Don’t install rain chains before reading this + DIY options

Instead of the conventional boring and noisy gutter downspouts, why not try an artistic downspout alternative for your home, such as a rain chain?

They are excellent alternatives to hideous and noisy gutter downspouts. The device is handy for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, if downspouts are not feasible, in such cases, you can these instead. The most obvious reason is that they are gorgeous and attractive. You can tell the difference between the two just by looking at them.

What are they?

rain chains

A rain chain is a lovely and functional alternative to an average gutter downspout. It is a kind of decorative downspout that connects to your gutter system. This modernistic device has stunning artistic features and characteristics that are said to have originated in Japan and quickly spread across South America for over a hundred years. In principle, it (kusari doi in Japanese) is not totally a new concept. In fact, ancient Japanese people frequently collected rainwater from their roofs, moving it downward with chains and storing it into big containers for household use. Japanese temples were also installing the most aesthetic and exquisite designs to complement their architecture.

They are now regularly utilized in modern homes due to their exquisite and fantastic features and functionality. There are a variety of designs to opt from, ranging from simple to ornate. In general, you may use them for everyday purposes, such as in the home. However, there are also more complex and more significant designs that are visible from the roadway.

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How do they work?

As the standard gutters usually come down from the side of the house, the rain chains work differently. When it pours, part of the downpour cascades down the chains, creating gushing waterfalls for you to enjoy. They direct water from your rain gutters all the way down to the ground. And they are pretty noticeable and relaxing to listen to the quiet tinkling of individual droplets to the tranquil rush of clear water—such a real treat to listen to.

kid sitting in the rain

Rain chains connect to the gutter and the downspouts so that the device can utilize the surface tension. When rainfall collects in the gutters and begins to drain, it takes the pathway, which is the chain, all the way to the ground. In this way, the water is dropping down slowly as it is reducing specific energy.

Because they direct water from the gutter to a specific place, most households employ basins, barrels or channel them to landscaping beds or other water urn features. It is always good to consider how the water funneled from them will be used in practice. In such a way, the non-potable rainwater collected in the barrels can be used for the majority of home water uses, like in a watering can. They can make rainy days a lot more fun.

What are the types?

kids jumping in the rain

There are two varieties; the link style and the cup style.

Link chains or simple ones will splash more because there is less surface area that slows the water down. As a result, they are frequently considered in specific locations like windows, walkways, and roofed porches. Link chains have the most open, fresh appearance and simplicity, making them ideal for rustic backgrounds and wooden houses.

Cup-style ones outperform link-type ones in terms of performance and efficiency. If surface runoff or soil loss is an issue, try using the cup-style chains to prevent a backsplash. It has an open bottom that serves as a funnel. As the water falls into the first cup, it flows into the second cup, and so forth. In this manner, you can control the water flow. Even in heavy rain, the cup style sprinkles very little, making it suitable for use everywhere. The great thing about cup styles is that they come in various forms and sizes, making them visually attractive.

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Rain chain vs. downspout: (pros & cons)

Gutters are essential in every home. The roof gutter systems protect the roof support and the yard from heavy rainfall. However, when it came to rainfall distribution, some people relied on traditional downspouts. Simultaneously, other people chose more visually attractive solutions, such as rain chains. Though rain chains and downspouts serve the same purpose of directing water from the roof to the desired area, how do they compare?

Rain chain

Pros Cons
Artistically attractive Can’t handle a large volume of water
Easy to install Less capacity
Affordable Results in pools of stagnant water
Creates soothing sound Cause soil to erode if no water collection system
Decorative
Gorgeous aging
Long-lasting
Less to no maintenance
Functional

Gutter downspouts

Pros Cons
High capacity Boring
Endures heavy rains Noisy
Redirect water to the drainage leaving no standing water Requires regular maintenance
Expensive
Heavy to install

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DIY: How to make one

Making a homemade rain chain may be enjoyable for the entire family. They are also just as effective as store-bought products.

The first step in constructing a DIY option is deciding where you want to place them. Perhaps you’d like it to be hung in front of your house, next to your garage. Then you must decide what to do with the water after it has reached the ground. You may install a barrel or a basin with fountain elements to collect rainwater. Alternatively, anything you choose to do to make the environment more visually appealing would work.

How to do a DIY decorative cup rain chain with brass candle holders:

Here are the easy steps in making chain cups:

  1. Collect brass candle holders or purchase them from a nearby thrift store.
  2. Drill a few holes before hanging them. With the hole, you may be as creative as you want.
  3. The first hole to make is at the bottom of the cup, through which the chain is threaded.
  4. Use a hole saw with a tooth that is slightly wider than the chain.
  5. Next, drill two holes at the top of each cup to hang them using a drill bit.
  6. Then use a tool file and a grinding bit to smooth out the sharp bores.
  7. Then apply a sealer to cut out surfaces to prevent corrosion.

