Title:
Gutter cleaning system with gutter cleaner and plug resistant downspout cap
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A gutter cleaning system for cleaning an overhead gutter or the like for residential and commercial buildings. The gutter cleaning system is comprised of the gutter cleaner and plug resistant downspout cap. The gutter cleaner comprised of two pulleys mounted one on each gutter end, cord and a debris pusher slidably placed on the floor of the gutter. The pusher includes a slider body having a directionally pivotal pusher plate on one end and a cord tension spring on the other end. The cord is attached the pusher body and placed around the gutter end pulleys to make a continuous loop. The gutter cleaner is operated from a fixed gutter end location. The plug resistant downspout cap, having the top opening areas narrower than the inside areas of the downspout pipe, is placed over and in the downspout opening. The pusher body in the gutter cleaner slides over the cap top and the pusher plate mounted in the front of the pusher body will sweep the debris on and around the downspout opening areas and prevents the downspout pipe from clogging. In this manner, the full straight length of the gutter will be cleaned of debris with each application of the gutter cleaning system.



Inventors:
Yoshida, Akifumi (San Rafael, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/079361
Publication Date:
08/21/2003
Filing Date:
02/21/2002
Assignee:
YOSHIDA AKIFUMI
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
15/236.04
International Classes:
E04D13/076; (IPC1-7): E04D13/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20060174549Rapidly-deployable lightweight load resisting arch systemAugust, 2006Dagher et al.
20060201067Rain gutter cleaning tongsSeptember, 2006Duke
20090320395LOWER CHORD BEARING COLD-FORMED STEEL JOISTSDecember, 2009Strickland et al.
20040182039Clip for installing sidingSeptember, 2004Bess
20060277847High-strength composite floorDecember, 2006Yates
20090255206Adjustable Attachment SystemOctober, 2009Walker III
20090249730LAMINATE FLOORING WITH COUPLING STEMOctober, 2009Vibiano
20090139162Bedroom windows that opens itself to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning without external electrical supplyJune, 2009Mancini
20020078652MODULAR STRUCTURAL SURFACE ASSEMBLYJune, 2002Hawkes
20080178555TAPERED TRUSSJuly, 2008Green et al.
20050252141Roofing shingles provided with release coatingNovember, 2005Kerkar et al.



Primary Examiner:
SLACK, NAOKO N
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
AKI YOSHIDA (SAN RAFAEL, CA, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A gutter cleaning system comprising of the gutter cleaner and the plug resistant downspout cap:

2. A gutter cleaning system in claim 1 wherein the gutter cleaner slides and pushes in one way direction the gutter debris inside and along the gutter for collection at one end.

3. A gutter cleaner in claim 2 wherein the gutter cleaner comprises a debris pusher means with a pivotal plate means in one end and a tension means for a cord means in the other end, two pulley means mounted one on each end of the gutter, and said cord means attached to one end of said debris pusher means and to said tension means on the other end of said debris pusher means and placed around said pulley means thereby to form a continuous loop.

4. A gutter cleaner in claim 3 wherein the debris pusher means is a tunnel like structure.

5. A gutter cleaner in claim 3 wherein the debris pusher means is made of ABS plastic.

6. A gutter cleaner in claim 3 wherein the pivotal plate pivots only in one direction.

7. A gutter cleaner in claim 6 wherein the pivotal means of said plate is molded into said plate means.

8. A gutter cleaner in claim 3 wherein the mounting means holds the pulley to the gutter end.

9. A gutter cleaner in claim 3 wherein the cord means is a braided nylon cord.

10. A gutter cleaner in claim 3 wherein the tension means is a coil spring type.

11. A gutter cleaner in claim 3 wherein a corner bracket means is mounted for the gutter comer where two straight gutters meet.

12. A gutter cleaner in claim 12 wherein said comer bracket mounts a plurality of pulleys.

13. A gutter cleaning system in claim 1 wherein the plug resistant downspout cap prevents the downspout pipe from clogging by holding large debris from falling into the downspout opening.

