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Common Rain Chain Questions


What is the function of a rain chain?
Rain chains are a beautiful and functional alternative to your homes traditional downspouts. Unlike a downspout, a copper rain chain allows you to watch the cascading water through the cups or links with the soothing sound of flowing water. Cup styles tend to offer more of a tinkling sound than the link styles. Link styles can be hung in a single strand of chain links or in multiples for a unique look.

Do I need rain gutters to use my rain chain?
No. Although rain chains work best when attached to a rain gutter they can also be used wherever the water flows off of your roof, awning or shed. It is helpful when the water flow is concentrated into the rain chain to maximize the function of the rain chain. Without a gutter, water pours off the "valley" where two roofs join. If you don't have guttering there, consider a corner leaderhead to catch the water and direct it onto a rain chain. A beautiful way to solve common drainage problems!

Will my rain chain maintain its shiny appearance?
Rain chains made from 100% pure copper will darken and take on that familiar green patina effect over time. Aluminum rain chains will develop a rich dark silver grey color as they age. Brass rain chains turn a bronzy/brown color over time. Most of our rain chains have no lacquer so they will age over time. Rain chains will last for decades.

Do I have to take my rain chain down in the winter?
No. Many of our customers live in cold and snowy sections of the country and rain chains are very attractive when covered in ice or snow. During the day ice may melt and overnight refreeze creating beautiful ice formations. Be aware that you may need to account for the extra weight on the chain if the water on the chain freezes.  We recommend using the installation kit for longer lengths instead of the standard V-hook, as it provides a more secure connection to the gutter. You can also simply knock off any excess ice formation to reduce the weight.

Will high winds affect the rain chains?
We have rarely heard of any issues with wind. Due to the open design only a very strong wind will cause some swaying but it will be minimal and should not affect the function of the rain chain. Many of our customers place decorative pebbles or river rocks in their rain chain basins to help secure their rain chains. We also carry the Rain Chain Garden Stake (RCS-1) by Garm Beall.


How much do rain chains weigh?
Standard length (8 to 8.5 ft) rain chains average between 5 to 9 lbs depending on the style and length of the chain. They are compatible to be hung from most rain gutters. Installation kits are an excellent accessory to hang your rain chain and will bear more weight than a simple v-hook.

Where does the water flow into from a rain chain?
Like a downspout the water flow from your rain chain can go directly into your drainage pipe or you can purchase a basin. The basin allows you to use the collected water for plants, flowers or other uses where water can be utilized.

What is the difference between the cup and link style?
The cup style concentrates the flow of water and during heavy rains will contain water more so than link styles. Both are functional and attractive with water flowing through them. Cup styles are easier to shorten or lengthen because the cups can easily be removed or added where the link style may require soldering.

How long does it take to install a rain chain?
Rain chains are easy to install and usually take very little time.

Does it matter where rain chains are hung?
There are some factors to consider when deciding the best location for your new home ornament; first, consider the effect of splashing. If hung too close to a walkway or porch, those passing by might find themselves getting a bit wet during a heavy rain. In general, the ones made of just the copper loops linked together tend to be the "splashiest" - for a location with foot traffic nearby, chain downspouts that use cups might be more appropriate. They can handle the flow of water more easily as it is funneled from the top to the bottom. Second, it is nice to have a spot where it can be easily seen. If you have a window near where your gutter drains, that would be an ideal spot. This would allow you to see and hear the rain running through up close without getting wet. You might even be able to open the window a bit and enjoy the sound of the water as it cascades down the chain.

Do I need to anchor the bottom end?
The end of the rain chain can be anchored in various ways, but that is really just a personal preference rather than a necessity. It can swing freely unless you live in an area that is exceptionally windy. As an alternative, you can hang it to meet a rain barrel to collect the rainwater, or you can use a copper basin. We also carry two types of anchors; the Rain Chain Gravel Anchor (RCGA) by Oregon Garden Arts and the Rain Chain Garden Stake (RCS-1) by Garm Beall. The basin or rain barrel options prevent the rain from hitting the ground directly, while the anchors will hold your rain chain in place and the water will hit the ground.

Are your rain chains tested for radioactivity?
The rain chains that we carry by rainchains.com are tested for radioactivity and are guaranteed to be safe.

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