How Do You Protect the Backflow From Freezing?

One of the most critical things you can equip with your backflow preventer, especially if you live in a cold-weather climate, is ASSE 1060 freeze protection. In 1996, the American Society of Sanitary Engineering developed the standard. It focuses on devices that provide protection for fluid conveying pipes that are mounted outside and above ground. 

All ASSE 1060-approved backflow enclosures must be capable of providing security for the device. Aside from vandalism protection, to be ASSE 1060-certified, the enclosure must undergo a dead weight drop test. If the enclosure shows no signs of damage after a 20-pound pull on the locking mechanism, it passes. The structure must also be able to support a vertical load of 100 pounds per square foot. But it’s the freeze protection that takes an ASSE 1060-certified enclosure to the next level.

To learn more about ASSE 1060 freeze protection, we spoke to Conrad Jahrling. He’s the staff engineering supervisor at ASSE. His role not only includes reviewing ASSE product listing reports but also fielding technical questions from manufacturers, labs, code officials and the general public. He continually works to expand ASSE International’s portfolio of standards and tries to capitalize on industry trends in need of voluntary consensus.

The Freeze Protection Test

“Probably the biggest test is the freeze protection test,” Jahrling says. “You put this entire enclosure into an environmental chamber and then you replicate winter.”

Jahrling says that in order for fluid conveying components to properly operate when they are installed outside and above ground, they need to be properly protected from weather conditions. The ASSE 1060 freeze protection test defines how outdoor enclosures are required to be heated. “This is critical to preventing outdoor water distribution and plumbing infrastructure from freezing,” he adds.

What It Takes To Be ASSE 1060-Certified For Freeze Protection

There are three different classes an enclosure can be placed in, depending upon the amount of protection it provides. If the enclosure is in a climate where winters are long and temperatures are cold, the ASSE 1060 Class 1 will provide the freeze protection needed.

Class 1 is the hardest to achieve, but backflow enclosures in this class offer maximum freeze protection. The 1060 standard freeze protection means the heated enclosure will maintain 40 degrees Fahrenheit in as low as -30-degree weather. If you live in an area with freezing temperatures, no matter how long the freeze lasts, you should require Class 1 enclosure.

Class 2 only includes covers that have frost protection. This means the industrial enclosure is insulated but does not meet the same temperature requirements as Class 1. These should only be used in areas where temperatures never fall below 33 degrees Fahrenheit.

Class 3 boxes do not provide freeze or frost protection. These are only useful for aesthetics as well as theft, vandal and accident protection.

Jahrling says the ASSE 1060 certification ensures your equipment is protected and it will pass every inspection it endures. “Let’s say you install an RP outside of your building. An inspector would come by and ask, ‘What are you doing to protect it against the elements?’ Depending on the local codes, you could get red-flagged, but you should want an enclosure that complies with everything an inspector is going to be looking for.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the proper way to keep your equipment from freezing, watch this video. You’ll see how a slab-mounted heater inside an ASSE 1060-certified enclosure offers the best protection for your equipment.

Best Practices in Backflow Prevention & Protection


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