Here in the Pacific Northwest, managing gutters and downspouts is an almost constant struggle. It’s all fun and games in the Summer. But if we’re not prepared for Fall, clogs, misaligned downspouts, and other problems can sneak up, requiring hasty repairs to get ahead of the bad weather.
If you plan ahead for the rainy seasons this year, though, you could enjoying a little something extra: the soothing sound of rain rushing down the chains you’ve used to replace your downspouts.
Rain chains have been used in Japan for centuries, but they’ve recently been catching on in the U.S. as an attractive downspout alternative. Some use actual chains, but many different shapes are available, like cups or bells that ring as the rain travels down them. Rain chains can improve your home’s curb appeal and sound lovely, but if you’re thinking of installing them, it’s important to do it correctly. When in doubt, ask a professional for help.
An improperly installed rain chain can lead to the same problems you may have with any downspout. Poor drainage leads to standing water around the home’s foundation, which can contribute to mold and mildew and invite insects. Too much water can even start to break down the foundation directly. Meanwhile, the yard can become a soggy, muddy mess.
Disadvantages of Rain Chains
When using rain chains, being proactive about drainage is even more important. They are less sturdy and can’t handle the same amount of water as a traditional downspout, so you’ll want to consider installing a backup downspout for heavy rainfall. Wind can also make a rain chain less effective in directing water, so there again you have cause to install a backup.
You also need an effective collection system. Downspouts can be used to direct the stream of water away from your home, but a chain can’t do that. You’ll need a barrel or possibly a water feature to catch the water and prevent damage to your home.
Advantages of Rain Chains
The great thing about rain chains, of course, is that they so much more attractive than regular downspouts. You can choose from many different styles and finishes, including copper, which will develop a beautiful weathered look over time called “patina.” Some rain chains also make musical sounds, which can be a lovely complement to the rain.
Installing rain chains can be relatively easy, but if you’re not comfortable working on your roof it’s best to hire a pro for help. If you’re worried about high winds, anchor the chain to keep it in place, and remember to inspect it regularly to ensure it works well. As long as you’re working on the gutters, it’s the perfect time to inspect them, remove debris, and attend to any broken or damaged sections.
Now that you know how to make rain chains work for your home, you can now go out and choose the style you love! If you need any help, don’t hesitate to give us a call!