Home flex gas line reviews

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CSST Pipe Safety: Possible Risks of Having Flexible Gas Lines

woman looking at construction plans

Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing – or CSST – is a yellow flexible pipe used to provide natural gas and propane to many homes and businesses. If you live or work in a structure built between 1990 and 2006, or if gas line work was performed on your building during that period, be aware of possible safety hazards associated with CSST. Get educated now to ensure your home or building is protected.

CSST pipes may not have been installed to current model code requirements

Some 500,000 new homes in the United States have CSST installed each year. But since regulations directing how pipes are bonded and grounded were not adopted until 2006, it’s smart to have your piping system inspected by a licensed electrician.

Properly bonding and grounding a CSST gas line system is critical

Direct bonding better secures electrical continuity and conductivity through metal pipes, while grounding can send any lightning strike into the ground. CSST systems installed before the bonding/grounding rules are susceptible to lightning strikes, which can cause electrical shocks.

Direct bonding on your natural gas system reduces the chances of electrical shock, as well as a natural gas leak or fire.

CSST pipes can be damaged by lightning

Lightning striking a CSST gas line system can be extremely dangerous. A strike on or near a building can travel through the structure’s piping system and cause a damaging power surge that can produce a gas leak or fire.

Watch this video to learn more about CSST safety and risks.

Have your CSST system inspected by a licensed electrician. If your system isn’t in compliance, a professional can help you take steps to protect your home or business.

Learn more about how you can keep your home protected with Nationwide homeowners insurance.

Sours: https://blog.nationwide.com/csst-safety/
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  1. 03-07-2014, 02:09 PM#1
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    Home-Flex

    So i just used Home-Flex (the flexible gas line you buy from home depot) for the first time and REALLY don't like it. The coating seems like crap in comparison to other brands and the seal just makes me nervous. So I have two questions one for my own personal interest and one just to get opinions.

    1. Has anyone else that has used this exact product had any problems down the line?
    2. What are your opinions on a favorite brand?

    I have stayed away from this stuff for years but have a regular client that wants me to use it. I do see many advantages to using a like product and am not opposed. I have been in many homes that have other brands that seem much better made.

  2. 03-07-2014, 04:24 PM#2
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    Never seen it, never used it.

    What does the writing say on the outer jacket of the pipe?

  3. 03-07-2014, 04:45 PM#3
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    I've never used it http://www.valenciapipe.com/csst/ I've used tracpipe, gastite and Parker but I don't really like to use any of it. Its handy on some jobs though. Black iron is a lot cheaper and I trust it more.

  4. 03-07-2014, 07:52 PM#4
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    Thread Starter
    Yes that stuff. I must have bought it a dozen times and taken it back because I would just use black pipe. In his particular case thought it would have been horrible to try to tigjten the fittings where I had to run the pipe. I do see some of the installation advantages but I din't think I would ever buy this brand again

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk

  5. 03-07-2014, 08:43 PM#5
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    is it the same as pro-flex? does it use gaskets? I used pro-flex for a long time. I like the gasket much better than forcing a flare and sometimes having to repeat a few times. the gasket doesn't need to be cranked on. but now I am back to gastite for csst. I have been using more iron lately though.

  6. 03-07-2014, 09:00 PM#6
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    gastite has a special cutter that looks very similar to a more common copper pipe cutter. the only real difference is that the rollers dont have a notch in them. apparently the notch in normal cutters leaves a burr which can cause a problem when compressing the fitting and making the flare.

  7. 03-07-2014, 09:05 PM#7
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    Quote Originally Posted by HVAC_MarcView Post
    gastite has a special cutter that looks very similar to a more common copper pipe cutter. the only real difference is that the rollers dont have a notch in them. apparently the notch in normal cutters leaves a burr which can cause a problem when compressing the fitting and making the flare.
    I didn't know they made a cutter!! how am I just hearing of this. burrs can hinder the process.

  8. 03-07-2014, 09:13 PM#8
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    it's on their site. i got one for xmas

    http://www.gastite.com/products/gastite/accessories/

    your gastite dealer should be able to get it for you.

  9. 03-07-2014, 09:17 PM#9
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    also, if you are going to make a cut, cut it 4 rings too long. that first cut always leaves a burr due to stress from the roll. then make the final cut, there is no stress on the little 4 ring piece and it is nearly perfect every time.