14. A plug resistant downspout cap in claim 13 wherein the gutter cleaner means in claim 2 slides and sweeps the debris over the downspout cap.

15. A plug resistant downspout cap in claim 13 wherein the gutter cleaner means in claim 2 slides and sweeps the debris between the slotted openings of the downspout cap top.

16. A plug resistant downspout cap in claim 13 wherein a mounting means holds the cap top in and over the downspout opening.

17. A plug resistant downspout cap in claim 13 wherein said cap top comprises a plurality of slotted cap top members and a plurality of cross members.

18. A plug resistant downspout cap in claim 13 wherein said cap top design means provides smaller opening areas on said cap top than the area inside of the downspout pipe.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] Not applicable

[0002] 1. BACKGROUND—FIELD OF INVENTION

[0003] This invention relates to a gutter cleaning system with gutter cleaner and plug resistant downspout cap for gutter cleaning, specifically for cleaning rain gutters of residential or commercial buildings.

[0004] 2. BACKGROUND—DESCRIPTION OF PRIOR ART

[0005] The rain gutter cleaning is tedious, dirty and often dangerous. Often the user requires many ladder relocations and climbing along the length of the gutter. Therefore, inventors created types of gutter cleaning devices or tools to clean the rain gutter in such a way to mechanically pick up the debris or hydraulically push the debris in the gutter. U.S. Pat. No. 4,930,824 to Matthews (1990) discloses a fork-like jaws and slide system mounted on a long pole, which can slide along the rim of the gutter. However, this system will be difficult to operate with gutters with support nails. U.S. Pat. No. 5,727,580 to Patterson (1998) comprised a J-shaped pole with scoop at the end to scoop out the debris. These types of devices are heavy and awkward, especially for high roof gutters. Furthermore, the user still needs to walk under the gutter. If there are gutter support nails present, the devices will catch on the nails and the task of cleaning the gutter becomes difficult. U.S. Pat. No. 6,185,782 to Hall (2001) discloses the water, vacuum, camera, etc. It is an elaborate and expensive system. U.S. Pat. No. 5,037,028 to Evans (1991) discloses a spray nozzle system at the tip of a long pole. Again, the weight of the water in the hose to the gutter is heavy. The water jet will spray debris and dirt all around. Some water may get under the roofing material.

[0006] All the gutter cleaners heretofore known suffers from a number of disadvantages:

[0007] a) The user needs to frequently relocate the ladder, climb up and scoop out the debris.

[0008] b) The use of a long pole is awkward and requires strength to hold up in the air.

[0009] c) While holding the pole and looking up, one needs to operate the clamp-like device to close and capture the debris. This is not an easy task, especially from the ground.

[0010] d) Achieving the clean sweep of the gutter will be difficult.

[0011] e) The user needs to walk under the length of the gutter while holding and looking up at the cleaning device. This is a very tiring task.

[0012] f) The use of a water hose to get to the gutter height requires a tremendous strength to hold up the weight of the water, not to mention the mess it creates.

[0013] g) Some cleaning systems require modifications to the gutter itself.

[0014] h) These devices or tools will be difficult, if not possible, to clean high roof mounted gutters.

[0015] i) Gutter cleaning is time consuming.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0016] In view of the foregoing disadvantages inherent in the known types of gutter cleaners, the present invention provides a new gutter cleaning system wherein the same can be utilized for effectively cleaning a rain gutter. As such, the general purpose of the present invention, which will be described subsequently in greater detail, is to provide a new gutter cleaning system which has many of the advantages of the gutter cleaner heretofore, and many novel features that result in a gutter cleaning system which is not anticipated, rendered obvious, suggested, or even implied by any of the prior art gutter cleaners, either alone, or any combination thereof.

[0017] To attain this, the present invention essentially comprises a gutter cleaning system for effectively cleaning a rain gutter of residential and commercial buildings.

[0018] The gutter cleaning system includes a gutter cleaner and a plug resistant downspout cap. The plug resistant downspout cap is designed to work with this gutter cleaner, however, it may work with other gutter cleaning system, tools or devices.

