Attachment for a vacuum, such as a household vacuum, that is used to clean ducts.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,792,363 describes a vent cleaning system that uses a rotating brush attached to a vacuum source.
There is provided a duct cleaning attachment that comprises a hollow body having an exterior surface with a curved under-belly, one of a tapered or rounded leading end, a trailing end, and an interior surface defining an interior cavity. A coupling is positioned at the trailing end wherein the body is coupled to a vacuum source in a manner that results in air being drawn from the interior cavity by the vacuum source. The body has openings from the exterior surface to the interior surface.
According to another aspect, there is provided a duct cleaning attachment for a vacuum comprising a tapered leading end, a tapered trailing end having an attachment sized to attach to a hose of a household vacuum cleaner, and a vacuum section disposed between the tapered leading end and the tapered trailing end. The vacuum section has at least one vacuum opening. The vacuum section is larger in diameter than the tapered leading end and the tapered trailing end.
According to another aspect, there is provided a duct cleaning attachment for a vacuum as described above in combination with a household vacuum cleaner.
According to another aspect, the trailing end may be tapered, rounded, or bulbous. The body may be cylindrical with a central reduced diameter section and the openings are positioned in the reduced diameter section, and a brush comprised of a sleeve may overlie the reduced diameter section and has outwardly extending bristles. The sleeve may slide to assume a position either on a leading end side or on a trailing end side of the openings.
According to another aspect, the body may comprise a flexible hose, or may be coupled to a hose of the vacuum source.
According to another aspect, there may be an insert within the body having an outer perimeter that is smaller than the inner perimeter of the body, and having fins that extend outward from the vacuum section such that, as the body lays on a surface, the fins cause the insert to move away from the surface relative to the body.
According to another aspect, the hollow body may comprise an upper surface and a lower surface, the lower surface having a larger opening area than the upper surface, and the upper surface may not have any openings. The coupling may comprise a swivel coupling.
According to another aspect, the hollow body may comprise a positioning wheel at an angle relative to the hollow body, the positioning wheel biasing the hollow body in a first direction when moved forward, and in a second direction when moved backward.
Other aspects will be apparent from the description, drawings, and claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
These and other features will become more apparent from the following description in which reference is made to the appended drawings, the drawings are for the purpose of illustration only and are not intended to be in any way limiting, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a side view of a duct cleaning attachment in a duct.
FIG. 2 is a detailed side elevation view of a duct cleaning attachment.
FIG. 3 is a detailed side elevation view of an alternative duct cleaning attachment.
FIG. 4 is a detailed side elevation view of an alternative duct cleaning attachment.
FIGS. 5 and 6 are detailed side elevation views of an alternative duct cleaning attachment with a sliding brush.
FIG. 7 is a detailed side elevation view of an alternative duct cleaning attachment.
FIG. 8 is a detailed side elevation view of an alternative duct cleaning attachment integrally formed with a hose.
FIG. 9 is an end elevation view in section of an alternative duct cleaning attachment with a blocking insert.
FIG. 10 is a side elevation view of an alternative duct cleaning attachment with a swivel attachment.
FIG. 11 is an end elevation view of a duct cleaning attachment with a positioning wheel
FIG. 12 is a bottom plan view of the duct cleaning attachment in FIG. 11.
A duct cleaning attachment for a vacuum generally identified by reference numeral 10 will now be described with reference to FIG. 1 through 12.
Structure and Relationship of Parts:
Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, duct cleaning attachment 10 includes a tapered leading end 12 and a tapered trailing end 14 on a hollow body 15 that has an attachment 16 sized to attach to a hose 18 of a vacuum source, such as a household vacuum cleaner 19 in a manner that results in air being drawn from the interior cavity of body 15 by vacuum source 19, and a vacuum section 20 disposed between tapered leading end 12 and tapered trailing end 14. As shown, tapered trailing end 14 tapers down to attachment 16, while tapered leading end 12 may taper to a flat surface, or may also terminate in a rounded snub-nose, or a point (not shown). Vacuum section 20 has at least one vacuum opening 22 and is shown to be larger in diameter than tapered leading end 12 and tapered trailing end 14.
As can be seen in FIG. 2, vacuum section 20 is cylindrical in shape, and leading and trailing ends 12 and 14 taper away in a partial cone. It will be understood, however, that many different shapes may be used. For example, referring to FIG. 3, which shows a substantially circular attachment 10, leading and trailing ends 12 and 14 may be curved such that attachment 10 takes a bulbous shape, and vacuum section 20 may not be inherently distinct from these ends. It will be understood that body 15 may not be circular. For example, it may have a rounded bottom surface with a flatter top surface (not shown).