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Flexible Gas Piping And Proper Grounding Of Flexible Gas Piping

WARNING:  IF YOU SMELL What you feel is a GAS or propane fume — LEAVE YOUR HOME & LAWN. THEN CALL 911 & YOUR LOCAL GAS SUPPLIER.

This article details a potential hazard related to Flexible, Yellow, Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (CSST) Gas Lines within your home. It also describes a safety hazard and code changes due to the history of house fires associated with CSST when lightning strikes nearby, or worse yet, the home itself.

The risk is tremendously reduced when CSST flexible gas lines are “bonded “ (BONDED DEFINED: Connected with wiring to take electrical current away from CSST flexible gas lines in the event of a lightening-strike on or near the home).  Lightning-strikes have a documented history of creating holes in CSST gas lines, allowing the gas to escape and dramatically increasing the risk of gas-fueled fires in the home. Confined gas fumes that are in a closed room or an unoccupied home can lead to an explosion.

Connecticut Building Code has allowed CSST gas lines since the 1990’s. Building Codes requiring bonding of CSST flexible gas lines came into practice no earlier than 2007. This code came in as a response to damage to flexible gas lines and fires in homes struck by lightning. As you can see, there is a significant multi-year gap in which Building Codes did not require proper bonding of flexible gas lines.  Building Codes, including Plumbing & Electrical Codes were updated based on the growing incidents of house fires.

Homes built with CSST flexible gas Lines before the Building Code required bonding were built correctly to the Building Code at the time they were built.  BUT that does not mean they are safe.  These homes may, or may not have bonded gas lines.  Only an inspection will determine if the gas lines are safely bonded as required by today’s Building, Plumbing & Electrical Codes.

If you own a home that has CSST flexible yellow gas lines and was built prior to 2007, this fire-risk may exist in your home.  Most homes have gas lines in their attic, walls & basements.  CSST flexible gas lines in the attic are a prime candidate for damage from lightning strikes. Especially if they are not protected with Bonding to ensure electrical energy is carried away from the pipe (versus carried by the pipe).   The home needs to be inspected, and proper bonding (if not already present) must be installed to yellow flexible gas lines to help protect the home in the event of a lightning strike. Many fire experts are confident that a lightning strike’s electrical-energy can run through the electrical wiring in a house, then jump (or arc) onto CSST gas lines where it creates holes into the tubes, releasing gas & possibly creating a gas-fueled fire and / or explosion.

There are documented incidents where severe lightning has struck homes. A lightning strike to a steel chimney cap, can extend into the house.   For instance; Lightning can enter the home through a metal chimney cap extending the electrical-energy through copper electrical wiring, copper water piping, the wooden structure itself and, if available and not protected, the flexible CSST gas line.  Electricity will take the easiest path or the path of least resistance. If a lightning strike is large or close enough, the electrical current can jump between products in search of the ground.

lightning struck CSST
lightning struck CSST

In some areas, as of 2015 Home Inspectors became required to notify their clients (in writing & on the inspection form) of the presence of CSST gas lines that do not have proper bonding.

If you own a home built since 1990, your home may have unbonded flexible gas lines.  Many homes have gas lines in their attic and buried in walls.  If your concerned, the home needs to be inspected, and (if not present) proper bonding must be installed to CSST gas lines, to help protect the home in the event of a lightning strike.

Gas Coming to your Home

Underground natural gas lines are primarily polyethylene.  Propane lines coming to the home are either copper or polyethylene. Polyethylene flexible gas piping is engineered and certified for underground installations.  These lines are made in many sizes, from quite large to residential-service lines going to individual homes or a home’s exterior equipment like pool heaters or backup generators.

The dielectric yellow jacket is believed to actually increase this problem.  In response, some manufacturers of CSST flexible gas piping now have black coated versions that are more resistant to lightning strikes.

CounterStrike® or FlashShield® is a patented CSST innovation based on existing yellow CSST flexible gas piping products.  It is engineered to significantly decrease the potential for lightning-induced damage to fuel gas piping systems IF, installed correctly.

