Patent application title: Rain Gutter Rotation System (RGRS)
John Harrison Anthony (Angier, NC, US)
IPC8 Class: AE04D13076FI
Class name: Static structures (e.g., buildings) cover with surface water receiver at eave or valley with downspout
Publication date: 2011-03-24
Patent application number: 20110067319
Using two new integral component types, RGRS provides an effective way
from the ground to rotate and clean rain gutters. The Rotating Bracket
attaches to the fascia board and maintains the normally upright gutter. A
self-closing hinge in the rotating bracket provides retention yet allows
the gutter to be rotated forward 180 degrees for cleaning. The Collector
Box located directly under the gutter floor is secured to the fascia
board and connects to a standard downspout. The collector box captures
water from a drain hole in the gutter floor and directs it into the
downspout. There is no connection between the gutter and collector box.
Using a third non-integral component, comprised of an actuation
rod/cleaning brush tool attached to an extendable telescopic pole, an
operator at ground level can rotate, manually clean (if gravity can not
dislodge wet contents present) and upright the gutter.
1. Off-the-shelf trough shaped gutters readily available and widely used
in fixed gutter systems, are made rotatable and cleanable from the ground
by integrating two new component types that are claimed in this
invention: the rotating bracket and the collector box. A third component,
an actuation rod-cleaning brush tool is also claimed, but it is not an
integral part of the installed rotatable gutter system.
2. The rotating bracket of claim 1 is the sole component required for normally supporting a rain gutter of the type having a vertical back wall, a horizontal floor and vertical front wall in an upright position and allows the rain gutter to rotate forward and over 180 degrees to an inverted position to be cleaned, and is comprised of three sub components:an L shaped strength member in which the vertical rear section is adapted to be secured to the fascia or trim board of a building and in which the horizontal forward ledge provides support for the floor of a U-shaped cradle that seats and secures the gutter, and in which the front end of the horizontal ledge bends perpendicularly downward forming a short stub which providesa means to limit hinge travel for optimum positioning of the gutter in the inverted cleaning position.a generally U-shaped cradle having a vertical front wall to which the front wall of the gutter is secured, a horizontal floor providing support for the floor of the gutter and a vertical rear wall to which the rear wall of the gutter is secured.a self-closing hinge that connects the cradle to the L-member horizontal ledge and provides,a means of resilient bias for maintaining the cradle and gutter in the normally upright position, anda means to pivotally rotate the cradle and gutter forward about the front end of the horizontal ledge to an inverted position.
3. The collector box of claim 1 provides a way to separate the downspout from the gutter so the gutter can be rotated forward and over for cleaning, while still providing a rainwater drain path from the gutter to the downspout when the gutter is in the normally upright position.the collector box is a rectangular, shallow, open top, water-tight box constructed of flashing material which has a length of 6 inches, a width from front to back of 31/2'' and an extended back wall rising above the 11/4'' high sidewalls and front wall, thus providing a means of attaching the box to the fascia board.the box is located directly under a drain hole cut in the gutter floor, with the side and front walls of the box flush against the gutter floor, and receives rainwater from the upright gutter that in turn flows into a short pipe stub (drop) emanating down from the floor of the box which is sized to fit into downspouts of different sizes most commonly 2''×3'' and 3''×4'', thereby routing water down and away from the building.as the gutter is rotated forward to be cleaned, the collector box remains fixed in place atop the downspout.
4. the rotating bracket of claim 2, wherein said means to pivotally rotate the cradle and gutter is provided by a self-closing hinge in which each leaf forms a right angle plate and in which both plates are parallel and adjacent along their entire length in the closed position and in which the end of the inner hinge leaf is attached to the forward end of the upper side of the horizontal ledge with the hinge knuckle is butted against the vertical down stub of the horizontal ledge, and in which the other hinge leaf is bifurcated forming two outer leaves the ends of which are each secured to the forward end of the cradle floor such that the cradle can rotate 180 degrees about the forward end of the horizontal ledge.
5. the rotating bracket of claim 2 wherein said resilient bias is provided by internal action within the self-closing hinge is clarified here. The self-closing hinge used in this invention is an off-the-shelf part much as a screw or other piece of hardware is. The self-closing mechanism it employs is used by most manufacturers of this type of self-closing hinge, and is not a claim of this invention. It is explained because the non-linear, spring action of the hinge is a key factor in the operation of the rotating bracket.Resilient force results from cam action in the self-closing hinge knuckles where the inner hinge leaf knuckle has a flat area on an otherwise round surface and the knuckle of the other leaf contains two small springs that press a small plastic block, limited to forward and backward motion only, against the knuckle of the inner leaf such that when the hinge is closed the plastic block is flush against the flat on the inner hinge knuckle. As the hinge leaves begin to open the edge of the block is rotated against the flat, compressing the springs and generating a force that tends to move the leaves back toward the closed position. As the leaves are further opened and the angle between the hinge leaves reaches approximately 45 degrees, the block leaves the flat and moves into contact with the round portion of the inner leaf knuckle reducing the retentive force to zero and leaving only the low resistance friction of the block moving tangentially along the round portion of the knuckle throughout the remainder of the leaf travel to the fully open position.
