Title:
Pivotable Gutter
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Pivotable gutter having brackets spaced apart comprising mounting members (20) and carrying member (22). The gutter being lockable (30, 36) in a first position. The gutter has open ends sections (112, 114) that is sealable via sealing means (141) or a lining (178) with other gutter sections when the gutter sections are in the first position.



Inventors:
Kennedy, Martin Anthony (South Australia, AU)
Application Number:
11/568701
Publication Date:
11/27/2008
Filing Date:
05/04/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04D13/072; E04D13/064; E04D13/076
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
A, PHI DIEU TRAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ROBERT S. SMITH (MANCHESTER, CT, US)
Claims:
1. A gutter system including: a longitudinal gutter; at least two support brackets spaced apart along said longitudinal gutter for supporting the gutter below a roof edge, whereby each of said at least two support brackets includes a mounting member adapted to be fixedly mounted to a surface below the roof edge, and a pivotable member having said gutter attached thereto, said pivotable member being pivotably moveable between a first position wherein said gutter is positioned to receive liquid, to a second position wherein said gutter is easily accessible from a position therebelow.

2. A gutter system according to claim 1 wherein said mounting member includes two perpendicular edges, a side edge for mounting to said surface and a top edge adapted to extend outwards from said surface over said gutter.

3. A gutter system according to claim 1 or claim 2 wherein said pivotable member includes two perpendicular edges, a bottom edge which extends outwards from said surface and beneath said gutter and a side edge to which said gutter is attached.

4. A gutter system according to claim 3 wherein the bottom edge of the pivotable member is pivotably connected to the side edge of the mounting member whilst the side edge of the pivotable member is lockable to the top edge of the mounting member.

5. A gutter system according to claim 4 wherein said lock is in the form of a latch.

6. A gutter system according to any one of the above claims wherein said pivotable member first position constitutes said pivotable member being locked to said mounting member whilst said pivotable member second position constitutes said pivotable member being unlocked from said mounting member and in a fully pivoted position.

7. A gutter system according to any one of the above claims wherein movement of said pivotable member from said first position to said second position involves a rotation of approximately 90 degrees.

8. A gutter system according to any one of the above claims wherein said gutter includes at least one open portion adapted to permit the exit of liquid from said gutter.

9. A gutter system according to claim 8 wherein said at least one open portion of the gutter is located at an end thereof.

10. A gutter system according to claim 8 wherein said at least one open portion may be located at any point along said gutter.

11. A gutter system according to any one of claims 8-10 wherein said gutter system includes at least one downpipe including at least one inlet of a sufficient size to allow liquid from one or more gutter open portions to be received therein.

12. A gutter system according to claim 11 wherein said downpipe inlet is located a pre-determined distance below said at least one gutter open portion thereby allowing liquid from said gutter to be received therein.

13. A gutter system according to any one of the above claims wherein said pre-determined distance between the at least one gutter open portion and the downpipe inlet is sufficient to allow for said pivotable member to be rotated to said second position.

14. A gutter system according to any one of the above claims wherein said pivotable member is in said second position, said at least one gutter open portion remains above the corresponding downpipe inlet so that liquid may continue to be received therein.

15. A gutter system according to any one of the above claims wherein said at least one downpipe includes a straining means for preventing foreign particles from entering said downpipe.

16. A gutter system according to any one of the above claims wherein each of said brackets of said gutter system are affiliated with one another in such a way that when a pivotable member of one bracket is unlocked from a corresponding mounting member, the pivotable members of the remaining brackets are also unlocked from each of their corresponding mounting members.

17. A gutter system of the type adapted to be mounted beneath a longitudinal roof edge, said gutter system including: a plurality of brackets mounted at spaced apart longitudinal intervals below said roof edge whereby each of said brackets includes a mounting member and a gutter carrying member pivotably connected thereto and pivotably moveable between a first and a second position; a longitudinal gutter including two opposed open ends, said gutter adapted to be carried within the gutter carrying members of each of said spaced apart brackets such that when the gutter carrying members are in said first position, the gutter is adapted to receive liquid from thereabove, and when the gutter carrying members are in the second position, the gutter is pivoted for easier access thereto; and at least one downpipe located a pre-determined distance below said gutter open ends for receiving liquid therefrom, said pre-determined distance being sufficient to allow for pivot of the gutter carrying member into said second position.

18. A gutter system including: at least a first gutter section; at least a second gutter section, said second gutter section being moveable between a first position wherein at least one water receiving surface of said first and second gutter sections are axially aligned, and a second position whereby said water receiving surfaces are misaligned such that said second gutter section is more easily accessible from a position therebelow.

19. A gutter system according to claim 18 wherein said first gutter section is adapted to be fixedly mounted to a surface below a roof edge and said second gutter section is pivotably mounted to said surface.

20. A gutter system according to claim 18 or 19 wherein said gutter system includes a sealing means adapted to seal the gap between the first and second gutter sections to thereby integrate the respective water receiving surfaces when the second gutter section is in the first position.

21. A gutter system according to claim 20 wherein said first gutter section includes at least one means of transporting water away from the gutter system.