CSST FlashShield

This verbiage ss from the TracPipe Manufacturer: “TracPipe® CounterStrike® is a patented CSST innovation that is engineered to significantly decrease the potential for lightning induced damage to fuel gas piping systems. TracPipe® CounterStrike® has been designed with a proprietary jacket material in place of the standard yellow jacket. This black jacket has energy dissipating properties that will help protect the TracPipe® CounterStrike® stainless steel pressure liner as well as other fuel gas system components if the TracPipe® CounterStrike® becomes energized due to lightning.”

** NOTE: This is not an endorsement of this product by JNR Plumbing LLC. This information is provided only as a courtesy to our readers.**

There are documented fire inspections where it was believed a lightning-strike caused damage to unbonded CSST, resulting in gas-fueled fire damage.  In response, CSST manufacturers developed electrical bonding requirements staring as soon as 2007.  Their testing shows bonding will largely mitigate the risk for only “indirect” lightning strikes (those that do not hit the home).   Yellow flexible gas lines were used in the testing.

Bonded Gas Line Example

Electrical Bonding Must Be Present In Homes With Csst Gas Lines — to Reduce The Risk Of Fire Or Explosion Resulting From Damaged Gas Lines In The Event Of A Lightning-strike 

CSST flexible gas piping must be bonded to reduce the risk of damage due to a lightning strike on the home.  The most common issue that home inspectors find is the CSST system is not being properly bonded.

Improper Bonded Gas Line Example

When this type of gas-distribution system is installed, without being properly bonded to current standards, there is an increased risk for damage.  A Damaged gas or propane line can leak gas, causing a fire and / or explosion.  All manufacturers of CSST began implementing Specific Bonding Requirements as soon as 2007.

What about existing homes? Building-Codes have something called ‘grandfathering’.   This means when something was installed in compliance to Building-Codes at the time of the installation — it is deemed correctly installed moving forward in time, even if Building-Codes change significantly.

If CSST was installed (in compliance to code) before CSST manufacturers had made the special requirements for bonding, that installation still meets code today.   A Home Inspector will (or should) specify the need for a safety-upgrade based on today’s Building-Codes and Safety-Practices.  ** This should not be confused with unbonded CSST flexible gas lines being safe. Only that it met building code requirements at the time it was installed.

Proper CSST Bonding

CSST Bond Wires or Clamps Shall NEVER Be Connected to:

  • Natural gas meters or facilities.

  • A ground that is independent of the electrical service grounding system.

  • The corrugated stainless-steel portion of the flexible CSST pipe (Clamps must be attached to: the brass fitting, steel manifold, or other rigid steel pipe).

CSST bond wires or clamps shall ALWAYS be connected to:

  • Customer piping — as close to the natural gas meter as practical.

  • A CSST brass fitting, a steel manifold or rigid pipe component connected to a CSST fitting.

  • The electrical service grounding system.  This connection may be made at either: the ground rod, the ground-wire running to the rod, or in the electric service-panel (also known as Circuit-Breaker Box or Panel).

Properly bonded gas pipe
Properly bonded gas pipe

CSST Gas Lines Versus Flexible Appliance Connectors

There is a difference between CSST Gas Lines and the similar looking yellow Flexible Appliance Connectors (to be known here out as “FAC”).  While both CSST and FAC are made with stainless steel & carry gas — that’s where their similarities end.  CSST is a Gas-Distribution System.  FAC is a short length of tubing designed to connect the gas-distribution pipe to the gas-burning device.

FAC Connector
FAC Connector

CSST Pipe

How else to Identify FAC:

  • FAC does not require bonding. This is because they are connected to a bonded (if properly installed) gas-distribution system.

  • It is between 1–6 feet long.

  • FAC are commonly found between the home’s gas-supply lines and the gas equipment OR appliance.

  • FAC corrugation is highly visible.  As compared, CSST is sheathed and the corrugation is not highly visible.

We at JNR Plumbing LLC want our clients and our readers to understand the safety involved within your home. We do realize that Bonding must be installed by a licensed professional, particularly an Electrician. We do not expect Electricians to know what pipes and which pipes require Bonding which is where your licensed Plumbing contractor, or home inspector can provide. If you need a licensed professional to look over your gas piping and the installation of your gas piping, feel free to give us a call. After all, we only have licensed technicians specifically trained in servicing residential homes and commercial properties.