6. the rotating bracket of claim 2 wherein said means to limit hinge travel is provided by the vertically downward stub at the front end of the horizontal ledge of the L-shape member such that the hinge knuckle is placed against the face of the stub with the hinge leaves following the face of the stub up and at a right angle onto the end of the horizontal ledge with the inner hinge leaf connected to the end of the ledge. As the hinge opens the outer bifurcated hinge leaf connected to the cradle rotates about the hinge knuckle axis and stops against the stub section below the hinge knuckle in a position with the cradle and gutter inverted 180 degrees from the upright starting position.
7. A rotatable rain gutter system for supporting a rain gutter of the type having a vertical back wall, a horizontal floor and vertical front wall in an upright position and allows the rain gutter to rotate forward and over 180 degrees to an inverted position to be cleaned, comprising:a plurality of spaced rotating brackets to be secured to the fascia or trim of a building and to receive the rain gutter, each comprised of:an L shaped strength member in which the vertical rear section is adapted to be secured to the fascia or trim board of a building and in which the horizontal forward section provides support for the floor of a U-shaped cradle that seats and secures the gutter, and in which the front end of the horizontal section bends perpendicularly downward forming a short stub used to limit hinge travel in the fully rotated forward position to 180 degrees of rotation from the upright operating position.a U-shaped cradle having a vertical front wall to which the front wall of the gutter is secured, a horizontal floor providing support for the floor of the gutter and a vertical rear wall to which the rear wall of the gutter is secured.a self-closing hinge that pivotally connects the cradle and horizontal section of the L-shaped member allowing 180 degrees of rotation of the cradle and gutter about the end of the horizontal section, and provides a resilient force derived from the cam action of internal springs and a plastic block in the hinge knuckle of one leaf pushing against the shaped surface of the other hinge knuckle, such that the resilient force tending to close the hinge is in effect until the hinge leaves are at 45 degrees of separation, after which the resilient force is zero through the reminder of hinge leaf travel to the fully open position.
8. the rotatable rain gutter system of claim 7 includes hidden metal gutter hangers located at certain intervals along the gutter, typically used in fixed systems to secure the gutter to the fascia, which here are installed between and secured to the upper front gutter wall and upper rear gutter wall solely to add rigidity to the gutter.
9. The collector box of claim 3 is designated a straight collector box and is installed anywhere under the length of a straight rotatable gutter section at the location of the downspout draining the gutter. When expanded in length to 12'' the collector box is designated a long collector box and is used where two straight gutter sections meet inline and drain into a common downspout.
10. The collector box of claim 3 when elongated in length and formed into an L-shape consisting of two legs each 16'' in length along the front wall and each 191/2'' in length along the back wall is designated an inside corner collector box. It is installed with the back wall of each leg flush against one side an inside corner and directly under the ends of the two gutter sections that meet at the corner, and where one or both gutters drain through the collector box into a common downspout attached to a drop located in either of the leg of the box.
11. The collector box of claim 3 when elongated in length and formed into an L-shape consisting of two legs each 191/2'' in length along the front wall and each 16'' in length along the back wall is designated an outside corner collector box. It is installed with the back wall of each leg flush against one side of an outside corner and directly under the ends of the two gutter sections that meet at the corner, and where one or both gutters drain through the collector box into a common downspout attached to a drop located in either of the leg of the box.
12. Where multiple gutter corners are in close proximity due to the path of the roofline, e.g., a small porch with two inside and two outside corners, downspout usage of one per corner exceeds the requirement of the roof area drained. In such cases, a U-shaped collector channel with the same 31/2'' width and 11/4'' wall height of the water carrying section of all collector boxes is run between the collector boxes of adjacent corners serving the defined small area, in effect forming a continuous water channel that is drained by a single downspout connected at any point on the channel or at any of the corner collector boxes. The collector channel is carried under rotating brackets in an L-shaped bracket that mounts to the vertically downward stub of the support member of the rotating bracket.
13. the rotatable rain gutter system of claim 7 includes at least one collector box type for proper drainage of each rotatable gutter segment, the type of which is determined by the use and placement of said gutter segment.
14. The actuation rod-cleaning brush tool of claim 1 is:a T-shaped tool with a 3/4'' diameter×5 thread per inch female connector at the base of the stem, a double hook shaped metal rod forming one arm and a long corncob-shaped brush forming the other arm,where the rod on the tool is used to rotate the gutter from the upright position to the inverted cleaning position from the ground by placing the inner down-hook of the rod over the top of the gutter front wall near the center of the gutter span and pulling it forward and down into the inverted cleaning position, and conversely returning the inverted gutter to the upright position by pushing the outer up-hook of the rod against the inverted back wall of the gutter near the center of the gutter span causing it to rotate up and back into the upright position,and where, if needed, a variable angle cleaning brush that the user can adjust as required is used to dislodge contents from an inverted gutter that gravity alone cannot dislodge.a variable length telescopic pole with a 3/4'' diameter×5 thread per inch male connector at the end, not claimed in this invention, is used to elevate the tool to the height of the gutter being cleaned.
Provisional patent No. 61/237,262 was filed for this invention with the USPTO on 8-26-09 followed by the original non-provisional utility patent filing on 8-20-10.