22. A gutter system according to any one of claim 21 wherein said water transporting means is in the form of a downpipe.

23. A gutter system according to any one of claims 18-22 wherein said gutter system includes at least two spaced apart brackets, each of said brackets including a mounting member, and a gutter carrying member pivotably connected thereto, said gutter carrying members adapted to support said second gutter section.

24. A gutter system according to any one of claims 18-23 wherein said sealing means is in the form of a sealing material lining at least the inner side of the gutter carrying member.

25. A gutter system according to any one of claims 18-23 wherein said sealing means is in the form of a sealing material lining the inner side of the mounting member and the gutter carrying member.

26. A gutter system according to any one of claims 18-25 wherein a bracket is mounted adjacent each end of the second gutter such that when the second gutter section is in said first position, the sealing material lining the inner side of the bracket provides a seal at the junction between respective first and second gutter sections.

27. A gutter system according to any one of claims 18-26 wherein said mounting member includes two perpendicular edges, a side edge for mounting to said surface and a top edge which extends over said gutter, said top edge including a recess for allowing space for said roof edge.

28. A gutter system according to any one of claims 18-27 wherein said pivotable member is contoured to the cross-sectional shape of the gutter.

29. A gutter system according to any one of claims 18-28 wherein said second gutter section is lockable in said first position.

30. A gutter system according to any one of claims 18-29 wherein said lock is in the form of a latch.

31. A gutter system according to any one of claims 18-30 wherein movement of said pivotable member from said first position to said second position involves a rotation of approximately 90 degrees.

32. A gutter system including: at least a first gutter section; at least a second gutter section, said second gutter section being pivotably moveable between a first position wherein at least one water receiving surface of said first and second gutter sections are axially aligned, and a second position whereby said water receiving surfaces are misaligned such that said second gutter section is more easily accessible from a position therebelow, said first gutter section including a sealing means adapted to seal the gap between the first and second gutter sections when said second gutter section is in said first position.

33. A gutter system according to claim 32 wherein said sealing means is a sealing material lining the inner surface of an end of the first gutter, said sealing material extending longitudinally beyond the end so that when the second gutter section is in said first position, the sealing material seals the gap between the first and second gutter sections to thereby form a single water receiving surface.

34. A gutter system according to claim 32 or claim 33 wherein said second gutter section is lockable in said first position.

35. A gutter system according to claim 34 wherein said lock is in the form of a latch.

36. A gutter system according to any one of claims 32-35 wherein movement of said pivotable member from said first position to said second position involves a rotation of approximately 90 degrees.

Description:

The present invention relates to an improved gutter system and, in particular, to a gutter system that is pivotable from a first position to receive rain water or melted snow, to a second position to facilitate cleaning and maintenance of the gutter, and vice versa.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Homes and other buildings are typically constructed having some form of gutter system which serves to collect rain water or other liquid from the roof and direct that water away from the house. A gutter generally comprises a longitudinal, rigid structure having a channel extending the length of the gutter. Typical styles of gutters that are available in Australia include D-gutters, fascia gutters, halfround gutters and O.G. gutters which each serve the same purpose but are each contoured slightly differently. Generally, a first longitudinal side of the gutter is directly mounted to a fascia or other like structure immediately underneath the edge of a roof, and the opposed side generally terminates into a rounded edge. When water enters the channel, it is typically directed away from the gutter through one or more downpipes at its ends. It is to be understood that the scope of the present invention is not to be limited to any particular style of gutter, and although the description and drawings relate specifically to D-gutters, the system may well be altered to accommodate for other rain gutter types such as the others mentioned above.

It is well known that gutter systems must be cleaned and maintained at constant intervals in order to avoid certain problems that may arise including gutter leakage, gutter damage and general clogging of the gutter channel and downpipe with foreign debris. For example, when build-up of foreign matter, such as leaves, occurs within a gutter channel or downpipe, the transport of water away from the gutter is restricted resulting in water build-up. Eventually, this build-up of water may lead to potentially larger problems such as water entering the attic, seepage of the water through the walls near the cornices, or damage to objects adjacent the gutter. Also, if the gutters are ‘wet’ for a long time, this increases the susceptibility to corrosion of the gutter.

There have been a number of attempts to overcome these problems including using gutter guards and other protective screening devices. These types of devices may succeed to a certain extent in preventing large debris from entering a gutter channel, however, they fail to prevent particulate matter from entering the channel so even when using gutter guards and similar devices, one must still clean the gutter channel at regular intervals.

Homeowners often talk of the difficulty in accessing the channel of a gutter for cleaning or for general maintenance. In conventional gutter systems, one is forced to either climb a ladder or mount the roof itself in order to clean the gutter channel and downpipes. This is not only difficult, but may also be dangerous and often results in the homeowner having to pay a specialist to complete the task on their behalf. There exist some prior art gutter systems which include means to pivot the gutter for easier access thereto, however, there are a number of problems associated with these apparatus.

Most existing pivotable systems involve the use of quite complex mechanisms for actuating pivot of the gutter. Those skilled in the art would know that the more parts involved in a gutter system, the more expensive the system is to manufacture and the more difficult the system is to operate. This also ultimately results in greater cost to the consumer. Further, complex componentry of a gutter system is much more susceptible to damage due to rain and wind as opposed to systems having simple mechanical parts and a smaller number of parts.