Sours: https://www.jnrplumbing.com/bonded-gas-lines-and-csst/
Home Flex gas fittings ( quick tips )

Ask the Builder

flexible gas line

Flexible Gas Line | Here's a flexible gas line. These are two short pieces of the flexible stainless-steel gas lines or CSST. You can practically tie it in a knot it's so flexible. If you have lots of pipes to run, this may be the way to go. But before you decide, realize there's a fire and an explosion hazard with this because of lightning! Keep reading!  © 2021 Tim Carter

"A flexible gas line is made from thin-wall stainless steel. It's not durable as a traditional black-iron pipe. Lightning has caused many house fires that have flexible gas lines."

Revised January 2021

Flexible Gas Line TIPS

DEAR TIM: The natural gas lines that are being installed in our new home are not the heavy black iron pipe. They're a new flexible stainless steel piping system that is installed like electrical wire.

What is this material? Is it safe to use? Are there advantages to using this pipe?

Can you cut into the pipe at a future date to install an added gas appliance? Is there another alternative gas piping material? Betsy F., Augusta, GA

Related Links

Easy How To Thread Black Iron Pipe Video

Pipe Threading Compound To Permanently Seal Black Iron - Great Video

Sizing Gas Lines - Tim Carter Can Draw Your Gas Line Plan

Free & Fast Bids

CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from local plumbers who install gas lines.

DEAR BETSY: Congratulations! You're now the proud owner of some wonderful corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST). This material was approved for residential use in 1988 by the National Fuel Gas Code.

Are Flexible Gas Lines Safe?

A flexible gas line is an ingenious method of supplying natural gas to fireplaces, furnaces, cooktops, clothes dryers and any other gas appliance. Virtually all state and local code authorities permit its use and many contractors are finally embracing it.

I have this flexible gas line in my own home in central New Hampshire and never worry about it at all. Some plumbers will tell you it's faster and cheaper to install this new CSST piping. However, we don't get frequent thunderstorms here in central New Hampshire.

I happen to be a master plumber and given the choice, I'd install traditional threaded black iron pipe. More on this in a just a moment.

CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from local plumbers to install flexible gas lines in your home.

CSST Video

Watch this video to see how CSST pipe is installed.

When Was CSST Flexible Gas Line Introduced?

I remember when the material was first introduced in 1989. Many of my fellow contractors who install gas lines thought it was unsafe. Some of their arguments never made sense to me.

For as long as I have been in the home building business, we always used similar brass appliance connector tubing when gas was supplied to a clothes dryer, a cooktop, or a gas range.

Hundreds of thousands of houses have these corrugated appliance connectors in service right now. They have worked well for many years.

Why Were You Afraid of CSST?

I was afraid of CSST because of the thin nature of the pipe. There are lots of instances of houses that have been destroyed in gas fires because CSST pipe was ruptured by a lightning strike.

The pipe in the walls acts as an interior lightning rod. It's vital to follow all instructions provided by CSST manufacturers and to BOND the tubing electrically.

Errant screws or nails used to attach cabinets, trim, pictures, etc. can puncture this pipe. That would never happen with a piece of traditional black iron pipe.

Only a direct hit from a hot bolt of lightning will bore a hole in a traditional black iron pipe.

Dangers Of CSST Video

Watch this video to see what you think about the dangers of the material.

Do You Have CSST in Your Home, Tim?

The current home I live in here in central New Hampshire had these flexible gas lines installed in 2001. I've had no issues with them at all and I even had to do a kitchen remodel where I extended an existing line. 

CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from local plumbers who install gas lines.

What are the Advantages of CSST?

The CSST has many advantages. Perhaps the biggest one is labor savings. Traditional black iron pipe takes a lot of time to cut and thread.

I know as I have installed thousands of linear feet of the heavy material. As you said, the new CSST is installed like electrical wire.

You simply pull the material between two points and cut it to length with simple tubing cutters.

Is Black Iron Gas Pipe Labor Intensive?

Black iron pipe is very labor intensive. A typical black iron pipe installation requires a professional to precisely measure, cut, and thread the individual pieces of pipe. All of these steps are very time-consuming.

It's important to realize you need to think about overall safety. Spending hundreds of dollars more for black iron pipe may be well worth it in the long run if you have a house fire.

CLICK HERE to get FREE BIDS from Plumbers to install Flexible Gas Lines.

