DuraQuench® — Cost-Effective Alternative to Sprinklers in Restaurant Construction


During its scheduled 20-year renovation project, a major fast-food restaurant in Pennsylvania learned that the flow rate supplied from its main hydrant/riser supply line (about 350 gpm) was too low to support its sprinkler systems within local fire codes (about 500 gpm). Growth in the area had placed additional demand on the local water main over the intervening years, making a once-suitable water supply, no longer adequate.

To remain within code and in operation, the restaurant had two options: install a water tank with a fire sprinkler pump, or trench to the other side of a major thoroughfare to upgrade the water supply line serving the building. Both options would require a significant financial investment, delay the restaurant’s re-opening and postpone remaining renovation work.


In lieu of these undesirable options, fire protection distributor BFPE International proposed a water mist system to solve the problem. Specifically, they suggested Fike’s DuraQuench system, said BFPE International’s York PA general manager Lee Schmelyun.

“Once we explained to the restaurant owner and fire marshal that the DuraQuench system offered them a more efficient fire protection system than a normal sprinkler system, and that it is more cost effective than a fire sprinkler pump and tank, both were excited about the application,” Schmelyun said.

The local authority having jurisdiction (AHJ), Steve Dunkle, agreed that DuraQuench was a viable option to keep the restaurant within code.

When we became aware of the additional benefits, it was not just a choice—it was the only choice.

“We were very excited to learn about something new, and to see that every question asked was met swiftly with supporting documentation,” Dunkle said.

DuraQuench was ultimately chosen for the project because of its ability to use 50 percent less water than conventional sprinkler systems and to connect to the domestic potable water supply at the site.

“The DuraQuench system saved the day at this site,” said Tony Smith, the project’s construction manager. “When we became aware of the additional benefits, it was not just a choice—it was the only choice.”


Microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC) is an often unseen, unidentified and misunderstood issue, and one that can be particularly troublesome for clean environments like restaurants.

MIC is a form of localized corrosion where bacteria concentrate at specific areas of a pipe network, causing pinhole leaks, pressure loss and pipe diameter reduction.

But perhaps most important to restaurants, are MIC byproducts left in the pipe system: biofilm, biosludge and crustaceous nodules called “tubercles.” In the event of a system discharge, these contaminants are potentially dispersed onto furniture, cooking equipment, electronics and food supplies, resulting in extensive clean up and business downtime.

North American companies spend an estimated $1.5 billion each year to prevent and treat MIC with costly water treatment and chemical injection systems1. A far more cost-effective solution is Fike’s DuraQuench system, which protects against the development of MIC in restaurants’ fire suppression systems by using:

  • Clean, potable drinking water, which is less susceptible to the development of microbiological contaminants commonly found in sprinkler water.
  • Pipe networks of stainless steel, copper or CPVC, which typically have smoother interior surfaces than carbon steel pipe used in sprinkler systems, and therefore provide less favorable conditions for microbiological contaminants to gain a foothold.

1Clarke, B. and Aguilera, A., Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion in Fire Sprinkler Systems, Automatic Sprinkler Systems Handbook, 2007.

Water that Works — DuraQuench® Advantages over Sprinklers

Why should restaurants consider replacing conventional sprinkler systems with a DuraQuench water mist system?


While traditional sprinkler systems are designed to just contain a fire until safety personnel arrive, water mist protects people and equipment by suppressing fires in mere seconds.


DuraQuench uses 90% less water than a typical deluge sprinkler system, and 50% less water than a typical light hazard fire sprinkler. Therefore, in the event of a system discharge, minimal cleanup is required, and business processes may more quickly return to normal.


FM-approved, pre-packaged pump skid design, locally sourced pipes and fittings, standard off-the-shelf hydraulic calculation software, and the ability to protect multiple zones from one pump skid all result in an easy-to-implement fire suppression system.


The lack of tapping fees, storage tanks and new construction, and the reduction of business downtime after an event, helps the DuraQuench system pay for itself over time.

DuraQuench – Numbers of Note

DuraQuench uses 90% less water than a typical deluge sprinkler system.
North America companies spend an estimated $1.5 billion each year to prevent and treat MIC.
DuraQuench uses 50% less water than the typical light hazard fire sprinkler.

DuraQuench’s low-pressure centrifugal pump provides FM-approved performance at a fraction of the cost of a high pressure system.

The DuraQuench pump skid is pre-wired and pre-plumbed, with only final connections to the water supply, nozzles and electrical service needing to be done in the field.

DuraQuench uses stainless steel (shown above), copper or CPVC pipe — rather than the carbon steel pipe often used in sprinklers — making it harder for MIC to get a foothold.

The closed head light hazard nozzle (left) and open head machinery space nozzle (right) cover hundreds of potential applications.