FILTER ASSEMBLY FOR A REFRIGERATOR APPLIANCE
1. A refrigerator appliance comprising:
- a cabinet defining a chilled chamber;
a door being rotatably hinged to the cabinet to provide selective access to the chilled chamber; and
a filter assembly comprising;
a filter housing for receiving a filter cartridge; and
a filter locking mechanism positioned at least partially within the filter housing for securing the filter cartridge, the filter locking mechanism comprising a locking arm defining a retention clip for securing the filter cartridge and a resilient arm that extends from the locking arm at an extension angle of less than 90 degrees.
A filter assembly for a refrigerator appliance includes a filter housing and a filter locking mechanism pivotally mounted at least partially within the filter housing. The filter locking mechanism includes a locking arm defining a retention clip and a resilient arm that extends from the locking arm at an extension angle of less than 90 degrees. As a filter cartridge is inserted into the filter housing, the resilient arm acts like a spring to urge the filter cartridge out of the housing. After the filter cartridge passes or engages the retention clip, the spring force from the resilient arm urges the filter cartridge against the retention clip to secure the filter cartridge within the housing.
- 1. A refrigerator appliance comprising:
a cabinet defining a chilled chamber; a door being rotatably hinged to the cabinet to provide selective access to the chilled chamber; and a filter assembly comprising; a filter housing for receiving a filter cartridge; and a filter locking mechanism positioned at least partially within the filter housing for securing the filter cartridge, the filter locking mechanism comprising a locking arm defining a retention clip for securing the filter cartridge and a resilient arm that extends from the locking arm at an extension angle of less than 90 degrees.
- View Dependent Claims (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16)
- 17. A filter assembly for an appliance, the filter assembly comprising:
a filter housing for receiving a filter cartridge; and
- View Dependent Claims (18, 19, 20)
The present subject matter relates generally to refrigerator appliances, and more particularly to filter assemblies for refrigerator appliances.
Refrigerator appliances generally include a cabinet that defines a chilled chamber for receipt of food articles for storage. In addition, refrigerator appliances include one or more doors rotatably hinged to the cabinet to permit selective access to food items stored in chilled chamber(s). The refrigerator appliances can also include various storage components mounted within the chilled chamber and designed to facilitate storage of food items therein. Such storage components can include racks, bins, shelves, or drawers that receive food items and assist with organizing and arranging of such food items within the chilled chamber.
In addition, conventional refrigerator appliances include dispensing assemblies for dispensing liquid water and/or ice, e.g., through a dispenser mounted on a front of the appliance or within the cabinet. These dispensing assemblies typically use one or more water filters to filter water before the water is output to a user or used to make ice. Specifically, water filters remove dirt, sediment, and other contaminants from unfiltered water sources such as, for example, municipal water supplies before dispensing to the end user in the form of water and/or ice.
In many cases, such as in refrigerator appliances, a filter cartridge is installed onto a gravity fed or pressurized water supply line such that water flowing through the water supply line is flowed through filter media contained in the cartridge. However, these filter cartridges must be replaced periodically or the filter media must be otherwise refreshed. Removing these filter cartridges is often a complex and difficult task, requiring excessive force and creating potential for water splashes or leaks.
Accordingly, a refrigerator appliance with an improved water filter assembly would be useful. More particularly, a filter assembly for a refrigerator appliance with features for facilitating the quick and easy removal and replacement of filter cartridges would be particularly beneficial.
Aspects and advantages of the invention will be set forth in part in the following description, or may be apparent from the description, or may be learned through practice of the invention.
In a first exemplary embodiment, a refrigerator appliance is provided including a cabinet defining a chilled chamber, a door being rotatably hinged to the cabinet to provide selective access to the chilled chamber, and a filter assembly. The filter assembly includes a filter housing for receiving a filter cartridge and a filter locking mechanism positioned at least partially within the filter housing for securing the filter cartridge, the filter locking mechanism including a locking arm defining a retention clip for securing the filter cartridge and a resilient arm that extends from the locking arm at an extension angle of less than 90 degrees.
According to another exemplary embodiment, a filter assembly for an appliance is provided. The filter assembly includes a filter housing for receiving a filter cartridge and a filter locking mechanism positioned at least partially within the filter housing for securing the filter cartridge, the filter locking mechanism including a locking arm defining a retention clip for securing the filter cartridge and a resilient arm that extends from the locking arm at an extension angle of less than 90 degrees.
These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the following description and appended claims. The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate embodiments of the invention and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention.
A full and enabling disclosure of the present invention, including the best mode thereof, directed to one of ordinary skill in the art, is set forth in the specification, which makes reference to the appended figures.
Repeat use of reference characters in the present specification and drawings is intended to represent the same or analogous features or elements of the present invention.