Does CSST Create Fewer Leak Locations?

When you use CSST, you can minimize potential gas leaks. A typical black iron pipe installation has many 90-degree, tee, and coupling fittings.

These fittings are used each time you change directions or join two pieces of straight pipe together. Each of the cast fittings can be the source of a leak.

What's more, the threaded joints on both sides of the fitting can also be potential leak points. Because the CSST snakes its way around bends and obstructions as one solid piece of tubing, you only have a fitting at each end of the line. If you do have a leak, these fittings are almost always readily accessible for adjustment.

Is CSST DIY Friendly?

CSST is not user friendly for a DIY installer. It's not really a do-it-yourself proposition. Many of the manufacturers of this material require professional installers to take a short training course that familiarizes them with the small nuances of this unique gas piping system.

What are the Two Gas Line Install Choices?

black iron pipe

These are traditional black iron pipes that I installed in 1987. Each end of a piece of pipe must be threaded. It's messy and hard work, but I must admit I sort of enjoy it. The pipe is extremely durable and rarely has a lightning strike cause a fire in a house with black iron pipe. © 20187 Tim Carter

Is it Easy to Install Additional Gas Lines?

Adding additional gas lines at a future date is not a problem if you plan for the possibility during the original installation. The CSST systems can be installed one of two ways:

The series installation resembles traditional black iron piping. A larger diameter mainline CSST pipe supplies gas to smaller branch tubes that feed each appliance. This is often the easiest system to adapt at a future date.

What is a CSST Manifold Method?

A parallel CSST manifold system mimics an electric panel. All of the gas lines that feed each appliance start at a central distribution point or manifold. To add a line in the future you need to have an extra gas port on the manifold within the panel.

Can I Use Soft Copper for Gas Lines?

Yes, you can use approved soft copper for gas line work.

If you are not able to get CSST tubing and can't handle working with black iron pipe, consider using soft copper. It offers all of the same advantages of the CSST systems.

Soft copper is approved for interior residential gas piping in many cities and towns. You don't solder it like water lines.

How Do You Make Soft Copper Connections?

Connections are made with common flare fittings that tighten with standard wrenches. The only specialized tool you need is a flaring tool made to fit the pipe size you are working with.

If you use copper for gas lines in your home, be sure to paint them yellow and label them with red lettering "GAS LINE" so a future weekend warrior doesn't mistake them for a water line!

CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from local plumbers who install gas lines.


Author's Notes:

If you have ANY DOUBTS about flexible gas lines or CSST, visit a local firehouse and talk to the team leader that's on duty. Visit SEVERAL firehouses to get different opinions.

In regard  to your article on the CSST systems being installed in new homes. If you care to, read an article that was published in April of 2003 in the Dallas News regarding banning this installation in the city of Frisco, Collin County, Texas. Lightning strikes have caused numerous fires in residential homes as a result of  CSST failing. Although the manufacturer states that it is completely safe, in fact safer than ridged black pipe, it has some serious issues. I have seen three fires in our own community as a result of CSST failure. The manufacturer accepts no responsibility for improper installation, and does not provide in any great detail, of detrimental or catastrophic failure if done so. I just saw your article and thought I would provide feedback. If you have questions on the article I mentioned, you may contact the Dallas News. Thank you for your time.

Maxwell J. Brunner
Lieutenant
Menomonee Falls Fire Department
Email- [email protected]

I responded to this very interesting email with a few thoughts of my own. My first suspicion would be that the tubing acts like a lightning rod of sorts. The thin walls of CSST might not seem to handle as much of a strike as black iron. Black iron is so much thicker that it may actually take a lightning strike better.

I suggest you look up the article in the Dallas News if you want more details.


Column 296

Sours: https://www.askthebuilder.com/flexible-gas-lines-are-you-serious/

Reviews home flex gas line

FAQ

CSST FAQs

GENERAL QUESTIONS

What is CSST gas piping?
What is the history of CSST?
Can CSST be damaged by lightning?
Has anyone ever been injured in a fire caused by lightning damage to CSST?
How many homes use CSST?

CONSUMER QUESTIONS

What are the chances of my house being struck by lightning?
Is CSST piping safe to use in my home?
Where is CSST piping located in my home?
If I have CSST piping in my home, what should I do?

