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Title:
GUTTER CLEANING PIPE, GUTTER CLEANING SYSTEM AND METHOD OF CLEANING A GUTTER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/043370
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A gutter cleaning pipe (36, 38, 40) having a first open end (32) that is configured for connection to a vacuum system (12) and a second open end (34) that is configured for connection to a gutter cleaning attachment (14). The gutter cleaning pipe (36, 38, 40) also has a controller (46) that is positioned between the first open end (32) and the second open end (34). The controller (46) is configured for controlling the vacuum in the gutter cleaning pipe (36, 38, 40).

Inventors:
WHITING, Andrew (Unit 33Cornwell Business Park,Salthouse Road, Brackmills, Northampton Northamptonshire NN4 7EX, NN4 7EX, GB)
Application Number:
GB2018/052427
Publication Date:
March 07, 2019
Filing Date:
August 29, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
SPINACLEAN LTD (Unit 33, Cornwell Business ParkSalthouse Road, Brackmills, Northampton Northamptonshire NN4 7EX, NN4 7EX, GB)
International Classes:
B08B5/04; B08B9/00; E04D13/076
Domestic Patent References:
WO2016087833A12016-06-09
Foreign References:
US2623234A1952-12-30
US9702101B12017-07-11
DE2815196A11979-10-18
DE19851405A12000-05-18
US5056187A1991-10-15
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WITHERS & ROGERS LLP (4 More London Riverside, London SE1 2AU, SE1 2AU, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A gutter cleaning pipe having a first open end that is configured for connection to a vacuum system and a second open end that is configured for connection to a gutter cleaning attachment, the gutter cleaning pipe also having a controller that is positioned between the first open end and the second open end, the controller being configured for controlling the vacuum in the gutter cleaning pipe.

2. A gutter cleaning pipe according to claim 1 wherein the controller is positioned proximal to the first open end.

3. A gutter cleaning pipe according to claim 1 or claim 2 wherein the controller is a manual controller.

4. A gutter cleaning pipe according to claim 3 wherein the controller includes least one aperture and a cover, wherein the cover is arranged such that it can be moved between a first position in which the at least one aperture is open and a second position in which the at least one aperture is closed.

5. A gutter cleaning pipe according to claim 4 wherein the cover is detachable.

6. A gutter cleaning pipe according to claim 4 or claim 5, the gutter cleaning pipe having a longitudinal axis, the at least one aperture being arranged along the longitudinal axis of the gutter cleaning pipe.

7. A gutter cleaning pipe according to claim 4 or claim 5, the gutter cleaning pipe having a longitudinal axis, the at least one aperture being arranged substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the gutter cleaning pipe.

8. A gutter cleaning pipe according to claim 6 or claim 7 wherein the at least one aperture includes a plurality of spaced holes. 9. A gutter cleaning pipe according to any of claims 4 to 8 wherein when the cover is in the second position, the cover provides an airtight seal over the at least one aperture.

10. A gutter cleaning pipe according to any of claims 4 to 9 wherein the cover is arranged to slide relative to the gutter cleaning pipe between the first position and the second position. 11. A gutter cleaning pipe according to claim 10 wherein the controller includes a track along which the cover slides between the first position and the second position.

12. A gutter cleaning pipe according to claim 10 or claim 11 wherein the controller includes at least one stop against which a portion of the cover abuts when the cover is in the first position.

13. A gutter cleaning pipe according to claim 10, claim 11 or claim 12 wherein the controller includes at least one stop against which a portion of the cover abuts when the cover is in the second position.

14. A gutter cleaning pipe according to any of claims 4 to 9 wherein the cover is arranged to rotate relative to the gutter cleaning pipe between the first position and the second position.

15. A gutter cleaning pipe according to any of claims 4 to 9 wherein the cover is a push button.

16. A gutter cleaning pipe according to any of claims 10 to 15 wherein the controller includes a lock to prevent accidental movement of the cover between the first and second positions.

17. A gutter cleaning pipe according to any of claims 4 to 15 wherein the at least one aperture is a first aperture, the cover including a second aperture.

18. A gutter cleaning pipe according to claim 17 wherein, when the cover is in the first position, the second aperture of the cover overlaps the first aperture of the controller and, when the cover is in the second position, there is no overlap between the first and second apertures.

19. A gutter cleaning pipe according to claim 18, wherein the cover has a third position in which the second aperture partially overlaps the first aperture.

20. A gutter cleaning pipe according to any of claims 1 to 19, the gutter cleaning pipe including a series of rigid tubular bodies and the controller is positioned on one of the rigid tubular bodies.

