Backflow prevention equipment is essential for protecting potable water supplies and overall public well-being. However, many building owners and managers don’t know the correct location for preventer installation. In some cases, preventers are installed underground or inside structures on the property—these configurations come with many harmful risks, including flooding and valve failure. Instead, it’s recommended that you place your prevention equipment above ground, outside, and within an enclosure. Read on to learn the four best options for outdoor backflow preventer enclosures worth considering for your existing plumbing infrastructure.
Metal Cage Enclosure
Metal cage enclosures are affordable options commonly used for publically located backflow prevention equipment. The metal, often steel, is powder coated to improve outdoor durability. These enclosures offer zero insulation for the backflow preventer itself and are solely designed to prevent vandalism, theft, and accidental damage.
Thermal Bag/Blanket Covering
Thermal bags and blanket coverings often feature industrial-grade thermal insulation that prevents external and internal pipe frost. However, thermal bags are affixed to preventers solely by ties or cords, offering little to no security for your backflow equipment. Therefore, these bags and blankets are typically used in conjunction with metal cages or plastic enclosures to ensure sufficient insulation and safety during colder seasons.
Similar to metal cages, plastic enclosures are an affordable option for many property owners; they offer theft and vandalism protection but little to no insulation for the prevention equipment itself. Many plastic enclosures are inconspicuous and custom-made to match a landscaping’s aesthetics, making these products extremely popular for residential applications and settings. Certain companies even offer plastic enclosures that mimic rocks or other natural landscape elements. Of course, thermal bags and blanket coverings are recommended for supplementary protection during colder seasons.
Marine-Grade Aluminum Enclosure
Marine-grade aluminum enclosures, while more expensive, are the superior option on this list due to their functionality, durability, and reliability. First and foremost, marine-grade aluminum is incredibly weather and temperature resistant. Additionally, many of these products include industrial-grade insulation within the aluminum enclosure for dual backflow prevention equipment protection. Finally, certain brands also include slab-mounted heaters to enhance your preventer’s weather-readiness. Marine-grade aluminum enclosures are ideal for commercial and industrial applications.
These are the four best options for outdoor backflow preventer enclosures worth considering for your residential or commercial plumbing equipment. Consult with a licensed plumber to find the ideal solution for your specific device and infrastructure.