Reference now will be made in detail to embodiments of the invention, one or more examples of which are illustrated in the drawings. Each example is provided by way of explanation of the invention, not limitation of the invention. In fact, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made in the present invention without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention. For instance, features illustrated or described as part of one embodiment can be used with another embodiment to yield a still further embodiment. Thus, it is intended that the present invention covers such modifications and variations as come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.
Housing 102 defines chilled chambers for receipt of food items for storage. In particular, housing 102 defines fresh food chamber 122 positioned at or adjacent top 104 of housing 102 and a freezer chamber 124 arranged at or adjacent bottom 106 of housing 102. As such, refrigerator appliance 100 is generally referred to as a bottom mount refrigerator. It is recognized, however, that the benefits of the present disclosure apply to other types and styles of refrigerator appliances such as, e.g., a top mount refrigerator appliance, a side-by-side style refrigerator appliance, or a single door refrigerator appliance. Moreover, aspects of the present subject matter may be applied to other appliances as well, such as ovens, microwaves, etc. Consequently, the description set forth herein is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended to be limiting in any aspect to any particular appliance or configuration.
Refrigerator doors 128 are rotatably hinged to an edge of housing 102 for selectively accessing fresh food chamber 122. In addition, a freezer door 130 is arranged below refrigerator doors 128 for selectively accessing freezer chamber 124. Freezer door 130 is coupled to a freezer drawer (not shown) slidably mounted within freezer chamber 124. Refrigerator doors 128 and freezer door 130 are shown in the closed configuration in
Referring again to
Dispensing assembly 140 and its various components may be positioned at least in part within a dispenser recess 142 defined on one of refrigerator doors 128. In this regard, dispenser recess 142 is defined on a front side 112 of refrigerator appliance 100 such that a user may operate dispensing assembly 140 without opening refrigerator door 128. In addition, dispenser recess 142 is positioned at a predetermined elevation convenient for a user to access ice and enabling the user to access ice without the need to bend-over. In the exemplary embodiment, dispenser recess 142 is positioned at a level that approximates the chest level of a user.
Dispensing assembly 140 includes an ice dispenser 144 including a discharging outlet 146 for discharging ice from dispensing assembly 140. An actuating mechanism 148, shown as a paddle, is mounted below discharging outlet 146 for operating ice or water dispenser 144. In alternative exemplary embodiments, any suitable actuating mechanism may be used to operate ice dispenser 144. For example, ice dispenser 144 can include a sensor (such as an ultrasonic sensor) or a button rather than the paddle. Discharging outlet 146 and actuating mechanism 148 are an external part of ice dispenser 144 and are mounted in dispenser recess 142. By contrast, refrigerator door 128 may define an icebox compartment 150 (
A control panel 152 is provided for controlling the mode of operation. For example, control panel 152 includes one or more selector inputs 154, such as knobs, buttons, touchscreen interfaces, etc., such as a water dispensing button and an ice-dispensing button, for selecting a desired mode of operation such as crushed or non-crushed ice. In addition, inputs 154 may be used to specify a fill volume or method of operating dispensing assembly 140. In this regard, inputs 154 may be in communication with a processing device or controller 156. Signals generated in controller 156 operate refrigerator appliance 100 and dispensing assembly 140 in response to selector inputs 154. Additionally, a display 158, such as an indicator light or a screen, may be provided on control panel 152. Display 158 may be in communication with controller 156, and may display information in response to signals from controller 156.
As used herein, “processing device” or “controller” may refer to one or more microprocessors or semiconductor devices and is not restricted necessarily to a single element. The processing device can be programmed to operate refrigerator appliance 100, dispensing assembly 140 and other components of refrigerator appliance 100. The processing device may include, or be associated with, one or more memory elements (e.g., non-transitory storage media). In some such embodiments, the memory elements include electrically erasable, programmable read only memory (EEPROM). Generally, the memory elements can store information accessible processing device, including instructions that can be executed by processing device. Optionally, the instructions can be software or any set of instructions and/or data that when executed by the processing device, cause the processing device to perform operations.
Referring now generally to
As best shown in
It should be appreciated that filter housing 210 is used only for the purpose of explaining aspects of the present subject matter and is not intended to be limiting in any manner. For example, filter housing 210 and filter cartridge 202 are illustrated and described herein as having substantially rectangular or square cross-sections. However, it should be appreciated that aspects the present subject matter may also apply to filter housings and/or filter cartridges which have a circular cross-sections or any other suitable cross-sectional shape.
Filter assembly 200 may further include a filter locking mechanism 230 which is positioned at least partially within filter housing 210. Filter locking mechanism 230 is generally configured for securing filter cartridge 202 within filter housing 210. In general, filter locking mechanism 230 is an L-shaped bracket that defines two flaps that are configured to securely receive filter cartridge 202. More specifically, filter locking mechanism 230 includes a first flap or a locking arm 232 that extends substantially parallel to a bottom wall 216 of filter housing 210. In addition, locking arm 232 defines a retention clip 234 which is positioned at its distal end 236 for securing filter cartridge 202, as described in more detail below.