The solution presented and described provides a method and apparatus that permits rapidly cleaning rain gutters from the ground by rotating them instead of the dirty, time consuming and dangerous task of moving and climbing a ladder multiple times along the entire gutter length to reach and manually remove the debris that perennially clogs them.
Prototype components described in the provisional patent were fabricated and used to convert a number of fixed gutters to the rotatable type and have worked well and in accordance with the design intent.
Prior Art Pertaining to Rotating Rain Gutters
Prior art requires clips, snaps, hooks, cords or continuous coil springs to maintain the gutter upright. The rotating gutter as implemented with RGRS uses few parts, and is efficient, reliable and easy to use.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,072,085 provides a coil spring in a pivot mechanism at each bracket location. A rod under the longitudinal center floor of the gutter connects all brackets together providing an axis for synchronous forward gutter rotation. The coil spring exerts continuous increasing closing force as the gutter rotates forward making an extended stay in the inverted cleaning position difficult to maintain. The complex pivot mechanisms and long connecting rod across all brackets add cost to the system as well.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,240,679 pivots the gutter backward toward the fascia at the upper front edge of an L bracket. The gutter is held upright by small ropes passing through eyelets that connect to the back edge of the gutter at each bracket location. As the rope tension is loosened from the ground the gutter pivots down at the back to allow dumping. The downspout mechanism is fairly complex requiring matching curved sections on the rotatable gutter and the fixed downspout top.
Patent US2006/00352151A uses air or gas to activate a rotating mechanism that rotates the gutter forward and over. The mechanism to do this is hidden so that the gutter retains the appearance of a standard fixed gutter. These hidden mechanisms are complex and costly. Higher complexity introduces more potential points of failure.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,317,843 describes a mechanism for forward gutter rotation about the center longitudinal axis of the gutter floor for easy rotation. The gutter is held in place with a clip mechanism biased against the gutter strengthened portion to maintain the gutter upright. It is not clear how the gutter is rotated forward and back. The downspout is hinged so as to swing forward and down out of the way of the inverted gutter.
There are other patents pertaining to rotating gutters. All appear to contain more parts, complexity and cost than needed for basic gutter rotation and cleaning.
The key component in RGRS is the self-closing hinge that is off-the-shelf, simple, inexpensive and time tested.
The rotating gutter system is a simple and effective ground based way to rotate and dump rain gutters that are found on millions of homes and buildings. To do this, two new component types, the rotating bracket and the collector box were designed and developed. By integrating these into a fixed gutter system the gutter can be made to rotate. A third component, not integrated into the gutter system itself, is an actuation rod-cleaning brush tool that is threaded onto to the end of an extendable telescopic pole. It is used to rotate the gutter and, when required, dislodge contents from the gutter.
The strength member of the rotating bracket is an L-shaped support member, which is secured to the fascia board by the back vertical section. The horizontal forward ledge of the support member supports a U-shaped cradle that seats and secures trough shaped gutters.
The cradle connects to the front end of the horizontal ledge with a self-closing hinge that provides resilient bias to hold the gutter upright yet allows the cradle and gutter to be rotated forward and over to a completely inverted cleaning position by means of the actuation rod.
If required, the cleaning brush portion of the rod-brush tool is used to dislodge debris that gravity alone cannot pull out of the inverted gutter. The cradle and gutter are returned to the upright position with the actuation rod.
In operation the upright gutter empties water through a drain hole in its floor into a collector box, which is made of flashing material and has the general shape of a small, very shallow shoebox without the lid. The open top allows rainwater from the gutter drain to freely enter the box and immediately flow out of a short circular pipe stub (drop) emanating from the box floor. The drop is connected to the top of a standard downspout that directs the rainwater down and away from the building. A porous mesh screen is installed over the gutter drain hole to prevent debris from entering the collector box and downspout.
During a gutter cleaning cycle the gutter rotates around the fixed collector box. There are four collector box types that are used to drain gutter sections in various placements along a roofline: Straight type is used anywhere along a straight rotating gutter section. Long type is used where two inline gutter sections meet and one or both share a common downspout. Inside Corner type is used at an inside corner where two gutter sections meet and one or both drain into a single downspout serving the corner. Outside Corner type is used at an outside corner where two gutter sections meet and one or both drain into a single downspout serving the corner.
Where corners are connected by long gutter spans, having a downspout at each corner is reasonable and meets the generally accepted downspout spacing guidelines.
Some rooflines however require a number of gutter corners in close proximity such as found on a small porch that has two inside corners and two outside corners. In this case in order to preclude having four downspouts serving such a small roof surface area, a collector channel is used. The collector channel is a U-shaped length of thick aluminum flashing that has the same floor and wall dimensions as found in all collector box types. Channel is run between and connected to adjacent corner boxes, forming a continuous, sealed water-carrying trough under the gutter serving the porch perimeter. A single downspout is connected to the channel or a corner collector box at any point along the trough and drains the entire trough.
In summary, wherever adjacent corners along a roofline are located close together the collector channel described above is used to keep the number of downspouts used in proper proportion to the roof area being drained.
The drawing list below illustrates the components used in the invention, the preferred embodiment of the invention, and together with the detailed description serve to explain the principles of the invention.
