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CSST in the news - Texas


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Local TV station has been doing many investigative reports on CSST and related problems for some time. This clip is the latest after presentations/request to the Texas TREC requesting more reporting requirements from inspectors.

This is not over (at least here in Texas).

Home Inspections May Not Warn of CSST in Homes

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Captioning wasn't available so could someone tell me if this TV investigation is requesting specific language where CSST is found or if they simply want the HI to tell the client that it's present.

Thanks.

Marc

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Nolan, I get confused when reading this. What do you think about this issue? Are inspectors really prohibited from reporting it? Was there any science presented at the meeting? etc.

Marc, it looks like they wanted it to be a requirement to report it, but that failed. likely someone will post more specifics.

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No, inspectors are not prohibited from reporting anything they want to report on.

The thrust has been via the TREC Inspectors Committee to propose a language change to the TREC SOP that would cause a line item requiring the inspector to note if the gas distribution is via black iron or CSST, etc., etc..

The TREC IC is reluctant to start making such specific granular requirements as they are concerned about where such demands would stop ... they would not in my view.

Part of the bigger issue is that a substantial percentage of TREC licensed inspectors have absolutely NO knowledge of or about CSST much less some of the problems related to same.

Many inspectors when polled about CSST knowledge at recent CE classes (classes NOT related to CSST) didn't have a clue about the product or its related problems even from a general nature. In a couple of cases the percentage of those inspectors ranged between 30 and 40% of those attending the CE class. Usually the count of attendees for the classes is from 75 to 100.

What's more is that the instructors brought various samples of CSST along with the common stainless flexible connectors and another huge percentage of those unknowing inspectors could not tell the difference between the items.

That is scary in my view.

So ... views are across the spectrum, but the media won't let it go.

The Lubbock Fire Marshall has and continues to convene meetings with other Fire Marshals in Texas and they are working on something related to CSST as well. Reason being is the fire in Lubbock a year ago that was related to CSST where someone died in the blaze. Forensics pointed to CSST failure due to lightning strike.

All CSST installation in Lubbock & area is halted for now from what I understand.

More to come I'm sure.

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Louisiana requires HIs to report water and DWV materials but not gas distribution materials.

Gas line materials should be added. It's consistent as well as needed now. I don't think it would lead to a quagmire of prescriptive requirements.

Marc

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. . . Many inspectors when polled about CSST knowledge at recent CE classes (classes NOT related to CSST) didn't have a clue about the product or its related problems even from a general nature. In a couple of cases the percentage of those inspectors ranged between 30 and 40% of those attending the CE class. Usually the count of attendees for the classes is from 75 to 100.

What's more is that the instructors brought various samples of CSST along with the common stainless flexible connectors and another huge percentage of those unknowing inspectors could not tell the difference between the items.. . .

At the risk of slight thread drift, this is a perfect example of how you cannot legislate competance. Texas has some of the oldest and most highly regulated rules for home inspectors in the country and it also has more problems with CSST than any other state (it seems). Yet, there is widespread ignorance about the topic. So much for the effectiveness of regulation. I guess you need even more.

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Texas manages to roll a lot of contradictions into just about everything.

I've long thought the best option is secession. Let 'em go, eliminate all regulation, and let's see what happens. Maybe a previously unrecognized self-righting characteristic would emerge and we'd enter a new age of brilliance.

Or not....

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Jim & Kurt,

Agreed ... many in Texas would love to leave the union ... but, TREC and their control by brokers/agents would prevail and the inspectors would continue to be under their thumb.

I've invited another HI to enter some of his musings about this CSST here at TIJ for additional food for thought.

He may or may not ... so will see.

I'm not comfortable copying/pasting what he has shared without his direct involvement.

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Kurt,

Not an issue. In fact there are a "whole bunch" of Texans who are always hollering about becoming their own country!!

As for CSST, I personally don't care for it. Too many botched up installations and resultant lawsuits.

