rain chains,anyone use them?

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We would like to have them off the sunroom and drain into a water holding "tank".The ones I have seen are to flashey for us,would plain chains work?

-- renee o'neill (oneillsr@home.com), December 14, 2001


Renee, What's a rain chain?

Inquiring minds want to know....

Stacy in NY

-- Stacy (KincoraFarm@aol.com), December 14, 2001.

This inquiring mind is dying to know- I had a mental picture of tire chains for a tropical climate! (Silly me)

-- Debbie in Mo (risingwind@socket.net), December 14, 2001.

some type of downspout?

-- stan (sopal@net-port.com), December 14, 2001.

Yeah, I want to know, too - never heard of them.


-- (rwhitworth@sprint.ca), December 14, 2001.

O.K., inquirees, a rain chain is a decorative downspout using large round ring chains that the water adheres to as it flows down out of the gutters. It is a cool looking effect and is indeed a little "flashy". Renee, what are you going to do with the water? The only rain chain I've ever dealt with, (installed for a customer), was made of copper and was meant to develop a verdigris which makes it prettier, but discolored the water. (It left a stain in the pebble covered drain on the ground.) I guess you could use regular chain as the surface tension effect would work the same, but it would need to be something that wouldn't rust or otherwise taint the water...stainless steel??? I don't know.

-- gilly (wayoutfarm@skybest.com), December 14, 2001.

Here's a picture if my description failed to illuminate you. Rain Chain

-- gilly (wayoutfarm@skybest.com), December 14, 2001.

Renee, I have seen plain chain used for this, I have also seen 3 or maybe four wire ropes spaced about 1/2" apart doing the same job.

-- john hill (john@cnd.co.nz), December 14, 2001.

sorry I should have explained better,yes its instead of a down spout. I want it to run into a barrel on either side of the roof,the water would be used for a garden off the patio. I prefer the rusty look,copper would be cool but its pricey.I was thinking about some type of plain chain.

John Hill would you please explain your idea? I like the look of the rain chain in the pic from above think I could use some type of cable and come up with same idea?

Thanks guys.

-- renee o'neill (oneillsr@home.com), December 15, 2001.

The rain chain thing sounds really pretty- the copper one in Hearth and Home is gorgeous. Much more attractive than a downspout.

I had an image in my head of "mud chains" on a tire rather than something pretty on a house.

Stacy in NY

-- Stacy (KincoraFarm@aol.com), December 15, 2001.

The Frank Lloyd Wright house here in town (Samara) uses rain chains for decorative effect as well as scattering. They are really cool. I went to the local Tractor Supply and found the chains that go on the back of a planter to be very similar. (The planter chains help cover the seed). I am planning on buying some. They are steel or some other but should last forever...

-- Gailann Schrader (gtschrader@aol.com), December 15, 2001.

I should mention that I can't imagine rain chains or anything similary being of any use except in a vertical direction!

The chains I have seen used are about 3/8" size chain (which is pretty hefty being about what holds logs onto a truck). There is a fitting at the top so that the chain goes up through the centre of the hole in the roof gutter. The lower end of the chain is anchored in a pile of rocks that cover the storm water drain grill.

The cable one is similar except that the cables are connected around the edge of the gutter hole then held fairly taught by a fitting again in a pile of rocks.

-- john hill (john@cnd.co.nz), December 15, 2001.

If you wanted to make a chain for yourself (either by braiding or hooking together wire circles) out of copper, a good place to get useful lengths is a construction site. When the wiring guys go through and do their stuff, they generally leave behind offcuts of various lengths and gauges. If you know an electrician or construction person, ask if they can help you with the timing so that you can salvage the wire. In my stint with Habitat for Humanity, I accumulated nearly a lifetime's supply of scrap copper wire in a very short time.

Since the recyclers won't take it with the insulation sheathing on, and it's illegal (due to environmental concerns) to burn off the coating - the only really time-effective way of stripping large enough quantities to make recycling worth it - most just leave the scraps where they lay, or end up paying a worker's wage to clean up behind them.

On a side note, you can, if you're lucky, get seriously useful lengths of the stuff. Some of my scavenged pieces are way long enough to use in small rewiring jobs like lamps and other such items.

-- Soni (thomkilroy@hotmail.com), December 17, 2001.

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