The installation of known pivotable gutter systems, whether it is a newly installed system or a system adapted to be retrofitted into an existing non-pivotable gutter system, is problematic and cumbersome. The problem arises from the need to direct water away from the gutter. In some systems known to the applicant, the downpipes, which traditionally extend downwards from a lower surface of the gutter channel, must be redesigned to allow for the pivotable movement of the gutter. The design and positioning of such downpipes is often inadequate in that they do not allow for the quick and easy retrieval of water away from the gutter channel.

Further, those skilled in the art would realise that in redesigning and manufacturing new downpipes, the complexity and cost of such systems also increases. Also, retrofitting such gutter systems onto existing gutter arrangements is not really an option in that if the downpipes have to be replaced, then the entire existing gutter will typically need to be removed as well. There is therefore a requirement for a pivotable gutter system to be able to accommodate for existing conventional downpipe arrangements. In the case of newly installed systems, this will eliminate the need for designing and manufacturing new types of downpipes, and in the case of retrofitted systems, this will simplify installation in that only minor manipulation of the existing gutter arrangement is required and desired aesthetic appearance may be maintained.

Some pivotable gutter systems require that the gutter be specially designed and contoured to the design of the gutter system. It would be preferable to have a pivotable gutter system whereby any form or cross-section of gutter may be fixed thereto.

There is therefore a need for a simple, low cost, easily produced pivotable gutter system which retains the integrity of a conventional rain gutter system.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to overcome at least some of the aforementioned problems or to provide the public with a useful alternative.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Therefore in one form of the invention there is proposed a gutter system including:

a longitudinal gutter;
at least two support brackets spaced apart along said longitudinal gutter for supporting the gutter below a roof edge, whereby each of said at least two support brackets includes a mounting member adapted to be fixedly mounted to a surface below the roof edge, and a pivotable member having said gutter attached thereto, said pivotable member being pivotably moveable between a first position wherein said gutter is positioned to receive liquid, to a second position wherein said gutter is easily accessible from a position therebelow.

The present invention therefore provides for a pivotable gutter system whereby the gutter is pivotably moveable between a first position for receiving rainwater or other liquid to a second pivoted position to facilitate cleaning or any other duties which need to be performed thereto. One can also appreciate that the present invention overcomes the problems associated with prior art gutter systems in its simple yet effective configuration.

Preferably said mounting member includes two perpendicular edges, a side edge for mounting to said surface and a top edge adapted to extend outwards from said surface over said gutter.

Preferably said pivotable member includes two perpendicular edges, a bottom edge which extends outwards from said surface and beneath said gutter and a side edge to which said gutter is attached.

In preference the bottom edge of the pivotable member is pivotably connected to the side edge of the mounting member whilst the side edge of the pivotable member is lockable to the top edge of the mounting member.

Advantageously said lock is in the form of a latch.

Preferably said pivotable member first position constitutes said pivotable member being locked to said mounting member whilst said pivotable member second position constitutes said pivotable member being unlocked from said mounting member and in a fully pivoted position.

Preferably movement of said pivotable member from said first position to said second position involves a rotation of approximately 90 degrees.

Preferably said gutter includes at least one open portion adapted to permit the exit of liquid from said gutter.

In preference said at least one open portion of the gutter is located at an end thereof.

Preferably said at least one open portion may be located at any point along said gutter. This may be the case where the aesthetic nature of the gutter is important, for example, at the front of a home where it is preferable for downpipes and open portions to not be visible.

Preferably said gutter system includes at least one downpipe including at least one inlet of a sufficient size to allow liquid from one or more gutter open portions to be received therein.

Preferably said downpipe inlet is located a pre-determined distance below said at least one gutter open portion thereby allowing liquid from said gutter to be received therein.

Preferably said pre-determined distance between the at least one gutter open portion and the downpipe inlet is sufficient to allow for said pivotable member to be rotated to said second position.

In preference when said pivotable member is in said second position, said at least one gutter open portion remains above the corresponding downpipe inlet so that liquid may continue to be received therein.

Advantageously, said at least one downpipe includes a straining means for preventing foreign particles from entering said downpipe.

Advantageously each of said brackets of said gutter system are affiliated with one another in such a way that when a pivotable member of one bracket is unlocked from a corresponding mounting member, the pivotable members of the remaining brackets are also unlocked from each of their corresponding mounting members. This is beneficial in that one does not need to unlock each and every bracket in order to pivot the gutter but simply one bracket which automatically unlocks the remaining brackets. This may be achieved by mechanical means or even motorised means.

In a further form of the invention there is proposed a gutter system of the type adapted to be mounted beneath a longitudinal roof edge, said gutter system including:

a plurality of brackets mounted at spaced apart longitudinal intervals below said roof edge whereby each of said brackets includes a mounting member and a gutter carrying member pivotably connected thereto and pivotably moveable between a first and a second position;
a longitudinal gutter including two opposed open ends, said gutter adapted to be carried within the gutter carrying members of each of said spaced apart brackets such that when the gutter carrying members are in said first position, the gutter is adapted to receive liquid from thereabove, and when the gutter carrying members are in the second position, the gutter is pivoted for easier access thereto; and
at least one downpipe located a predetermined distance below said gutter open ends for receiving liquid therefrom, said pre-determined distance being sufficient to allow for pivot of the gutter carrying member into said second position.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention there is proposed a gutter system including:

at least a first gutter section;
at least a second gutter section, said second gutter section being moveable between a first position wherein at least one water receiving surface of said first and second gutter sections are axially aligned, and a second position whereby said water receiving surfaces are misaligned such that said second gutter section is more easily accessible from a position therebelow.

