Backflow enclosures are designed to provide theft prevention, security, insulation, heat and freeze protection for sensitive valve assemblies in both commercial and residential settings. Depending on the type of unit, and it’s designated purpose, the size of the configuration and installation footprint can vary greatly.
While most residential installations do not rise very far from the ground and only run a foot or two left to right, commercial installations can be very high and several yards long.
The Right Backflow Enclosures For Your Home
The 3/4″ size is popular in many residential settings, and as a result, many homeowners find themselves tasked with protecting the delicate valve assemblies with a cover or cage. Theft can be a real problem in cities and suburbs alike, with thieves stealing the units and attached copper piping to trade for cash at local scrap and metal salvage yards. Replacing a stolen unit is quite pricey, and is something best avoided if at all possible.
Fortunately, the 3/4″ valve size usually lends itself to a rather small installation footprint. Concrete slabs are sometimes used when installing the 3/4″ valve gates, but the pads are often times low enough to the ground to make covering the concrete optional. If one does intend to cover an entire concrete slab, in addition to the actual piping and valve, keep in mind that cost is going to run considerably higher because a larger sized backflow enclosure will be necessary in order to hide the entire concrete base underneath it.
You may also have the option of removing the actual backflo valve during cold winter months to protect it from freeze. This could negate the need for additional insulation or an electric heat source. First you’ll need to carefully measure the height of the 3/4″ backflow preventer. It matters not what brand it is: FEBCO, WATTS, CONBRACO, WILKINS, etc. the steps for choosing correctly sized backflow enclosures are going to be identical.
After measuring the height, carefully measure the length from left to right. So here you’ll be placing the tape measure on the far left edge of the left side pipe across to the far right edge of the right side pipe. Finally, stand over the top of the valve and measure the width or depth. This is usually only a couple inches depending on where the valve levers are placed and which direction they happen to be facing.
When shopping backflow enclosures for the 3/4″ valves, you can usually start at the less expensive end of the spectrum, meaning the smaller cases. There are several models of fake rock covers by DekoRRa which will fit over most 3/4″ valve assemblies, but keep in mind the rocks cannot easily be locked for security without fashioning some sort of custom locking device.
DekoRRa also makes a super affordable locking variety which can be padlocked on both ends. The DekoRRa Model 301 Backflow Cover is available in all 3 ASSE classes and is lightweight and very easy to use. It’s not made of fiberglass which is a huge plus, and it’s designed to not only function well and provide protection, but also blend into the landscape extremely well.
Regardless of the type of cover you choose, always be mindful of the temperature in your neck of the woods. You want to avoid a frozen backflow prevention valve at all costs!