7 Backflow Installation Considerations for Property owners

You’re a new building owner and have been wondering what’s underneath that shiny lid in the yard.  More than likely it is a backflow preventer installed in a vault.  The backflow preventer is required by the local water jurisdiction to maintain safe drinking water for the community. Domestic, fire sprinkler, and irrigation lines all need some sort of backflow prevention assembly on them.

Maybe you already knew all that and you're ahead of the curve. Well, here’s what you might not know.  Maintaining this equipment can quickly become a challenging headache once installed.

Vaults fill with water


That is actually a huge problem. If the test cocks are covered with water a backflow condition can exist. Drinking water can be compromised, which defeats the purpose of the entire installation. The most common "solution" is installing a sump pump to prevent the vault from filling. A sump pump requires its own maintenance and becomes the device our clean drinking water depends on. Sounds risky to me. Do you really want to have to depend on someone to make sure the sump pump works all the time? Plus, backflow testers tell us over and over that the sump pump doesn’t work - these vaults are still full of water.

Vaults are damp

Even in rare cases where vaults don't have flooding problems, they get damp. That's just how it is. Just look at all the crud on and around that valve. This often causes the equipment to rust over time. In addition to this, it also causes the sediment in the bottom of the vault to become wet. You could always have someone try to clean it out, but scooping out the wet sediment is not a quick and simple task. It poses a problem, as damp sediment is slippery. A dark and cramped vault is not a pleasant place in which to slip. 


Vaults are a safety hazard

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) imposes measures such as hoses, tents and extra men in order to legally access vaults for maintenance. They've recently made it even more difficult to get things done in vaults with new regulations requiring a permit for entry into hazardous or potentially hazardous spaces. Most water vaults are included under that heading. The paperwork is not something anyone wants to spend time on. It is a necessary evil, however, as OSHA claims there are thousands of confined space related incidents and about 90 fatalities each year.

Vaults are out of sight

This may go without saying, but vaults are hidden underground. This is their big, shiny redeeming quality - you don't have to look at them.

Download the guide to find out the important points of enclosure design and learn what best suits your needs.


Enclosures blend in.backflow_preventer_enclosures_look_good.jpg

No one has to house their equipment inside a huge, unsightly box. Backflow preventer enclosures come in a variety of colors that can easily be chosen to match your building or its landscaping. They can be positioned strategically to blend in away from the front door like in this example. There are also newer types of backflow preventer assemblies which are significantly smaller than their older counterparts. These "N" type assemblies can be placed in backflow enclosures which are as much as 50% smaller.

Enclosures maintain a specific climate.

Aluminum enclosures can be designed with hot, cold, and wet climates in mind. There are heaters which can maintain 40° Fahrenheit in as low as -30° weather. There are also vents, louvers and fans to keep things cool in moderate climates. Industrial enclosures can even come with full air conditioning units for equipment that produce lots of heat or for use in hot climates. To keep things dry, backflow covers are manufactured with some form of drain. Safe-T-Cover's, for instance, use a drain flap.

Enclosures are easily accessible.

rsz_2011-11-17_09_57_50.jpgThey are designed with maintenance in mind. The highest quality backflow preventer covers are ASSE 1060 approved, which means they've gone through rigorous testing in a number of categories. One of the requirements to pass this standard is to have a lid that opens and locks in place. That means it won't fall on someone sticking their head or arms inside for testing or repairs. Some enclosures have removable panels and doors as well for ease of access. You can even request custom builds that have access doors or cutouts exactly where you need them, like the one pictured here.

What works best for you?

Which would you want to deal with on your property? Think about it – which will require more attention and maintenance - a device often covered with water or one that is installed above ground in an enclosure? Believe it or not, backflow installation should be on your mind. One of the best things you can do to avoid costly problems and halts in production is to listen to the testers or repairmen who work on your equipment. They know the most about dangers and problems associated with vaults because they experience them firsthand.

Download Trends in Backflow Preventer Valve Specification and Location

Related Posts

Winterize Your Backflow In Eight Steps (or One)

Aluminum Enclosures and Concrete Pads: Total Security and Confidence

One Step Ahead: A Look at High-Hazard Cross-Connections and Compliance

IoT Takes Backflow Prevention To Another Level

3 Reasons Why a Backflow Cover Must Have Heat

From the Field: Tips for Safe-T-Cover Enclosures and Protective PVC Coating

Why RPZ Valves Are Required and How to Install One

How To Design A Pump Enclosure


From the Field – National Backflow Prevention Day

Forward thinking in Arlington, Texas: Leading the way with public health and backflow preventers

Enclosure Checklist: Summertime is the right time to think about winter

Enclosures for Control Valves

From the Field: June 2022

Introducing the MUNI-LOK from Safe-T-Cover

Customizing your aluminum enclosure for pipe penetration

Keep Pump Equipment Cool During Summer Heat

What’s in Your Meter Vault?

Aluminum Enclosure Spring Maintenance Checklist

3 Reasons to Use Above-Ground Backflow Enclosures and Meters — from Water Contamination to Injury

Is “Vault Mentality” Putting Your Water Supply in Danger and Costing You Money?

Learning to Think Outside the Backflow Enclosure Vault - The Hard Way

Heated Backflow Enclosure — Comparing Names, Products & Vendors

Installing Fire Dept Connection & Backflow Prevention Valve for Safety

What is a Backflow Enclosure?

Should I Cover My Well Pump? (Well Pump Cover Ideas)

New Safe-T-Cover LES Models

Backflow Covers: Smaller Footprint Saves Space

The Right Way to Improve Backflow Cover Aesthetics — Use Landscaping

How to Quickly and Safely Remove a Safe-T-Cover Roof

3 Tips for Securing Equipment and Accessories to Interior Enclosure Walls

The Drawbacks to Using a Backflow Valve Cage

Top 6 Questions About Covering a Pressure Reducing Valve Station

Virtual Trade Shows Aren't Perfect, But They are Effective

5 Ways Panel Design Equipment Covers Offer Superior Flexibility

The Best Way to Landscape Around a Backflow Enclosure


Quintessential List of Backflow Preventer Enclosure FAILS

Case Study - Water Corrosion Control System Enclosure

Project Engineer vs. Maintenance - A Valve & Pump Covers Tug-of-War

How are Backflow Covers Made?

Chicago Backflow Incident of 1933

Three Reasons Why You Should Choose an N-Type Device

What Are The Three Types of OSHA Confined Spaces?

Watch This Video To See What Was Found In A Utility Vault

Comparing The Costs Of Backflow Enclosures and Buildings

The Right Backflow Insulation Cover & Heater For You | Backflow Cover

Backflow Theft Prevention Cages Fail To Protect Your Backflow Preventer

Find The Right Backflow Cover For You

What Does It Mean To Think Outside The Vault?

How to design & Buy a Pump Enclosure

Get the free, editable checklist.



Have a question about a backflow preventer enclosure?
Click the contact us button below and one of our experts will be able to help with your specific enclosure needs.