[0019] The gutter cleaner comprises a pusher body having a hinged pusher plate in the front and a cord tension spring in the rear, two gutter end mounted pulleys, and a pulling cord attached to both ends of the pusher body, and around the gutter end pulleys to form a continuous loop. The user pulls the cord from one end of the gutter. The cord pulls the pusher body that slides on the gutter floor. The pusher plate in the front of the pusher, as it moves, pushes the debris toward the user end. For the return, the user pulls the cord in the other direction. However, the pusher plate, because it is hinged, swings open to ride over the debris without pushing. Once the all the debris is collected in the user end of the gutter, the user removes the collected debris. When the gutter is cleaned, the pusher body is returned to the other end.

[0020] The plug resistant downspout cap is an integral part of the gutter cleaning system to prevent the debris from clogging the downspout pipe. The plug resistant downspout cap comprises a plurality of longitudinally slotted top and a plurality of lateral cross members. The slotted top has a flat top over the downspout opening and the longitudinally sloped ends resting flush with the floor of the gutter. The gutter cleaner will sweep any debris on the gutter top. The slotted opening area is narrower at the top than the lower parts in the downspout pipe, therefore, any debris that fall through the slotted top will fall without clogging the downspout pipe. The cross members inserted inside the downspout pipe hold the cap top in place.

[0021] It is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. This invention is capable of other embodiments. Also, it is to be understood that the phrases and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting. As such, those skilled in the art may readily utilize this invention for designing of other structures, methods and systems for carrying out the purpose of the present invention. Therefore, it is important that the claims will be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES

[0022] Accordingly, besides the advantages over the disadvantages described in the above BACKGROUND—DESCRIPTION OF PRIOR ART, several objects and advantages of this gutter cleaning system with the gutter cleaner and plug resistant downspout cap are:

[0023] Gutter Cleaner

[0024] a) to provide a gutter cleaner which can be manufactured easily and with low material costs.

[0025] b) to provide the gutter cleaner that can be installed in the existing gutter without gutter modifications or tools.

[0026] c) to provide the whole gutter cleaning apparatus mounted on the gutter. There is no need for additional tools, water hose or devices to clean the gutter.

[0027] d) to provide a gutter cleaner which is easy and non-strenuous to operate.

[0028] e) to provide a gutter cleaner where frequent ladder relocation and climbing is avoided.

[0029] f) to provide a gutter cleaner so the user does not need to walk along and beneath the gutter.

[0030] g) to provide a gutter cleaner which cleans the gutter effectively and swiftly.

[0031] h) to provide a gutter cleaner which can clean the gutter without making a mess or possible water seepage into the ceiling area.

[0032] i) to provide a gutter cleaner which works without hesitation with any gutters and with or without gutter support nails or brackets.

[0033] j) to provide a gutter cleaner which works with or without the gutter screens and cleans without removing the screens if installed.

[0034] Plug Resistant Downspout Cap

[0035] k) to provide a plug resistant downspout cap which can be manufactured easily and with low material costs.

[0036] l) to provide a plug resistant downspout cap which prevents clogging of the downspout pipe with debris when used in the above gutter cleaning system or other gutter cleaning devices or system operation.

[0037] m) to provide the gutter cleaner that can be installed in the existing gutter without gutter modifications or tools.

[0038] Further objects and advantages of the said gutter cleaning system with the gutter cleaner and plug resistant downspout cap will become apparent from a consideration of the ensuing description and drawings.

DESCRIPTION OF DRAWING FIGURES

[0039] In the drawings, closely related figures have the same number but different alphabetic suffixes.

[0040] FIG. 1 shows the overall view of the gutter cleaner system.

[0041] FIG. 1A shows the side view of the overall gutter cleaner system.

[0042] FIG. 1B shows the rear view of the pusher body.

[0043] FIG. 1C shows the top view of the pusher body.

[0044] FIG. 1D shows the front view of the pusher body.

[0045] FIG. 1E shows the top view of the gutter end pulley and gutter end mounting.

[0046] FIG. 1F shows the end view of the gutter end pulley and mounting bracket.

