Rain chains are a popular alternative to standard downspouts. Like a downspout, a rain chain channels water from the roof to the ground, a cistern or a rain barrel. Rain chains can add a unique decorative feature to a home’s appearance. Not just visually pleasing, a rain chain transforms the sound of water into a soothing symphony. They are also ideal for situations where there is not enough room to accommodate traditional downpipes or a downpipe does not enhance the overall design.
The way it works is simple: water is guided down the chain by surface tension and into a ground drain, a bed of gravel or some type of water collection system like a rain barrel. Rain chains are typically easier to install than downspouts and are often mounted from a bracket and through the hole where a standard downpipe would go.
The typical length is 8 feet, but most manufacturers sell by the foot so that the rain chain can be ordered to your specific requirements. The three basic kinds of rain chains are: cup rain chains, link rain chains and themed rain chains. They are available in a number of materials including copper, brass, aluminum and steel.
Some things to keep in mind when considering whether to choose rain chains over downpipes:
- Rain chains are not recommended for 2-or-more-storey homes due to splashing issues
- Optimal eave overhang needed is 3 feet
- Rainwater that contains a high level of acid can age or add a patina to copper and brass; while some homeowners consider this a plus, others can see it as discolouration or marring of the metal’s appearance
- Unlike a closed downspout system, a rain chain is an open system, which means water pours freely down from out of the gutter on to the chain. Any excess water not channeled down the rain chain will overflow on either side. This could be problematic when the chain is near paved rather than landscaped areas
Rain chains have been around for centuries, providing a decorative alternative to tradition downpipes or downspout systems. If you think a rain chain might be a good choice for your home, call us today.