CONTRACTOR QUESTIONS

What are the benefits of using CSST flexible gas piping?
Why is it important to bond CSST piping?
Who is recommended to perform this work?
What information will the electrician need?

CODE QUESTIONS

What is the current code status of CSST piping?
What is the approval status of black iron pipe?
Are codes the same for gas piping nationwide?
Is direct bonding required in the gas and electrical codes?


GENERAL QUESTIONS

What is CSST gas piping?

Historically, rigid piping was used to pipe buildings for gas to supply furnaces, hot water heaters and other gas appliances. In some cases, rigid black iron pipe is used to make this connection. But due to earthquakes and other natural disasters that fracture rigid pipe, in the 1980s the Japanese developed a more robust flexible piping system. Subsequently, a flexible pipe design was developed for the United States by the American Gas Association and its research arm, the Gas Research Institute. In 1991, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) published the ANSI LC 1 standard, and products based on this standard are called Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (CSST).

CSST is a flexible, corrugated stainless steel tubing used to supply natural gas and propane in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. It should not be confused with appliance connectors, the similar flexible piping that connects directly to moveable appliances—like ranges or dryers—from the wall or floor. CSST piping is a high-strength piping system that can be routed beneath, through and alongside the basement joists, inside the interior wall cavity or through attic spaces. It also has fittings that are easy to assemble with standard hand tools and make a leak tight seal.

What is the history of CSST?

CSST was developed—first in Japan and then in the United States—by the gas industry to provide a better and safer gas distribution system. There have been over 1 billion feet of CSST made and installed in the United States over the last 20 years, and during that time CSST has built an outstanding safety record.

Can CSST be damaged by lightning?

All building systems can be damaged by lightning including the structure, electrical system, electronics and communications and all gas piping components. Direct strikes are highly destructive, and there is little that can be done to protect a building from these events unless a lightning protection system is installed. Indirect lightning strikes are less severe, and tend to energize the electrical and mechanical systems and can damage the building’s systems and contents, including electronics. Differences in electrical potential between the metal systems may allow a charge to arc between the two materials. Such arcing can damage piping and cause leaks in various ways. CSST manufacturers provide specific installation instructions to protect the pipe from damage due to the electrical arcing, and it is safe when installed in accordance with these instructions and code requirements.

Has anyone ever been injured in a fire caused by lightning damage to CSST?

No. There have been no deaths or injuries caused by CSST piping.

How many homes use CSST?

In the United States over the last two decades, CSST has been installed in nearly five million homes. Over 1 billion feet—enough to circle the earth five times—has been installed in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings in the United States.

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CONSUMER QUESTIONS

What are the chances of my house being struck by lightning?

Lightning’s behavior is 100% random and unpredictable. Any locale can experience lightning anytime if certain weather conditions prevail. However, states along the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River have a higher lightning risk than the rest of the country. (See map). In general, there are on average about 4,300 lightning fires to residential homes in the United States each year, so there would be a very small chance of a lightning fire. However, the lightning density varies across the United States, and other factors can affect your chances. For example, a house on a tall hill without any nearby trees would be more likely to be struck by lightning and have a fire.

The best defense is to recognize (be aware of) the unsafe situation and take appropriate safety measures. According to the National Lightning Safety Institute, each part of the country experiences a different rate of lightning strike occurrences, known as the “flash density rate.”

Is CSST piping safe to use in my home?

CSST is safe. CSST must be installed by a qualified professional and in accordance with the manufacturer’s design and installation guide and local codes, using proper procedures to bond the piping directly to the electrical service. In fact, there have been no injuries or deaths associated with Omega Flex’s world-class CSST products.

Where is CSST located in my home?

CSST runs from the gas meter or propane source to gas appliances through the basement, walls and attic, depending on the type of construction. It can also be installed with portions of black iron pipe or copper. It is typically visible in the basement, attic and at fixed appliances such as hot water heaters or furnaces. CSST piping is coated with a yellow or black exterior jacket. CSST piping should NOT be confused with flexible appliance connectors attached to moveable appliances like ranges and dryers.

If I have CSST piping in my home, what should I do?