In preference said first gutter section is adapted to be fixedly mounted to a surface below a roof edge and said second gutter section is pivotably mounted to said surface.

Preferably said gutter system includes a sealing means adapted to seal the gap between the first and second gutter sections to thereby integrate the respective water receiving surfaces when the second gutter section is in the first position.

Advantageously said first gutter section includes at least one means of transporting water away from the gutter system.

Preferably said water transporting means is in the form of a downpipe.

The present invention according to a second embodiment therefore provides for an improved gutter system in that the gutter system includes sections that are moveable from a first position for receiving rainwater or other liquid to a second pivoted position to facilitate cleaning or any other duties that need to be performed thereto. The gutter system further includes sections that are fixed so that conventional gutter systems having conventional downpipe configurations need not be altered significantly to include such pivotable gutter sections.

Preferably said gutter system includes at least two spaced apart brackets, each of said brackets including a mounting member, and a gutter carrying member pivotably connected thereto, said gutter carrying members adapted to support said second gutter section.

In preference said sealing means is in the form of a sealing material lining at least the inner side of the gutter carrying member.

Advantageously said sealing means is in the form of a sealing material lining the inner side of the mounting member and the gutter carrying member.

Preferably a bracket is mounted adjacent each end of the second gutter such that when the second gutter section is in said first position, the sealing material lining the inner side of the bracket provides a seal at the junction between respective first and second gutter sections.

Preferably said mounting member includes two perpendicular edges, a side edge for mounting to said surface and a top edge which extends over said gutter, said top edge including a recess for allowing space for said roof edge.

Preferably said pivotable member is contoured to the cross-sectional shape of the gutter.

In preference said second gutter section is lockable in said first position.

Advantageously said lock is in the form of a latch.

Preferably movement of said pivotable member from said first position to said second position involves a rotation of approximately 90 degrees.

In a further embodiment of the invention there is provided a gutter system including:

at least a first gutter section; at least a second gutter section, said second gutter section being pivotably moveable between a first position wherein at least one water receiving surface of said first and second gutter sections are axially aligned, and a second position whereby said water receiving surfaces are misaligned such that said second gutter section is more easily accessible from a position therebelow, said first gutter section including a sealing means adapted to seal the gap between the first and second gutter sections when said second gutter section is in said first position.

In this situation, the brackets no longer require a sealing means and may be positioned in from the edge of the second gutter section. This may be done for aesthetic reasons for example.

In preference said sealing means is a sealing material lining the inner surface of an end of the first gutter, said sealing material extending longitudinally beyond the end so that when the second gutter section is in said first position, the sealing material seals the gap between the first and second gutter sections to thereby form a single water receiving surface.

In preference said second gutter section is lockable in said first position.

Advantageously said lock is in the form of a latch.

Preferably movement of said pivotable member from said first position to said second position involves a rotation of approximately 90 degrees.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate several implementations of the invention and, together with the description, serve to explain the advantages and principles of the invention. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a gutter system according to a first embodiment of the present invention, including a gutter in a first position for receiving rainwater from a roof edge;

FIG. 2 illustrates a perspective view of the gutter system of FIG. 1 whereby the gutter is in a second pivoted position;

FIG. 3 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the gutter system as shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the gutter system as shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 illustrates a perspective view of the gutter system of FIGS. 1-4 including a downpipe positioned beneath a roof edge external corner for receiving water from the gutter ends;

FIG. 6 illustrates a perspective view of the gutter system and associated downpipe of FIG. 5 whereby the gutter is in the second pivoted position;

FIG. 7 illustrates a perspective view of the gutter system of FIGS. 1-4 including a downpipe positioned beneath a roof edge re-entrant corner for receiving water from the gutter ends;

FIG. 8 illustrates a perspective view of an alternate style of gutter system for mounting at the front of a house in accordance with the first embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 9 illustrates a perspective view of a gutter system according to a second embodiment of the present invention, including pivotable gutters in a first position for receiving rainwater from a roof edge in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 10 illustrates a perspective view of the gutter system of FIG. 9 whereby the pivotable gutters are in a second pivoted position;

FIG. 11 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the gutter system as shown in FIG. 9;

FIG. 12 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the gutter system as shown in FIG. 10;

FIG. 13a illustrates a perspective view of a pivotable bracket which forms part of the gutter system of FIGS. 9-12;

FIG. 13b illustrates a side view of the pivotable bracket of FIG. 13a;

FIG. 14 illustrates a perspective view of a gutter system including pivotable gutter sections in a first position for receiving rainwater from a roof edge in accordance with a third embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 15 illustrates a cross-sectional view of a pivotable gutter section of FIG. 14;

FIG. 16 illustrates a cross-sectional view of a pivotable gutter section of FIG. 14 in a pivoted position for easier access thereto;

FIG. 17 illustrates an enlarged perspective view of the pivotable gutter section as illustrated in FIG. 15; and

FIG. 18 illustrates an enlarged perspective view of the pivotable gutter section as illustrated in FIG. 16.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The following detailed description of the invention refers to the accompanying drawings. Although the description includes exemplary embodiments, other embodiments are possible, and changes may be made to the embodiments described without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Wherever possible, the same reference numbers will be used throughout the drawings and the following description to refer to the same and like parts.

