Title:
Rain Dispersal System and Method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An impervious elongated plate is fastened to a building, near the edge of the rooftop. The plate forms a rebound surface with an uninterrupted slope extending downwardly away from the building. Rainwater falling over the edge of the rooftop, strikes the surface, rebounds, and is dispersed along an extended area at ground level, away from the building. The plate may be flexible and resilient, with a memory so that the plate deflects downwardly under load, but returns to its initial position after the load is removed. The plate may be formed as a single work piece. The plate may be extruded from a plastic material. A method includes the step of securing an impervious surface at an uninterrupted slope near the edge of a rooftop so that rainwater falling over the edge strikes the surface. A major portion of the rainwater is directed downwardly and outwardly along the slope. The major portion of the rainwater is scattered as a spray of water droplets falling onto the ground below.



Inventors:
Clausi, Robert N. (Oakville, CA)
Application Number:
10/572498
Publication Date:
10/09/2008
Filing Date:
06/09/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/741.1
International Classes:
E04D13/064
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WENDELL, MARK R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ridout & Maybee LLP (Burlington, ON, CA)
Claims:
1. A device for dispersing an amount of rainwater flowing over an edge of a rooftop defined by a building, the device comprising: an impervious rebound surface of sufficient dimension to disperse a major portion of said amount of rainwater into a spray of water droplets falling onto an extended area at ground level away from the building; the surface extending outwardly away from said edge and along an uninterrupted downward slope; and a mounting element to secure the device to said building, adjacent said edge.

2. The device claimed in claim 1, wherein the device is formed in a single work piece.

3. The device claimed in claim 1 or 2, wherein the device is made from a single work piece by a method from a group of methods consisting of extrusion and roll forming.

4. The device claimed in any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the surface is made of a flexibly resilient material.

5. The device claimed in any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the surface deflects downwardly by a predetermined distance away from a first position when the surface is subjected to a defined loading, and the surface returns to the first position when the loading is removed.

6. The device as claimed in any one of claims, 1 to 5, wherein the surface defines a plurality of downwardly cascading steps.

7. The device as claimed in any one of claims, 1 to 5, wherein the surface defines an upwardly projecting convex arch.

8. The device as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein the mounting element defines a projecting wall for securing the device along said edge.

9. The device as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 8, wherein an abutment projects outwardly from said mounting element, the abutment defining a stop for positioning said device along a preferred position adjacent said edge.

10. The device as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 9, wherein the surface terminates along a drip-edge extending along an axis parallel to said edge, the device further comprising a horizontal channel positioned outwardly away from said drip-edge and below said drip-edge.

11. The device as claimed in claim 10, wherein the channel is capable of holding a minor portion of said amount of rainwater.

12. The device as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 11, defining a ridge for securing decorative items to the device.

13. The device as claimed in claim 12 wherein said ridge is defined by an outward edge of said channel.

14. The device as claimed in claim 1 to 13, wherein the mounting element is marked for a range of preferred sites to position a plurality of fasteners for securing the device to a soffit along said edge.

15. The device as claimed in claim 1 to 14, wherein the uninterrupted slope defines a substantially smooth surface.

16. A method of dispersing an amount of rainwater flowing over an edge of a rooftop defined by a building, the method comprising: securing an impervious rebound surface adjacent said edge; directing a major portion of said amount of rainwater downwardly and outwardly away from said edge; said major portion of said amount of rainwater rebounding along an uninterrupted downward slope; and said surface dispersing said major portion of said amount of rainwater into a spray of water droplets failing over an extended area at ground level away from the building.

17. The method of claim 16 wherein said surface is deflected downwardly a predetermined distance away from a first position when said surface is subjected to a defined loading; and said surface is returned to the first position when the loading is removed from said surface.

18. The method of claim 16 or 17 comprising a step of directing a minor portion of said amount of rainwater into a channel extending parallel to a longitudinal axis defined by said surface.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a device and method for dispersing rainwater flowing from the roof of a building structure.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

There are many known building construction materials for channeling rainwater away from building structures. For example, known construction materials which include by way of example, eaves troughs and similar structures, collect substantial amounts of rainwater and then divert the collected rainwater along a predetermined path, away from buildings.

