Have you ever wanted to try something, but just couldn’t find the right time or place? Well, this was the case for me and rain chains. For those of you that are not familiar with rain chains, they are typically copper shapes that are “chained” together to allow water to flow down from your gutters. There are many options and they can be a series of rings, cups or traditional chains [our affiliate links]. One shape isn’t necessarily better than the other, so pick which shape you like or choose one that accents the architectural style of your home. We prefer Craftsman style detailing, so the square was the perfect choice! After just having our roof replaced, we wanted to install gutters on both sides of the house; one to feed the 850 gallon rainwater harvesting tank and one to help reduce the amount of runoff on the other side of the yard. Finally, the timing was perfect and I always loved the idea of eliminating downspouts and turning something so mundane into a kinetic piece of art! If you have the same desire, here are some quick tips on how to install a rain chain.
We ordered our 8 ½’ long, Square Link rain chain online from Rain Chains Direct online and ordered the Copper Gutter Installer as well. Claudia in Customer Service was great at answering any questions and the winter sales price was even better! Total cost: $80! We included our amazon affiliate links above and Rain Chain Direct prices so you can compare prices.
Before the gutter and rain chain were installed, we had to set a catch basin and tie it into a perimeter drain so that the water wouldn’t pool or puddle. Setting the catch basin was a cinch and it is something that you can pick up at your local big box retailer (Big Orange and Big Blue).
Position where you need to place the catch basin underneath the gutter where the downspout would usually go. If you have existing downspouts, you can safely assume that it is at the end of the short 90 degree elbow.
Dig out the area just large enough to set the catch drain a little below existing grade. The catch drain comes with an adapter to hook up a standard 4” solid, flexible pipe. Determine where the pipe needs to go or where your existing perimeter drain is located. Dig a trench and attach the pipe to the catch basin.
If there is an existing perimeter drain like ours, you will need to install a “T” connector so that your catch basin pipe can tie into the perimeter drain. Watch out for existing irrigation lines! In our case, we had to fix a broken irrigation line that fell victim to the all mighty shovel! Not even a fair fight! Irrigation lines lose every time!
Once you have all of the drain pipe (some call it tile), backfill the pipe making sure to slope the pipe to where you want it to drain. If you don’t have a perimeter drain, simply install a typical yard drain outside of any planting beds in a turf area. Make sure that it flows away from the house and doesn’t create a small lake during heavy rains. Better yet, create a rain garden and put the end drain in there!
After backfilling the catch drain, add some decorative boulders and stone over the top cover. The Ostrich Fern was already there and adds a great texture to the rain chain water feature. Almost done!
Remove the entire downspout and install the rain chain in the hole where the gutter was attached. We used the Gutter Installer for a more finished look and it just sits in the downspout hole from the top. Add a bead of silicone on the bottom of the Gutter Installer plate before installing. Hang the rain chain using the pin and not the additional hook that was provided. Our rain chain was a little short, so we had to loop a piece of copper wire to the last square and then loop it around one of the slots in the catch basin cover plate. I was concerned of the wind since in Florida we have some pretty serious gully washers and wanted to make sure that it was secure!
Now all we had to do was wait for it to rain! Of course Mother Nature decided not to rain for about two weeks, but once she turned the spigot on all of the work was worth it! The rain falls down the rain chain in the same shape as the squares and it is something that you don’t see very often. It really is cool to watch and it makes my wife smile! All good things!
After our first hard rain, we had to do a little adjusting and added some larger boulders to make sure that all of the water made it into the catch basin.
So, if you have been thinking of installing a rain chain hopefully this will get ya goin! Let us know how it goes, show us pictures of your rain chain installation and let us know if you have any questions!