TABLE-US-00001 Number Drawing description 1 5'' K style aluminum gutter 10-profile 2 5'' K style PVC gutter-profile 3 5'' U-style PVC gutter-profile 4a L-shaped support member 12, component rotating bracket-elevation 4b Cradle 13, component of rotating bracket-elevation 4c Hinge, self-closing, 1/2'' overlay 14, component of rotating bracket-elevation 4d Rotating bracket 15-elevation 5a 5'' K style alum. gutter mounted in rotating bracket, operating position-profile 5b 5'' K style alum. gutter mounted in rotating bracket, cleaning position-profile 6a Straight collector box 30-elevation view 6b Long collector box 31-elevation view 7a Outside corner collector box 40-elevation view 7b Outside miter corner 41-elevation view 7c Outside corner cap 42-elevation view 8a Inside corner collector box 50-elevation view 8b Water diverter inside corner 51-elevation view 8c Inside corner cap 52-elevation view 9a Collector channel 55-elevation view 9b Collector channel bracket 56-elevation view 9c Collector channel in collector channel bracket mounted to rotating bracket-profile 10 Telescopic pole 20 with actuation rod and cleaning brush attachment tool 21-profile 11a Moving the gutter from operating position to the inverted position with rod-profile 11b Moving the gutter from the inverted position to the operating position with rod-profile 12 Outside corner with gutters, outside miter corner and outside corner collector box-elevation 13 Inside corner w/ gutters, inside corner collector box, inside corner cap, water diverter-elev. 14a 5'' K-style alum. gutter shown in U-shaped cradle and in contoured cradle-profile 14b 5'' K-style pvc gutter shown in U-shaped cradle and in contoured cradle-profile 14c U-style pvc gutter shown in U-shaped cradle and in contoured cradle-profile 15 Gutter hanger 16 (hidden type)-elevation 16 Rotating bracket spacing guide 17 Feature number reference
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OVERVIEW
This detailed description is divided into three sections. Components Operation Installation
The 5K-aluminum style gutter 10 shown in FIG. 1 is used and described exclusively in the detailed description as it is the most widely installed gutter type in the United States. All text and drawings in this section pertain to it.
The 5K PVC gutter and the Raingo PVC gutter, shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 respectively, are commercially available as well and are briefly addressed in this document. They and other trough shaped gutters are all applicable to and workable with the method and apparatus described herein. Form and fit will vary somewhat, but the basic functional operation is the same.
The Rotating Bracket and the Collector Box are the two integral component types required to make a gutter rotatable. A third non-integral component is the actuation rod-cleaning brush tool, which mounts on the end of an extendable telescopic pole. The rod is used to rotate the gutter and the brush is used to clean the gutter when required.
The rotating bracket is made up of three primary elements:
L-shaped support member 12 formed from aluminum, 1/8'' T×11/4'' W, see FIG. 4A.U-shaped cradle 13 made of galvanized steel, 0.040'' T×13/4'' W, see FIG. 48.Hinge, self-closing, 1/2'' overlay with protective finish 14, see FIG. 4C.
FIG. 4D shows the fully assembled rotating bracket 15. In order to blend in with the gutter, the bracket is painted with exterior paint to match the colors, typically white or brown, of commercially available gutters.
The vertical rear portion of the L-shaped support member is secured to the fascia board 11 or trim and at 51/2' is the minimum allowable distance from the roof edge to the bottom of the bracket. The top edge of the bracket at the non-drain end of a gutter is set flush against the roof edge. Each subsequent bracket moving toward the drain end is set incrementally farther from the roof edge to provide the gutter proper downward pitch.
The horizontal forward ledge of the support member supports a cradle used to secure trough-shaped gutters. The vertically downward lip at the end of the horizontal ledge provides a hinge stop point to limit rotation of the gutter to 180 degrees from the upright operating position.
The cradle is generally U-shaped having a vertical front wall to which the front wall of the gutter is secured, a horizontal floor providing support for the floor of the gutter and a vertical rear wall to which the rear wall of the gutter is secured. The cradle rotates about the front end of the support member horizontal ledge on a self-closing hinge. See FIGS. 5A and 5B.
For aesthetic reasons, the U-shaped cradle described above could be shaped to match the profiles of various gutter types it is used with so that it presents a more uniform appearance in each case. FIGS. 14A, 14B and 14C show examples of three commercially available gutter types.
The self-closing hinge provides a retentive force at and near the closed position. This helps maintain an empty gutter in the upright operating position against wind and other potentially disruptive elements. The weight of any debris and/or water in the gutter pushes the gutter down against the bracket support ledge, which also tends to maintain the gutter in the upright operating position.
The retentive hinge force is provided by a cam action in the hinge knuckles. The inner hinge leaf knuckle has a flat area on an otherwise round surface. The knuckle of the other leaf contains two small springs that press a plastic block against the knuckle of the inner leaf. When the gutter is in the upright operating position, the hinge is closed (leaves parallel and adjacent), and the face of the plastic block is flush against the flat on the opposing knuckle. As the hinge begins to open, the edge of the block is rotated against the flat, compressing the springs and generating a force that tends to move the hinge back toward the closed position. When the angle between the hinge leaves approaches 45 degrees, the block face moves into tangential contact with the round portion of the knuckle, offering very low resistance friction throughout the reminder of travel to the hinge full open position.
