If you want to add more style to your house when the weather forces you to stay indoors, then consider installing something to replace your gutters. You know how most houses have traditional closed gutter downspouts to guide water from the roof to the ground, right? Rain chains play the same role, only they are more pleasing to the eye and they tinkle musically as rain water falls on them, increasing in tempo as the water pressure grows with the strength of the rain.
According to Wikipedia, this system is a popular decorative feature in Japan, where they were first used, and consist basically of a group of metal cups, with a hole in each, chained together, like a necklace. They transport water from the roof to a drain or storage container, since some people collect rain water for household use. This technique has also been seen in South America, in areas where chain is easier to lay hands on than manufactured downspouts.
The New York Times claims that although you can buy them, you also have to build them because they are easy to install and can be very attractive when viewed against the sunlight as well. They hang from the hole that used to hold the downspout. There are so many companies in the USA that install for a fee, even some purchases come with installation services.
Some vendors of this innovation have confirmed that the device can be used even if you don’t have gutters in your home. But they really depend on a vertical water source to function correctly. If you’ve got a roof where water is arching off instead, the chain may have difficulty catching or transporting all of the water in certain rain conditions. In this case, an extra utensil for collection, like the ceramic bowls used in ancient Japan, comes in handy.
And they can remain hanging all year long, even in the winter, because they can withstand the extra weight caused by the snow and wind. Even high winds that are supposed to make the chains swing too much as some people fear, are just rare occurrences. In fact, one vendor in Southern California reports that their headquarters (which has rain them installed, of course), experiences Santa Ana winds in the fall with 50 plus mile per hour gusty winds, and the device is not bothered at all.
But like every other invention, these water channeling devices have their disadvantages, one of which is a limited flow direction. They can’t direct water away from your home. They simply collect water from the roof, which means water seeps into the soil, next to your home’s foundation, a perfect recipe for flooding, mold and other water damage.
What is it going to be? Will you add style to your house by installing something new that looks amazing but could hurt your foundation if the water flowing down from the roof has no gutter to lead it away from the soil near your walls?