21. A gutter cleaning system including a vacuum system and a gutter cleaning pipe according to any of claims 1 to 20.

22. A gutter cleaning system according to claim 21 including a gutter cleaning attachment.

23. A kit of parts for a gutter cleaning system, the kits of parts including a vacuum system and a gutter cleaning pipe according to any of claims 1 to 20. 24. A kit of parts for cleaning a gutter system according to claim 23, the kit of parts further including a gutter cleaning attachment.

25. A method of cleaning a gutter including the steps of:

a) providing a gutter cleaning system having a vacuum system and a gutter cleaning pipe according to any of claims 1 to 20;

b) positioning the gutter cleaning pipe in a gutter;

c) turning the vacuum system on;

d) removing debris from the gutter; and

e) using the controller to release debris from the gutter cleaning pipe.

Description:
Gutter Cleaning Pipe, Gutter Cleaning System and Method of

Cleaning a Gutter

The present invention relates to a gutter cleaning pipe. The present invention also relates to a gutter cleaning system and a method of cleaning a gutter.

Vacuum-operated gutter cleaning systems are known. Such systems include a series of elongate poles that are each approximately 6 feet (1.8 metres) in length and made from lightweight material, for example carbon fibre. The series of elongate poles are joined to form a gutter cleaning pipe that can reach approximately 40 feet (12.2 metres). One end of the series of elongate poles is connected to a vacuum system and the other end of the series of elongate poles is connected to a gutter cleaning attachment that is designed to reach into an overhead gutter.

An operator typically positions the gutter cleaning attachment into the gutter, turns the vacuum on and uses the vacuum to pull any debris, for example moss, grass, leaves and other vegetation, away from the gutter. The debris is sucked away from the gutter, through the gutter cleaning pipe, to a tank within the vacuum system, from where it can be discarded. Once the gutter has been cleaned, the vacuum is turned off and the series of poles lowered to the ground.

A problem with such gutter cleaning systems is that the gutter cleaning attachment may become blocked by large clusters of vegetation or other objects, for example tennis balls, that are in the gutter. Such blockages prevent the removal of debris from the gutter through the gutter cleaning pipe.

If such a blockage occurs, the operator has to remove the gutter cleaning attachment and the gutter cleaning pipe from the gutter, lower the gutter cleaning pipe to the ground, turn the vacuum system off and manually remove the debris or object from the gutter cleaning attachment. The weight of the debris or object that is blocking the attachment at the extreme end of the gutter cleaning pipe can cause one or more of the series of elongate poles to bend and/or makes it difficult for the operator to control the gutter cleaning pipe. Such blockages reduce the efficiency with which a gutter can be cleaned and the productivity of the operator.

According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a gutter cleaning pipe having a first open end that is configured for connection to a vacuum system and a second open end that is configured for connection to a gutter cleaning attachment, the gutter cleaning pipe also having a controller that is positioned between the first open end and the second open end, the controller being configured for controlling the vacuum in the gutter cleaning pipe.

The controller advantageously improves the efficiency with which a gutter can be cleaned, as the controller enables the operator to remove debris or objects from the gutter cleaning pipe without having to lower the gutter cleaning pipe to the ground.

The controller may be positioned proximal to the first open end, such that the operator can access the controller without having to remove the gutter cleaning attachment from the gutter and/or move closer to the vacuum system. The controller may be a manual controller, which provides a simple, convenient and reliable method for controlling the vacuum suction in the gutter cleaning pipe.

The controller may include at least one aperture and a cover, wherein the cover is arranged such that it can be moved between a first position in which the at least one aperture is open and a second position in which the at least one aperture is closed. In this way, a gutter cleaning pipe incorporating a controller can be cost- effectively manufactured. Furthermore, controllers can be incorporated into preexisting gutter cleaning pipes, enabling the retro-fitting of controllers on existing vacuum-operated gutter cleaning pipes.

The cover may be detachable to facilitate the retro-fitting of controllers on existing gutter cleaning pipes.

The gutter cleaning pipe may have a longitudinal axis and, preferably, the at least one aperture may be arranged along the longitudinal axis of the gutter cleaning pipe. In this way, the inclusion of at least one aperture in the gutter cleaning pipe does not compromise the strength of the elongate tubular body. Alternatively, the at least one aperture may be arranged substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the gutter cleaning pipe.

The at least one aperture may include a plurality of spaced holes. In this way, the strength of the gutter cleaning pipe is not compromised, in particular for elongate tubular bodies in which the at least one aperture is arranged substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the gutter cleaning pipe.