A plumber that I have had at my home for various projects over the years won't touch the stuff. He has been in business for 20+ years, was a major contractor for new home construction during the boom a few years ago and he must be running about 10-15 trucks. Well respected, excellent work.

They did a gas line extension in our home two years ago for a gas cooktop. He ran me through the wringer about BTUs for installed appliances, new cooktop, distance from meter to house, distance to each gas appliance, etc., etc.. He did it right!! I did the legwork and picked up the permit for him from the AHJ and I also asked if he was going to use CSST or black iron. He said he would not touch CSST with a ten foot pole.

I had quotes from 3 other plumbers and none of them were the least bit concerned about load calculations or even pulling a permit. Goes without saying I was not impressed with 'em.

I'm kind of an 'old school' guy with this product and not willing to endorse it at this time. If it is there I'll inspect as best I can, but I always advise my clients of the current known concerns.

I've had two clients walk away from homes with CSST after they did more due diligence after my inspection.

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I don't trust the bonding. The stuff can't carry lightning currents well enough to avoid trouble and trouble comes big when it's a gas line.

Take it all out, replace it with iron.

Marc

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Just last week I had a seller call me screaming that he couldn't anyone in town that had a clue how to bond the CSST in his 650k house. Not a single plumber or electrician knew anything. All said I was wrong, and it wasn't required. I tried to direct them to the Gastite TSB, but that failed as well. "I ain't got time to be looking stuff up. If you can't just tell me what to do, you don't need to be telling people to do it." Ah Kentucky.....

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I don't trust the bonding. The stuff can't carry lightning currents well enough to avoid trouble and trouble comes big when it's a gas line.

Take it all out, replace it with iron.

Marc

City of Frisco, TX went nuts when they first banned CSST in new home construction (have since relaxed that ban) and started requiring 'bonding' on anything/everything metal in an attic.

Now one has to be on the lookout to not get clotheslined with bonding wires (most use the green sheath) running every whichway and ultimately to a buss bar that usually has a #6 routed back to panel.

Furnace & water heater flues, dryer vent pipes, on and on.

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A benefit of union driven make work code promulgation....we don't have hardly any of that stuff. Lottsa iron and steel in everything around here; no NM, no CSST (well, almost none), copper, iron, sheet metal. We only approved PVC for DWV in the early 90's. Kinda stupid, maybe.

All the stuff the industries make cheaper and lighter so the work can proceed faster and cheaper...... result in us having to develop complicated safety mechanisms to prevent disasters.

What's better?

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'Better' is in the mind of the buyer. It varies with each. As HIs we try to understand what the buyer's values are. It's one of the things that influences our reports. Everything a judgement call. Factors abound.

Apart from HI, if we're talking about me and my house, I'd build it the Chicago way, with steel gas lines and conduit.

Marc

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Here is a link to Goodson Engineering out of Denton, TX. They have done forensic analysis on a wide range of items.

Scroll through the list to find their papers on lightening / CSST.

Goodson Engineering - Publications

I found it interesting that if you scroll to their patent section they hold this patent: "Device for Preventing Electrically Induced Fires in Gas Tubing".

Holding this patent I believe that their forensic analysis could be questioned as "self serving" by some.

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Here is a link to Goodson Engineering out of Denton, TX. They have done forensic analysis on a wide range of items.

Scroll through the list to find their papers on lightening / CSST.

Goodson Engineering - Publications

I found it interesting that if you scroll to their patent section they hold this patent: "Device for Preventing Electrically Induced Fires in Gas Tubing".

Holding this patent I believe that their forensic analysis could be questioned as "self serving" by some.

It's a jumper wire across the length of the CSST run. I don't buy it. Bonding is about bypassing hazardous currents powered by the 120/240 volt service provided to the building. Lightning currents are a completely different animal though I understand they can't possible pass up a chance to make money on a claimed patented method of making CSST safe.

Money and politics, it's always one or the other, or both.

Marc

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