Rain chains have been used for centuries in Japan and other Asian countries for guiding rain water down to the ground and preventing it from splashing.
By installing rain chains, downspouts were not necessary to funnel the water to a swale or cistern.
Another advantage in using rain chains instead of downspouts is that even in windy and typhoon prone areas, the chain will revert back to its position, unlike a downspout which could just be blown away by strong winds.
The heavier the rain chain, the less likely it is to be moved in any way.
Rain chains work by using some simple rules of physics – contact with the chain enables the molecules of water to break their water tension, making them cling to each other and minimize splashing.
I like the look of rain chains to direct runoff from the roof rather than downspouts.
Rain chains made from old thrift store finds such as outdated lighting fixtures attached to rain gutter chains with copper wire, or unique and different metal links are all that’s required.
You may have to adjust your system a bit once you see how it works. Different sized links on your rain chain may give different effects.
Larger links are fine for smaller sized roofs, but they are ideal for a larger surface as this means faster run off. Depending on the height of the roof (pitch) and the length of the area that will be filling the gutter, two or even three rain chains may be needed on the same gutter.
I install the top of the chain to the gutter with wire, placing it at the very end so that water won’t overshoot it and spray out.
Even with extreme rain storms, the water should simply slide down the chain.
The lower end of the rain chain can be in a rain barrel, or a French drain in the ground where the water can seep away. Swales or shallow ditches can direct excess water away from foundations of buildings.
There are many types of decorative rain chains available, including some made of solid copper, or like these ones, out of salvaged junk.
Originally, I worried that the glass fixtures wouldn't be able to withstand the snow and ice; it was needless - they make it through just fine, because no water pools in them to freeze and break them;
If these are out of your price range, making rain chains yourself using found and salvaged items will help the garden craft budget, and I guarantee no-one will have anything like it.