When the cover is in the second position, the cover may provide an airtight seal over the at least one aperture. Vacuum suction within the gutter cleaning pipe is therefore not affected when the cover is in the second position.

The cover may be arranged to slide relative to the gutter cleaning pipe between the first position and the second position. The at least one aperture may include a track along which the cover slides between the first position and the second position. The controller may include at least one stop against which a portion of the cover abuts when the cover is in the first position. Additionally or alternatively, the controller may include at least one stop against which a portion of the cover abuts when the cover is in the second position.

In alternative embodiments of the invention, the cover may be arranged to rotate relative to the gutter cleaning pipe between the first position and the second position. Alternatively, the cover may be a push button. The controller may include a lock to prevent accidental movement of the cover between the first position and the second position.

The at least one aperture is a first aperture and the cover may include a second aperture. When the cover is in the first position, the second aperture of the cover may overlap the first aperture of the controller. When the cover is in the second position, there may be no overlap between the first and second apertures. The cover may have a third position, in which the second aperture partially overlaps the first aperture. The gutter cleaning pipe may include a series of rigid tubular bodies and the controller may be included on one of the rigid tubular bodies. According to a second aspect of the present invention there is provided a gutter cleaning system including a vacuum system and a gutter cleaning pipe according to the first aspect of the invention. The gutter cleaning system may include a gutter cleaning attachment.

According to an alternative aspect of the present invention there is provided a kit of parts for a gutter cleaning system, the kits of parts including a vacuum system and a gutter cleaning pipe according to the first aspect of the invention. The kit of parts for a gutter cleaning system may include a gutter cleaning attachment.

According to a further aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of cleaning a gutter, the method including the steps of:

a) providing a gutter cleaning system having a vacuum system and a gutter cleaning pipe according to the first aspect of the invention;

b) positioning the gutter cleaning pipe in a gutter;

c) turning the vacuum system on;

d) removing debris from the gutter; and

e) using the controller to release debris from the gutter cleaning pipe.

Embodiments of the present invention will now be described by way of example and with reference to the accompanying drawings in which :

Figure 1 is a schematic representation of a vacuum-operated gutter cleaning system including a vacuum-operated gutter cleaning pipe according to the present invention;

Figure 2 is a partial front view of a vacuum-operated gutter cleaning pipe according to a first embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 3 is a partial side view of the vacuum-operated gutter cleaning pipe of Figure 2;

Figure 4 is an alternative partial front view of the vacuum-operated gutter cleaning pipe of Figure 2;

Figure 5 is a partial front view of a vacuum-operated gutter cleaning pipe according to an alternative embodiment of the present invention; Figure 6 is a partial front view of a vacuum-operated gutter cleaning pipe according to a further embodiment of the present invention; Figure 7 is a partial front view of a vacuum-operated gutter cleaning pipe according to another embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 8 is a partial front view of a vacuum-operated gutter cleaning pipe according to a yet further embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 9 is a partial front view of a vacuum-operated gutter cleaning pipe according to a yet further embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 10 is an alternative partial front view of the vacuum-operated gutter cleaning pipe of Figure 9; and

Figure 11 is an alternative partial front view of the vacuum-operated gutter cleaning pipe of Figure 9. Referring now to Figure 1 there is shown a vacuum-operated gutter cleaning system 10. The vacuum-operated gutter cleaning system 10 includes a vacuum system 12, a gutter cleaning attachment 14 and a vacuum-operated gutter cleaning pipe 16. The vacuum system 12 includes a pump 18, a tank or hopper 20, an on/off switch 22 and a connection hose 24.

The connection hose 24 is a flexible tube and has a first open end (not shown) that extends into the tank 20 and a second open end 26 that is configured for connection to the vacuum-operated gutter cleaning pipe 16.

The gutter cleaning attachment 14 is a rigid, U-shaped, tube having a first open end 28 that is configured for connection to the vacuum-operated gutter cleaning pipe 16 and a second open end 30 that is configured for reaching into an overhead gutter (not shown). The vacuum-operated gutter cleaning pipe 16 has a longitudinal axis A-A, a first open end 32 that is configured for connection to the second open end 26 of the connection hose 24 and a second open end 34 that is configured for connection to the first open end 28 of the gutter cleaning attachment 14.

The vacuum-operated gutter cleaning pipe 16 includes three rigid tubular bodies 36, 38, 40, each of which is made from a lightweight material such as carbon fibre.

The rigid tubular body or pole 36 has a first open end 42, a second open end 44 and a controller 46.

