Rain Chain FAQs

General Questions

Rain chains are a beautiful and functional alternative to your homes traditional downspouts. Unlike a downspout, rain chains allows you to watch the cascading water through the cups or links with the soothing sound of flowing water. Cup styles tend to offer more of a tinkling sound than the link styles. Link styles can be hung in a single strand of chain links or in multiples for a unique look.

The cup style concentrates the flow of water and during heavy rains will contain water more so than link styles. Both are functional and attractive with water flowing through them. Cup styles are easier to shorten or lengthen because the cups can easily be removed or added where the link style may require soldering.

1) Measure from the bottom of the gutter to the ground.

2) Subtract 2" for the V-hook or 3" for an Installation Kit.

3) 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 all personal preference!

4) We sell most rain chains by the foot; order to the nearest foot based on your measurement. If you need a custom size, please call our team at (877) 696-8889.

No. Although rain chains work best when attached to a rain gutter they can also be used wherever the water flows off of your roof, awning, or shed. It is helpful when the water flow is concentrated into the rain chain to maximize the function of the rain chain. Without a gutter, water pours off the "valley" where two roofs join. If you don't have guttering there, consider a corner leaderhead to catch the water and direct it onto a rain chain. A beautiful way to solve common drainage problems!

Rain chains made from 100% pure copper will darken and take on that familiar green patina effect over time. Aluminum rain chains will develop a rich dark silver grey color as they age. Brass rain chains turn a bronzy/brown color over time. Most of our rain chains have no lacquer so they will age over time.
This does depend a little on where you live, how much rain you get and how acidic the rain is. Rain chains will last for decades.

Standard length (8 to 8.5 ft) rain chains average between 5 to 9 lbs. depending on the style and length of the chain. They are compatible to be hung from most rain gutters. Installation kits are an excellent accessory to hang your rain chain and will bear more weight than a simple v-hook.

Like a downspout the water flow from your rain chain can go directly into your drainage pipe or you can purchase a basin. The basin allows you to use the collected water for plants, flowers or other areas where water can be utilized.

Unfinished rain chains will age pretty quickly if they get wet often. 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.

If you want to try chemically aging the chains yourself, patina solutions are available at home improvement stores like Home Depot. 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!

For most link style rain chains, you can use two pliers or a vise and pliers, then twist a link to open it and remove chain lengths.

For cup style rain chains, simply remove the top wire connector that joins the cups together and take as many cups off as you need. There may or may not be a threaded nut outside the cup that you twist off. Some wires just pull out of the cup.

For heavier duty styles like the Double Loops Rain Chain, use heavy snippers or a hack saw to cut links open (it's easier to cut at the weld point).

We do have many customers concerned about electrolysis between an aluminum gutter and brass or copper attachment pieces. For this to be a serious concern, there would need to be good contact between both raw metals.

We’ve had customers and team members with copper against their aluminum gutters for almost 10 years now, with no noticeable corrosion or degradation at the point of contact. However, here a couple of ways to easily minimize contact:

1) Spray clear lacquer or paint onto the bottom of the gutter and/or the gutter attachment piece.

2) Put a piece of plastic on each side of the gutter hole, underneath the gutter attachment piece.

There is a Limited Lifetime Warrantee for the rain chains sold on our store. Click here to view the warrantee!

Rain Chains & Weather

Yes! All of our rain chains are ranked on a Water Flow Index. This is an easy way to compare how much water each of our rain chains can handle. "Splashing", or water that escapes from the chain, is also an important factor. You'll find the water flow index on each rain chain product.

Link style rain chains can handle a more limited amount of rainfall. In a downpour, some water will leave the chain and splash. Our best link style product is the Double Loops Rain Chain, which is available in several finishes and colors.

Generally, cup style rain chains can handle more water, since their design directs the water straight downward into the next cup. All of our cup styles have openings at the bottoms.

No. Many of our customers live in cold and snowy sections of the country and rain chains are very attractive when covered in ice or snow. During the day ice may melt and overnight refreeze creating beautiful ice formations. Be aware that you may need to account for the extra weight on the chain if the water on the chain freezes.  We recommend using the installation kit for longer lengths instead of the standard V-hook, as it provides a more secure connection to the gutter. You can also simply knock off any excess ice formation to reduce the weight.

We have rarely heard of any issues with wind. Due to the open design only a very strong wind will cause some swaying but it will be minimal and should not affect the function of the rain chain. Many of our customers place decorative pebbles or river rocks in their rain chain basins to help secure their rain chains. We also carry the Rain Chain Anchor Stake.

We have only had a few reports of damage from ice. 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 deicing method could help 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.
We cannot warranty against damage from ice on chain lengths greater than 12 feet.

Rain Chain Installation

The rain chains we sell are supported sufficiently by a normal gutter.

A standard 8 1/2' length of rain chain ranges from 5-7 lbs. The water on the chain during rainfall does add to that weight a little. Long drops (20+ feet) may require some additional gutter reinforcement.

Please contact us if you have questions and for further guidance.

Rain chains are easy to install and usually take very little time. Click here for instructions.

There are some factors to consider when deciding the best location for your new rain chain; first, consider the effect of splashing. If hung too close to a walkway or porch, those passing by might find themselves getting a bit wet during a heavy rain. In general, the ones made of just the copper loops linked together tend to be the "splashiest" - for a location with foot traffic nearby, chain downspouts that use cups might be more appropriate. They can handle the flow of water more easily as it is funneled from the top to the bottom. Second, it is nice to have a spot where it can be easily seen. If you have a window near where your gutter drains, that would be an ideal spot. This would allow you to see and hear the rain running through up close without getting wet. You might even be able to open the window a bit and enjoy the sound of the water as it cascades down the chain.

The end of the rain chain can be anchored in various ways, but that is really just a personal preference rather than a necessity. It can swing freely unless you live in an area that is exceptionally windy. As an alternative, you can hang it to meet a rain barrel to collect the rainwater, or you can use a copper basin. We also carry the Rain Chain Anchor Stake which makes a great anchor. The basin or rain barrel options prevent the rain from hitting the ground directly, while the anchors will hold your rain chain in place and the water will hit the ground. Click here to view all of our rain chain accessories.

You can handle drainage from your rain chains in many ways. A variety of receptacles will work, including basins, bowls, saucers, pebbles, etc.

Many of our customers use downspout diverters or underground drains to direct water away from their homes. The rain chain's purpose is to break the fall of the water and direct it downward gently, minimizing erosion and splash.

We recommend using Loctite® Blue adhesive when screwing on the nuts for your rain chain. This helps them stay secured, especially in windy or cold locations. It's also important to use Loctite® for rain chains longer than 10-feet in length. Loctite® is available at any hardware or home improvement store. This product will secure the nut but it will still be removable.

Angling 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, we recommend hanging these straight.