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CSST Bulletins Concerning Lightning & Bonding


hausdok
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Hi All,

I was just perusing the Gastite site when I came upon a couple of documents that I think it would behoove every home inspector to become familiar with.

The first document is the NAHB report: CSST and Concerns Over Lightening Strikes and the other is a Gastite technical bulletin #TB2007-01 01-26-07 that deals with electrical bonding of CSST and replaces the previous bulletin on the same subject.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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  • 3 years later...

I'm wondering, for accurate reporting, if someone who has really put sume time into this subject could offer a simple summary timeline regarding:

  • when the material was first considered a problem

Dates of any official conclusions

Dates of any official code changes ?

I started looking at post and threads on it, but there are too many - all peppered with tidbits.

Can anyone post the complete lowdown here, since this appears to be the most appropriately named thread. It's obvious a few of you have done some serious research on it: John Dirks, Mike O, perhaps?

I've got a home that has it and bonding was called for right around the time it was constructed, but it was no doubt code approved when delivered. The buyer is making a huge stink about it, because he happens to be in the insurance industry, but I'm not really sure I feel it's a legitimate seller concern. I'd just like to consider and offer the best info possible. I don't usually call for sellers to upgrade anything for the buyer's peace of mind. It just doesn't seem cricket to me.

At any rate, it seems like it would be nice to have a single thread we can refer to where news on this product is updated.

Thanks in advance.

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Take a scan through the CSST report linked in the article on the front page. From the report:

"The history of CSST coverage in the USA started in 1983 from a research and development project sponsored by the Gas Research Institute. The initial standards were developed by the American Gas Association Laboratories and were designated in 1987 as AGA 1-87. This standard became an ANSI standard in 1991. In 1989, the National Fuel Gas Code introduced coverage of CSST.

In 2004, a class action suit was filed and settled in 2006, resulting in the addition of requirements for bonding and, eventually, installation of lightning protection. The resultant code/standard changes only addressed bonding: In 2009, the National Fuel Gas Code introduced coverage of bonding the CSST."

Also highlighted in the report:

"CSST installations and proper bonding lack uniformity:

• Good municipal inspectors assure proper installations.

• Other municipalities don’t even know of the issue.

• They rely on the plumbers (who don’t know about grounding).

• They rely on the electricians (who aren’t looking at the plumbing)."

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. . . I've got a home that has it and bonding was called for right around the time it was constructed, but it was no doubt code approved when delivered.

Just FYI, CSST was *always* supposed to be bonded, from the very first piece that was every installed. The bonding requirements have changed a bit but, frankly, not in any meaningful way. There was *never* a time when it could be installed without bonding.

The buyer is making a huge stink about it, because he happens to be in the insurance industry, but I'm not really sure I feel it's a legitimate seller concern. I'd just like to consider and offer the best info possible. I don't usually call for sellers to upgrade anything for the buyer's peace of mind. It just doesn't seem cricket to me.

If someone asks me what the seller *should* fix, I usually tell them that it's a stupid idea to have them fix anything because they'll only screw it up worse. Beyond that, I really don't care who negotiates with who to fix what.

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. . . I've got a home that has it and bonding was called for right around the time it was constructed, but it was no doubt code approved when delivered.

Just FYI, CSST was *always* supposed to be bonded, from the very first piece that was every installed. The bonding requirements have changed a bit but, frankly, not in any meaningful way. There was *never* a time when it could be installed without bonding.

The buyer is making a huge stink about it, because he happens to be in the insurance industry, but I'm not really sure I feel it's a legitimate seller concern. I'd just like to consider and offer the best info possible. I don't usually call for sellers to upgrade anything for the buyer's peace of mind. It just doesn't seem cricket to me.

If someone asks me what the seller *should* fix, I usually tell them that it's a stupid idea to have them fix anything because they'll only screw it up worse. Beyond that, I really don't care who negotiates with who to fix what.

I'm with you. Repairs to a seller are merely an obstacle. I always use stuck windows as a great example. "What do you think these windows are going to look like if you make the seller unstick them?" Most folks immediately get it.

I don't see a lot of long stretched of the yellow CSST here. It was a flash in the pan. Consequently, I'm very guilty of ignoring a lot of the threads about it over the last few months, which I now regret. Thanks for the input.

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When the ANSI standard for CSST was adopted, it included a provision that the installer was required to complete a certification program. The program isn't much - sitting through a couple hours of training and taking a 25-question open-book test - though it is better than nothing.

The product is now being sold in Lowe's, Home Depot, and other big box stores. Purchasers are not asked to demonstrate their qualifications to install it.

Douglas Hansen

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  • 1 month later...

Here is what the North Carolina Licensure board recommends...

Recommended language for houses with non-bonded CSST

The gas piping in this house includes corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST). There is no electrical bonding connection between the gas piping system and the electrical system, other than connections at the gas appliances that utilize the grounding conductors for the appliances. The lack of strong electrical bonding may increase the potential for lightning strikes to cause arcing at the CSST gas piping that may result in perforation of the piping, gas leaks, and fires. For safety, it is recommended that this installation be further investigated by a licensed electrical contractor.

Standards of Practice/Rules/Interpretations Committee approved: 5-12-11

NCHILB Board approved: 5-13-11

Effective Date: 5-13-11

This is what I use...

Flexible gas pipe manufacturer’s installation instructions require bonding of gas pipe to the electrical grounding system. Bonding provides a path for electricity to safely flow if the metal gas pipe become energized. Bonding of the gas supply system to the electrical grounding system was not located. Have the gas pipe system further investigated to determine if it is bonded to the electrical ground system and repair by a licensed electrical contractor if it is not bonded.

