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How Does a Rain Chain Work?

Rain chains are beautiful design elements for your home that work to guide rainwater from your roof to the ground. Rain chains have been used for hundreds of years in Japan and South America as a way to collect the rain and save it for household basics and irrigation. Today's chains are much more decorative, with copper cups shaped like flowers or hammered metal containers that collect the water as it directs the flow down the chain and into a holding container or the landscape. Rain chains work as part of an eco-friendly alternative for your home, allowing you to capture the rainwater and distribute it later.

How Does a Rain Chain Work?

Function

Rain chains are beautiful design elements for your home that work to guide rainwater from your roof to the ground. Rain chains have been used for hundreds of years in Japan and South America as a way to collect the rain and save it for household basics and irrigation. Today's chains are much more decorative, with copper cups shaped like flowers or hammered metal containers that collect the water as it directs the flow down the chain and into a holding container or the landscape. Rain chains work as part of an eco-friendly alternative for your home, allowing you to capture the rainwater and distribute it later.

Installation

Rain chains are connected to your home's gutters, where the opening for the downspout is located, using a special gutter attachment. If the gutter opening is larger than the gutter attachment, you can purchase an installation kit to reduce the size of the opening so your chain will work. Standard rain chain lengths are 8 1/2 feet, but you can order custom sizes from some manufacturers. Hang the chain over a decorative container or a plastic barrel to collect the rain, and then recycle the water to irrigate your lawn or garden when the rain stops. Some rain barrels have spouts that fit your water hose, making it easier to use the water efficiently.

Decoration

Decorative rain chains, with metal containers running the length of the chains, are sometimes more effective than simple chains that direct the water down the links alone. Link chains splash more, so there is less water in the container and more on the house, windows or nearby porch. Cups or container-type rain chains funnel the water more effectively from the roof to the ground. The water collects in the cups, and then drains down to the next cup until it reaches the container beneath. Some popular garden-themed rain chains are made from copper and adorned with hummingbirds, butterflies or flower designs.

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