The present invention relates to a pivotable gutter system according to three separate embodiments. The first embodiment relates to pivotable gutter system 10 illustrated in FIGS. 1-8, the second embodiment relates to pivotable gutter system 100 illustrated in FIGS. 9-13b, and the third embodiment relates to pivotable gutter system 150 illustrated in FIGS. 14-18. These are each described in turn below.

The pivotable gutter system 10 according to a first embodiment of the invention includes a series of brackets 12 that are adapted to be longitudinally spaced apart along a fascia 14 or other similar surface that lies underneath and extends along the length of a roof 16. The fascia 14 caps the ends of a plurality of roof rafters 15. The roof 16 in this example is of the corrugated iron type having an end cap 18 separating each face however the system 10 of the present invention may be applied to any style of roofing, for example tiled roofing.

Each bracket 12 includes two members, a mounting member 20 that is fixedly attached to the fascia 14 and a pivotable member 22 that is in pivotable connection with the mounting member 20. Unlike conventional gutter systems having gutters that are mounted directly to the fascia 14 or other surface, the present invention involves a gutter 24 being mounted to the pivotable members 22 of each bracket 12 such that the gutter 24 is effectively supported by each spaced apart bracket 12. Those skilled in the art should immediately realise the simplicity and effectiveness of the gutter system 10 in that the pivotable members 22 of each bracket 12 together with the gutter 24 are pivotable from a standard water receiving position (as shown in FIGS. 1 and 3) to a pivoted position to facilitate cleaning and maintenance thereof (as shown in FIGS. 2 and 4). Each of these components and their working will now be described in greater detail.

Mounting members 20 and pivotable members 22 are each substantially L-shaped, rigid structures, that is, they each include two edges that are angled substantially perpendicularly to one another. As is illustrated in the accompanying drawings, a side edge of mounting member 20 is fastened to the fascia 14 using screws 26, this edge having a closed loop section 28 at its end, whilst its top edge extends over the top of the gutter 24 and includes a latch 30 in the form of a turned section. Pivotable member 22 has a base edge that also terminates into a closed loop section 32 which engages with loop section 28 of mounting member 20 to thereby allow for pivot of the pivotable member 22 relative to the mounting member 20. A side edge of gutter 24 is mounted to the side edge of the pivotable member 22 using rivets 34, this member 22 also having a bent or turned section 36 that is adapted to be easily connected and disconnected from latch 30.

When the brackets 12 and gutter 24 are positioned as shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, rainwater that falls onto the pitched roof 16 runs down into the gutter 24 in the same way it would when using a conventional gutter system. Obviously, the fact that the gutter is capable of being pivoted means that conventional downpipe arrangements cannot be used. For this reason, the ends 38 of each gutter 24 are open to thereby cause liquid that is collected within the gutter 24 to run off the gutter ends 38. The method of collection of this liquid shall be later described.

FIGS. 2 and 4 illustrate the gutter system 10 when the turned section 36 of member 22 of each bracket 12 has been disengaged from their respective latches 30 and the gutter 24 is pivoted. The pivoted position of the gutter 24 allows for the inside of the gutter to be very quickly and easily cleaned and generally allows for easy access to the inside of the gutter for any other purpose that may be required such as maintenance and repair.

It is to be understood that the methods of connection as described above may well vary. For example, bracket 12 may be mounted to fascia 14 using some form of adhesive (not shown) that is capable of fixing the mounting member 20 and supporting the remainder of the apparatus including the weight of any debris that may enter the gutter. Rather than using rivets 34 to attach the gutter 24 to the pivotable member 22 of the bracket 12, the gutter may well be constructed integrally with the pivotable member 22.

Insofar as rotation of the pivotable member 22 is concerned, the use of rounded sections 28 and 32 which are pivotably engaged is by way of example only and any other suitable means of pivoting member 22 may be used, as will become apparent in the final embodiment. For example, the bracket may be motorised so that when a user pushes a button, an electrical impulse trigger actuation of the pivotable member 22 from its standard position to its pivoted position, or vice versa.

Further, bracket 12 need not be limited to the form illustrated and described. For example, rather than members 20 and 22 being thin pieces of metal that are spaced at intervals along the length of the gutter 24, bracket 12 may be made to extend a greater longitudinal distance of the gutter, perhaps in the form of an extruded bracket having a fixed longitudinal member and a pivotable longitudinal member.

In using the gutter system 10 as described thus far, one needs to unlock each and every bracket 12 in order to commence pivoting the gutter 24 for easier access thereto. This may prove timely and therefore the gutter system 10 according to a first embodiment of the present invention may well include a linking means (not shown) that links each pivotable member 22 such that when a member 22 of a single bracket 12 is unlocked from latch 30, the members 22 of the remaining brackets along the length of the gutter 24 are simultaneously unlocked from their respective latches 30. Those skilled in the art would realise that a system having such features would require a user to simply climb a ladder (not shown), unclip a single bracket 12 which disengages the remainder of the brackets 12, and proceed to pivot the gutter 24 for whatever purpose is required.

