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New CSST Bonding Question


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Well, it all stated with me dropping a bottle on the glass electric cooktop....

So, now we are switching to a LP gas cooktop. The plumber is coming out to add the line to the cooktop and I asked what type of line they used. He adviced they would use CSST. Following up I asked about bonding. There was a slight delay and I got the feeling he wondered where the question came from but was happy to discuss it.

First, he advised that our house had copper gas lines running underground to an underground LP tank, thus they generally would not worry about bonding. But, he continued that they had just switched to a new CSST pipe that does not require bonding.

He said they used Omega Flex TracPipe CounterStrike, but if the AHJ required bonding they would be happy to do it.

Looking at the brochure it states

No additional manufacturer bonding is required.

Additionally in the Lightning Brochure it says

Finally, with CounterStrikes improved properties, CounterStrike is to be bonded in accordance the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70) Article 250.104 in the same manner as the minimum requirements for rigid metal piping. However, installers must always adhere to any local requirements that may be in conflict with the CounterStrike installation instructions. This may result in the avoidance of additional bonding costs which are required for conventional CSS

Am I missing something, or I guess the real question is what are the minimum requirements for rigid metal piping?

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I wouldn't use CSST at all. Code mandated bonding is a political solution. They feel the need to pass something but it doesn't work in practice. Utility generated current and lightning current are two very different animals. Solutions to one don't necessarily apply to the other. Bonding doesn't fix this problem and the new counterstrike has no track record.

Stay away from the stuff. That's what I tell all my clients.

Caveat emptor.

Marc

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Why? The product is listed. The manufacturer has determined the fittings provide an adequate bond, and advise following local rules regarding additional bonding. As long as it is installed in a good and workmanlike manner it's fine. The odds of a lightning strike are akin to winning the lottery. A strike that energizes the CSST, perforates it, and creates an an arc that ignites the fuel...you'd hit the powerball and the lottery first.

If you're really worried about it install lightning suppression.

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Why? The product is listed.

If you're really worried about it install lightning suppression.

The original CSST was once listed too and it started fires, killed some folks.

I don't always yield to a listing. I usually do, but not this time.

If you knew electrical like I do, you'd see the fallacy of applying to lightning currents measures that were intended for generated power.

CSST is not alone in starting fires with this MO. Radiant roof decking does it too. It's a trend in the building products industry and I wonder how long before it's generally recognized for what it is.

I ain't worried because I always condemn it.

Things went south with aluminum conductors, went south with PB. Products with electrically conductive parts that can span large areas or interlock to span large areas but cannot safely conduct lightning currents are going to collectively go south too.

Marc

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I'm with Marc, avoid CSST of any flavor until it is proved with time.

In the mean time I would use copper.

I would not rip it out of a house I already owned but I would not be installing it either.

Part of the risk is your lightening area. Florida and Texas are high risk areas.

The bonding required is accomplished by the ground wire for the attached appliances unless the manufacturer or AHJ requires a batter bond.

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If you agree that bonding can reduce the risk of arcing then you should consider this.

Relying on the underground copper gas line as a method of bonding is a flawed idea. Point being, what is it bonded to? The earth? That's grounding not bonding. Bonding ties systems together, usually at the main electrical panel.

For the risk of arcing to be reduced to the lowest potential, all systems need to be tied (bonded) at a point which is then run to the grounding method. If the pipes are grounded at one end of the house and the wires at the other, there could be a difference in resistance in the two systems. This difference in resistance encourages arcing.

It's best to bond everything together then run to the same grounding method. Two different grounding methods invites problems.

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...

For the risk of arcing to be reduced to the lowest potential, all systems need to be tied (bonded) at a point which is then run to the grounding method. If the pipes are grounded at one end of the house and the wires at the other, there could be a difference in resistance in the two systems. This difference in resistance encourages arcing.

It's best to bond everything together then run to the same grounding method. Two different grounding methods invites problems.

John is exactly right except that one critical factor is being left out: Lightning currents contain extreme frequencies, at least millions of times higher than 60 hz. Run those frequencies through conductors like bonding conductors, copper lines and CSST and you have impedance values that exceed resistance values enormously. And that causes arcing. So this bonding math by jurisdictions simply doesn't work because impedances at these frequencies were ignored.

Marc

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Counterstrike is a vast improvement over the previous version of CSST. The black jacket is conductive and forms what amounts to a Faraday Cage around the pipe. It really *ought* to work pretty well.

That said, all of the LP piping in my very own personal house is black steel and if I were to run any new pipe it would be black steel as well.

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I count 3 nay, 2 aye, with two sort of abstaining with a split opinion, sort of. Shows what you get when you talk to home inspectors....buncha personal opinions. Put it on another tack or material and everyone jumps up and down about follow the rules and listing. Collectively, we're a sorry lot.

I'd use the stuff and not think about it one teeny bit. If the AHJ said more bonding, OK, more bonding, then I'd not think about it more.

