What is a Backflow Enclosure?

Protection for Backflow Preventers

A backflow cover is designed to protect backflow preventers from vandalism and the weather. When the weather turns, a backflow cover will keep snow and rain off your equipment. It can also prevent your backflow preventer from freezing in winter and keep it safe if a tree falls in a windstorm.

Thieves can’t access your backflow preventer either, as long as it is covered. Your equipment is built with valuable materials like copper and brass that some people try to sell as scrap. A backflow cover also provides you peace of mind, knowing that someone can’t come by and vandalize your equipment.

A backflow enclosure or backflow cover has a specific job to do. But you may receive a drawing calling out some generic backflow enclosure. Now you’ll likely have to do some research to specify a certain type of backflow enclosure solution. As you inquire of colleagues and search online, you’ll find plenty of them. Bags, cages, fake rocks, stock aluminum and fiberglass enclosures for common applications like above ground valves, today’s engineer has a wide range of options to consider.

Here it is the complete list of all the different kinds of manufactured backflow enclosures available. Find out all the key information for each type including:

  • Levels of protection
  • Sizes
  • Cosmetic options
  • Price ranges

Aluminum Backflow Enclosures

Protection: Marine grade aluminum with locking mechanism provides protection from thieves, vandals and accidents. R-9 An image of 3 aluminum enclosures of varying sizes sitting side by side. One enclosure is used as a backflow enclosure.polyisocyanurate insulation provides frost protection. A slab-mounted heater provides freeze protection to both the pipes inside the industrial shelter and the riser pipes beneath the slab.

Sizes: Nearly limitless options, with standard models from 9" x 26" x 25" to 90" x 174" x 90".  Significantly larger and custom enclosures are also available.

Colors: Typically mill finish, gray, tan or green with more than 30 fade-resistant options available.

Prices: $500-$10,000

Important to Note: The panel or modular design used by some manufacturers makes them easy to customize everything from size and color to climate control to cutouts and additions. Modular design also allows for easy access to equipment, as well as easy replacement if one panel is damaged.

Learn more about installing a backflow preventer, and an enclosure for it, in our revised installation guide



Do fake rocks make good backflow enclosures?

Fake rocks are made from materials like resin or fiberglass. They are often used in landscaping and garden design to cover up unsightly objects like pump heads or irrigation valves, and can also be used to enclose backflow prevention devices.

Fake rock enclosures are lightweight and easy to move, making them a convenient option for locations where regular access is required.

However, it's important to note that not all fake rocks are created equal. Some cheaper options may not be as well-made or durable as higher-quality models, which could lead to problems over time. It's also important to ensure that the fake rock enclosure you choose is large enough to accommodate the backflow device you are using, as well as any necessary piping or connections. Further, its weight and design typically prevents fake rock from securing the backflow preventer itself, leaving it susceptible to potential damage or theft.

While it is an option to enclose your backflow, it’s not a good way to secure it. 


Why are plastic covers not a good option?

Plastic covers are not a good option for backflow enclosures for several reasons:

UV Exposure: Plastic covers may degrade when exposed to UV radiation, leading to brittleness, discoloration and cracking.

Security: Plastic covers may be easier to tamper with or break open than other materials, compromising security of the backflow preventer.

Heat resistance: Some types of plastic may not be heat-resistant, which is a risk in climates with consistently hot weather.

Regulatory compliance: In some states or municipalities, plastic covers may not be permitted with local building codes or regulations governing backflow enclosures.

Even if we didn't sell durable, marine-grade aluminum backflow enclosures, we would not recommend plastic covers as an enclosure solution.


Do baggies or blankets offer the same level of protection?

Protection: R-13 thermal insulation provides frost protection to the pipes inside the bag, but there is no protection from theft or vandalism.
Sizes: From 24" x 24" to 60" x 60"
Colors: Green, blue, tan
Prices: $10 to $50

Important to Note: These are typically sold together with a fake rock, cage or plastic cover so they can provide frost protection while the outer cover provides further protection.


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 accessories are needed for a backflow enclosure?

There are several common accessories that may be needed for your backflow enclosure:

Mounting hardware: We recommend mounting your aluminum enclosure to a concrete slab.

Locks or latches: After all, what good is an enclosure if it’s accessible to anyone? We recommend securing your enclosure with a lock, and in municipalities, with our patented MUNI-LOK vault key solution.

Access doors or panels: These provide a way to access the backflow prevention device for maintenance or inspection. Safe-T-Cover 

Insulation: In any climate, insulation may be needed to regulate the temperature inside the enclosure, protecting the backflow prevention device.

Drainage: Backflow preventers dump a lot of water and adequate drainage is required by ASSE 1060.  All Safe-T-Cover aluminum enclosures have spring loaded drainage doors to keep intruders from coming in, but when necessary, let the water out.

Labeling: Depending on local codes and statutes, your enclosure may need to be labeled with information about the backflow prevention device and its installation.


Do backflow cages offer the same level of protection?

Never trade off a lower upfront price for a higher cost down the line. 

Backflow cages, typically made of wire mesh or similar material provide a basic level of protection against theft, vandalism or accidental damage.

On the other hand, aluminum backflow enclosures offer superior, longer-lasting protection against the elements, physical damage, theft or infestation. They are typically made of durable, weather-resistant materials and are lockable for added security. They also offer better insulation and ventilation to protect the backflow prevention assembly from extreme temperatures.

A cage may be a more affordable option, but the downsides are too great


What are the different types of backflow preventers?

There are two types of backflow in a plumbing or waterworks system: backpressure and backsiphonage.  Backflow preventers installed at various locations and conditions within the system will prevent these types of backflow.

Do you need to insulate backflow preventers?

Yes, regardless of climate or location, all backflow preventers should be protected from freezing conditions with an insulated or heated enclosure.

How do you insulate a backflow device?

We recommend an ASSE 1060 certified enclosure which will protect your device or assembly in conditions up to -30℉.  Baggies and cages do not work.


How do you cover a backflow valve?

We recommend an ASSE 1060 certified enclosure which will protect your valve from freezing, vandalism, tampering and theft.

At what temperature will backflow water freeze?

A backflow preventer with stagnant or still water in the valve can freeze at 32℉.

How do you winterize a double check backflow preventer?

Without an ASSE 1060 certified enclosure, the only true way to winterize a double check backflow preventer is to remove it from the system before freezing temperatures arrive and then re-install it after the freezing temperatures end for the season.


Please contact us by filling out the form via the button below.
We're in the office 8am-4pm Central Time, Monday through Friday.