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Irrigation Enclosures:

For Safety and Vandalism Prevention

By Gail A. Le Meur, Le Meur Welding & Mfg. Co.

Stainless steel mesh enclosures are a familiar sight as they protect backflow prevention valves. This type of box provides vandal protection and can be used with blanket covers to avoid pipe damage in severe winter climates. Photo:

As the world continues to grow smaller and the population increases, the need to provide green areas and open spaces becomes more important. In addition, conservation of natural resources becomes increasingly critical.

Water--something no living thing can survive without--is at the top of the list when addressing the conservation issue. Thanks to the improvements in irrigation systems, we will be able to continue conserving water while still maintaining attractive landscaping for public and private areas.

The 104 rock from Dekorra Products is the newest and largest member of the company's rock enclosure product line. The 38-pound enclosure looks like a real boulder but contains enough hollow space to house an irrigation system, pool filter or pump equipment. Photo:

Many architects, contractors and superintendents, when installing irrigation systems, elect to use a controller enclosure to house the irrigation timer and a backflow prevention valve enclosure to cover the backflow valves. There are a wide variety of enclosures available. Some have a decorative and/or camouflage purpose only. Other enclosures are built to protect the controls from weather changes and vandalism.

Controller enclosures are manufactured to protect irrigation equipment from the elements. Vandals are also found in public places--parks, playgrounds, etc.

To protect sensitive (and expensive) equipment, enclosures are starting be used more in gated developments, business parks and anywhere that protecting the watering system is important.

Aluminum enclosures have a high strength to weight-ratio. These multi-section boxes fit together with overlapping "tongue and groove" joints, which are secured internally with mechanical fasteners. Photo:

Patty of Harvest Landscape Enterprises in Orange, Calif. says the company's customers chose to use steel box enclosures to house the timers rather than risk having them become corroded by weather or damaged by vandals.

"The plastic boxes the timers come in tend to break easily and are not secure," she said.

Controller enclosures that were once used to protect only irrigation timers are now being adapted for other uses. With the advent of custom-designed landscaping which may include area lighting, ponds and waterfalls, comes a need to house the high-tech controlling equipment.

Dave Warner of Redhorse Constructors in San Rafael, Calif., said that the main reasons for using controller enclosures include health and safety considerations. "An enclosure protects valuable equipment from damage and protects people from the possibility of injury."

Many electrical contractors use enclosures to protect meters and other electrical equipment. Photovoltaic enclosures were developed for use where no electrical service is available. These enclosures house equipment that is powered by the sun. Weather monitoring devices are installed in controller enclosures for protection from the elements and from vandals.

In-ground synthetic irrigation boxes stand up to mowers and temperature extremes. Rain Bird's Valve Box Series features knock-out holes in all four sides of the box that can be removed by hitting them with the back end of a pipe cutter. Photo: rainbird

The majority of controller enclosures are constructed of aluminum, plastic, powder-coated steel or stainless steel and are configured in such a manner as to withstand the elements whether it be Mother Nature or malicious, often teenaged, members of our society.

Enclosures made of steel or stainless steel tend to offer the best security.

Enclosures are manufactured in many different sizes and configurations to meet the needs of the consumer. There are enclosures made to be mounted on the wall and enclosures that are free standing. Some manufactures also fabricate custom or special enclosures designed to a customer's specifications.

Additional accessories or options can be purchased with controller enclosures. One option is an electrical accessory that includes a 115 VAC duplex receptacle with lamp adapter, lamp and terminal strips. Another option is a thermostatically-controlled fan to take hot air out of the unit. Also available is a housing for a rain sensor.

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December 14, 2019, 7:48 am PDT

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