The rigid tubular body or pole 38 has a first open end 48 and a second open end 50.

The rigid tubular body or pole 40 has a first open end 52 and a second open end 54.

The controller 46 will now be described with particular reference to Figures 2, 3 and 4.

The controller 46 has an aperture 56, a cover 58, a pair of tracks 60, 62, a lower stop 64 and an upper stop 66.

The aperture 56 is a generally rectangular slot, the length of which extends in a direction that is parallel to the longitudinal axis A-A of the gutter cleaning pipe 16.

The cover 58 is a generally rectangular body having a thumb grip 68, ridges 70, 72, a lower surface 74 and an upper surface 76. The thumb grip 68 and the ridges 70, 72 extend across the width of the cover 58, in a direction that is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis A-A of the gutter cleaning pipe 16.

The tracks 60, 62 are elongate structures that are positioned on either side of the aperture 56 and extend in a direction that is parallel to the longitudinal axis A-A of the gutter cleaning pipe. The lower stop 64 is an elongate structure that is positioned below the cover 58 and extends in a direction that is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis A-A of the gutter cleaning pipe 16. The lower stop 64 is positioned such that in a first position in which the aperture 56 is open, as shown in Figures 2 and 3, the lower surface 74 of the cover 58 abuts the lower stop 64. In a second position in which the aperture 56 is closed by the cover 58, as shown in Figure 4, no part of the cover 58 abuts the lower stop 64.

Similarly, the upper stop 66 is an elongate structure that extends in a direction that is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis A-A of the gutter cleaning pipe 16. The upper stop 66 is positioned such that in the second position in which the aperture 56 is closed by the cover 58, as shown in Figure 4, the upper surface 76 of the cover 48 abuts the upper stop 66. In the first position in which the aperture 56 is open, as shown in Figures 2 and 3, no part of the cover 58 abuts the upper stop 66.

The vacuum-operated gutter cleaning system 10 is assembled as follows.

The rigid tubular body or pole 36 is manufactured to include the aperture 56, the tracks 60, 62, the lower stop 64 and the upper stop 66.

The cover 58 is manufactured and mounted onto the tracks 60, 62 such that it can be slid between along the length of the rigid tubular body or pole 36 between the first, open, position as shown in Figures 2 and 3 and the second, closed position as shown in Figure 4.

The first open end 42 of the rigid tubular body or pole 36 forms the first open end 32 of the gutter cleaning pipe 16 and is connected to the second open end 26 of the connecting hose 24.

The second open end 44 of the rigid tubular body or pole 36 is connected to the first open end 48 of the rigid tubular body or pole 38.

The second open end 50 of the rigid tubular body or pole 38 is connected to the first open end 52 of the rigid tubular body or pole 40. The second open end 54 of the rigid tubular body or pole 40 forms the second open end 34 of the gutter cleaning pipe 16 and is connected to the first open end of the gutter cleaning attachment 14. In this way a continuous pipe or tube is formed between the second open end 30 of the gutter cleaning attachment 14 and the tank or hopper 20 of the vacuum system 12.

Operation of the vacuum-operated gutter cleaning system 10 will now be described.

An operator ensures that the cover 58 is in the second position (as shown in Figure 4) with the aperture 56 closed (and sealed) and turns the vacuum system 12 on using the on/off switch 22 such that air is sucked through the gutter cleaning attachment 14, the gutter cleaning pipe 16 and the connecting hose 24. The operator extends the gutter cleaning pipe 16 upwards and positions the gutter cleaning attachment 14 into an overhead gutter (not shown). The gutter cleaning attachment 14 is moved along the overhead gutter (not shown) and any debris within the gutter is sucked into the gutter cleaning attachment 14, through the gutter cleaning pipe 16 and the connecting hose 24 and into the tank or hopper 20.

When cleaning of the overhead gutter (not shown) has been completed, the operator removes the gutter cleaning attachment 14 from the overhead gutter, lowers the gutter cleaning pipe such that the gutter cleaning attachment 14 is returned to ground-level and turns the vacuum system 12 off using the on/off switch 22.

In the event that a large object or large cluster of debris blocks the second open end 30 of the gutter cleaning attachment 14, the operator can lift the large object or large cluster of debris from the overhead gutter using the vacuum suction from the vacuum system 12, move the gutter cleaning attachment 14 away from the gutter and above a debris collection pile (without lowering the gutter cleaning pipe 16 or bringing the gutter cleaning attachment 14 to ground-level). When the gutter cleaning attachment 14 is in the desired position, the operator can slide the cover 58 of the controller from the second position (as shown in Figure 4) with the aperture 56 closed to the first position (as shown in Figures 2 and 3) with the aperture 56 open, in order to release the large object or cluster of debris. The large object or cluster of debris then falls to the debris collection pile and the operator can slide the cover 58 back to the second position and efficiently return the gutter cleaning attachment 14 to the overhead gutter to continue the cleaning operation.