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Greetings fellow earthlings,

Can anyone offer a compact and concise recommendation statement for this condition (Lack of bonding)? I haven't been able to bang out anything I'm satisfied with.

I don't write it up anymore. As Douglas H. said recently, 'It's a solution in search of a problem'.

A dissenting viewpoint:

Bonding of CSST is a solution in search of a problem.

Thanks John for posting those links. They are informative, though I do not think of them as authoritative. The NFPA annual report on lightning tells us that we have some 4800 house fires a year as a result of lightning. We have now 4 documented cases of CSST contributing to those lightning fires. Something doesn't make sense.

When the second CSST lightning fire occurred the class action suit was born. The settlement of same never did result in monetary awards - other than to pay the cost for installers to bond it in the manner that had already been required by code.

The purpose of bonding gas piping in the NEC is to create a fault return path and to eliminate voltage potential between metal surfaces. It has nothing to do with lightning.

The gas industry historically has had a prejudice against bonding of their piping, in part because of very real dangers that arise from static electricity while working on open pressurized underground gas lines. I don't mean any offense to them, but they have also repeatedly demonstrated an historical lack of understanding of electricity. I once heard the head of a major utility's gas division proudly announce that they were prohibiting the bonding of their gas piping - and would remove the meter from a house - if the piping were bonded in any such manner that current could flow on it. He seemed to think that bonding gas piping would put voltage on it. It does the opposite. It helps clear a fault to get it off the gas piping.

Current only flows on conductors in the presence of a difference of voltage. Voltage potential between any two metal surfaces is a hazard, all the more so when one of them is gas piping. Maintaining a separation between items such as gas pipe and metal ducts, only to later bond them together to the same grounding target at the service, is just plain silly, but it plays well to the gas industry.

The motivation behind the CSST industry's initial response (when they were requiring the 8AWG bonding at the manifold) was a way to say "we've done something - we've solved whatever problem we had." Likewise, the current IFGC, IRC, UMC, UPC, NFGC requirement for the 6AWG bonding conductor on the hard piping upstream from the CSST is the result of the industry convincing the authors of the gas codes to play along in this feel-good campaign.

The CSST industry was not successful in getting this into the NEC, and I doubt they ever will be. The folks on CMP-5 (those responsible for article 250) actually understand electricity, grounding, and bonding. They will allow bonding as the manufacturers requested, because it is doing no harm. They will not buy into the mistaken notion that this new particular method is somehow an improvement. Their language in rejecting the proposal was as follows:

Panel Statement: CMP-5 is not convinced that bonding to or around portions of CSST will solve the problem. No test records were provided to substantiate the adequacy of the minimum 6 AWG conductor. The problem could be directly related to the design and wall thickness of CSST. CMP 5 was made aware of at least one manufacturer’s product that does not require bonding beyond the requirements of Section 250.104 contrary to the information provided in the substantiation. The mitigation of the effects of lightning is a design option. The purpose of the NEC is the practical safeguarding of persons and property from hazards arising from the use of electricity. The recommendation is not currently prohibited by the NEC and should be covered by product standards. NFPA 54 contains bonding requirements specific to this product, and those requirements do not conflict with the NEC requirements in Section 250.104(B).

To me bonding of CSST is just another in a long line of useless rules that we are saddled with due to the politics and semantics of codes, without any basis in reality. I'm sure we can all think of others. Several examples come to mind. Start with bonding hydromassage tubs. The NEC made an awkward attempt to outlaw "dummy" grounding terminals on double-insulated pump motors (those without a grounding conductor) in the 1999 NEC. Because it was a last minute insertion by the CMP, and not a public proposal, their poor wording made its way into the code, and was revised in each of the subsequent four editions in an attempt to conform to some reality while also saving face. No one has ever been electrocuted in one of these things, and the bonding is redundant to the grounding and to the GFCI requirements. Yet how many times have I seen home inspection reports that make a big deal of this phantom defect?

Another one is AFCIs in bedrooms. No one ever made an NEC proposal to place them just in bedrooms. The floor debate back in the 1998 NFPA conference was for all or nothing. The idea of bedrooms came along at the last second as a compromise - a way to get the camel's nose under the edge of the tent. Yet how many home inspectors act as if these rooms were somehow more important than other areas of the house? It looks silly now that bedrooms are no longer the only area targeted for these devices.

The list goes on. Why 25 ohms resistance for the grounding electrode?

In earthquake country, flexible gas connectors are the norm, and they are nowhere near as robust as CSST. They have been around a lot longer also. Don't tell the lawyers.

Douglas Hansen

Marc

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The product is now being sold in Lowe's, Home Depot, and other big box stores. Purchasers are not asked to demonstrate their qualifications to install it.

We can't buy it here- it hasn't yet made it to the East coast retailer's shelves.

I just saw it at Lowes here in MD about a month ago. Big spools on a shelf and various fittings nearby.

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The product is now being sold in Lowe's, Home Depot, and other big box stores. Purchasers are not asked to demonstrate their qualifications to install it.

We can't buy it here- it hasn't yet made it to the East coast retailer's shelves.

It will be as soon as one of the local supply houses figures out who to talk to. My Certainteed rep just had his products pulled from Lowes in Springville and a Home Depot in Hamburg. Seems a distributor wanted to up his volume a bit.

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Gastite manufacturer installation manual states that care should be taken to not install CSST in close proximity to other electrically conductive materials.

I've been looking for the same language in other brand names manuals but havn't found it yet.

Has anyone seen similar language in other manuals such as Tracpipe or others?

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