CSST is safe when installed and bonded in accordance with manufacturer’s requirements. This bonding is the same as bonding for copper water pipe. In general, bonding involves the attachment of a 6-gauge copper wire at the gas service entrance to the electrical service bonding point or grounding electrode. If you are concerned that the system may not be properly bonded, the assistance of a qualified electrician may be required to perform the inspection, as well as any upgrade per the manufacturer’s bonding instructions and local codes.

However, lightning is a tremendously powerful force that can damage any and all electrical or mechanical systems in a home. For those living in a high lightning density area, consideration should be given to the installation of a lightning protection system to protect the entire home from lightning.

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CONTRACTOR QUESTIONS

What are the benefits of using CSST flexible gas piping?

CSST is flexible, so it easily snakes through walls and around obstacles without the need for multiple joints. With rigid pipe, routing around each obstacle requires a joint that needs to be fitted and checked for leaks. With CSST, fittings are only needed at the ends of each run. Because a CSST gas piping system has fewer joints, there are far fewer potential leak points. Advanced CSST piping is available to provide enhanced lightning protection without additional bonding, except where required by local codes.

Why is it important to bond CSST piping?

Bonding gas piping to the electrical service is the proper way to provide electrical protection to the gas piping system. Bonding prevents a possible electric shock hazard if people contact the gas piping. Also in the event of a lighting strike, bonding to the electrical service ensures the electrical potential rises and falls at the same level as other components in the system. Because the voltage difference is equalized, the possibility of arcing is reduced or eliminated. All legal cases claiming that a fire was caused by an indirect lightning strike producing a hole in CSST piping have been cases where the CSST system was not properly bonded. Proper CSST installation is covered in the OmegaFlex installation guide.

Who is recommended to perform this work?

A registered electrician is the most qualified person to inspect and perform bonding.

What information will my electrician need?

The information an electrician must know is covered in the CSST manufacturer’s installation guide and local code requirements.

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CODE QUESTIONS

What is the current code status of CSST piping?

CSST is approved for use as a gas piping material in all national model building codes, including the National Fuel Gas Code, the International Fuel Gas Code, and the Uniform Plumbing Code, and is approved for use in all 50 states. U.S. buildings codes currently require ‘direct bonding’ of CSST.

What is the approval status of black iron pipe?

While black iron pipe is an approved material in national model building codes, it is not listed by any national standard nor tested by a third-party laboratory. In fact, most black iron pipe is imported from Asia with minimal or no documentation.

Are codes the same for gas piping nationwide?

The major codes are the National Fuel Gas Code (NFGC), the International Fuel Gas Code (IFGC), and the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC). The model codes are published every three years with changes that go through a public comment process. The states adopt the different editions of the model codes at different times. These codes are adopted by the states, either in full or with some changes. So determining what code is in effect in any one state or city will require research into the legislative and regulatory actions of the government in adopting the model building code.

Is direct bonding required in the gas and electrical codes?

Yes and No. “Direct” bonding refers to running a dedicated bonding wire from the gas piping service entrance to the electrical grounding system. In the current edition of the National Fuel Gas Code and the International Fuel Gas Code, CSST must be bonded to the building’s electrical ground using a minimum 6-AWG wire. In contrast, the current edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC) permits the use of the equipment grounding conductor (the third ground wire from a gas-fired appliance) to serve as the bonding wire. As a result, there is a conflict in the two model building codes. All CSST manufacturers require the installation of a 6-AWG bonding wire to the building’s electrical ground for standard CSST products. If the CSST uses a conductive jacket, then the use of the 6-AWG bonding wire is not required by the manufacturer. Qualified installers should consult local code requirements for their installation.

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Sours: https://www.csstfacts.org/faq/
How to Install CSST Fittings

Straight out of Lubbock, Texas comes the latest escalation of a nationwide battle over how millions of American homes receive natural gas fuel. As Buddy Holly's hometown considers becoming the first U.S. community to adopt a new standard for a certain type of gas piping, an advocacy foundation is asking big-box retailers Lowe's, Home Depot and Menards to stop selling the "yellow CSST" pipe/tubing under question.

At issue, explains the non-profit Brennen Teel Foundation For Gas Line Safety, is a type of flexible gas tubing called "yellow CSST," which stands for "corrugated stainless steel tubing." Developed in Japan and prized for flexibility that allows it to survive earthquakes and empower easier installation than black iron pipe, CSST has been used for decades.

