Patent application title: Air Handling System
William P. Riggins (Dallas, TX, US)
IPC8 Class: AF24F7013FI
Class name: Ventilation means combined with window with air pump
Publication date: 2009-07-23
Patent application number: 20090186570
A system and method are provided which capitalize on heating and air
conditioning ductwork to draw fresh air through a house and cool the
attic. Outside air enters through open windows and is drawn into return
air vents. A blower fan, which is housed within the duct assembly or an
air handling unit, draws air through the return duct work and exhausts
into an exhaust duct. A damper in the exhaust duct has an exhaust
position and a return position. In the exhaust position, air exhausts
through a vent in an attic space, where the attic space is vented to the
outside. In the return position air continues to the heating and air
conditioning unit. The present invention provides a means to direct the
fresh air flow through a house using return vents while cooling the attic
space without the use of an attic fan.
1. An air handling apparatus, the apparatus comprising:at least one return
air source;duct work connecting the at least one return air source to an
electric fan;an exhaust air duct for air exhausted out of the fan; anda
damper to redirect air from traversing the exhaust air duct to an attic
2. The air handling apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising:a motor which positions the damper.
3. The air handling apparatus according to claim 2, further comprising:a thermostat which controls the motor for positioning the damper.
4. The air handling apparatus according to claim 3, wherein:the thermostat also controls the electric fan.
5. The air handling apparatus according to claim 2, further comprising:an ambient temperature sensor which controls the motor for positioning the damper.
6. The air handling apparatus according to claim 5, wherein:the ambient temperature sensor also controls the fan.
7. The air handling apparatus according to claim 2, further comprising:a control unit, wherein said control unit receives inputs from a thermostat and an ambient temperature sensor; andwherein the control unit controls at least one of the fan and the motor which positions the damper.
8. The air handling apparatus according to claim 1, wherein:the fan is any of an axial propeller fan or a radial squirrel cage fan.
9. The air handling apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising:a screen at the attic vent to prevent particulate from accumulating in the duct when air is not exhausted out of the attic vent.
10. The air handling apparatus according to claim 1, wherein:the exhaust air duct runs through at least a portion of attic space, and wherein the attic vent is positioned on any side of the exhaust air duct.
11. The air handling apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising:a first seal for each of first damper positions and a second seal for a second damper position.
12. The air handling apparatus according to claim 2, further comprising:a wall console for turning on the fan.
13. The air handling apparatus according to claim 4, wherein:damper position is selected via the wall console.
14. A method of moving air through an attic, the method comprising:directing air exhausted from a fan to an air duct which runs at least partially into an attic;positioning a damper to direct air from the air duct to a vent within an interior attic space, wherein air exhausts out of the vent into the attic; andproviding exterior vents which allow exhausted air to vent out from the interior attic space to the outside.
15. The method according to claim 14, wherein:the fan is an inline fan or a booster fan.
16. The method according to claim 14, further comprisingopening at least one window or at least one door, wherein outside air is drawn to an at least one return air vent;directing return air via at least one duct to the fan.
17. A method of directing fresh air through a house, the method comprising:opening a window in a first floor;closing a return air vent in a second floor;opening a return vent in a first floor;rotating a damper within an exhaust duct to an exhaust position;activating a blower fan just upstream of the damper and drawing fresh air from the opened first floor window through the open return vent to the blower fan; andexhausting air from the fan to the exhaust duct and out a vent into an attic space, wherein the attic is vented to the outside.
18. A system to selectively direct fresh air flow through a house and to cool an attic, the system comprising:at least two closeable return air vents;a return duct work which connects to the at least to closeable return air vents;an air handling unit which connects to the return duct work, wherein the air handling unit comprises a fan;an exhaust duct which connects to the air handling unit, wherein the exhaust duct comprises a vent directed towards an attic space and houses a damper; andat least one vent from the attic space to an outside space,wherein the damper is rotate-able between an exhaust position and a return position and when the damper is in the exhaust position fresh air exhausts through the vent into the attic space.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates generally to drawing fresh air through a residential unit. More particularly, this invention provides a method of drawing in fresh air and exhausting the air through an attic.
Conventional air handling in occupied commercial structures must supply a minimum air change over, fresh air and oxygen. In residential units, where little air drafts in or out through structure cracks, window seals, and the like, intentional means of fresh air intake and exhaust may be desirable. In today's energy conservation climate, energy efficiency for any heating and air conditioning system is an objective, in addition to the air quality considerations. In tight commercial buildings, and more and more in residential buildings, little air leak is present.
