CSST (Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing) is a flexible piping material used to distribute gas fuel service (natural gas or propane gas) to fuel burning appliances and/or components within a building. CSST was developed in Japan in the 1980’s in order to prevent fires often caused by the traditional black iron pipe due to earthquakes compromising fittings used to make turns to the appliance/component serviced.
The use of CSST for gas distribution has gained popularity in building construction due to the reduced labor and installation costs as compared to the traditional black iron pipe. The traditional black iron pipe installation required many cuts and fitting applications in order to route the pipe to the final destination of the fueled system or component. CSST can be installed with minimal effort as it “flexes”, giving it the ability to curve around obstacles without having to be cut and then joined with fittings to make sharp turns. Sales of CSST in the United States began in 1990. As contractors found savings in labor costs with using this product, use became widespread rapidly. Since 1990, more than six million homes in the United States have had CSST installed.
After CSST became popular in the United States, it was found that homes struck by lightning created a very hazardous situation as the nature of the construction of CSST in order to make it pliable for installation and improper bonding/grounding techniques have caused it to fail when introduced to the high electrical current of a direct strike. This compromise has often ended in a structural fire event.
Manufacturers became aware of the potential hazards when the product is installed in locations prone to lightning strikes and issued installation instructions which include bonding the CSST directly to the building’s electrical system’s ground.
If you have or suspect that you have CSST installed in your home, please contact Gary E. Mason at 202-640-1160 or send an email.