Can You Leave Wind Chimes Out in the Winter? How to Decide for Your Climate and Chimes

Paul West/ Backyard Ornamental

The sound of wind chimes gently ringing on a breezy day can be utterly delightful. But what happens when winter arrives? Should you take your wind chimes down or can you leave them outside in the colder weather?

This is a dilemma many wind chime owners face. Now let’s look at the issue in much more detail and explore the considerations around leaving wind chimes out over the winter months.

Key Takeaways

  • Assess climate and material before leaving wind chimes out over winter.
  • Metal and aluminum chimes are most durable but still need protection.
  • Relocate to sheltered areas and use wind chime shelters to protect chimes.
  • Regularly inspect for damage and remove snow/ice buildup.
  • Storing delicate bamboo, wood, glass chimes inside is safest for winter.

Understanding Wind Chimes

Before diving into the winter care of wind chimes, it helps to understand what exactly wind chimes are and how they work.

Wind chimes are decorative objects that are hung outside and create pleasant sounds when moved by the wind. They typically consist of tubes, rods, bells, or other objects suspended from a frame. The tubes or clappers strike each other to produce the signature tinkling noise.

Wind chimes originated in Ancient Asia over 5000 years ago and have been used across many cultures for spiritual and decorative purposes. These days, wind chimes are a popular garden accessory enjoyed around the world for their visual beauty and soothing sounds.

Wind chimes come in a variety of styles and are made from diverse materials including wood, metal, glass, shell, stone, ceramic, and bamboo. The material affects the sound quality – bamboo and wood produce mellower, gentler notes while metal and glass have brighter, crisper tones.

The Beauty of Wind Chimes in Winter

Wind chimes can add a special magic to the winter garden. The bright notes sparkle through the cold, crisp air and their movement adds kinetic beauty against a snowy backdrop. The tinkling and chiming stands out more clearly when leaves have dropped from the trees and the garden is more open and bare.

Many wind chime owners love having their chimes up in winter for the soothing auditory effects. The tinkling sounds can be very calming and meditative. Listening to chimes in a snowy wonderland can transport you to a peaceful, almost mystical headspace.

So if you adore the look and sound of your wind chimes, it’s understandable you may not want to part with them over the colder months.

Considerations for Leaving Wind Chimes Out in Winter

However, before deciding whether to leave wind chimes out in winter, there are some important factors to consider:

Effects of Cold on Materials

  • The cold can cause certain materials like bamboo or wood to crack, warp or split. Prolonged freezing temperatures are not ideal for woodwind chimes.
  • Metal wind chimes are hardy but the metal may contract slightly in very cold weather. This can loosen parts and cause damage over time.
  • Wind chimes made of shells, stone or ceramic are vulnerable to moisture and repeated freezing and thawing can cause chips, cracks and deterioration.

Wind Effects

  • Strong winter winds place extra force on wind chimes which can loosen parts and cause breakage, especially if already weakened by cold.
  • Icy winds carry moisture which may seep into crevices and freeze, expanding and widening gaps.
  • Blustery conditions swing chimes more vigorously against each other causing wear.

Pros and Cons of Leaving Them Out


  • You can enjoy the beauty, sound and presence of your wind chimes over winter.
  • Less hassle than taking them down and storing them.
  • Some materials like aluminum are hardy enough to withstand winter conditions.


  • Risk of damage or deterioration to more delicate materials.
  • May need replacement or repairs in spring.
  • Noise may bother some people more in winter when windows are closed.
  • Could fall and hurt someone if bracket loosens in icy conditions.

How to Care for Wind Chimes in Winter

If you want to keep your wind chimes up through winter, some care and maintenance can help protect them:

Protection Measures

  • Consider a wind chime shelter – this covers the chimes to buffer from winds but allows sound out.
  • Hang in a protected spot like under an eave or porch roof to avoid the worst weather.
  • Ensure hangers and brackets are firmly secured so wind does not rip chimes down.

Maintenance Tips

  • Periodically check parts for cracks and repair any loose pieces with weatherproof glue.
  • Spray with a sealant like marine varnish to protect wooden pieces from moisture.
  • For metal, rub down with linseed oil or WD40 to prevent rusting.
  • Remove and dry any snow or ice buildup which adds stress to parts.
  • Take down during extreme winds and storms to prevent damage.