[0047] FIG. 1G shows the pusher plate shape design to work with the preferred plug resistant downspout cap.

[0048] FIGS. 1H, 1I &1J show alternate pusher plate shape designs.

[0049] FIG. 1K shows the preferred pusher plate sweeping debris between the slotted downspout cap openings.

[0050] FIG. 2 shows the overall view of the preferred plug resistant downspout cap.

[0051] FIG. 2A shows the side view of the plug resistant gutter downspout cap.

[0052] FIG. 2B shows the top view of the plug resistant downspout cap.

[0053] FIGS. 2C and 2D show the cut out view of C-C′ with various plug resistant gutter downspout cap designs.

[0054] FIG. 2E shows the side view of the plug resistant gutter downspout cap with an alternate cross member shape.

[0055] FIGS. 3, 3A, 3B and 3C show various views of an alternate plug resistant downspout cap design.

[0056] FIGS. 4 and 4A show corner bracket examples for different gutter designs.

[0057] FIGS. 4B, 4C and 4E show other bracket examples for inside and outside gutter corners.

[0058] FIG. 4D shows two pulley mountings for a corner bracket to clean two right angle straight gutters.

[0059] FIGS. 5 and 5A show the pusher body with wheels.

REFERENCE NUMERALS IN DRAWINGS

[0060] 5 gutter

[0061] 6 skate wall

[0062] 7 horizontal member

[0063] 8 pusher plate floor clearance

[0064] 9 pulley mounting plate

[0065] 10 gutter end pulley mounting bracket

[0066] 11 gutter end pulley shaft

[0067] 12 gutter end pulley

[0068] 13 gutter end cap

[0069] 14 cord

[0070] 15 cord tied to the tension spring

[0071] 16 tension spring

[0072] 17 rounded corner

[0073] 18 pusher body

[0074] 19 wheels

[0075] 20 pusher plate hinge

[0076] 21 cord tie hole

[0077] 22 pusher plate

[0078] 23 screw/bolt

[0079] 25 wheel shaft

[0080] 61 perforated top member

[0081] 62 slotted top member

[0082] 63 alternate downspout pipe insert

[0083] 64 cap top slope

[0084] 66 cap cross member

[0085] 70 cap top gutter rest

[0086] 72 downspout opening

[0087] 73 corner bracket

[0088] 74 outside corner bracket

[0089] 75 corner bracket with two pulleys

[0090] 76 inside corner bracket

DESCRIPTION

[0091] The gutter cleaning system is comprised of two parts, namely, gutter cleaner and plug resistant downspout cap.

[0092] Preferred Embodiments of each component is described below;

[0093] Gutter Cleaner—FIG. 1—Preferred Embodiments

[0094] A preferred embodiment of the gutter cleaner of the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 1. The gutter cleaner consists of a debris pusher body 18, two gutter end pulleys 12 and a cord 14 long enough in length to reach the gutter end pulleys and the pusher body to make a continuous loop. The pusher body 18 has two thin sliding skate walls 6 connected with an upper horizontal member 7, thereby forming a tunnel like structure. The front and back bottom skate walls have rounded corners 17 for easy sliding on the gutter floor. Toward the front end of the pusher body 18 there is a hole 21 longitudinally centered for attaching a cord end. Said hole is a means to attach the cord to the pusher body. A braided nylon cord is used as the cord material. Toward the rear end in the longitudinal center is the cord tension spring 16 attached to the pusher body with a screw 23. Said spring is a means to keep the tension on the cord for taking up the slack and to keep the pulley end bracket from moving. Said spring is made of a coil spring. Said screw is a means to attach the spring to the pusher body. The front of the pusher body has a debris pusher plate 22, which is slightly short of touching the gutter floor for sliding clearance 8. Said plate 22 has a hinge 20 mounted just below the top surface of the horizontal member 7 of the pusher body 18 to prevent the movement interference of the cord and the pusher plate.

