Reuben's Home Inspection Blog

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ALERT: Jury Rules That CSST Is A Defective Product In Landmark Cas

This is bad news for the manufacturers of Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (CSST).  CSST is a relatively new type of gas piping that has rapidly been replacing traditional gas piping in homes throughout America.  To learn more about this product, check out my blog about CSST.

ImgTracPipeKey points of this landmark case:

  • Omegaflex's TracPipe was installed in a home in 1998
  • A nearby lightning strike in June of 2007 caused the product to fail
  • The manufacturer tried to say that "a properly bonded CSST system could withstand the energy produced from an indirect lightning strike."
  • The manufacturer failed to test their product's ability to stand up to a lightning strike.
  • The jury found TracPipe CSST to be a defective product
  • To see the full story, click here.

What this means for the future of CSST:  This may be the end of traditional CSST.  As far as I know, CSST is the same product from manufacturer to manufacturer.  If this particular brand of CSST was found to be defective, the other major manufacturers of CSST must be scared as hell right now.  I visited TracPipe's web site, and I found that they're actually making a new version of CSST calledCounterStrike®, which is supposed to be much more resistant to the effects of lightning strikes.  They obviously know they have a major problem on their hands with traditional CSST.

What if you own CSST?  If you have CSST in your home, make sure it's properly bonded.  The major manufacturers of CSST claim that properly bonding CSST will lower the risk of damage from a nearby lightning strike.   Is there any truth in this?  I've heard differing opinions, and I've been told that bonding is intended to provide protection against shocks, not lightning strikes.

When I inspect homes with CSST, I make sure the material has been properly bonded, and I write it up as a defect if not.  I won't be calling out the product itself as 'defective' just yet, but I will be telling my clients about the potential problems with this product, and I'll be linking to this blog post in my inspection reports.

 

Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections

        

Comment balloon 14 commentsReuben Saltzman • November 18 2010 07:49AM

Comments

Good Morning Reuben, thanks for sharing the important information this morning.

Posted by Dan Edward Phillips, Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, CA (Dan Edward Phillips, Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, CA) almost 8 years ago

Reuben say it ain't so!  What a pain in the butt this is going to be.  Does "anything" stand up to a direct lightning strike? :)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 8 years ago

You are more likely to get struck by lightning 7 times and survive than win the lottery.  That is my barely relating thought for the day.

Posted by Jim Allhiser, Salem, Oregon Home Inspector (Perfection Inspection, Inc.) almost 8 years ago

I have been calling this out for some time. I rarely see any CSST that is bonded. This should make things more interesting.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Dan - thanks for reading.

Charles - agreed, and no, nothing stands up to a direct lightning strike... but with improperly bonded CSST, it doesn't even need to be direct, just close by.

Jim - wait, so are you saying I'm going to win the lottery?

James - the building officials in my area have gotten very good at enforcing this; I rarely find any new installations that aren't bonded.  Lots of old stuff though...

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) almost 8 years ago

This is terrific information Reuben and it should be featured.  My suggestion probably has little weight...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Thanks Jay!  From your mouth to God's ears.  

(whatever that means)

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) almost 8 years ago

Stuff from my mouth* goes to God's ears all the time.  And He listens and responds...

*  Sometimes it goes from inside my head.  Same difference!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

OK Reubs - I had an inspection today in a condo full of TracPipe!  I guess the whole building has it, as well as the sister condo next door, same development!  In my report I gave them the link to the PDF on your post and a link to your (this) blog!  So, if you get a call from my clients in VA, that is the reason!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Well, of all the things to have happen...

Jay is a prophet, however it wasn't the condo that got hit, it was our single family home about 1 mile away from the condo.  It had, past tense, this pipe in it and yes, it was the cause of the fire per the Fire Marshall and insurance company cause/effect CSI type. 

Stay tuned, I'll update you on how this goes in Virginia, I'm sure either the insurance company or I will be addressing the issue in the courts...  

Posted by Jay's client over 7 years ago

Hey there Jay's Client - wow, he is a prophet!  Thanks for sharing your story.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 7 years ago

Reuben -- this is very good information to get out.   Thanks also for the link to other article about properly bonding so we would understand that part of the issue as well.

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) about 7 years ago

Reuben, Jay Markanich alerted me to your post.  This is very important information, thanks for letting us know.

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) almost 7 years ago

Reuben, I got here from Jay also, this is good info. I see unbonded CSST all the time in my area. I call it every time. We do not get that much lightning here so the is a less of chance for this event.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

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