Title:
WIND DRIVEN DEVICE FOR PREVENTING THE CLOGGING OF A DOWNSPOUT
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A wind driven device for preventing the accumulation of debris in a gutter at a mouth of a downspout comprises a drive shaft coupled to the impeller and a bit is disposed at a distal end of the drive shaft. Means for mounting the device on the gutter ensures that the bit is disposed above and spaced-apart from the mouth of the downspout.



Inventors:
Chang, Tung Jung (Surrey, CA)
Application Number:
12/186752
Publication Date:
02/11/2010
Filing Date:
08/06/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04D13/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KWIECINSKI, RYAN D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CAMERON IP (VANCOUVER, BC, CA)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A wind driven device for preventing the accumulation of debris in a gutter at a mouth of a downspout, the device comprising: an impeller; a drive shaft coupled to the impeller; a bit disposed on the drive shaft; and means for mounting the device on the gutter so that the bit is disposed above the mouth of the downspout.

2. A wind driven device for preventing the accumulation of debris in a gutter at a mouth of a downspout, the device comprising: an impeller; a drive shaft coupled to the impeller; an annular bit slidable along the drive shaft; and means for mounting the device on the gutter so that the annular bit is disposed above the mouth of the downspout.

3. The device as claimed in claim 2 wherein the impeller has a substantially rounded shape and is formed by a plurality of arcuate impeller blades which extend between a pair of support members.

4. The device as claimed in claim 2 wherein the annular bit has a jagged cutting edge.

5. The device as claimed in claim 2 wherein the annular bit has an elongate cutting blade.

6. A wind driven device for preventing the accumulation of debris in a gutter at a mouth of a downspout, the device comprising: an impeller having a substantially rounded shape and being formed by a plurality of arcuate impeller blades which extend between a pair of support members; a drive shaft coupled to the impeller; an annular bit slidable along the drive shaft, the bit having a jagged cutting edge and an elongate cutting blade; and means for mounting the device on the gutter so that the annular bit is disposed above the mouth of the downspout.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a device for preventing the clogging of a downspout and, in particular, to a wind driven device for preventing the accumulation of leaves and other debris at a mouth of the downspout.

2. Description of the Related Art

The accumulation of leaves and other debris in a gutter restricts, and may even prevent, the flow of water down the downspout to the ground. This blockage may cause the gutter to overflow resulting in uncontrolled runoff down the side of the building. It is accordingly desirable to maintain the gutter, and in particular the downspout, clear of leaves and other debris.

Numerous devices have been developed to prevent the clogging of downspouts. The simplest of these devices comprises a wire mesh which is placed over the mouth of the downspout. The wire mesh prevents leaves and other debris from entering and clogging the downspout but allows water to flow into the downspout. However, leaves and other debris may still accumulate on the wire mesh, or even become entangled in the wire mesh, thereby blocking the flow of water into the downspout.

Another type of device for preventing the clogging of a downspout comprises an auger which extends into the downspout. An example of such a device is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,638,369 to Albrecht issued Feb. 1, 1972. In the device disclosed by Albrecht an auger is coupled to a wind driven impeller. Wind drives the impeller which in turn imparts rotary motion to the auger. The auger drives leaves and other debris down the downspout to prevent clogging. However, in situations where there is a large amount of foreign matter in the downspout, the auger may jam and the downspout may still become clogged.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide an improved device for preventing the clogging of a downspout which overcomes the above-mentioned shortcomings of the prior art devices.

Accordingly, there is provided a wind driven device for preventing the accumulation of debris in a gutter at a mouth of a downspout. A drive shaft is coupled to the impeller and a bit is disposed on the drive shaft. Means for mounting the device on the gutter ensures that the bit is disposed above the mouth of the downspout.

In a preferred embodiment, the device comprises an impeller with a substantially rounded shape formed by a plurality of arcuate impeller blades which extend between a pair of support members. A drive shaft coupled to the impeller and an annular bit slidable along the drive shaft. The bit has a jagged cutting edge and an elongate cutting blade. Means for mounting the device on the gutter ensures that the annular bit is disposed above the mouth of the downspout.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

The invention will be more readily understood from the following description of a preferred embodiment thereof given, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view, partly in section, of a device for preventing the clogging of a downspout according to an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is an elevation view showing the device of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an elevation view showing an impeller blade of the device of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is an elevation view showing a drive shaft of the device of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is an elevation view showing a bit of the device of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 6 is a perspective view showing an impeller frame of the device of FIG. 1.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to the drawings and first to FIG. 1 this shows a device 10 mounted on a gutter 12. The device 10 is used to prevent the clogging of a downspout 14. The gutter 12 is upwardly open and installed below a roof 16 of a building of which only siding 20 is shown. Fasteners 18 connect the gutter 12 to siding 20 on the building in a manner well known in the art. There is an opening 22 in a bottom 24 of the gutter 12 which allows for communication between the gutter 12 and the downspout 14. The opening 22 defines a mouth of the downspout 14, and the downspout 14 extends downwardly from the opening 22. The device 10 is disposed above the opening 22. The gutter 12 captures runoff from the roof 16, which then flows through the opening 22 in the bottom 24 of the gutter 12, into the downspout 14, and down to the ground. In particular, the device 10 is designed to keep the opening 22 clear of leaves and other debris to allow for unimpeded flow through the opening 22.