Trailing end 14 need not be curved or tapered. Referring to FIG. 8, trailing end 14 need not reduce at all. In the depicted embodiment, body 15 of attachment 10 includes a flexible hose portion 21, although it will be understood that this also applies to rigid attachments as shown in the other figures. Another feature shown in FIG. 8 is the use of additional holes 23 spaced along flexible hose 21 away from leading end 12. Additional holes 23 may also be used with a rigid attachment 10 that is long enough, however the length of attachment 10 with a rigid body 15 will be limited by the anticipated curves that must be negotiated in the ductwork. If a longer body 15 is desired, body 15 may be flexible or resilient to allow the curves in the ductwork to be negotiated.
Referring to FIG. 4, vacuum section 20 may include a reduced diameter section, or recess 24 in which vacuum openings 22 are positioned. In this situation, the diameter of vacuum section 20 is defined by the largest edges of ends 12 and 14. As can be seen, each variation has a round cross-section throughout its length. This allows them to be used without trying to maintain the proper orientation. Referring to FIGS. 5 and 6, a brush 25 may be positioned in recess 24. As depicted, brush 25 is positioned on a sleeve 27 that is slidable along recess 24. As attachment 10 is pushed or pulled through a duct, brush 25 moves to the leading end side or trailing end side of recess 24. Alternatively, brush 25 may be fixed in a desired position, and need not be positioned in a recess 24.
Referring again to FIG. 2, it will be understood that other vacuum openings 22 may be provided in attachment 10, such as on leading end 12. The number and size of openings 22, as well as the position, will depend upon the available vacuum pressure from household vacuum cleaner 19, the desired vacuum pressure applied by the various vacuum openings 22, and the direction or location that the pressure is applied.
Other variations may be used for other effects. For example, it may be preferably to have more suction applied to the bottom of a duct where more dust and debris settle. Referring to FIG. 9, an insert 32 may be included with fins 34 that extend out slots 36 in hollow body 15. As hollow body 15 is positioned in a duct, fins 34 contact the sides and insert 32 moves relative to hollow body 15 to block or partially block vacuum openings 22. Thus, regardless of the orientation, more suction will be applied to the bottom of the duct. Alternatively, referring to FIG. 10, more openings 22 may be placed on the bottom of hollow body 15, and a swivel attachment 38 may be supplied, such that hollow body 15 is able to maintain its desired orientation despite any twisting of the vacuum hose. This may be done by external fins, by weighting hollow body 15 appropriately, or other such designs.
As another example, vacuum attachment 10 may also be designed specifically to clean square ducts. Referring to FIGS. 11 and 12, a positioning wheel 40 may be provided that is at an angle relative to hollow body 15. As body 15 travels forward down a duct, wheel 40 biases body 15 toward one side of the duct. As body 15 is pulled backward through the duct, wheel 40 will bias body 15 toward the other side of the duct, thus allowing the vacuum pressure to be applied to both sides of the duct.
Referring to FIG. 1, attachment 16 at trailing end 14 is attached to hose 18. Duct cleaning attachment 10 is then inserted into a household duct 26 to be cleaned. Tapered ends 12 and 14 allow duct cleaning attachment 10 to pass over screws 28 or other protrusions such as bent edges of ducting that may be positioned within duct 26 without getting caught as it is being inserted or withdrawn, and also facilitates the negotiation of bends in duct 26 as it is pushed through.
Preferably, the largest diameter of duct cleaning attachment 10, which is the diameter of vacuum section 20, is less than half the height of a diameter of household duct 26. This allows duct cleaning attachment 10 to pass under or around any dampers 30 that may be positioned in duct 26.
Prior art duct and vent cleaners use brushes to loosen any dust or debris in a vent, to clean the entire vent. However, most dust and debris settle on the bottom of the duct or vent. The apparatus described herein allows a user to clean the majority of the dust and debris in the vents by using a much simpler and less costly design. This does not remove the need to periodically clean the entire vent, however it allows a user to delay a more costly cleaning by removing the majority of dust and debris until it becomes necessary to do so. As the apparatus is designed to attach to household vacuum cleaners, users who already own a vacuum cleaner are not required to purchase anything aside from the attachment.
In this patent document, the word "comprising" is used in its non-limiting sense to mean that items following the word are included, but items not specifically mentioned are not excluded. A reference to an element by the indefinite article "a" does not exclude the possibility that more than one of the element is present, unless the context clearly requires that there be one and only one of the elements.
The following claims are to be understood to include what is specifically illustrated and described above, what is conceptually equivalent, and what can be obviously substituted. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that various adaptations and modifications of the described embodiments can be configured without departing from the scope of the claims. The illustrated embodiments have been set forth only as examples and should not be taken as limiting the invention. It is to be understood that, within the scope of the following claims, the invention may be practiced other than as specifically illustrated and described.