Sunday, June 03, 2012

Kusari Doi Or Rain Chains

I noticed the neighbors two doors away have taken out their downspouts and installed strainless steel rain chains. I am told that when it rains the chains produce a pleasing sound like a wind chime in light rain to the sound of roaring rapids in a downpour.  The chains can be fascinating to watch as the rain runs down the chain or flows down from cup to cup.

For hundreds of years the Japanese have used rain chains (‘kusari doi’ in Japanese).  Wikipedia says “Their purpose of a rain chain is largely decorative, to make a water feature out of the transport of rainwater from the guttering downwards to a drain or to a storage container. (Rainwater is sometimes collected for household usage.)” Japanese temples often incorporate quite ornate and large rain chains into their design. 

Chains for rain come in 8 to 8 ½ foot lengths and in a variety of materials including aluminum, brass, copper, glass, iron and stainless steel. In addition, they come in a variety of styles from linked and double-linked loops to cups with holes in their bottoms to enhance the water flow.

It’s interesting to learn that copper chains prevent the spread of germs.
Research indicates that a copper surface is more effective at preventing the spread of germs than stainless steel. Copper has a 2000 year history of antimicrobial applications in a multitude of cultures. More recent research has sought to determine uncoated copper's effectiveness in stemming the proliferation of infectious disease. At the University of Southampton in the U.K. research studies have shown that many common disease causing microbes such as  E. coli, Aspergillus niger (black mold) and Influenza A, die within hours on copper surfaces.
The only caution I found with rain chains is the possibility of winter ice build up on the chains. Although beautiful, can increase the weight on the gutter.
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