The collector box is an open top box made of aluminum flashing. It connects to the top of the downspout 17, and is secured with screws to the fascia board through mounting holes in its high back wall. A short circular or rectangular shaped stub (called a drop) extends from the center of the box floor and is appropriately sized to attach to standard downspouts, typically 2''×3'', or 3''×4'' types. All the water exiting drain hole(s) of gutter(s)s it serves is collected and sent to the downspout.
There are four types of collector box: Straight, Long, Inside Corner and Outside Corner, and a Collector Channel.
Straight Collector Box 30
It is 6'' long×31/2'' wide with front and side walls 11/4'' high. The back wall of the box is 63/4'' high and is the nominal distance from the roof edge to the bottom of the box to work with a zero pitch gutter. The increase in distance required at the drain end to properly pitch the gutter is added to the nominal distance before securing the box to the fascia board. A drop sized to match that of the downspout below the box extends from the center of the box floor and attaches to the downspout. See FIG. 6A.
Long Collector Box 31
It is 12'' long×31/2'' wide with front and side walls 11/4'' high. The back wall of the box is 63/4'' high and is the nominal distance from the roof edge to the bottom of the box to work with a zero pitch gutter. The increase in distance required at the drain end to properly pitch the gutter is added to the nominal distance before securing the box to the fascia board. A drop sized to match that of the downspout below the box extends from the center of the box floor and attaches to the downspout. See FIG. 68.
Outside Corner Collector Box 40
Two equal length legs form a right angle allowing this box to fit around an outside corner. Each leg is 31/2'' wide. The back wall of each leg is 16'' long and 63/4'' high. The front wall of each leg is 191/2 ''long and 11/4'' high. The walls at the end of each leg are 11/4'' high. The 63/4'' high back wall is the nominal distance from the roof edge to the bottom of the box to work with a zero pitch gutter. The increase in distance required at the drain end to properly pitch the gutter is added to the nominal distance before securing the box to the fascia board. Mounting holes in the high back wall are used to screw attach the collector box to the fascia. A drop sized to match that of the downspout below the box extends from one of the collector box legs and attaches to the downspout. See FIG. 7A.
Inside Corner Collector Box 50
Two equal legs form a right angle allowing this box to fit along an inside corner. Each leg is 31/2'' wide. The back wall of each leg is 191/2'' long and 63/4'' high. The front wall of each leg is 16'' long and 11/4'' high. The walls at the end of each leg are 11/4'' high. The 63/4'' high back wall is the nominal distance from the roof edge to the bottom of the box to work with a zero pitch gutter. The increase in distance required at the drain end to properly pitch the gutter is added to the nominal distance before securing the box to the fascia board. Mounting holes in the high back wall are used to screw attach the collector box to the fascia. A drop sized to match that of the downspout below the box extends from one of the collector box legs and attaches to the downspout. See FIG. 8A.
Collector Channel 55
The collector channel is a U-shaped section of flashing used to form a continuous water-carrying channel between adjacent collector boxes in certain applications. The floor of the channel is 31/2'' wide and each wall is 11/4'' high, which is the same floor and wall dimensions as found in all collector box types. See FIG. 9A. The length of a section will vary based on distance between the adjacent collector boxes it serves. Maximum length is 10 feet, which is limited by the typical aluminum brake tool length of 10 feet. For a collector channel greater than 10 feet, channel sections are overlapped, sealed, and screw attached together near the top of each wall.
Collector Channel Bracket 56
The collector channel bracket is an L-shaped piece of 1/8''T×11/4'' W aluminum stock. See FIG. 9B. It is designed to mount to the front vertically down section of the L-shaped support member of the rotating bracket. When so mounted it provides a shelf to hold the collector channel under a section of gutter. See FIG. 9C.
The gutter 10 is in the upright position. As rainwater enters the gutter, it flows out of the gutter drain into the open collector box 30. The water continues to flow through the collector box into the attached downspout 17 where is directed down and away from the building.
Cleaning the Gutter
An extendable telescopic pole 20 with a screw-on tool 21 comprised of a double hook-shaped actuation rod and a cleaning brush. The rod (see FIG. 10) is used to move the gutter between the operating upright position (see FIG. 11A) and the inverted cleaning position (see FIG. 11B). The pole has a male 3/4'' diameter connector with 5 threads per inch which connects to the female connector of the tool which has the same thread diameter and pitch. The telescopic pole can be adjusted for cleaning gutters at various heights. An average sized adult person standing at ground level with a telescopic pole that extends to 20 feet in length can reach and clean gutters that are 25 feet above the ground.
All corner collector box caps and any short gutter stubs with fixed covers should be brushed off. Any debris that falls into the gutter will be emptied during the cleaning cycle.
Inverting the gutter. The operator stands near the center of the gutter span and back from the gutter a distance about half the height of the gutter from the ground. Pulling the gutter at this angle presents the least effort required to rotate the gutter, and any debris in the gutter does not fall on the operator. The design of the system does not allow the gutter to rotate when pulled straight down.
The pole is raised and the inner down-hook of the rod is placed over the top of the front gutter wall 10 near the center hanger. See FIG. 11A. The operator pulls the pole and the gutter rotates forward against the self-closing retentive force of the hinge. Once the gutter has rotated about 45 degrees, the retentive force drops off to zero with no appreciable friction offered to continued rotation. As the gutter passes 90 degrees of rotation it falls forward and rests in the inverted cleaning position, which is 180 degrees from the upright operating position.