Typically, the earlier systems collect rainwater flowing from a roof in horizontally aligned troughs which are sloped toward common downspouts. These earlier systems are used to prevent rainwater from flowing over the edge of a building roof, and falling directly to the ground surface below. Among other things, such conventional systems were intended to divert rainwater away, from the building structure (to limit the risk of water flowing into the structure) and to minimize the amount of soil erosion caused by rainwater spilling over onto the ground below the roof's edge.

Conventional gutter systems are susceptible to clogging with leaves, dirt and other debris. U.S. Pat. No. 6,732,477 B1 discloses a gutter cap placed over a gutter trough to inhibit infiltration of debris into the gutter system. Water flows over the gutter cap, into the underlying gutter. In temperate climates, snow and ice may accumulate within gutters during the winter season, causing the gutters to clog until the weather warms sufficiently to thaw the frozen ice and melt accumulated snow. In some instances, heating systems are added to prevent freezing of water within conventional gutter systems.

These and other conventional collection systems concentrate the downward flow of water into a predetermined number of downspouts, pipes and similar structures. Typically, the troughs are located along a lower edge of a roof. The troughs are fastened to the fascia board, or other suitable structural support, below and immediately adjacent to the lower edge of the roof. The rainwater collected in the troughs is then diverted to common downspouts, to channel the downward flow of rainwater to selected points along the perimeter of the building.

Although these traditional rainwater diversion systems are useful for collecting and diverting rainwater, problems often arise when many buildings collect and divert substantial amounts of rainwater into storm sewers and other water drainage systems. Waste water management authorities are burdened with the responsibility of handling substantial loads of rain water flowing through waste water handling and flood control facilities. In some jurisdictions, local water management authorities impose restrictions against connection of rainwater collection systems to waste water sewer systems and other waste water handling facilities. Building owners are then faced with the dilemma of disposing of large volumes of rainwater diverted from their rooftops into fast flowing channels of water. The water disposal problems are exacerbated if the landowner's surrounding landscape is unable to absorb the collected rainwater or if water overflows onto neighboring properties. In addition, soil erosion and related problems may arise if the diverted rain water is allowed to flow along ground level in fast moving channels.

Traditional eaves troughs are typically made by installation workers at a construction site, by bending and working sheet metal segments cut from long rolls of sheet metal stock of uniform thickness. The installation workers typically cut the segments of sheet metal to a preferred size. The segments are then shaped to have the desired shape, size and profile, with folds and other features added for reinforced attachment to the building. The segments must be carefully positioned, aligned, and connected in water tight fashion along a sloped grade to ensure that the rainwater is effectively channeled to the target downspouts. The installation workers must carefully design the eaves troughs and provide an adequate number of suitably positioned downspouts to accommodate the volumes of water collected from related areas of the building rooftop. The eaves and downspouts must be adequate to handle the volumes of rainwater, to avoid overflow of rainwater over the edges of the eaves troughs. For various reasons, it is desirable that the eaves troughs are suitably sloped to avoid pooling of rainwater within the channels. Installation workers must take special care to join and secure the eaves trough segments with water-tight seals to avoid annoying leaks at the joints. Often, these joints are sealed with caulking and other special sealants to inhibit leaks. However, these sealants degrade over time, and often, the joints must be cleaned and resealed after only a few years of use.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,068,424 (by Madfis) is an example of a rainwater dispersion system made of a complex series of assembled parts including complex baffles to distribute rainwater along the length of the Madfis dispersion system. The series of staggered baffles retain and channel water along the gaps formed between adjacent baffles. The baffles are indented at regular intervals with pockets and protrusions. The pockets and protrusions in one row of baffles are offset and staggered relative to the positioning of the pockets and protrusions of the baffles in the nearest rows, to distribute water along the length of the receiving surface. In the Madfis system, rainwater flows over a receiving surface, however, the downward slope and the corresponding water flow is interrupted by a series of upwardly projecting baffles. The baffles impede the downward flow of water, redirecting the water flow over the surface and along horizontal channels between neighboring baffles. The numerous baffles present a plurality of clearly defined horizontal channels all of which are susceptible to accumulation of dirt, debris, ice and snow, under various operating conditions. Furthermore, the complex assembly of component parts made in complex shapes cannot be readily extruded or easily formed into a single work piece of convenient size and shape.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a device and system for dispersing rainwater flowing downwardly from a rooftop. In one embodiment, the device disperses rainwater which flows over the edge of the rooftop, by creating a spray of water droplets scattered over an extended area located away from the building. The device comprises an impervious rebound surface of sufficient dimension so that, when an amount of rainwater flows over the edge of the rooftop, the water falls over the edge and strikes the surface, a major portion of that amount of rainwater rebounds from the surface and is converted into a spray scattered outwardly away from the building. The surface extends downwardly away from the edge, and away from the building. The surface defines an uninterrupted downward slope. The device also includes a mounting element to secure the device to the building, preferably, adjacent the edge of the rooftop.