[0095] Said hinged pusher plate 22 will swing open one way only. During the forward movement of the pusher body, said pusher plate will rest against the two side skate walls 6, thereby preventing the pusher plate from rearward pivoting. In this manner, said plate will push the gutter debris forward only. During the rearward movement of the pusher body, said plate will swing open to ride over the debris on the gutter floor without pushing or collecting the debris.

[0096] The gutter end pulleys 12 are mounted on the gutter end caps 13 by means of the gutter end pulley mounting brackets 10. Said bracket is a means to attach the pulley to the gutter end without using tools. Each pulley 12 is mounted between the pulley mounting side plates 9 with a shaft 11 as shown in FIGS. 1E and 1F, with narrow clearances in such a way to prevent the cord from wedging between the pulley and the side plates. The cord 14 is attached toward the front end of the pusher body, threaded through one end pulley and another end pulley and finally attached to the cord tension spring end 15. The return cord can be placed over or under the gutter supporting nails or brackets inside the gutter. The gutter screens can be placed over the cord, if used.

[0097] Plug Resistant Downspout Cap—FIGS. 2—Preferred Embodiments

[0098] A preferred embodiment of the plug resistant downspout cap used in the gutter cleaner of the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 2.

[0099] Said downspout cap consists of longitudinally slotted top members 62, and lateral cross members 66. Said top members extend beyond the downspout opening. Said lateral cross members, structurally attached to said top members 62, fit laterally inside of the downspout pipe opening 72.

[0100] Said top members have flat tops over the downspout opening and sloped ends 64 over the gutter floor area in order for the pusher body 18 and pusher plate 22 as shown in FIG. 1A to slide over to remove any debris. The debris will not clog the downspout pipe because the debris entrance areas on the top are narrower than the exit areas inside the downspout pipe 72. Any accumulated debris on or around the downspout cap will be swept away by the pusher plate 22 as the pusher body 18 slides over.

[0101] In this example, two T-shaped extruded aluminum as in FIG. 2C with two round shaped lateral bars 66 are used.

[0102] The materials used to construct the gutter cleaning system comprised of the gutter cleaner and plug resistant downspout cap can be various, such as galvanized steel, stainless steel, aluminum, brass, copper, plastic, wood or other material means. However, due to the exterior use, the material shall resist wear, weather, corrosion, deformation, temperature, ultraviolet and other harmful elements from rain water, salt water, sand, debris, leaves, wind, sun, etc. that the gutter is normally subjected to. Aluminum and plastics such as ABS, PVC or Polypropylene are preferred

FIGS. 4, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D AND 4E—ADDITIONAL EMBODIMENTS

[0103] When two straight gutters are connected at a corner, one or two gutter cleaners will be employed with the use of the corner bracket designed for mounting of end pulleys. There are various possibilities with regard to this design to work with this gutter cleaning system. Some examples but not limited to, are shown in FIGS. 4, 4A, 4B and 4C for different gutter shapes, inside and outside corners and one or two pulley mountings.

FIGS. 1H, 1I, 1J, 1K, IL, 2D, 2E, 3, 3A, 3B, AND 3C—ALTERNATIVE EMBODIMENTS

[0104] There are various possibilities with regard to the design of the gutter cleaning system.

[0105] Gutter Cleaner: FIGS. 1H, 1I, 1J, 1K, 1L, 5 AND 5A

[0106] Design variations of the pusher plate design are shown in FIGS. 1H, 1I and 1J. The pusher body may have plural wheels 19 and center shafts 25 mounted in lieu of sliding skates on the pusher wall bottoms as shown in FIGS. 5 and 5A.

[0107] The horizontal member in the pusher body is a means to connect the two side skate walls and make the pusher body structurally solid, therefore, it may be a solid plate, perforated plate or multiple lateral bars, or any other shape means.

[0108] The pusher plate may also have perforations or grid like openings provided that the pusher plate can effectively push the gutter debris and without clogging the openings. The pivotal hinge 20 on the pusher plate can be formed as an integral part of the pusher plate.

[0109] The cord tension spring can be mounted elsewhere, such as on one of the gutter end pulleys 12. The cord tension spring may not be needed if the cord is elastic or when the gutter end cap brackets are permanently installed and any cord slack does not cause the gutter end bracket movement.

