The Dyson vacuum cleaner is a great example of combining two existing technologies. In this case the traditional vacuum cleaner was combined with the industrial cyclone separator to create a vacuum cleaner that does not suffer from decreasing suction as the bag fills and clogs with dust.
This article is about the Halls rainsaver a new product that fits into a similar category. The Rainsaver combines traditional plastic guttering with a screw clamp to create an easy to fix guttering system for small garden buildings that can be quickly fitted and adjusted with minimal diy skills.
The Halls Rainsaver is a new guttering system developed specifically for sheds. The inventor, Barry Hall, developed the system as a quick and easy way to fix guttering to a shed roof.
Barry knew that many gardeners wanted to fix guttering to their shed roofs, to collect the water for use in the garden. Collecting water in this way has the benefit that a ready supply of water is available near the plants where it is needed.
However, Barry found that many people were put off installing shed guttering as they thought that it would be too time consuming and difficult. So he set out to simplify the process of installing guttering.
Many shed manufacturers do not make provision for fitting guttering to the roofs of their buildings. This is a surprising oversight when you consider how sheds are used. A common solution is to use the traditional house type plastic guttering, but this takes time and a certain degree of diy skill to adapt the system so that it works with the shed.
The Halls rainsaver is a simple product that is designed to enable the homeowner to fix guttering to their shed in a short period of time without any prior DIY skill.
I had a sample shed guttering system to test and as you can see from the picture below the system comprises of 4 main components:
The four components of the rainsaver system
The first three components are standard components of 75mm (3 inch) plastic guttering system. The new part is the Halls Rainsaver bracket.
The Rainsaver Bracket
The picture on the right shows the simplicity and ingenuity of this new component. There are two key features to the rainsaver bracket.
Firstly, the bracket fixes to the gutter by threading it through the circular slot in the perimeter of the bracket. No real expertise required there! The bracket is precision manufactured so that it grips the guttering section but allows it to slide within the slot. Being able to adjust the position of the gutter in the bracket in this way allows the bracket to be fitted to varying shed roof slopes of up to 33 degrees (a typical shed roof has a slope of about 20 degrees).
With the brackets threaded onto the guttering system the bracket clamps to the shed roof using the screw thread clamp. The clamp can fix to roof edges varying in thickness from ⅓ inch (8mm) to 3 inches (75mm) so it has a good range.
Installing the shed guttering system is as easy as it promises. The guttering is delivered well protected in a cardboard box with all of the parts securely taped together.
Guttering clamped to the eaves of the shed
Guttering system installed
The main components are all standard black upvc drainage parts so have been tested in use all over the world. So no problems there.
The new untested part is the Rainsaver bracket. This seems robust and is made of UV stabilised glass filled nylon so it ticks all of the right boxes. Time is needed to see if it develops faults in use but so far so good!
As you can see from the above pictures, I got the system together and managed to fix it to a shed very quickly. There were a few problems that I could envisage none were real show stoppers but I think that they might be worth addressing in future iterations of the product.
The first was that for the clamp to be really secure it needs a good grip on the edge of the roof. In getting this tight grip the clamp bites into the shed roofing felt. This could lead to future problems with the felt tearing if the guttering system moves with the wind and weather.
As you can see the downpipe just dangles from the end of the gutter. This needs some method of securing it as over time it is going to get blown off in a high wind. Many water butts have a lid with a hole in it that will do just the job of securing the end of the downpipe. Making sure that the water butt that you choose has this feature is essential to the long term functioning of the product.
The final problem that I can see with this product is that it is so easy to install that if used in public places (such as the local allotment) then it will be easy for others to remove. Not a problem in private gardens but again a future 'allotment' version of the product that was easy to fix but difficult to remove would address this potential problem.
Despite the above points I had no serious problems with this new shed guttering system.
If I had a small shed and needed to quickly and easily install a way of collecting water off the roof for use in the garden then the Halls Rainsaver system would most definitely feature.
A quick look at cost of the system shows that it is not vastly more expensive than installing conventional guttering and it is a lot easier than trying to adapt a house guttering system
Like the Dyson Vacuum cleaner this is successful fusion of two existing technolgies. Like the Dyson vacuum cleaner I expect that as the system becomes more successful and widely used further adaptations will be added to make it even simpler and widely used.