In other embodiments, the device may be formed into a single work piece. The device may be extruded from a suitable material (for example, a plastic or other extrudable material). In other embodiments, the device may be made from flexible, yet resilient materials. In certain instances, the device may be roll formed from a continuous roll of metal sheet stock, such as by way of example, aluminum or copper. In some preferred embodiments, the material may be provided with a memory so that the device will not be permanently deformed when loaded under substantial water flows, accumulations of ice or other debris. Optional bosses may be formed or added for increased strength where it is desired.

The surface of the device may be defined by a series of downwardly cascading steps, an upwardly projecting convex arch, a flat surface, a substantially smooth surface, or a combination of such configurations.

In another embodiment, the invention includes a method of dispersing an amount of rainwater flowing over an edge of a rooftop defined by a building. The method comprises the steps of:

    • securing an impervious rebound surface adjacent said edge;
    • directing a major portion of said amount of rainwater downwardly and outwardly away from said edge;
    • said major portion of said amount of rainwater rebounding along an uninterrupted downward slope; and
    • said surface dispersing said major portion of said amount of rainwater into a spray of water droplets falling over an extended area at ground level away from the building.

In a further embodiment, the impervious surface is deflected downwardly a predetermined distance away from a first position when the surface is subjected to a defined loading. The impervious surface is returned to the first position when the loading is removed from the surface.

In another embodiment of the invention, a minor portion of said amount of rainwater is directed into a channel extending parallel to a longitudinal axis defined by the impervious surface.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 of the drawings is a side view, in perspective, of a section of one embodiment of the rain diversion device of the present invention attached to a building structure.

FIG. 2A is a side view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 in isolation.

FIG. 2B is a top view, in perspective, of the embodiment of FIG. 1 and FIG. 2A.

FIG. 2C is a side view of a variant of the embodiment of FIG. 1, FIGS. 2A and 2B, represented in use.

FIG. 3A is a side view of another embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 3B is a top view, in perspective, of the embodiment of FIG. 3A.

FIG. 4A is a side view of yet another embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 4B is a top view, in perspective, of the embodiment of FIG. 4A.

FIG. 5A is a side view of another embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 5B is a top view, in perspective, of the embodiment of FIG. 5A.

FIG. 6A is a side view of a further embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 6B is a top view, in perspective, of the embodiment of FIG. 6A.

FIG. 7A is a side view of yet another embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 7B is a top view, in perspective, of the embodiment of FIG. 7A.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

With reference to FIGS. 1, 2A, 2B, and 2C, of the drawings, a first embodiment of a rain disperser 1 is formed from a plastic material, preferably by extrusion. The disperser 1 is fastened to a fascia board 20 of an existing building structure, below soffit 40, and adjacent roof 30 of the building. Back plate 3 and flange 4 act as a guide to position the disperser 1 in a preferred fastening position relative to the fascia board 20 of the building. Typically, the disperser 1 will be secured to the fascia board 20 by screws, nails or other fasteners. Where fasteners are used, stainless steel fasteners are preferred. In some instances, an optional guide 13 is marked with a line, groove or other visible indicator on the back plate 3 so that the installer may preferentially position the fasteners along the back plate 3, when mounting the disperser on the building. In other embodiments, the disperser may be provided with predrilled and countersunk holes to receive the fasteners when mounting the disperser on the building.

The disperser 1 includes a single, substantially flat and impervious deflector surface 2 extending between the back plate 3 and the drip edge 5. Single deflector surface 2 is offset at an angle below the horizontal, forming an angled surface to deflect a major portion of the water away from the building. Water flowing from the roof 30, or falling as rain directly on to the deflector surface 2, strikes the surface 2, and most of the water rebounds outwardly in a radiating spray pattern away from the building structure.