The cover 58 is conveniently designed with a thumb grip 68 and ridges 70, 72 such that the operator can move the cover 58 with a single hand (leaving the other hand free to support and control the extended gutter cleaning pipe 16). The lower and upper stops 64, 66 provide resistance against further movement so that the operator knows when the cover 58 is in the open or closed position. Friction between the cover 58 and the ridges 70, 72 prevents accidental movement of the cover 58 between the first position and the second position. In the embodiment described, the gutter cleaning pipe 16 includes three elongate tubular bodies or poles 36, 38, 40. It will be understood that the gutter cleaning pipe 16 may include any number of elongate tubular bodies or poles. In the embodiment described, the controller 46 is provided on the elongate tubular body or pole that is closest to the vacuum system 12. It will be understood that in alternative embodiments, the controller may be provided on any of the elongate tubular bodies or poles such that it can be easily accessed by an operator during use of the vacuum-operated gutter cleaning system 10.

Alternative embodiments of the gutter cleaning pipe will now be described with reference to Figures 5 to 8. Like features are depicted with like reference numbers and will not be described further.

With reference to Figure 5, the cover 158 of the controller 146 is mounted on the elongate tubular body or pole 36 such that the operator can move it to the closed position (not shown) by laterally twisting the cover 158 relative to the elongate tubular body or pole 36. A stop 166 that extends in a direction that is parallel to the longitudinal axis A-A of the gutter cleaning pipe is provided to confirm to the user when the cover 158 is in the fully closed position. In the embodiments described above, the length of the aperture 56 extends in a direction that is parallel to the longitudinal axis A-A of the gutter cleaning pole. In the embodiment shown in Figure 6, the aperture 256 of the controller 246 is arranged such that the length of the slot extends in a direction that is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis A-A of the gutter cleaning pipe 16.

In the embodiments described above, the controller 46 includes a single aperture 56, 156. In the embodiment shown in Figure 7, the controller 346 includes a plurality of apertures 356a, 356b, 356c that are arranged along the longitudinal axis A-A of the gutter cleaning pipe 16. Similarly, in the embodiment shown in Figure 8, the controller 446 includes a plurality of apertures 456a, 456b, 456c. The apertures 456a, 456b, 456c of this embodiment are arranged in a direction that is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis A-A of the gutter cleaning pipe 16.

Although the embodiments of Figures 6, 7 and 8 are shown with a cover 58 that slides along the length of the elongate tubular body or pole 36, it will be understood that the apertures 256, 356a, 356b, 356c, 456a, 456b, 456c could be provided in a controller 146 having a cover 158 that is twisted laterally relative to the gutter cleaning pole 16 as described in relation to Figure 5.

In the embodiments described above, the cover 58 is a solid body and the apertures 56, 256, 356a, 356b, 356c, 456a, 456b, 456c are provided in the controller of the gutter cleaning pipe.

In the embodiment of Figures 9 to 11, the cover 558 includes a second aperture 580, an upper cuff or collar 582 and a lower cuff or collar 584. The cover 558 is twisted laterally relative to the gutter cleaning pole 16 as described in relation to Figure 5 such that the cover 558 can be moved between a first position in which the second aperture 580 of the cover 558 overlaps the aperture 556 of the controller such that the apertures 556, 580 are open, as shown in Figure 9, and a second position in which there is no overlap between the first and second apertures 556, 580 such that the first aperture 556 is closed by a portion of the cover 558 and the second aperture 580 is closed by a portion of the gutter cleaning pipe, as shown in Figure 11.

In this embodiment of the invention, the cover may have a third position in which the second aperture 580 partially overlaps the first aperture 556 such that the first aperture 556 is partially closed by a portion of the cover 558 and the second aperture 580 is partially closed by a portion of the gutter cleaning pipe, as shown in Figure 10. The vacuum can therefore be controlled such that, with the cover in the first position, the vacuum in the gutter cleaning pipe is removed, thereby causing objects at the end of the gutter cleaning pipe to be released from the pipe. When the cover is in the second position, the vacuum in the gutter cleaning pipe is maintained, allowing debris to be collected from the end of the gutter cleaning pipe and transferred to the tank. When a reduction in the vacuum is required, the cover can be moved to the third position.




 
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