Can I use a rain chain if I don’t have gutters on my home?
Rain chains can be used without gutters, but they do depend upon a vertical water source to function most efficiently. If water is arching off the roof, the chain may or may not catch or transport all of the water in both light and heavy rainfall conditions.
We have two products for homes without gutters:
Mini Gutter installation system
Which chains can handle the least/most amount of rainfall?
We have recently added a “Waterflow Index” to all of our rain chain products. This makes it easier to compare. The Index is a subjective judgement by us on how efficient a rain chain is. This includes the amount of water it can deliver to the ground, and the amount of splashing customers might expect. Link styles can handle a limited amount of rainfall. In a downpour, some water will leave the chain and splash to the sides and down. Our best link product is the #3130-2 Double Loop, which is available in several finishes and colors. Cup styles can take more water, since their design directs the water straight downward into the next cup. All of our cup styles have open bottoms.
How will my rain chain change in appearance as it ages?
This depends a little on where you live, how much rain you get and how acidic the rain is. Brass darkens with age, taking on rich bronzy/brown tones. Copper also darkens with age and may or may not acquire the familiar green/blue patina effect. Aluminum stays silver in color, but eventually becomes more grey and dull. None of our chains are finished with lacquer, so they all undergo a natural aging process. Also see the question about speeding up the aging process next.
I bought unfinished chains - is there a way to speed up the aging process?
Unfinished chains will age pretty quickly if they get wet a lot. If it’s not raining often when you install them, try hosing them down. You can also make up a spray bottle with a light saltwater solution and spray your chains regularly. Patina solutions are available at home improvement stores like Home Depot, if you want to try chemically aging the chains yourself. It’s not as good, thick or rich as our commercial patinas, though! Please be aware that salt and/or chemicals are not good for your plants!
Are there any problems with ice on the chains?
We have had few reports of damage from ice, but there have been some. Be aware that you may need to account for the extra weight on the chain if the water on it freezes. We recommend using the Installation Kit for longer lengths instead of the V-hook, as it provides a more secure connection to the gutter. The use of heat tape or a similar anti-icing method will reduce the chance for damage over time. Link styles can be ordered with all welded links; this is stronger and appropriate for longer lengths and cold climates.
***rainchainscanada.com does not warranty against damage from ice on chain lengths greater than 12 feet.
Will high winds make the chains swing too much?
We’ve had very few reports of excessive swinging in windy conditions. Our headquarters (and homes) in Southern BC experiences winds in the fall with up to 50+ km/hr gusty winds.
One way to secure your chain at the bottom is to use our Copper Dish (#3145-A) with its brass attachment loop. We also have a Garden Stake (RCS-1) which you can embed in the ground.
Are rain chains heavy? Can my gutter take the weight?
Our rain chains are supported just fine by a normal gutter. A standard 8′ length of rain chain ranges from 5-7 pounds, although the water in the chain during rainfall does add a little to that. Long drops (20+ feet) may require some additional gutter reinforcement. Contact us if you have questions and for further guidance.
Are rain chains easy to install?
We provide a gutter attachment piece with every chain we sell. The attachment sits in the gutter, over the hole, and helps direct water flow down onto the chain. Installation may require some bending of the attachment so it sits correctly in the gutter.
We also offer our Rain Chain Installation Kit (RCR-1), which offers some advantages over the standard gutter attachment piece.
What should rain chains drain into?
Rain chains can drain into a variety of receptacles – basins, bowls, saucers, pebbles, etc. They can pass through a hole in a deck, or just hover above whatever surface is beneath them. The chain’s purpose is to break the fall of the water and direct it downward gently, minimizing erosion and splash.
See our Drainage Designs page
I received my chain and it’s too long - what do I do?
Links: For most of our link styles, using two pliers or a vise and pliers, twist a link to open it and remove chain lengths.Cup styles: Remove the top wire connector that joins the cups together to reduce lengths. There may or may not be a threaded nut outside the cup that you twist off. Some wires just pull out of the cup.Double Loops: Use heavy snips or a hack saw to cut links open (it’s easier to cut at the weld point).
Are there issues with aluminum gutters and electrolysis?
We do get calls with concerns about electrolysis between an aluminum gutter and brass or copper attachment pieces. For this to be a valid technical concern, there would need to be good contact between both raw metals. I’ve had copper against aluminum on my own home for 6 years now, with no noticeable corrosion or degradation at the point of contact. However, here a couple of ways to easily minimize contact:
1 – Spray clear lacquer or paint onto the bottom of the gutter and/or the gutter attachment piece.
2 – Put a piece of plastic on each side of the gutter hole, underneath the gutter attachment piece.
Do rain chains sound good? Our downspouts are noisy.
Rain chains sound much better than traditional downspouts. From the bell-like tinkle of drops falling from cup to cup, to the soft whitewater sound of a waterfall, rain chains eliminate the disruptive, clunky noise associated with closed downspouts.
Can rain chains be hung at an angle?
While a few degrees or so with a cup style rain chain will work, any more than that and the water will miss the next cup in the series. Link style chains don’t work well at an angle.
How do I measure for a rain chain?
1) Measure from the bottom of the gutter to the ground.
2) Subtract 2″ for the V-hook or 3″ for our Installation Kit.
3) Subtract for any object that might be placed under the rain chain (like a stone or basin), or for some space underneath.
We think 6″ – 12″ looks great, but it’s up to you! We sell all of our products by the foot; order to the nearest foot based on your measurement!
Do I need to take my chains down for winter?
It’s not necessary to take our chains down for winter; they can withstand the elements and extra weight.
I have a "valley" (an inside corner where two roofs come together). What do you have for that?
For inside corners, we have our Copper Leaderhead #3141 that can collect the water and deliver it to a rain chain. It includes an outlet and mounting screws. Please contact us if you have questions about this application.