Conventional residential heating and air conditioning systems may have multiple return sources, vents. For example, in a two story home there may be a return on each level. These returns draw air into the duct system, which is then either heated or conditioned and distributed to various exhaust vents, which are often times in the floor or near floor level. In conventional systems, the same duct work is used for heating and air conditioning, or air circulation if just the heating and air conditioning fan is used. The same duct work may supply exhaust for two floors, exhausting near the ceiling of the first floor and near the floor of the second floor, alternatively, exhausts may, for example, consistently be located near floor level with return vents located near the ceiling level.
There are a multitude of heating, cooling, and mechanical systems available for residential units, each with their own benefits and compromises. One conventional method for cooling a home is the installation of an attic fan. As an attic heats up in the summer, this heat will also heat the interior of the house from the ceiling down. Installation of an attic fan 110, as shown for example in FIG. 1, will draw in cooler outside air through vents 120 and drive circulated hotter air through the attic fan exhaust 110 to the outside. Preventing excessive heating or cooling of the attic space can lower the inside temperature of the house. An attic fan may be used to augment a primary conventional cooling system. Attic heat can account for a substantial amount of the cooling load, perhaps 20 percent. An attic fan can be installed with a thermostat to turn on and off in accordance with temperature settings and can in turn, lower the cooling load on an air conditioning system.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention provides a system and method for drawing fresh air through a house and exhausting the fresh air into an attic space.
One aspect of the present invention is that fresh air is drawn in through opened windows or doors and into return vents of a heating and air conditioning system.
Another aspect of the present invention is that conventional air handling units can be incorporated into an exemplary embodiments of the present invention.
Another aspect of the present invention is that existing duct work can be modified to implement the present invention.
Another aspect of the present invention is that it can cool the attic and the house without air conditioning.
Another aspect of the present invention is the reduction of air conditioning load.
Another aspect of the present invention is that air is circulated throughout the house, and can be drawn into rooms, which lack fans or windows.
Another aspect of the present invention is that it may be automatically controlled with a thermostat.
Another aspect of the present invention is that it may be automatically controlled with a an ambient temperature sensor.
Another aspect of the present invention is that it may be automatically controlled via a combination of a thermostat and an ambient temperature sensor.
Those skilled in the art will further appreciate the above-noted features and advantages of the invention together with other important aspects thereof upon reading the detailed description that follows in conjunction with the drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
For more complete understanding of the features and advantages of the present invention, reference is now made to the detailed description of the invention along with the accompanying figures, wherein:
FIG. 1 shows a conventional attic fan;
FIG. 2 shows implementation of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 3 shows an exemplary air handling unit and damper in accordance with the present invention; and
FIG. 4 shows an exemplary steps for implementing the present invention in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
The invention, as defined by the claims, may be better understood by reference to the following detailed description. The description is meant to be read with reference to the figures contained herein. This detailed description relates to examples of the claimed subject matter for illustrative purposes, and is in no way meant to limit the scope of the invention. The specific aspects and embodiments discussed herein are merely illustrative of ways to make and use the invention, and do not limit the scope of the invention.
The present invention can be used to draw fresh air in and circulate it through the house. Air will draft from open windows or doors to open return vents in the duct system. A blower fan will draw the air through the return ducts. An ambient temperature sensor can be used to trigger initiation of the fresh air system. Likewise a thermostat can be used to trigger the fresh air system. In accordance with one embodiment, the fresh air system can be activated depending on outside temperature, and in another embodiment the fresh air system can be activated depending on a thermostat. For example, it may be desired to invoke the fresh air system in accordance with the indoor temperature, irrespective of the outdoor temperature. In yet another embodiment, a combination of ambient and indoor temperatures may trigger the fresh air system. For example, perhaps the fresh air system will be invoked when the ambient temperature is at least five degrees cooler than indoor temperature.
The present invention can be used to cool the attic or at least reduce the heating of the attic during the day. The present invention will exhaust fresh air into the attic. This airflow in the attic will reduce the temperature in the attic or help maintain the temperature in the attic. The colder the outside air drawn into the house and into the return vents, the colder the exhaust air into the attic, and the more effective the attic cooling. As the attic space heats up during the day, the house heats up, too, from the top most ceiling down. The present invention can be used to reduce the attic temperature and in turn reduce the load on the primary air conditioning unit.