How to attach the cups:

  1. To begin, you will want a smaller chain, preferably a brass plumber chain.
  2. Each small chain should be around six inches long.
  3. After that, cut a two-end link and bend it into a simple hook.
  4. And then, hook each one through the holes you drilled on the top of the cup.

Steps to string the cups all together:

  1. Start by passing the large chain through the holes in each cup.
  2. Then, loop the smaller chain through one of the links and connect it to the cup on either side.
  3. Now, using a plier, crimp the hooks onto the cup’s sides.
  4. Repeat the technique until all of the cups are attached to the chain.

How to install the chains to the gutter system:

  1. To begin, hang them vertically as you assemble them.
  2. Cut a hole in the gutter to mount it and allow the water to drain.
  3. Because it cannot withstand too much water, a smaller opening is good. An 11/16 tool saw will suffice.
  4. To install it, cut one link in half to make a hook. Use it to hook it to the upper side of the gutter.
  5. Hold it up to the bottom side of the gutter opening.
  6. Then, on the upper side, loop the half-link through it.
  7. Make sure the link is wider than the opening so that it can keep everything in place.

Your homemade rain chains are now complete. Once it pours, you may watch the water tumble over the chains and listen to the sound of soothing waterfalls.

Basins: everything you need to know

How do you catch the water from the chain if there is nothing at the end of it? Obviously, it will spatter across your lawn, causing erosion. A basin, after the rain chain, is the second most significant thing. It is the final stop for the water that travels down the chain.

Basins are becoming an increasingly important component of owning a rain chain. The chain and basin work together to meet the demands of keeping and preserving your property. Basins are capable in the way that they function by saving rainwater while also providing beauty and serving as a centerpiece .

They come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Some designs are rustic, but the majority are charming additions to your landscape. It is crucial to finish the look by anchoring or weighing down the basin with large, smooth boulders, giving attractiveness to the overall aspect and producing a stunning water feature.

A quick reminder, you may need to purchase the two components separately. They must be purchased individually but come with high-quality kits. The most frequent type is the copper-polished catch basin.

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FAQs:

Do they work in heavy downpour?

They cannot handle a large amount of water during heavy storms. However, there is a solution; you may link your chain to the gutter or downspout. It does not imply that the gutter or downspout will reach the ground. Nonetheless, they guarantee that the water is correctly transported to the rain chain as it alone may not serve the purpose. Another option is to install a backup downspout because they cannot withstand heavy downpour.

Can you use one without a gutter?

In a few cases, they are hung directly from the roof. If you do this, make sure you get enough water to make it work. A cup-style one can handle more water than a link-style option. Determine how much rainwater your roof can take based on the climate in your area. This method, however, is inapplicable in places where it heavily rains most of the time.

Is it necessary to remove them in subzero temperatures?

No, it is not essential to drop them in cold weather. In fact, the formation of ice on them might increase its attractiveness. The main problem with ice development is the weight; in such instances, bring your chain indoors to melt before rehanging.

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Best materials:

  1. Brass – A solid but workable material that is also corrosion-resistant. It is an appealing option.
  2. Copper – A popular material. It is necessary to polish them regularly to keep their luster.
  3. Aluminum – A corrosion-resistant material with the lowest density from any common metal, making it ideal for use.
  4. Steel – One of the classic metals and high tensile steel. When used for these products, paint the device so that it will not rust over time.

Benefits of installing them in your home:

  • They offer a unique and fanciful way to enjoy rainy days.
  • They excite your senses as you watch the water flow down the length of the chain.
  • They act as a pathway for rainwater.
  • They are an excellent reason to upgrade your traditional downspout.
  • They attract people to go outside and enjoy the calming sound of rain falling on the chain.
  • They create a sense of tranquility in your home and ease your sadness away.
  • They save water.

Final words

Water conservation is always a worthwhile objective that benefits anyone and everyone. So, where would you start? It all begins with becoming conscious of how you use and misuse it. It is a resource that takes a lot of energy to generate, and often, a lot of it goes to waste.

There are, however, several ways to preserve water in your house. Consider installing one on your property. It is a lovely way to spruce up your home, and it is easy to gather water from. Water is valuable to many people, and with these, the notion of recycling it is swiftly taking hold. They encourage conservation. So have it installed right now!

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