In recent times, corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST) gas lines have become very popular as a more user-friendly and less expensive option than other rigid metal gas lines. CSST has many benefits, but we often encounter defects with its installation when conducting inspections. Millions of homes throughout the U.S. now have CSST, so there’s a good chance your home might. If so, hopefully this article will help you identify possible flaws in how your CSST may have been installed.
First, CSST can usually be easily identified by its flexible yellow sheathing. The sheathing exists primarily to protect the underlying metal tubing from abrasion, but its yellow color makes it easy to identify. Some CSST is black, which is considered higher grade as it is more capable of withstanding possible lightning strikes, but yellow is more commonly used.
Because CSST is metal and carrying combustible gas, it is required to be properly bonded and grounded. It should also be separated as much as possible from other electrical conductors and should not be run through ductwork, chimney liners, appliance vents or other metal-heavy components. The tubing should be kept away from sharp objects and should not be bent too much, as this could lead to damage. Parts from different manufacturers should not be mixed during installation, as each manufacturer designs their tubing and fittings to be used together. Occasionally CSST is buried, but it should actually never be buried and is conveniently rated for outdoor exposure. In areas where the tubing may possibly be damaged, it should be properly protected, such as through masonry walls where watertight conduit is required.
Only a professional certified to install the particular brand of CSST is permitted to perform installation. Homeowners sometimes attempt to install CSST on their own as a “DIY” job, but this should not be done due to the many (and sometimes varying) requirements that exist among manufacturers for safe installation.
If you have natural gas or propane appliances and have had installation or repair work done in recent years, there’s a good chance that CSST exists at your property. It’s worth taking a little time to look over your tubing to ensure it is properly installed and safe, as some installers cut corners from time to time. CSST has gained rapidly in popularity for good reason, but it’s important to make sure that yours is properly installed and not a potential danger to your family.
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