Due to the simplicity of the brackets 12, one may connect just about any form of gutter thereto. The drawings illustrate a gutter 24 of stepped-down cross-sectional size to that of the cross-section of the brackets 12 however it is to be understood that the gutter 24 need not be of this exact cross-sectional shape and may vary. The skilled addressee would understand that the gutter system 10 is preferably adapted for the building of new homes however due to its adaptability, the gutter system 10 may well be retrofitted into existing homes and other structures. For example, one simply needs to dismantle an existing gutter from a fascia or other surface and install the new system 10. If the existing gutters of the home are requested by the homeowner to be used due to their aesthetic nature for example, the existing gutter may simply be incorporated into the gutter system 10.

As previously mentioned, the water from the gutter system 10 must still be somehow transported away from the house. This is achieved quite easily using the various downpipes 40 of the gutter system 10 as illustrated in FIGS. 5 to 8.

As those skilled in the art would no doubt be aware, homes and other like structures generally have corners that either project outwardly (external corners) as shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, or corners that are joined inwardly (re-entrant corners) as shown in FIG. 7. The gutter system 10 is capable of accommodating for either configuration.

Rather than the downpipes being connected to the gutter 24 itself, they are spaced a pre-determined distance below the gutter ends 38 for collection of rainwater therein. As can be seen, the openings of the downpipes 40 are considerably large in comparison to conventional downpipes of this sort. The assembler must be sure to position the downpipes low enough to ensure that the gutter 24 has enough space there below to allow for it to be pivoted. One can thus appreciate that when the gutter 24 is in its standard rainfall receiving position, rain will simply run off the gutter ends 38 into the downpipes 40 located there below. When the gutter is pivoted and say for example a hose is used to spray within the gutter under pressure, this liquid is also made to run off the ends 38 of the gutter 24 into the downpipes 40. The downpipes 40 also include strainers 42 for preventing larger particles from entering. The strainers 42 are slightly angled so as to cause water to travel along the strainer surface and into the strainer apertures, preventing water build-up. The strainers 42 are also surrounded by a wall 44 around the periphery of the downpipe openings which as can be seen are partially opened. The walls 44 are partially opened so that debris that collects on the strainers 42 may be easily removed.

For aesthetic purposes, a user may not wish for the gutter system 10 to be viewable from the front of a home. FIG. 8 illustrates a system which works in the same way as hereinbefore described, however, includes gutter 46 which faces the front of a home. Rather than the end of the gutter 46 being open, an opening 48 exists in the side wall of the gutter 46 adjacent the end wall 50 so that water may travel into the downpipe out of sight of the front of the house. Further, the downpipe 40 may be positioned further on the side of the house rather then at the corner. In fact, the gutter system 10 may vary such that open portions of the gutter may be located at any position along the gutter depending on the requirements of the user.

Those skilled in the art should therefore now realise the benefits of using the gutter system 10 according to a first embodiment of the present invention. The gutter system 10 provides a simple and effective means of accessing a gutter 24 for cleaning and general maintenance without affecting the integrity of the gutter 24 as is often compromised in existing pivotable gutter systems.

As mentioned in the preamble of the invention, it is often a requirement for existing gutter systems to be kept and for the pivotable system to be retrofitted thereto. For example, when one wishes to maintain the aesthetic nature of an existing gutter arrangement, the gutter system 10 is not really appropriate because it requires the installation of newly designed and manufactured downpipes. Gutter systems 100 and 150 according to a second and third embodiment of the present invention respectively, provide a means to overcome this problem and are described in detail below.

Referring firstly to FIGS. 9-12 which illustrate the gutter system 100 according to a second embodiment of the present invention, it can be seen that the gutter system 100 is divided into fixed gutter sections 112 and pivotable gutter sections 114 which are located adjacent one other and configured to allow for the pivot of sections 114. The gutter sections 112 and 114 have substantially identical cross-sections so that when the sections are aligned, an almost continuous gutter channel between the sections is formed. The fixed sections 112 are generally located at the end portions of the gutter system, for example, at the corners of a roof. However, certain circumstances may require a fixed section 112 to be located at other positions along the perimeter of the roof 116 and so the present invention is not to be limited to any particular portion of the perimeter. Existing gutter systems typically include downpipes 118 in the form of pipes of circular cross-section which extend downwards from the gutter channel typically at the ends or corners of gutters.

As with the first embodiment, the gutter systems 100 and 150 are also preferably adapted to be mounted to a roof fascia 120 which caps the ends of a plurality of roof rafters 122. Again, the roof 116 in this example is of the corrugated iron type supported on a plurality of purlins 123 and having end caps 124 separating each face.