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When it comes to CSST, improper support and protection is also a big concern, especially when it's installed in existing structures. Many times they cut a hole in finished basement ceilings at each end of a planned run and pull the pipe through. Now the pipe is in the cavity sometimes laying against surfaces where someone could later drive fasteners into it. I have s picture from a recent inspection. I'll post it when I get home this evening.

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I agree with Marc, John and Jim.

I would avoid CSST at all costs. Too many fires, deaths and analysis has shown that it was related to CSST.

I had a gas line extended in our home a few years ago and our local plumber (long time and well respected in the business) will not touch CSST. He says it has not yet been proven to him to be safe and he does not want to put his clients into a "potential unsafe" situation.

He said it might change over time, but he is not ready to bite ... yet. He is staying with black iron.

The CSST lobby is alive and well and has the Texas TREC licensing agency wrapped around their fingers as well. TREC has verbiage we have to use that pretty much paints targets on the Texas inspector's back when it relates to CSST. The lobby prevailed with the changes even against other forensic engineering reports and data from Texas Fire Marshals about failures they are very uncomfortable with.

One local D/FW inspector is still under a pending $1M lawsuit due to a home fire caused by a lighting strike that had some CSST extensions installed to black iron. Its been ongoing now for nearly 2+ years.

For me (as I've noted above) ... I will not have CSST in my home.

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I am not convinced of the arguments against CSST due to a phenomenon called multiple regression analysis. Google it, read up, and then determine if "all the fires" or other alleged issues are, in fact, solely caused by CSST as the single contributing factor.

Are the studies correlational, and does correlational observation determine causation? I don't think it does.

Does the presence of a CSST lobby prove fraud while iron pipe lobbyists are deemed moral and ethical? Of course not. It is innuendo, not data.

How does the data reflect all other mitigating factors in a home fire? I'm not finding that it does.

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Counterstrike is a vast improvement over the previous version of CSST. The black jacket is conductive and forms what amounts to a Faraday Cage around the pipe. It really *ought* to work pretty well.

That said, all of the LP piping in my very own personal house is black steel and if I were to run any new pipe it would be black steel as well.

I'll check that out but the stainless is conductive so there's your faraday cage. It's always been there. Radiating electromagnetic fields was never this product's problem anyway. As I understand, the sheathing now has conductive properties to improve the overall conductivity of the product. It does so without thickening the stainless and saves the cost of doing so. I could be wrong as I haven't checked it out in a while.

I'm not saying the new stuff has not solved the problem with its predecessor. I'm saying the new stuff doesn't have my vote of confidence until a track says so, given this manufacturer's previous failure.

Marc

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I am not convinced of the arguments against CSST due to a phenomenon called multiple regression analysis. Google it, read up, and then determine if "all the fires" or other alleged issues are, in fact, solely caused by CSST as the single contributing factor.

Are the studies correlational, and does correlational observation determine causation? I don't think it does.

Does the presence of a CSST lobby prove fraud while iron pipe lobbyists are deemed moral and ethical? Of course not. It is innuendo, not data.

How does the data reflect all other mitigating factors in a home fire? I'm not finding that it does.

The failure mode for CSST exposed to lightning current is a characteric pinhole, a characteristic not typical of other CSST failure modes such as when a house fire originating from a fireplace has spread throughout the house and damaged the CSST.

So applying multiple regressive analysis to a specific type of CSST failure that is characteristic only of lightning damage seems more of an exercise in statistics than an attempt to illuminate a culprit.

Marc

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Here's a framing nail nearly puncturing CSST

Click to Enlarge
tn_2016127205235_P1050263.jpg

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Here's a long run through a joist bay nudging the floor planks. It does not have proper support at correct intervals. If someone does renovations including building or moving walls above, this pipe is in a position to get damaged from driven fasteners.

Click to Enlarge
tn_201612720589_P1060615.jpg

37.77 KB

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If one operates on the metric of "if a moron can screw it up, we shouldn't use it" eliminates....everything.

PEX, NMC, OSB, all modern window technologies, all engineered lumber, foam insulation, nail guns, asphalt shingles,.....there's gotta be more, but yeah, pretty much everything.

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If one operates on the metric of "if a moron can screw it up, we shouldn't use it" eliminates....everything.

PEX, NMC, OSB, all modern window technologies, all engineered lumber, foam insulation, nail guns, asphalt shingles,.....there's gotta be more, but yeah, pretty much everything.

My point is you can poke at black iron, even smack it with a hammer all day and not have much trouble with it. We agree the world is full of morons. Black iron holds its own against them better than CSST.

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My point is you can poke at black iron, even smack it with a hammer all day and not have much trouble with it. We agree the world is full of morons. Black iron holds its own against them better than CSST.

Right. Research has found that lightning strikes black iron also but does only microscopic damage.

Marc

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The code-prescribed sequence of inspections here during new construction is that gas pipe is inspected visually prior to concealment, and pressure tested after concealment. If the plumber wants a pressure test at both inspections, that's fine, but only the one after concealment is required. The reason it can't be done prior to that is that you want to wait until all the nail guns have been put away before finding out if that pipe has a leak. This applies to black pipe, galvy, and CSST.

Douglas Hansen

www.codecheck.com

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