Making Wise Plumbing Decisions

« Back to Home

An Alternative To Downpipes: Enhance Your Home With Rain Chains

Posted on

Ever since the 1998 Winter Olympics was hosted in Nagano, Japan, Americans have an aesthetically pleasing and energy efficient alternative to downpipes — rain chains. Rain chains incorporate links and pots that are linked up in a chain to redirect water from the roof to a rain barrel, cistern, into a rain garden, or just about anywhere of your choice. You just want to make sure that the rain does not get redirected to an area where it will pool and remain stagnant, as this attracts pests, like mosquitoes. 

Installation of Rain Chains

Rain chains are relatively easy to install, and normally simply replace where the downpipes are to be located. Once you have found a design and style that you like, use a hole saw to drill a hole in the gutter where you would like the rain chain to be placed. You can even use the hole where an existing downspout may be located if you would like to save money and time. Next, remove the downspout from the roofing area and paint any exposed coupling to match the gutter for aesthetic purposes. Finally, you want to place the hanging bracket of the rain chain overtop the hole that you have drilled, making sure that the hook hangs through the hole. The rain chain can then be attached to the hook.

You do not necessarily have to purchase pre-linked rain chains. There are many manufacturers that offer various links and pots that can be linked together for the design and style that you want. Some homeowners have even incorporated various metal designs and ornaments into their rain chain. You want to place a heavy weight at the end of the chain to prevent it from being whipped around by the wind during extreme weather conditions.

It is important to make sure that the metals that you use are properly treated to be corrosion and rust resistant. For example, rain chains made from galvanized steel tend to rust frequently, and will need to be painted over with a special finish to protect the underlying metal from rusting.

A Great Tool for Rain Harvesting

Did you know that households in the U.S. use about 29 billion gallons of water on a daily basis? Of which, 8.5 billion gallons of water is devoted solely to outdoor use. Your household could save a lot of money on your water bills by harvesting rainwater and reusing it for outdoor purposes, such as watering your lawn, the bushes, and other plants. Rain chains with pots in them tend to be better at harvesting rain. You can periodically dump out the rainwater that has been collected into a rain barrel for irrigation purposes.

Aesthetic Enhancement to Your Home

Rain chains are particularly popular due to the aesthetic enhancement that they add to your home. Not only do most rain chains offer a more rustic and nostalgic appearance that helps to enhance the home, as downspouts and downpipes look quite boring, but they also add a acoustic component. Listening to the rainwater drip down the chains can be quite relaxing, especially at night when you are trying to sleep.


Rain chains are simple, beautiful and easy to make with several simple tools and materials. There are many different styles and designs that can be customized to better accommodate the architectural structure and styling of a home. The beneficial features of rain chains have also helped to boost their popularity. These accessories are able to turn gutters and downspouts into environmentally friendly and energy efficient features, help manage rainwater runoff, reduce soil erosion and even prevent water pollution. Speak with a local plumber if you are interested in adding this accessory to your home. Although rain chains are easy to install, a professional installation reduces the risk of errors. Professionals can also help make sure that you choose the right materials and designs that are guaranteed to last.