In the illustrated embodiment, the surface 2 is shown in the at rest position, sloped at about 7 degrees below the horizontal. It is anticipated that in many embodiments, the surface 2 will extend outwardly beyond the rooftop by about 3-6 inches (about 8-15 cm) if the inward most edge of the surface is positioned about 3-12 inches (about 8-30 cm) below the edge of the rooftop. The outward reach of the surface may be increased if the surface is secured to the building so that it is further below the edge of the rooftop. It will also be appreciated that the slope of the surface may be modified. It is believed that the preferred angle of the surface is in the range of about 5 to about 15 degrees below the horizontal. However, other slopes may be used. For example, in some instances, the angle (and slope) of the surface may be increased if the surface is extended outwardly to project a greater distance away from the edge of the rooftop. Also, the angle and slope of the surface may be decreased slightly, if the surface is reduced so that it projects to a lesser extent away from the edge of the rooftop. It will be understood that other variations will be possible provided that the surface is of sufficient dimension to effectively deflect and disperse most of the flowing rainwater into a spray scattering over an extended area away from the building.

In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1, 2A and 2B, the disperser 1 includes a collection trough 10 located outwardly of the surface 2, and below drip edge 5.

Trough 10 includes an outer edge 7 having a ridge 8 to secure decorative lights (for example Christmas lights) along the roof of the building. Typically, stringed decorative lights are provided with spring loaded clamps so that they may be more easily secured to a building. Ridge 8 provides a ‘catch’ to interact with clamps or other fasteners used to secure the decorative lights to buildings.

Collection trough 10 acts as a reservoir to collect a minor amount of residual water which may in some circumstances slowing flow down the rebound surface 2, such as for example, following a rainfall. Without the collection trough 10, the residual water droplets may tend to drip from drip edge 5, causing unsightly drip erosion on landscaped surfaces below the disperser 1. However, optional collection trough 10 allows the residual water droplets to pool within the trough 10 for evaporation. If desired, the trough 10 may be configured so that the collected residual water may be redirected along a channel 6 to a remote location for release to the ground surface below.

In certain embodiments of the invention, the disperser may be made from a single work piece of suitable length. By way of example, the disperser may be formed into a single piece for mounting on a building. In some instances, it may be desirable to make the disperser from a plastic material, by extrusion. Preferably, the material is flexible, but resilient so that the disperser will not deform or lose its shape over time. For example, in some instances it will be preferable to make the disperser from a flexibly resilient material, (for example a plastic material) having a satisfactory memory so that the disperser will return to its original shape and position after an initial displacement or movement.

Where sectional pieces of the disperser are joined together, a suitable sealant may be applied at the joint to inhibit leakage through optional trough 10.

In those instances where the disperser is made from a flexibly resilient material, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the main body of the disperser, including the surface 2 will tend to deflect downwardly when the surface is loaded by the impact of a downward flow of rainwater. Any fluctuations in the flow of water will tend to induce a fluctuation in the deflection of the surface 2, thereby shifting the position and slope of the surface 2 relative to a downward stream or flow of water. Any resulting fluctuation in the relative vertical position and slope of the surface 2 will tend to increase the ability of the disperser to distribute the downward flow of water over a larger area on the ground below.

FIG. 2C represents such an example of a flexibly resilient variant of the disperser shown in FIGS. 1, 2A and 2B. When the disperser 1 is subjected to a loading, corresponding to the flow of an amount of rainwater RW, the disperser is deflected by a distance d1 from its initial, at rest position A, downwardly to a second position B. If the disperser is subjected to a heavier loading corresponding to a greater flow of water, the disperser will be deflected a greater distance d2 from its initial, at rest position, downwardly to a third position C. As represented in FIG. 2C, a major portion Mj of the amount of rainwater RW strikes the surface, rebounds from the surface of the disperser, and is scattered about an extended area of the ground level below. A minor portion Mn of the rainwater RW may accumulate within the optional channel found at the terminal end of the surface 2. In certain applications, the disperser may be designed so that the main body of the disperser including the surface will be deflected to a substantial extent when loaded by accumulations of snow, ice or a combination of the two, in winter conditions. The disperser may be designed with a non stick surface, to allow the accumulations of snow and ice to more readily slide off the downwardly displaced and more steeply sloped surface to fall to the ground level below. The disperser may be made with a relatively smooth surface 2 from a material selected for various properties including its non stick characteristics. In other instances, the rebound surface 2 may be may be coated with an outer layer of a suitable non stick protective coating. When the disperser is relieved of the loading caused by the accumulation of snow and ice, the disperser will return to its normal, at rest position.