[0110] The mounting bracket 10 for the gutter end cap may have screws, bolts, etc. to securely attach to the gutter end.

[0111] This gutter cleaner may be powered by electrical motor means with the use of a slip resistant cord and pulley system.

[0112] Plug Resistant Downspout Cap: FIGS. 3, 3A, 3B AND 3C

[0113] There can be various shapes, configurations and quantities for the slotted top members or cross members. Some of which are illustrated in FIGS. 2D and 2E. In addition, the cap top can be a perforated plate of round, square or other shaped hole means. FIGS. 3-3C show one example of a round perforation.

[0114] The plug resistant downspout cap can be made one plastic molded piece.

ADVANTAGES

[0115] From the aforementioned descriptions, a number of advantages of my gutter cleaning system with gutter cleaner and plug resistant downspout cap become evident.

[0116] Gutter Cleaner

[0117] 1. The gutter cleaner can be manufactured easily and with low material costs.

[0118] 2. The gutter cleaner can be installed in the existing gutter without gutter modifications.

[0119] 3. The gutter cleaner can be installed in the existing gutter without tools.

[0120] 4. The whole gutter cleaner is mounted on the gutter. There is no need for additional tools or devices to clean the gutter.

[0121] 5. The debris in the entire length of the straight gutter will be cleaned without having to manually clean along the gutter length.

[0122] 6. The debris will be collected to one end of the gutter for disposal.

[0123] 7. The whole length of the gutter will be cleaned of debris effectively and swiftly.

[0124] 8. The gutter can be cleaned from a fixed location without relocating a ladder.

[0125] 9. There is no water or debris spraying.

[0126] 10. There is no possibility of water seepage into the roofing material or ceiling area.

[0127] 11. It can be used for the gutter with support nails or brackets.

[0128] 12. It also can be used for the gutter with gutter screens.

[0129] Plug Resistant Downspout Cap

[0130] 1. When large debris accumulates on or around the downspout cap, the user operates the gutter cleaner to sweep the debris.

[0131] 2. Small debris will fall into the downspout without clogging the downspout pipe.

[0132] 3. The plug resistant downspout cap is installed in the existing gutter without gutter modifications.

[0133] 4. The gutter cleaner is installed in the existing gutter without tools.

OPERATION

[0134] Gutter Cleaner—FIG. 1

[0135] The user will climb on a ladder to reach to the pull cord 14 on one end of the rain gutter where the pusher plate of the pusher body is facing. The user pulls the cord 14 to move the pusher body 18 toward the user end of the gutter. Said pusher body will skate on the gutter floor. The pusher plate 22 in the front will push and collect the accumulated debris in the gutter. When the debris is collected, simply remove from the gutter. By pulling the cord in other direction, return the pusher to the original end. For the pusher return, the debris will not be pushed back because of the directionally pivotal hinged pusher plate.

[0136] Plug Resistant Downspout Cap—FIG. 2

[0137] The debris pusher of the gutter cleaner sweeps over the plug resistant downspout cap. As the pusher sweeps over, the debris is removed and the top of the slotted downspout cap is cleaned. When the pusher plate design illustrated in FIG. 1G is used, the pusher plate will clean any debris between the openings of the cap top plates 62 as shown in FIG. 1K. Because the slotted openings in the plug resistant downspout cap are narrower than the downspout opening, any fallen debris will not clog the downspout pipe.

CONCLUSION, RAMIFICATION, AND SCOPE

[0138] Accordingly, the reader will see that the gutter cleaning system of this invention can be used to clean the gutter easily and swiftly from a fixed location, or remotely without using gutter cleaning tools or devices, or tediously and dangerously relocating and climbing the ladder along the full length of the gutter. The gutter cleaner can be operated by simply pulling the cord from one end of the gutter to slide the pusher body to clean the full straight length of the gutter.

[0139] The plug resistant downspout cap works with this gutter cleaner and prevents the downspout pipe from clogging. However it can be used with other gutter cleaners.