Located at the ends of each pivotable section 114 are brackets 126 which are each mounted to the fascia 120 or other similar surface which lies underneath and extends the length of the roof 116. The brackets 126 each include two primary members, a mounting member or end plate 128 that is fixedly attached to the fascia 120, and a pivotable member or supporting base 130 to which an end of the pivotable gutter section 114 is mounted. The pivotable member 130 is in pivotable connection with the mounting member 128 by way of a hinge 132. Each bracket 126 is positioned so that adjoining gutter sections 112 and 114 are supported by resting on top of the base, i.e. the bracket straddles under the gutter sections. When the pivotable gutter section 114 is in the first water receiving position as shown in FIGS. 9 and 11, the bracket 126 covers any gap between the sections 112 and 114. It is to be understood that some roof edges may be of a larger length whereby further brackets (not shown) may be required along the length of the gutter section 14 for further support and to assist in the pivoting motion of the gutter section 114.

As with the first embodiment, those skilled in the art should immediately realise the simplicity and effectiveness of the gutter system 100 in that the pivotable gutter sections 114 are pivotable from a standard water receiving position (as shown in FIGS. 9 and 11) to a pivoted position to facilitate cleaning and maintenance thereof (as shown in FIGS. 10 and 12), whilst still being able to use known arrangements for directing water away from the gutter system 100, in this case being the downpipes 118.

The bracket 126 may be seen most clearly in FIGS. 13a and 13b. Mounting member 128 comprises a vertical section 134 for mounting to a surface, a recessed section 136 extending outwardly therefrom designed to allow for various extensions of the roof 116, and a locking lip 138 extending outwardly from a substantially upwardly extending end of the member 128. As mentioned, the pivotable member 130 is of a shape to accommodate D-gutters and is thus contoured accordingly. A rounded termination 140 of the pivotable member 130 includes an aperture 142 adapted to engage the locking lip 138 by simply lifting the pivotable member 130 until the aperture 140 is able to pass over lip 138. The present invention is not intended to be limited to this type of connection means, however, if this connection means is to be used, the bracket 126 should be of a flexibility to allow for the movement of the pivotable member 130 to engage the lip 138.

The bracket also includes a sealing means 141 in the form of a foam seal which extends along the inner side of the vertical section 132 of the mounting member 128 and along the inner side of the pivotable member 130 up to but not including the rounded termination 140. As those skilled in the art would realise, when the bracket is engaged and the gutter is in the water receiving position, the foam seal 142 extends along the gap between gutter sections 112 and 114 to thereby keep water from leaking out through the gap. This is the reason that the bracket extends a short distance past the ends of the pivotable gutter sections 114 as mentioned earlier, so as to accommodate for the end of the fixed section 112 and to thereby achieve an effective seal.

As is further illustrated in the accompanying drawings, vertical side 134 of the mounting member 128 is fastened to the fascia 120 using screws 144 which may either be screwed over the top of the sealing means 141 or underneath the sealing means 141. The end of the pivotable gutter section 114 is mounted to the outer edge of the pivotable member 130 of the bracket 126 using rivets 146.

When the brackets 126 and associated pivotable gutter sections 114 are positioned as shown in FIGS. 9 and 11, rainwater that falls onto the pitched roof 116 runs down into the gutter section 114 in the same way it does in gutter section 112. Because a seal between the gutter sections 112 and 114 exists, water is able to flow from the pivotable section 114 to the fixed section 112 as would be the case in a conventional gutter system.

FIGS. 10 and 12 illustrate the gutter system 100 when the pivotable members 130 of each bracket 126 has been disengaged from the mounting members 128 and the pivotable gutter sections 114 thus in a pivoted position. When the gutter section 114 is in this position, it allows for the inside of the gutter to be very quickly and easily cleaned and generally allows for easy access to the inside of the gutter section for any other purpose that may be required, such as for maintenance and repair.

The skilled addressee would understand that the gutter system 100 according to a second embodiment of the invention is preferably adapted for the building of new homes, however due to its adaptability, may well be retrofitted into existing homes and other structures. For example, one simply needs to cut out a section of the gutter that is required to be pivotable, fasten the brackets to the appropriate area, and then simply mount the gutter section that has been cut out between the brackets. This is useful in that installation of the new system becomes cheaper because of the use of the existing gutter and downpipes, and also to preserve the original visual appearance of the home.

Furthermore, in the case of newly installed systems, manufacturing equipment used to make gutter system components such as gutter channels and downpipes, need only be reconfigured slightly to incorporate the new features of the gutter system 100. There is no longer the need to redesign and manufacture a new downpipe arrangement as the gutter system 100 incorporates existing downpipe arrangements as part of the system.

Due to the simplicity of the brackets 126 one may connect just about any form of gutter thereto by simply selecting the contour of the bracket pivotable member 130 to match the contour of the gutter. Alternatively, rather than the gutter sections 112 and 114 being of stepped-down cross-sectional size to that of the cross-section of the brackets 126, as is illustrated, they may simply be of a size to accommodate various types of gutter cross-section.

It is to be further understood that pivoting of the gutter section 114 need not necessarily be achieved by manually disengaging the connection means and moving it. For example, the bracket 126 may well be mechanised, or may incorporate the use of activating solenoids.

As with the first embodiment, the gutter system 100 may well include a linking means (not shown) that links the pivotable member 130 of opposed brackets 126 such that when the rounded termination 140 of pivotable member 130 of a single bracket 126 is lifted above lip 138 for disengagement therefrom, the pivotable member 130 of the opposed bracket 126 is simultaneously unlocked from its respective lip 138.