In addition, filter locking mechanism 230 includes a resilient arm 240 that extends from locking arm 232. Specifically, according to the illustrated embodiment, locking arm 232 and resilient arm 240 may both extend from a pivot pin 242 out toward their respective distal ends at an extension angle 244 as shown in
According to an exemplary embodiment of the present subject matter, the extension angle 244 is less than 90 degrees. In this manner, when filter cartridge 202 is installed in filter housing 210, filter locking mechanism 230 is distorted or flexes to provide a spring force on filter cartridge 202. According to alternative embodiments, the extension angle 244 may be less than 80 degrees, approximately 75 degrees, or even smaller when in the relaxed position. In general, a smaller extension angle 244 results in a stronger spring force on filter cartridge 202. It should be appreciated that as used herein, terms of approximation, such as “approximately,” “substantially,” or “about,” refer to being within a ten percent margin of error.
According to the illustrated embodiment, pivot pin 242 is rotatably mounted to filter housing 210. Specifically, referring to
Referring now briefly to
Referring still to
In addition, according to the illustrated embodiment, resilient arm 240 may be curved to define a convex surface 270 that faces filter cartridge 202 as it is inserted through opening 218. In this manner, as filter cartridge 202 is moved towards the fully inserted position, resilient arm 240 contacts filter cartridge 202 at a contact point 272. According to the illustrated embodiment, contact point 272 may be positioned proximate a midpoint 274 of filter housing 210 as measured along a direction perpendicular to filter axis A. According to an alternative embodiment, contact point 272 may be positioned between midpoint 274 and a top wall 216 of filter housing 210. Notably, forming resilient arm 240 such that contact point 272 is positioned proximate midpoint 274 ensures that the spring force of resilient arm 240 acts in the desired direction.
Notably, filter locking member 230 is generally configured for both pivoting and flexing slightly when engaged by filter cartridge 202. In this regard, for example, locking arm 232 defines a first thickness 280 and resilient arm 240 defines a second thickness 282. According to an exemplary embodiment, first thickness 280 is greater than second thickness 282, e.g., to provide more rigidity to locking arm 232 while permitting resilient arm 240 to flex and provide a spring force to filter cartridge 202. For example, first thickness 280 may be approximately double second thickness 282 according to exemplary embodiments.
Notably, deformation of resilient arm 240 is preferably within the elastic region of the material used, such that it may return to an unflexed state when filter cartridge 202 is removed. However, when filter cartridge 202 is installed, it is desirable that resilient arm 240 remains deflected or flexed to secure filter cartridge 202 in the installed position.
According to an exemplary embodiment, filter housing 210 may be permanently fixed within refrigerator door 128 and may be formed from any suitable material. In addition, filter locking mechanism 230 may be formed from any material which is sufficiently rigid to retain filter cartridge 202 while permitting flexing as described above to secure filter cartridge 202. Specifically, for example, filter housing 210 and filter locking mechanism 230 may be formed by injection molding, e.g., using a suitable plastic material, such as injection molding grade high impact polystyrene (HIPS) or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). Alternatively, according to the exemplary embodiment, filter housing 210 and filter locking mechanism 230 may be compression molded, e.g., using sheet molding compound (SMC) thermoset plastic.
Referring again to
As the user continues to push filter cartridge 202 into filter housing 210 resilient arm 240 begins to deflect (e.g. undeflected position is shown in phantom in
To remove filter cartridge 202, a user may simply press down on angled surface 268 of retention clip 234 until locking surface 266 no longer engages filter cartridge 202, at which time resilient arm 240 urges filter cartridge 202 back out of filter housing 210. Thus, the construction of filter housing 210 and filter locking mechanism 230 is uniquely configured to receive filter cartridges 202 and secure them in place without permitting any rattling or undesirable movement. In addition, removal of filter cartridge 202 (e.g. after the filter media is exhausted) is quick and simple.
As one skilled in the art will appreciate, the above described embodiments are used only for the purpose of explanation. Modifications and variations may be applied, other configurations may be used, and the resulting configurations may remain within the scope of the invention. For example, filter assembly 200 may be positioned at any suitable location, filter housing 210 and filter cartridge 202 may have any suitable shapes, and filter locking mechanism 230 may operate in any other suitable manner. One skilled in the art will appreciate that such modifications and variations may remain within the scope of the present subject matter.
This written description uses examples to disclose the invention, including the best mode, and also to enable any person skilled in the art to practice the invention, including making and using any devices or systems and performing any incorporated methods. The patentable scope of the invention is defined by the claims, and may include other examples that occur to those skilled in the art. Such other examples are intended to be within the scope of the claims if they include structural elements that do not differ from the literal language of the claims, or if they include equivalent structural elements with insubstantial differences from the literal languages of the claims.