During rotation the collector box does not move as the gutter rotates around it. Gravity empties most contents from the inverted gutter. Sticky wet contents may not fall out, and can easily be removed using the cleaning brush. The brush handle can pivot on a threaded bolt welded to the stem of the actuation rod. The brush which is normally held in place by a wing nut tightened against it, can be adjusted for the best cleaning angle by loosening the wing nut, making the adjustment and retightening the wing nut
Returning the Gutter to the Operating Position
Leaves accumulated along a roof edge could fall off as the gutter is rotated forward. It is a good practice is to visually check the ledges of the L support member and insure they are free of debris. The cleaning brush is used to clean them if necessary. The collector box is not easy to check visually from the ground so a side-to-side sweep of the collector box with the cleaning brush will sweep out any leaves that may have landed in it while exposed.
To return the gutter upright the operator stands one step in front of the center of the gutter span. The pole is raised with the rod pointing toward the gutter and the up-hook at the end of the rod is placed on the back wall of the gutter near center gutter hangar. See FIG. 11B. The pole is pushed straight up and follows the rotation of the gutter back toward the upright position with minimal resistance. Once the gutter has traveled through approximately 135 degrees of rotation, the self-closing action of the hinges engage and pull the gutter quickly and firmly back into the operating position.
When to Clean Gutters
Cleaning works best in dry weather as gutter debris usually falls out by gravity alone and is easy to sweep away. Wet debris is heavy and messy requiring more work all around, so avoid cleaning after rain. The number of cleanings per year will vary based on the number of trees within close proximity of the gutters.
In regions that receive snow falls during winter months the gutters can be rotated to dump snow right after each snowfall. Doing this will prevent the accumulated buildup of snow and ice at the gutter-roof boundary, which can cause roof leaking problems when spring melting occurs and pooled water backs up under shingles near the roof edge. If significant buildup of snow or ice is present, the gutters should NOT be rotated as they could be frozen in place or otherwise immovable. Trying to rotate them under these conditions could damage them. Assuming non-damaging rotation is possible, extreme caution is required as large chunks of frozen precipitate could fall posing a hazard to anyone under or near the gutter.
Remove the Fixed Gutter
The fixed gutter is removed from the fascia board and if it is in good shape it can be converted to a rotating gutter as described further on in this document. Check the condition of fascia board at this time as well and remove any nails, screws or rough spots that could interfere with gutter rotation.
Roof Edge Preparation
Shingles are not installed uniformly from roof to roof. In some cases they can extend out an inch or more beyond the roof edge where during hot weather they could potentially droop into the rotational path of the gutter as it moves back and forth between the operating and cleaning positions.
At the other extreme, shingles may extend minimally, 3/4'' or less, beyond the roof edge, potentially allowing rainwater to run down between the gutter back wall and the fascia board.
Good installation practice incorporates a clean, properly extended roof edge that facilitates proper rainwater flow into the gutter. A drip edge is a standard piece of flashing installed at the roof edge in fixed gutter applications to provide this ramp function. If a drip edge is installed and extends the roof edge out at least 1'' beyond the plane of the fascia it can be used with RGRS.
Installing a Ramp
If no drip edge is installed, or one is installed but is shorter than required, a ramp can be formed from lengths of flashing called roof edge or drip cap. These flashing pieces are folded at a 90 degree angle lengthwise forming an L cross section. They are typically installed under the shingles along the sides of the roof. There are different sizes of these flashings available. The size required is 10' long and 3'' wide with each leg 11/2'' long.
Manually compress the two legs all along the length so they form a V shape that corresponds to the angle between the shingles and the fascia board, which can vary from roof to roof. The finished piece is called a V-Ramp 62. Place the flat leg of the V-ramp up against the underside of the shingles and press the other leg firmly against the fascia board. Use 6×3/4'' sheet metal screws 72 to attach the leg against the fascia along a line half way between the point of the V and the edge of the leg. See FIG. 11B.
The two ends of each rotating gutter section are capped and sealed with standard gutter end caps.
The end cap of a gutter section terminating at a roof edge extends beyond the outside edge of the shingles about half an inch.
The end cap on a gutter section that terminates in a corner should be located such that there is 1/4'' distance between it and either the outside corner piece 41 at an outside corner or the water diverter 60 at an inside corner. The goal is to have it as close as possible to prevent debris from slipping in between while still allowing interference-free rotation.
Using these guidelines, measure the length of the roof edge the gutter section must serve and make sure it is made to the proper length as required.
Aluminum hidden gutter hangers 16, typically used in fixed gutter applications to attach the gutter to the fascia board, are installed along the gutter at certain places. They are used here solely to fortify the gutter and do not connect it to the fascia. Each hanger is installed between the top of the front wall and top of the back wall of the gutter and securely fastened to the gutter at both ends by driving 8×3/8'' sheet metal screws 73 in toward the gutter. See FIG. 5.
One hanger is installed at the center of the gutter span and one at every 6-foot interval to the left of the center hanger and one at every 6-foot interval to the right of the center hangar. FIG. 16 shows the Gutter Bracket Spacing Guide.
