opening of the firebox to conceal the heater controls. The methods and systems described herein have no added costs to the fireplace. They are also simple and robust solutions. The heater controls in the hearth are convenient, can be easily located, and do not increase the costs.
The fireplace can be sold with a remote control. This gives the added benefit of the convenience of the remote and the security of knowing that if the remote becomes lost or become, the controls can still be easily accessed.
Although this invention has been disclosed in the context of certain preferred embodiments and examples, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the present invention extends beyond the specifically disclosed embodiments to other alternative embodiments and/or uses of the invention and obvious modifications and equivalents thereof. Additionally, it is contemplated that various aspects and features of the invention described can be practiced separately, combined together, or substituted for one another, and that a variety of combination and sub-combinations of the features and aspects can be made and still fall within the scope of the invention. Thus, it is intended that the scope of the present invention herein disclosed should not be limited by the particular disclosed embodiments described above, but should be determined only by a fair reading of the claims.
Patent applications by David Deng, Diamond Bar, CA US
Patent applications by Kirk J. Kirchner, Placentia, CA US
Patent applications in class Condition responsive control
Patent applications in all subclasses Condition responsive control