Protecting the Water Supply With Backflow Preventer Covers

attractive_backflow_coverThere is no longer any denying the importance of using a backflow preventer cover. Between extreme heat and cold and erratic severe weather, let alone the risk of theft or vandalism, leaving a backflow preventer exposed is asking for trouble, threatening loss, injury, property damage and the environment.

In response, water authorities around the country are beginning to adopt policies requiring the outdoor installation of preventers as well as the use of insulated backflow preventer covers, instead of traditional installations indoors or underground in a vault.

They’re thinking outside the vault. You should, too.

Backflow Preventers’ Role In Water Supply

  • Retro Fit - Long Island RPZ installationAs the name suggests, a backflow preventer is a device that keeps potentially contaminated water from flowing back into source lines. There are two predominant forms of backflow preventers: the double-check (DC) valve and the reduced pressure zone (RPZ) valve. The RPZ is preferred in almost every instance.
  • Backflow prevention is crucial in protecting the water supply by ensuring contaminated water cannot re-enter the water supply, or in the case of an RPZ, by releasing the contaminated water from the system altogether.

The Need for Backflow Preventer Covers

  • Not protecting a backflow preventer with a lockable cover leaves vital waterworks equipment open and susceptible to the elements as well as vandalism or theft, compromising the public water supply and endangering the community. For this reason, many jurisdictions no longer recommend, but require by law the use of some form of cover for backflow preventers.
  • You wouldn’t run your car without performing basic maintenance and keep it in the driveway, unlocked with the keys in the ignition. You wouldn’t operate your HVAC without regularly changing the filters. In a similar mindset, the need to keep backflow preventers protected and maintained is crucial. A cover provides a degree of that protection and is a good starting point, but maintenance on the device itself is that much more important.

Features and Benefits of Backflow Preventer Covers

  • A good backflow preventer cover should have insulation to protect against extreme temperatures (regardless of where you live). It should also provide for adequate drainage, which is required by law in many municipalities where backflow covers are mandated. 
  • The cover itself should be manufactured with high quality materials, built to withstand nature for years. It should be lockable and secured to a concrete pad, while able to provide easy access to the equipment inside or easily disassembled with the proper equipment.

Safe-T-Cover's Backflow Preventer Covers

  • backflow enclosure 0006 (1)Safe-T-Cover is the industry leader in backflow preventer enclosures. Manufactured with marine-grade aluminum with applied insulation, California redwood bracing and rated to the ASSE 1060 standard, our modular enclosures are built to last, and designed to most major OEM designs, such as Watts, Zurn and FEBCO. We also offer custom enclosure designs, many of which can be turned around and on your site in four weeks.
  • For decades, Safe-T-Cover has demonstrated a commitment to quality, innovation and sustainability. Our enclosures are used by municipalities and in the private sector, in agricultural, commercial, industrial and residential use cases. The redwood bracing we use for our enclosures is sustainably sourced and harvested, while our marine grade aluminum can last up to and in some cases over 30 years and is recyclable. Our enclosures can even be used toward LEED certification in construction projects.



Should you cover a backflow preventer?

Yes! In a growing number of jurisdictions, it’s not just recommended, it’s required by law.


How do you cover a backflow preventer?

A backflow preventer can be covered by an insulated bag, fake rock, fiberglass covering, a steel cage or an aluminum enclosure. For any number of reasons, an aluminum enclosure is the best choice for protecting your waterworks equipment and the water supply.



Should you cover a backflow preventer in winter?

Your backflow preventer should be covered all year long, but definitely insulated and heated, protecting from freeze in the winter.


Do I really need a backflow enclosure?

In a word: Yes!

You should have a backflow enclosure for the following reasons:

Compliance: Many municipalities require the installation of backflow preventer enclosures to comply with local codes and regulations. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines, legal liability and risk to public health.

Protection: A backflow enclosure protects backflow prevention assemblies from physical damage, vandalism, theft and exposure to the elements. It ensures that the equipment functions properly, maintaining water supply safety.

Convenience: Backflow enclosures provide convenient access for maintenance, inspection and testing of backflow preventer devices. They also make it easier to locate and identify the assemblies in case of emergency or repair.

Durability: Backflow enclosures are typically made of sturdy materials such as steel or aluminum and are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, wear and tear, and tampering. They are built to last for many years and require minimal maintenance. A rugged aluminum enclosure is as important an investment as it is in your backflow prevention equipment itself.

Using a backflow enclosure is a practical and necessary solution to protect the water supply, comply with regulations, ensure convenience and durability, and enhance the aesthetics of the property.


What is the difference between a back pressure valve and a backflow preventer?

Back pressure valves are sometimes confused with backflow preventers. Backflow preventers are designed to prevent the 2 types of backflow in a plumbing or waterworks system, back-siphonage and back-pressure.  Usually when someone refers specifically to a "back pressure valve", they are referring to the pump or industrial industry.


Should I use a rock or bag to cover my backflow preventer?

Fake rocks are decorative plastic, while bags provide inadequate protection from freezing and theft. We’re biased, of course, but objectively speaking, there just aren’t any good reasons to settle for fake rocks or a easily-destroyed bag.


Does my backflow preventer cover need to be heated?

Regardless of where you are in the US, you can’t assume freezing temperatures won’t reach you. We recommend having a slab-mounted heater anywhere ready to go to protect your backflow equipment if and when a winter blast comes your way.


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