Ogden, Utah is a great location to grow a giant ice castle, much like the one 82 miles away in Midway, Utah built in December 2013. Winter temperatures go below -10 Fahrenheit there, and all kinds of things freeze. Although ice castles have no pipes to freeze, buildings do and so do streets. Following winter preparation instructions to prevent freezing is always a good idea.
Leave Your Faucets Trickling or Don't Fix A Leaky Faucet
One instruction says that water trickling through faucets will prevent pipes from freezing. That's true where supply pipes are right next to an exterior wall. However, in equally great danger of freezing is the sewer pipe below. When water continuously drips from a faucet or toilet down the drain into a sewer pipe, which is then exposed to the freezing, open air, pipes will freeze and break. Then you have to call for plumbing services to repair them, which can cost hundreds of dollars. Having control over the amount of water that trickles out is key.
Do Fix The Leaky Faucet
Leaky faucets are actually quite easy to fix. Most often the problem is a worn, broken, or mis-sized o-ring (rubber washer). The o-ring is inside the faucet aerator, which comes off easily by screwing it to the left. Once you have the aerator off, take it into a plumbing or hardware store and ask them to help you find the right size o-ring. Get a packet with several in it for future replacements. Back home, insert the o-ring, then screw the aerator back on and test.
Leaky Faucet Handles
If the leak is not coming from the end of the faucet, but from around a faucet handle, you'll have to take off the handle. Again, an o-ring is the most likely problem. First turn off the water supply to the sink, usually under the sink. If you can't find it there, turn off the house water supply. Then open both handles and let the water in the pipes drain out. Now you're ready to work.
Each faucet handle has a screw on top that holds it on. If the handle has a plastic or metal cover too, you'll need to pop that off with a flathead screwdriver, then undo the screw underneath. Lift the handle off to expose the stem underneath it. Unscrew the packing nut that holds the stem in place, and carefully pull up or unscrew the stem. Check the threads to make sure they're not worn. If they are, you'll need to replace the stem with a new one from your hardware store.
Then check the o-ring at the bottom. If it's flattened or broken, take it with you to the hardware store for a replacement. Put the faucet handle back on in the reverse procedure and test for leaks. For anything more complicated than that, you might want to call a plumber.
Sprinklers can also leak and their supply pipes freeze. Where sprinklers leak in winter, ice forms. When sprinklers turn on during the night, ice forms from the spray. This is how the ice castle is built - from icicles created by sprinklers at night, that are then broken off and piled on top of each other, again and again, in a designated location.
For the sprinkler pipes in a normal landscape, though, it's better not to have any water flowing through or even standing inside the pipes. All sprinklers and pipes should be checked before the onset of cold weather, fixed, and emptied. You don't want an accidental ice castle growing next to broken pipes or sprinklers, even in Ogden.To put it simply, for residents living in Ogden, UT, plumbing services are of the utmost importance.