Other illustrated embodiments of the invention are described below with reference to specific examples of modifications to the surfaces of the illustrated disperser devices, the mounting elements (which in some instances include a back plate 3, with or without a flange 4) and a disperser device without an optional trough 10.

Specifically, FIGS. 3A and 3B illustrate an embodiment of the invention in which a disperser 31 includes a modified surface 32 defined by a series of downwardly cascading step segments 32′, 32″ and 32′″. The rebound surface 32 is uninterrupted by any significant obstacles which could lead to pooling of water along the downward slope of the surface. Although the surface 32 is defined by this series of steps, the surface is nonetheless relatively smooth, without any substantial depressions or changes in the profile of the surface which could induce the pooling of water on the surface. Rather, the surface 32 presents a relatively smooth profile which deflects rainwater which strikes that surface after falling from the edge of the rooftop above.

In the embodiments of the invention illustrated in FIGS. 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, the backplate 3 is provided with the optional flange 4 as described in detail above. These embodiments also show the collection trough 10, with outer edge 7 having a ridge 8, and the channel 6 defined along the length of the trough 10, all of which are described elsewhere herein. FIGS. 5A, and 5B show a disperser 51 with a straight, sloped surface 52, terminating at a drip edge 5. However, the disperser 51 does not include a trough adjacent the drip edge.

In FIGS. 4A and 4B, another embodiment of the invention is illustrated in which the rebound surface 42 of the disperser 41 is curved in a generally downward slope, with the convex surface 42 points upwardly. Optional bosses 47 are provided along the length of the disperser to strengthen the disperser against excessive flexure.

FIGS. 6A and 6B show a device of the invention in which the disperser 61 has a straight, uninterrupted, downwardly sloped surface 62, terminating at a drip edge 5, positioned adjacent a trough 10 with outer edge 7 and ridge 8. However, in this embodiment, the modified back plate 63 has a smooth back wall 64. Although the specific embodiments illustrated and described herein refer to a mounting element in the form of a back plate, other mounting elements may be used. For example, the element used to mount the disperser on a building may include a plate, flange or other suitable support which may be affixed to a soffit or other structural component of the building.

FIGS. 7A and 7B show another disperser 71 with a relatively straight, uninterrupted, downwardly sloped rebound surface 72, terminating at raised drip edge 75. The optional drip edge 75 projects upwardly from surface 72 to define a trough-like depression 78 in which a minor amount of water 80 may accumulate.

The invention also includes a method of dispersing rainwater over an extended area away from a building. An amount of rainwater flows from the rooftop of the building and falls over the edge of the rooftop. The method comprises:

    • securing an impervious rebound surface adjacent said edge;
    • directing a major portion of said amount of rainwater downwardly and outwardly away from said edge;
    • said major portion of said amount of rainwater rebounding along an uninterrupted downward slope; and
    • said surface dispersing said major portion of said amount of rainwater into a spray of water droplets falling over an extended area at ground level away from the building.

In another embodiment for dispersing rainwater flowing over the edge of a rooftop, the method includes the steps of:

    • securing an impervious rebound surface adjacent the edge, with the surface providing an uninterrupted downward slope;
    • deflecting a major portion of the amount of rainwater in rebounding flow along the slope, downwardly and outwardly away from the edge; and
    • dispersing the major portion into a spray of water droplets over an extended area at ground level away from the building.

In another embodiment, the impervious surface deflects downwardly by a predetermined distance when the surface is subjected to a defined loading. Specifically, the surface moves away from a first position to a second position when the surface is subjected a load, such as for example, a substantial flow of rainwater impacting on the surface, or the weight of an accumulated amount of snow, ice, or a combination thereof. The impervious surface is returned to the first position when the loading is removed from the surface.

In another embodiment of the invention, a minor portion of the rainwater flowing over the edge of the rooftop is directed to a channel extending parallel to a longitudinal axis defined by the impervious surface. This step may be used to inhibit erosion damage immediately below the terminal edge of the surface.

The foregoing are merely examples of certain aspects of the present invention. Many other embodiments, including modifications and variations thereof, are also possible and will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon a review of the invention as described herein. Accordingly, all suitable modifications, variations and equivalents may be resorted to, and such modifications, variations and equivalents are intended to fall within the scope of the invention as described herein and within the scope of the patent claims.