However, in recent years, yellow CSST has alarmed many because of house fires caused by lightning that hits homes, or near homes, and may damage the tubing. Lubbock officials determined the death of 31-year-old Brennen Teel was caused by yellow CSST failing after a 2012 lightning strike.

I've noted before how Brennen's tragic death sparked an advocacy campaign and illustrates that America's litigation system can push reform. Expansive testing of the gas tubing has been done by victim's attorneys, and a strongly worded letter "warning" builders over the summer came not from regulators but from lawyers. (To anticipate comments: We all realize that the attorneys have a self-interest in the research, but I truly believe this effort goes beyond "client relations.")

Lavera Vincent, executive director of the Teel Foundation, confirmed that the organization sent letters on Sept. 17th, to Home Depot, Lowe's, and Menards asking that they stop selling yellow CSST.

One worry: CSST should be installed by gas contractors who have been certified by the manufacturers. Given the history of yellow CSST, and the challenges with lightning and the reliance of contractors properly installing the product to specific manufacturer guidelines, it's actually hard for me to understand why these big box stores would make it available where unsuspecting non-contractor homeowners could buy it and install it themselves.

In fact, sources tell us that the largest CSST manufacturers refuse to sell via the "big box" stores because of concerns that the general public does not have enough information or the expertise about how to properly install CSST.

"As you may know," the Teel letter to retailers states, "yellow CSST has been linked to deaths and property damage due to lightning-related fire that can lead to perforation of this particular yellow gas piping."

The letter also notes that "... certain new products on the market are adhering to a higher standard for lightning resistance (referred to as LC1027) which has proven effective. We request that you carry a safer product so consumers are unable to purchase yellow CSST off-the-shelf."

Even when there are proper controls in place, the installation requires bonding and separating the yellow product in a specific way to make it safer when lightning hits a house. Despite extensive education efforts, there is little confidence that these steps are always achieved. That is probably why two of the leading manufacturers do not even sell "yellow" CSST anymore.

Apparently, only one leading manufacturer, Ward Manufacturing, Inc., owned by Hitachi is still selling yellow CSST in the U.S., joining two smaller players Proflex and Homeflex. This begs the question, why are Ward and others refusing to raise their standard for this gas piping when advancements in technology have created an alternative for American homeowners?

Moving to the higher standard is also a stated goal of Lubbock's senior building officials.

Steve O'Neil, Lubbock's chief building official for more than a quarter-century, has explained to National Courts Monitor producers that a special "fuel gas committee" was formed after Brennen's death to look into their situation and is recommending that Lubbock become the first U.S. community to adopt the highest standard for CSST pipe going forward.

O'Neil explains that CSST comes in three broad categories known first by color: "yellow," which was the go-to product for decades, and two kinds of more recent "black" CSST. He says a few brands control about 80-plus percent of the CSST market, so for shorthand he notes that the FlashShield brand is one type meeting a LC1027 standard while another common brand, CounterStrike, represents what's known as the LC1024 standard. By comparison, the LC1027 tests the product to 8 times higher electrical arcing energy than the LC1024.

Generally, CSST made to the LC1027 standard incorporates a protective metal shield. And we should be clear that many building professionals contend that yellow CSST is safe, if properly installed, which includes proper bonding and physical separation from other metallic systems - thus the Teel request for "strong warning" if retailers continue to sell the pipe. The Teel Foundation disputes that, contending that the do-not-sell request "... is specific to yellow CSST product as it has been the subject of failure even with the proper bonding and ground of the product, including Brennen's case."

O'Neil, the Lubbock official, agrees that increased safety comes with evolving to the higher standards. He says "... there's just a huge difference" in safety performance and the cost difference is really pennies per foot.

The fire-code community is taking notice of the Lubbock situation, in part because there are hundreds of CSST-related lawsuits around the country. In the U.S., where fire codes are a patchwork of local rules influenced by national standards, these cases are how change happens.

So far, Vincent and the Teel Foundation seem pleased with the quick acknowledgement of their request to the retailers. We'll keep an eye out for their formal response.

As the debate ensues, anyone still selling yellow CSST should know that the "LC1027 standard" has some highly motivated activist-lawyers mobilizing to support new standards. So, in that world, all eyes on Lubbock.

Sours: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/safety-advocates-lawyers_b_8474390

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