Used in Japan for centuries, rain chains have started to catch on in the United States as an attractive and fun downspout alternative. Some feature actual chains, while others may use different shapes like cups or bells which ring as the rain travels down them and into a graveled catchment, there to drain into an appropriate area of the yard.
As with any downspout, an improperly installed rain chain can lead to problems. Poor drainage can lead to pooling water around the foundation of the house, which contributes to high humidity, mold, and mildew. Too much water can even start to crack and damage the foundation directly, in addition to promoting the high moisture levels insects tend to like. Meanwhile, bad drainage in the yard can create soggy, muddy spots, and if water is misdirected, it may upset a neighbor by flooding her property.
The obvious advantage, of course, is that they’re much more attractive than most downspouts. They come in a variety of styles and finishes, including copper, which can patina over time to create a beautifully weathered look. Some also create beautiful musical sounds, which can be a pleasant counterpoint to the rain.
The obvious advantage, of course, is that they're much more attractive than most downspouts and they come in a variety of styles and finishes. Some feature actual chains, while others may use different shapes like cups or bells which ring as the rain travels down them.
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