Most 5K aluminum gutters today are formed on site into custom length seamless gutters. If however there is a gutter slip joint joining two sections to make the gutter span then the gutter joint should be reinforced. Where each gutter section slides into the slip joint member it is secured with two 6×3/8'' sheet metal screws 71, one installed near the top front of the slip joint and the other installed at the top rear of the slip joint such that each gutter section cannot move with respect to the slip joint. Finally, a gutter hanger is installed 1 inch to the left of the slip joint and another hanger is installed 1 inch to the right of it.
Rotating Brackets Connected to the Gutter
All gutter types are connected to the rotating brackets as described below.
Use the Gutter Bracket Spacing Guide shown in FIG. 16 to determine the bracket locations based on the gutter section length. Begin at the non-drain end of the gutter and slide the cradle of the first rotating bracket onto the gutter at the specified location. Insure that the gutter floor and back wall are flush with the cradle bottom and back wall respectively. Drive a 6×3/8'' sheet metal screw 71 through the mounting hole in the front wall of the cradle into the gutter.
Open the bracket so that the back wall of the cradle is fully exposed. Insure that the gutter floor and back wall remain flush with the cradle bottom and back wall respectively. Drive a 6×3/8'' sheet metal screw 71 through the offset mounting hole in the rear wall of the cradle into the gutter. Close the bracket so that the cradle bottom is flush against the L support member of the bracket.
Install the remaining brackets in the same manner along the gutter at the locations specified in the spacing guide.
Maximum recommended gutter section length is 28 feet and utilizes 7 rotating brackets. For straight rooflines longer than 28 feet, multiple inline gutter sections as required are installed.
Collector Box Installation:
Before installing the collector box the downspout must be either trimmed or moved down. Trimming requires less work. The collector box back wall is 63/4'' high and is the nominal distance from the roof edge to the bottom of the box to work with a zero pitch gutter. If the collector box was draining a 24 foot gutter, the top edge of the collector box back wall would be spaced 5/8'' down from the roof edge to maintain proper pitch at the rate of 1/4'' drop for every 8 feet of gutter. Place the collector box next to the downspout and insure that it is positioned correctly with respect to the roof edge. Mark the location of the bottom of the box on the downspout. Trim the downspout off at the mark and push the drop from the collector box fully into the downspout. Verify that the box is set at the correct pitch level and secure the box to the fascia with three 1'' exterior screws 70 driven through the mounting holes in the back wall of the box. The downspout is secured to the drop with a 6×3/8'' sheet metal screw 71.
A straight collector box 30 is installed anywhere along the length of a straight gutter section at the location of the downspout serving the gutter. The top edge of the back wall of the box is placed down from the roof edge the required distance for the pitch of the gutter it drains. The box is secured in place by driving 1'' exterior screws 70 into the fascia through mounting holes in its back wall. The downspout slides over the stub emanating from the bottom of the box and is secured in place with a small screw.
Junction of Two Inline Gutters
A long collector box 31 is installed where two inline gutter sections meet, and where one or both drain into the downspout attached to the long collector box. The gutter end caps are separated by 1/4'' gap and the center of the collector box is located directly under this gap. The top edge of the back wall of the box is placed down from the roof edge the required distance for the pitch of the gutter(s) it drains. When the box drains both gutters it is set to the pitch depth required for the longer gutter. The box is secured in place by driving 1'' exterior screws 70 into the fascia through mounting holes in its back wall. The downspout slides over the stub emanating from the bottom of the box and is secured in place with a small screw.
If neither gutter will drain at the corner the outside corner collector box 40 is not installed and the following paragraph is skipped.
If either or both gutters at the corner will drain into a downspout at the corner, an outside corner collector box 40 is installed. If only one gutter at the corner will drain into the box the top edge of the back wall of the box is placed down from the roof edge at the required distance for the pitch of the gutter. If both gutters at the corner will drain into the box the box is set to the pitch depth required for the longer gutter. One-inch exterior screws 70 are driven through mounting holes in the back of the collector box to secure it to the fascia board.
FIG. 12 shows a fully configured outside corner with the outside corner collector box installed.
In all cases a 5K aluminum outside miter corner 41 is installed at the corner. The bottom of the miter corner piece is aligned with the top edge of the collector box front wall and is secured to the fascia board using 1'' exterior screws 70 driven through the back wall of the miter piece. The sides of the miter corner piece are left open (uncapped).
An outside corner cap 42, see FIG. 7C, mounts on top of the miter corner piece and is screw attached along the front edge, and to the fascia corner with screws driven through mounting holes in bent up tabs along its back edges. The cap catches leaves and debris and prevents them from getting into the miter corner. The accumulated debris can be brushed off to the ground or into the rotating gutter(s) on either side of it, prior to cleaning them.
An inside corner collector box 50 is installed at the corner. If only one gutter at the corner will drain into the box, the top edge of the back wall of the box is placed down from the roof edge the required distance for the pitch of the that gutter. If both gutters at the corner will drain into the box, the box is set to the pitch depth required for the longer gutter. One-inch exterior screws 70 are driven through mounting holes in the back of the collector box to secure it to the fascia board.
FIG. 13 shows a fully configured inside corner.