In the conventional attic fan shown in FIG. 1, outside air is not drawn through the house. Alternatively, an attic fan can be mounted in the ceiling, exhausting into the attic space and venting air, for example, out of vents 120. In such a system, the air is only drawn into the attic fan, which is mounted in the ceiling. FIG. 2 shows an exemplary fresh air system 200 in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.
In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, shown for example in FIG. 2, outside air is drawn into multiple return vents 240, 241. Any number of return vents can be utilized with the present invention. Existing return vents can be closed off if desired when the fresh air system is activated. Varying the open return vents and the open windows allows the user to better control the flow of fresh air through the house. Perhaps cold fresh air is not desired to flow from downstairs windows to the ceiling in the second floor, where a nursery is present, for example. Closing return vent 241, can minimize the draft from downstairs windows, window 275, for example to the second floor. Similarly, opening first floor interior doors and return vent 240 will draw air from open window 275 through downstairs rooms 274, 276 and up into the return duct work 215 via vent 240. To create the draw through the return duct work, in accordance with the present invention a fan (not shown) is employed in the air handling unit 210, where an exemplary air handling unit is shown in greater detail in FIG. 3. Air exhausted from the air handling unit fan is exhausted out a vent 230 into the attic space 250. Return duct work 215 provides the conduit from return vent 240 to the air handling unit 210. Air is vented from the attic space 250 to the outside via one or more vents 290.
In another embodiment, return vent 241 is open and window 285 is open creating a direct draft in room 284. The return duct work for vent 241 to the air handling unit is not shown but can either tie into duct work 215 or may have a separate air handling unit, such as an air handling unit dedicated to the second floor. This separate air handling unit could tie into a separate heating and air conditioning unit or into an the same heating and air conditioning unit. Tie in to the heating and air conditioning return is discussed below.
FIG. 3 shows an exemplary embodiment of the air handling system in accordance with the present invention. Return air 315 enters the return air duct 305, which may be a plenum with multiple ducts feeding into it. An air handling unit 310 fan 370 draws the return air 315 and exhausts air to the damper duct 332. In the exhaust position 380, damper 382 seals off the duct work returning to the heating and air conditioning unit, and air exhausts through vent 330 (230 in FIG. 2) into the attic space.
While ducts 332 and 305 are shown with a rectangular cross section, alternate cross sections are possible in keeping with the spirit of the present invention. Likewise, vents, exhaust or return, can be of varying shapes, circular, for example.
Fan 370 can be an inline fan, an axial, or a radial fan having an intake 305 and an exhaust 332. The fan 370 can be direct drive or belt driven by a motor 372. When the fan 370 is off, return air can still flow around the fan or a second damper can direct air around the fan to connect to exhaust duct 332. When full return air is desired, for example when damper 382 is in the return air position 384, a heating and air conditioning fan further downstream may draw the return air to a heating and air conditioning unit return. Fan 370 may augment the downstream return fan. In yet another embodiment, the return to the heating and air conditioning unit is close to the exhaust duct 332 and fan 370 functions as a return fan for the heating and air conditioning unit. Additionally, the damper 382 may be at some point in between the exhaust position 380 and the return position 384. In such an embodiment, air may be vented to a second attic space down stream from the damper 382.
The damper 382 can be rotated by an electric motor 320. Rotating of the damper can be tied 354 to a control unit 355 which also controls the fan motor 372, for example, via line 356. A thermostat 350 can feed into a control unit 355. Either or both of the thermostat and the control unit may be located in the attic space or in a convenient hallway, for example. Two or more thermostats may be used to control activation of the fresh air system, one in the attic space and one or more within the house. In addition or alternatively, an ambient temperature sensor 357 may be used to exclusively control the fresh air system or may be used in combination with thermostats.
FIG. 4 provides exemplary steps in implementing the fresh air system, in accordance with a method of the present invention. A reading is taken from an ambient temperature sensor 410 and compared to the thermostat temperature. When the ambient temperature is less than the thermostat temperature 430, then the damper is rotated to the exhaust position 440. Open windows and doors as desired 450. Activate the blower fan 460 and close some return vents, but not all return vents, as desired to direct fresh air flow 470.
While specific alternatives to steps of the invention have been described herein, additional alternatives not specifically disclosed but known in the art are intended to fall within the scope of the invention. Thus, it is understood that other applications of the present invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art upon reading the described embodiment and after consideration of the appended claims and drawing.