It is to be understood that the methods of connection as described above may well vary also. For example, bracket 126 may be mounted to fascia 120 using a form of adhesive (not shown) that is capable of fixing the mounting member 128 and supporting the remainder of the apparatus including the weight of any debris that may enter the gutter section 114. Rather than using rivets 146 to attach the gutter section 114 to the pivotable member 130 of the bracket 126, the pivotable member 130 may well be constructed integrally with the gutter section.

FIGS. 14-18 illustrate a third and final embodiment of the present invention, gutter system 150, which also includes fixed 152 and pivotable 154 gutter sections. Some features of the gutter system 100 that have not been altered are referred to in the following description of the third embodiment using like numbers.

In the gutter system 100, the brackets 126 performed two functions. They not only allowed the pivotable gutter section 114 to pivot, they also provided a seal between the sections 112 and 114. In this embodiment, brackets 156 are not positioned at the ends of the pivotable sections 154 but are shifted inwards. This is because they no longer provide the seal required between sections 152 and 154, but simply provide for the pivoting motion of the pivotable gutter sections 154. The sealing of the gap between sections 152 and 154 is achieved through the relationship between the ends of sections 152 and 154 which will later be explained.

The brackets 156 each include a mounting member 158, and a pivotable member 160 in the form of a rectangular plate in pivotable connection with the mounting member 158 through hinge 162. As can be seen clearly in FIGS. 15 and 16, the pivotable member 130 of the previous bracket 126 is replaced by the pivotable gutter section 154 itself. The inner vertical side 164 of the pivotable gutter section 154 is connected to each plate 160 through rivets 166. The engagement means of bracket 156 is virtually identical to that of bracket 126. The only difference resides in the fact that locking lip 168 of mounting member 158 extends through an aperture 170 in a buckle 172 which is connected to the rounded edge of the gutter section 154 by a rivet 174.

Referring now to FIGS. 17 and 18, the way in which sections 152 and 154 are sealed can be appreciated. The end of the fixed gutter section 152 now includes an internal sealing member 175 which is contoured to the inside of the fixed gutter section 152 and extends longitudinally outwards therefrom. Approximately half the length of the sealing member 175 is fixed within the section 152 by rivets 176 whilst the other half extends outwards. Located uniformly around the outer surface of the sealing member is a sealing sponge 178 or other suitable sealing means. During assembly, the ends of the pivotable gutter sections 154 are adapted to be positioned adjacent the ends of the fixed sections 152 such that when in a first water receiving position, the sealing member 175 also extends into the end of the pivotable section 154 thus providing a substantially horizontal surface upon which water is able to flow.

In this configuration, since the use of a simple rivet will not provide an adequate seal, water that may travel underneath the sealing member 175 as opposed to over it, is soaked up by the sealing sponge 178 thereby effectively sealing the gap between sections 152 and 154. Pivotable gutter section 154 also includes a cut-out 180 so that it is able to pivot as required.

As those skilled in the art would understand, it is not essential for bracket 156 to be positioned at the very ends of the pivotable gutter sections 154 but in order to ensure that an effective seal is achieved, it is preferable for the brackets 156 to be positioned as close to the ends as possible.

This third embodiment allows for the pivotable motion of the gutter section 154 and an effective seal between fixed 152 and pivotable 154 gutter sections, without the visibility of a pivoting bracket member, thereby improving the overall aesthetic nature of the gutter system 150. A further benefit is that during installation of such gutter systems 150, one no longer has to secure the brackets 156 at precise positions along the fascia 120.

A proposed solution to making cleaning of gutters easier is through the use of a gutter guard or gutter protection device. None of these prior art devices are known to prevent all particulate matter, including miniscule particles, from entering a gutter and therefore regular cleaning of the gutter is always required. In simply using a gutter guard, the intervals at which the gutter is cleaned may be prolonged but nonetheless, the gutter must still be cleaned which necessitates a quick and easy method of accessing the gutter. The pivotable nature of the gutter system of each embodiment of the present invention solves this known problem.

Those skilled in the art should therefore now realise the benefits of using the gutter systems embodying the present invention. The proposed gutter systems provide a simple yet effective means of accessing a gutter by way of pivoting only a section of the gutter for cleaning and general maintenance, with the option of retrofitting the gutter system so that existing downpipe arrangements are not substantially interfered with. The gutter systems 10, 100 and 150 of the present invention thus serve to maintain the integrity of conventional gutter systems which is often compromised in pivotable gutter systems hitherto known.

The components of the gutter systems 10, 100 and 150 disclosed herein are preferably constructed substantially of aluminium due to its corrosion resistance, or any other suitable metal having similar properties or which at least may be coated with a water and/or wind resistant coating (not shown) such as a zinc-based coating, for example. Alternatively, these components may be constructed of a suitable plastic material.

Further advantages and improvements may very well be made to the present invention without deviating from its scope. Although the invention has been shown and described in what is conceived to be the most practical and preferred embodiment, it is recognized that departures may be made therefrom within the scope and spirit of the invention, which is not to be limited to the details disclosed herein but is to be accorded the full scope of the claims so as to embrace any and all equivalent devices and apparatus.