A use­ful in­ven­tion for home

Home - Santa Fe Real Estate Guide - - HOME - By Paul Wei­de­man

Canales, the rain­wa­ter drains pro­ject­ing out from flat roofs on Santa Fe Style houses, may be tra­di­tional but they can also be a pain. The water can splash up from the ground to stain a wall or deck, and it may cre­ate pools that turn into dan­ger­ous ice in the win­ter. Santa Fe res­i­dent Brian Rees was both­ered that one of his canales was stain­ing a por­tal post at his El­do­rado home.

When a friend of his fa­ther-in-law com­plained about a canale that drained into his pa­tio, Rees re­al­ized he wasn’t the only one that had such prob­lems.

“Look around and you can see that just about every­body has at least one canale that drains to where they don’t want it to drain. Maybe you have a canale that the builder put in right over a view win­dow and you don’t want a rain bar­rel right there.” Also, you may have never had a prob­lem un­til a reroof­ing job changed which drain has the great­est flow, and now you do.

About a year ago, Rees mod­i­fied a cou­ple of his canales. In each one, he cut a hole near the back, near the junc­tion with the wall, in order to at­tach a con­ven­tional gut­ter down­spout to the bot­tom. The idea was based on the fact that once you get the water drain­ing into a down­spout, you can pipe it to drain off to the side or around a cor­ner, to drain into a rain bar­rel or stock tank that’s not right in front of your fa­vorite win­dow, or to drain into an area with a con­cen­tra­tion of trees or other land­scap­ing.

But there were glitches. It is rel­a­tively dif­fi­cult to cut or drill a 2- or 3-inch hole in a canale. It’s a has­sle get­ting the down­spout to fit, and to try to seal it — in any case, it will prob­a­bly leak be­fore long. “Also,” Rees said, “you have to put a dam across the front of the canale to stop the water and get it to go down the spout. But that dam can back up water onto your roof: not good.

“I sat there with a glass of wine, think­ing, There has to be an­other way, a bet­ter way to do this. I thought about it for a few weeks, then I started work­ing with fold­ing paper un­til I got to a point where I thought, You know, I think I can do this.”

The re­sult is his in­ven­tion called the Canale Catcher. Not only is the con­trap­tion easy to in­stall, but it’s not ugly. As it was be­ing de­vel­oped, he talked over the idea with his wife, Leonora Sanchez-Rees, and re­al­ized that it has to look good, too. At one point, he con­sid­ered mak­ing them with molded plas­tic, but he in­stead chose gal­va­nized steel. He bought some Har­bor Freight met­al­work­ing equip­ment and set about per­fect­ing the idea.

He mod­i­fied the first de­sign, so that the main body of the Canale Catcher an­gles down to­ward the back— the first one caught the water from the canale and con­nected up nicely to con­vey it to the down­spout, but it didn’t drain water com­pletely be­cause it was per­fectly hor­i­zon­tal. He also mon­i­tored his pi­lot project in place on his house. “I looked at it in the win­ter and saw the ici­cles form, just to see if there was a prob­lem.”

The fi­nal form of this patent-pend­ing in­ven­tion is now on the mar­ket. He’s hav­ing them made by an Al­bu­querque com­pany and they look very pro­fes­sional, with no sharp edges and sport­ing a snazzy logo he de­vel­oped with Cis­neros De­sign, Santa Fe.

The Canale Catcher goes on in about 15 min­utes with a few self-tap­ping screws.

There are three sizes. The most com­mon, in­clud­ing in El­do­rado, is 11 inches wide. He also cre­ated spe­cially mod­i­fied ver­sions for 8-inch and 6-inch canales, which are com­mon in Ran­cho Viejo and other ar­eas.

The Canale Catcher is avail­able at El­do­rado True Value Hard­ware and Dahl Plumb­ing, and Rees has a dis­play at the El­do­rado Farm­ers’ Mar­ket Fri­days from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Prices range from $59.95 for the 11-inch to $49.95 for the 6-inch. They’re also avail­able in cop­per ($299.95 for the 11inch) by spe­cial order.

De­tailed mea­sure­ment and in­stal­la­tion in­struc­tions are avail­able at www.canale­catcher.com.

Left, Brian Rees’ first idea: chan­nel­ing runoff into a down­spout by punc­tur­ing the canale. Right, the bet­ter idea for which Rees has a patent pending. Be­low, the in­ven­tor with a CanaleCatcher at his house.

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