The copper rain chain is the latest environmental device for helping people conserve water. Rain chains are slightly more attractive than rain barrels, as they are made out of copper, and function as a water feature. Copper used outdoors also develops individual stains which help to add to the character of a rain chain.
Rain chains can be bought from local garden centers, and installed on pre-existing gutters without need for professional assistance. Rain chains can be organised to run directly from the roof into a rain barrel, need less maintenance than the normal water tank downspout, and are also not damaged by freezing temperatures. Being highly visible also makes them more easy to clean than typical water saving devices.
Step 1: Making the Rings
Develop the rings by wrapping the copper wire around the pipe, so that it looks like a large spring. Keep the wire rings close together so that they are not misshapen when you remove the pipe. As you come to the end of the wire, drill a hole in the pipe, and feed the remaining wire into that hole. Cut the spring-like wire coil into separate rings.
Step 2: Forming a Chain
You need two rings to form each link in the copper rain chain. When you have a pair of rings cut, file the ends so that the cut ends meet in the middle of the opposing ring. Then, form the chains by putting one ring into the other at a 90 degree angle.
Step 3: Linking the Chain
Solder the edges of the rings together. This is the first chain. Make the next pair in the same way, but before you solder the end, link the two rings into the previous chain, and then solder closed. Continue forming the chain in this manner until you have reached the desired length.
Step 4: Positioning the Chain
Taking the chain outside, connect it to the gutter at a place where the water runs down: this is the same point at which you would place a downspout, so if you have been using one of those, simply replace it with the rain chain. Ensure that the chain is fixed firmly to the guttering (screws or nails into the roofing might help to keep the chain in place), and then connect the chain to the wall as you go down using wall hooks.
Step 5: Connecting the Chain to the Rain Barrel
The chain can now be trailed into the rain barrel, and you and your guests can enjoy watching the rain fall off of the gutter and make its way down the chain. From the soft ring of a few drops of rain to the heavy pounding of a storm, the rain chain will help carry water from your gutter into your rain barrel, and form a pleasant water feature while helping to save money.