- - What is a rain chain?
- - Can I use a rain chain if I don't have gutters on my home?
- - Which chains can handle the least/most amount of rainfall?
- - Do rain chains sound good? Our downspouts are noisy
- - How do I measure for a rain chain?
- - I bought unfinished chains - is there a way to speed up the aging process?
- - Do you accept international orders?
- - Are there issues with aluminum gutters and electrolysis?
What size hole do I drill for the installation kit?
2 1/4" hole for our installation kit. This is used instead of the V-hook for a more secure and better looking connection from gutter to rain chain.
Measure from the bottom of the gutter to the ground.
Subtract 3" from the top (the length of the V hook or Installation Kit from which the chain hangs)
Subtract 6-12" from the ground (IF you want the chain off the ground, which we recommend)
Subtract for anything else you might use on the ground -- a large stone, basin, rain barrel, etc.)
Neither, and both! It's a separate part that sits in the gutter and the rain chain hangs from it below.
See our tutorials for specifics. In general, the V-hook can be bent to fit nearly any gutter opening, with the rain chain hanging from the tip of the "V". The Installation Kit is inserted into the gutter from the top, and the rain chain is attached using the provided snap lock.
Using our Waterflow Index™ any cup style chain that is 5/5 rating is our best for carrying water to the ground. Larger cups can carry even more water.
The "chain" is a series of cups, with top connecting wires. The top and bottom wires intersect when you assemble it to make a chain of cups. If you received these two things (a number of cups and, separately, their top connecting wires), that is the rain chain.
Rain chains are a beautiful and functional alternative to traditional, closed gutter downspouts. Guiding rain water visibly down chains or cups from the roof to the ground, rain chains transform a plain gutter downspout into a pleasing water feature. From the soft tinkling of individual droplets to the soothing rush of white water, they are a treat to listen to.
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 recently added a "Waterflow Index"(link) 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 (link) 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 (link), which is available in several finishes and colors. Cup styles (link) can take more water, since their design directs the water straight downward into the next cup. All of our cup styles have open bottoms.
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.
Measure from the bottom of the gutter to the ground. Subtract 2" for the V-hook or 3" for our Installation Kit. 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!
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! Also see our page "Patina Facts" (link) and "Patina DIY" (link) for more information.
Our company is honored to serve our international customers. Our preferred method of shipping is USPS Priority International, Express (EMS) or FedEx International Economy. We make international shipments once a week. The minimum shipping charge is generally about $25 USD. Heavier packages and more remote destinations may incur different shipping charges and/or shipping durations.
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:
- Spray clear lacquer or paint onto the bottom of the gutter and/or the gutter attachment piece.
- Put a piece of plastic on each side of the gutter hole, underneath the gutter attachment piece.
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. Use our easy to follow Installation page for reference (link). We also offer our Rain Chain Installation Kit (RCR-1) (link), which offers some advantages over the standard gutter attachment piece.
Our rain chains are supported just fine by a normal gutter. A standard 8.5' 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 (link) if you have questions and for further guidance.
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.
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. (link)
- Also see our About Rain Chains page. (link)
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.
- **RainChains.com does not warranty against damage from ice on chain lengths greater than 12 feet.**
- Frozen brass cups chain. (link)
- Click here for another example (link)
We've had very few reports of excessive swinging in windy conditions. Our headquarters (and homes) in Southern California experiences Santa Ana winds in the fall with 50+ mph 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.
It's not necessary to take our chains down for winter; they can withstand the elements and extra weight.
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 how to speed up (link) the aging process using products.
Rain chains work best with a vertical water source, where the water is pointed down onto the chain. Suspending a chain from the end of a canale doesn't work very well. Closing the end of the canale is dangerous to the roof, as water can back up if the hole for the rain chain isn't large enough to drain quickly enough. This can also cause excessive splashing. At RainChains.com we fabricate custom canale extensions for our customers so they have a safe and effective way to install a rain chain from a canale. Here is a page with more details: https://www.rainchains.com/knowledge-base/post/canales-and-rain-chains
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 snippers or a hack saw to cut links open (it's easier to cut at the weld point).
For inside corners, we have our Copper Leaderhead (link) #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.