Spiritual and Decorative Aspects of Wind Chimes

Beyond weather considerations, wind chimes have significance in many cultures which may factor into winter care decisions:

Cultural Significance

  • In Asia, wind chimes are thought to bring good fortune, wealth and prosperity when hung in a home or business. Their sound scares away evil spirits.
  • Ancient Greeks believed the melodies healed both emotional and physical ailments.
  • Native Americans consider the chimes’ sound sacred, symbolizing the voice of spirits.

Decorative Appeal

  • Wind chimes add color, shine, and movement to gardens otherwise drab in winter.
  • The visual look can complement wintery holiday decor like wreaths, evergreens, and lights.
  • They provide whimsy and interest against snowy vistas.

Conclusion: Final Thoughts on Wind Chimes in Winter

The decision of whether to leave wind chimes up in winter depends on your climate, chime materials, and personal preferences. For metal or aluminum chimes in milder weather, leaving them up to enjoy is reasonable if hung in a protected area.

But for more delicate materials like wood, bamboo or shell, it’s generally best to take wind chimes down in harsh winters with freezing temperatures and strong gusts which can damage them over time. If a cherished set remains a must through winter, take precautions like added shelter and periodic maintenance.

Most importantly, inspect your wind chimes each season and listen to your instincts. If weather is taking a noticeable toll, don’t risk ruining a beloved wind chime. Take time to store it safely so the chimes can ring another day. But with protective care in gentler conditions, you can enjoy your wind chimes all winter long.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Type of Wind Chime Can Withstand Winter Weather?

The type of wind chime impacts how well it will withstand cold winter temperatures and conditions. Metal wind chimes, especially those made of brass, aluminum, or other corrosion-resistant metals, tend to hold up best outside through the winter months. The metal construction is more durable against the elements than more fragile materials like bamboo, shells, glass, or ceramic. However, even metal wind chimes need monitoring as prolonged wet weather can still cause rusting and damage over time. Checking fixtures are secure is also advised.

Should I Store Bamboo Wind Chimes Indoors for the Winter?

Bamboo wind chimes are vulnerable when left out in frigid winter weather for extended periods. The bamboo can become dried out and brittle, leading to cracking or splitting, especially when subjected to high winds. Freezing and thawing cycles are also problematic. To keep bamboo wind chimes sounding their best, it is advisable to store them in a protected indoor location over the winter. Then you can safely put them back in your outdoor space to catch the wind when warmer weather returns in spring.

Is It Safe to Leave Glass Wind Chimes Out All Winter?

Glass wind chimes are risky to leave outside in winter as the fragile glass can crack or shatter when exposed to repeated freezing and thawing. The cold temperatures make the glass more brittle and vulnerable to damage from winter winds or storms. For safety and to prevent breakage, most experts recommend bringing glass wind chimes indoors to store in a secure place for the winter months. Taking this precaution will keep your glass wind chimes intact so you can enjoy them again when the weather warms up.

How Can I Protect My Wind Chimes in Winter?

There are several precautions you can take to protect wind chimes left outdoors during winter: consider relocating them to a covered porch or other sheltered area, install a wind chime shelter, routinely check hardware is secure, remove any ice/snow buildup, use sealants on wooden parts, and take down during severe weather. Monitoring your wind chimes and taking steps to avoid excess wind, precipitation, and temperature extremes will go a long way towards keeping them intact all winter long.

Can I Use Wind Chimes Year-Round?

It is possible to use wind chimes all year round, even in winter, provided you take some additional care and protection measures. Ensure hangers are firmly mounted, check for damage routinely, remove snow/ice, and provide a buffer from extreme winds and cold. Consider relocating to a covered space. Providing adequate winterizing protection and maintenance will allow you to enjoy your wind chimes’ beautiful sounds as a pleasant year-round addition to your outdoor living space.

How Do I Hang Wind Chimes Properly?

To hang wind chimes properly: select an open, freely circulating outdoor spot that will receive good wind flow. Position them at least four feet above ground so they have clearance to move and resonate fully when breezes blow through. Angle the direction to optimize wind exposure. Use secure brackets so chimes don’t detach and fall during storms. Follow any additional hanging directions provided for that specific wind chime set. Proper hanging is important for both optimal sound and the safety of your wind chimes.

Further Reading

Paul West
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About Paul West

Longstanding and passionate about really having family fun in the backyard. I'm no expert but I've picked up a thing or two along the way!