The device 10 is best shown in FIG. 2. The device 10 generally comprises a bit 26, a drive shaft 28, and an impeller 30. In this example, the bit 26 is connected to a distal end of the drive shaft 28 by bolts 32 and 34. Loosening the bolts 32 and 34 allows the bit 26 to slide along the drive shaft 28. This allows for the position of the bit 26 on the drive shaft 28 to be adjusted to ensure that when the device 10 is in use the bit is disposed above and spaced-apart from the mouth of the downspout as seen in FIG. 1. In other embodiments the bit 26 and drive shaft 28 may be integral. The drive shaft 28 is coupled to the impeller 30 which imparts rotary motion to the drive shaft 28. The impeller 30 has a substantially rounded shape formed by a plurality of arcuate impeller blades 36a, 36b, 36c, and 36d which extend between a pair of support members 38 and 40. The top support member 38 has a convexo-concave shape with a downwardly facing concave side. The bottom support member 40 has an annular shape. One of the impeller blades 36a is shown in greater detail in FIG. 3. The impeller blade 36a has an arcuate surface 42 which extends between a pair of flanges 44 and 46. The flanges 44 and 46 are each provided with apertures 45a, 45b and 47a, 47b through which rivets, bolts, or other suitable means may connect the impeller blade 36a to the support members 38 and 40 as shown in FIG. 2.

The drive shaft 28 is best shown in FIG. 4. A head 48 is welded to a proximal end of the drive shaft 28. The head 48 has a convexo-concave shape and is welded to the drive shaft 28 on its concave side. A plurality of apertures 49a and 49b extend through the head 48 allowing rivets, bolts, or other suitable means to connect the head 48 to the top support member 38 of the impeller 30 as shown in FIG. 2. The drive shaft 28 is thereby coupled to the impeller 30. As best shown in FIG. 2, the drive shaft 28 extends through the impeller 30 to the bit 26 which is connected to the distal end of the drive shaft 28.

The bit 26 is best shown in FIG. 5. In this example, the bit 26 has an annular body 50 and a pair of two sided, elongate cutting blades 52 and 54 each of which extend from the annular body 50. The cutting blades 52 and 54 are opposite to one another and taper towards their respective remote ends. Edges 56 of the annular body 50 between the cutting blades 52 and 54 are also sharpened and act as additional cutting means. In this example, the edge 56 of the annular body 50 between the cutting blades 52 and 54 is jagged to increase the length of the cutting edge of the bit 26. Preferably, the bit 26 is symmetrical.

Referring back to FIG. 2, there is a mounting plate 60 disposed between the bit 26 and the impeller 30. The drive shaft 28 extends through an aperture 62 in the mounting plate 60. A collar 64 is fastened to the mounting plate 60 by bolt and nut systems 66 and 68. The drive shaft 28 also extends through an aperture 70 in the collar 64. The collar 64 retains a bearing 72 which is coupled to the drive shaft 28. The mounting plate 60 provides a means to mount the device 10 on a gutter as shown in FIG. 1.

As best shown in FIG. 2, drive shaft 28 is retained within a first sleeve 74 between the impeller 30 and the collar 64. Likewise the drive shaft 28 is retained within a second sleeve 76 between the mounting plate 60 and the bit 26. In this example, the second sleeve 76 is integral with the bit 26. The sleeves 74 and 76 protect the drive shaft 28 from the elements and external forces.

The impeller 30 may be reinforced with a frame. As shown in FIG. 6, in this example, the frame 80 includes three angularly spaced frame arms 82, 84, and 86 which extend from a hub 88, disposed near a center of the bottom support member 40, to an inner wall 41 of the bottom support member 40. Any suitable means such as welding or rivets may be used to connect the frame 80 to the bottom support member 40. There is an opening 90 in the hub 88 through which the drive shaft 28 extends. Accordingly, the frame 80 does not affect rotation of the drive shaft 28. The frame 80 increases the robustness of the device 10.

Referring back to FIG. 1, in operation, the device 10 is mounted on the gutter 12 above the opening 22 in the bottom 24 of the gutter 12 which allows the gutter 12 to communicate with the downspout 14. Specifically, the bit 26 is disposed above and spaced-apart from the opening 24. The impeller 30 is offset from the roof 16 to allow wind to blow against the impeller blades 36a, 36b, 36c, and 36d. Wind blowing against the impeller blades 36a, 36b, 36c, and 36d causes the impeller 30 to rotate which, in turn, imparts rotary motion to the drive shaft 28 which drives the bit 26.

Rotation of the bit 26 causes turbulence in accumulated water and debris which draws leaves and other debris in the gutter 12 towards the bit 26. The cutting blades 52 and 54 together with the cutting edges 56 of the bit 26 cut the leaves and other debris into small pieces which are more easily carried by flow down the downspout without clogging the downspout. The turbulence also acts to keep the opening 22, or downspout mount, clear of leaves and other debris to allow for unimpeded flow through the opening 22. Also, as best shown in FIG. 1, spacing between the cutting blades 52 and 54 ensures access to the opening 22 in the gutter 12. The device 10 is particularly advantageous because the same effect is achieved regardless of whether the bit 26 rotates in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction.

It will be understood by a person skilled in the art that the terms “top”, “bottom”, “above”, “below” and “upwardly”, and “downwardly” as used herein are used in relation to positions as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.

It will further be understood by a person skilled in the art that many of the details provided above are by way of example only and are not intended to limit the scope of invention, which is determined with reference to following claims.