An inside corner cap 52, see FIG. 8C, is positioned at the corner so that the bent-up lip at the back of the cap is flush against the roof edge. Four 1'' exterior screws 70 are used to secure the tabs to the fascia board. The cap directs rainwater as well as any debris into gutters at the corner. The debris is cleaned out when the gutters are rotated for cleaning.
A right angle water diverter 60 is placed against the inside of the collector box front wall and flush against the floor of the box. It is attached to the collector box front wall with four 6×3/8'' sheet metal screws 71. The corner cap 52 is leveled and secured to the water diverter wall by driving four 6×3/8'' sheet metal screws 71 through the diverter wall into the bent-up lip along the front edge of the corner cap.
Water from the roof valley is diverted left and right by the water diverter 60 and passes along the corner cap directly into the gutter for mid to high water flow. At lower flow rates the water won't have enough velocity to reach the gutters and will fall off the cap edges directly into the collector box. In either case all water ends up in the collector box and is directed to a downspout attached to the collector box or is passed along in a collector channel.
Attaching the Gutter to the Fascia Board
Before attaching the gutter to the fascia board 11 verify that the fascia board surface is smooth and free of obstructions that could potentially snag the gutter back wall as it rotates forward.
Observe proper pitch. A gutter should be pitched down toward the drain end at a rate of approximately 1/4'' drop for every 8 feet of gutter. For example if the gutter being installed is 24 feet long it would require 6 rotating brackets spaced at 4-foot intervals. The top of the rotating bracket leg at the non-drain end of the gutter is set flush against the roof edge. The top of the next bracket leg is set 1/8'' down from the roof edge and each succeeding bracket has another 1/8'' of drop added to it. The sixth bracket at the drain end is set 5/8'' down from the roof edge.
Determine the drop down pitch distance required for each bracket ahead of time and insure that all rotating brackets are closed (cradle floor is flush with L support member ledge). Raise the gutter at the center and rest the drain end on the collector box. Insure that the gutter is properly aligned side-to-side as previously described in the Gutter Preparation. Begin with the bracket closest to the center of the section and align the bracket down from the roof edge at the distance for proper gutter pitch. Drive a 1'' exterior screw 70 through the upper mounting hole of the bracket into the fascia board.
Continue installing brackets, moving from the center toward the non-drain end, until the last bracket over the non-drain end is secured flush against the roof edge. Then install the remaining brackets moving from the center toward the drain end until the last bracket is installed at the prescribed pitch distance down from the roof edge. When all brackets have been secured with a screw in the upper mounting hole, rotate the gutter forward and drive 1'' exterior screws 70 into the center and lower mounting holes of each bracket.
Rotate the gutter back and forth a couple of times and be sure it moves freely. There should be a minimum 1/2'' clearance between the top of the gutter back wall and the forward edge of the roof-edge ramp as the gutter is rotated.
The gutter drain is an opening cut in the gutter floor directly over the collector box. When an existing fixed gutter is converted to RGRS removing the drop in the gutter bottom leaves a round hole, which for a typical 5K aluminum gutter is a 23/8'' in diameter. If the downspout being used is 2''×3'', this size hole size works well. If a new drain hole is needed a 21/2'' metal cutting hole saw is a quick and easy way to do this.
If the gutter will drain a large roof area, a 21/2''×4'' rectangular opening can be made in the gutter to work with a 3''×4'' downspout. In this the case the drop in the collector box serving this gutter will need to be increased in size to work with the 3×4 downspout as well.
In every case, to insure that the collector box captures all water exiting the drain hole, the perimeter of the gutter drain opening should remain completely inside of the perimeter of the collector box walls by a minimum of 1/2'' at every point.
If the gutter is aluminum, the edges of a newly cut drain opening may have been pushed up in making the opening. The edges should be adjusted to taper downward very slightly, 1/4'' maximum, to facilitate unimpeded rainwater flow through the drain hole. The edges in PVC gutters are usually not pushed off plane in making the drain opening.
A section of 1/4'' mesh wire screening slightly larger than the drain hole opening is attached over the drain opening with four 6×3/8'' sheet metal screws 71, one located near each corner of the screening. The screen prevents leaves and debris from falling into the collector box, which could eventually clog it and/or the downspout.
Note: The 2 drain screen screws nearest the front wall of the gutter should be located back at least 3/4'' from the front wall. If they are more forward than this they can potentially drag on the top edge of the front wall of the collector box as the gutter is rotated forward.
This completes the installation.
Prototype Development, Installation and Testing
Rotating bracket and collector box prototypes were produced and used to convert a number of existing fixed rain gutters. The converted gutters performed very well in accordance with specifications of this document.
Testing was also done on some of these converted gutters to determine the integrity of the rotating brackets under a fully loaded condition.
The gutter drain was closed and the gutter was fully loaded with water to simulate a situation that can occur over time as gutters become completely clogged. The rotating brackets remained securely attached to the fascia board and the gutter remained in the operating upright position. The gutter was rotated forward from the ground and emptied of the water contents.
As ice weighs about 9% less than water it is safe to conclude that the same gutter filled with water that freezes partially or completely would weigh no more than the water in the gutter.
Patent applications in class With downspout
Patent applications in all subclasses With downspout