Corrugated stainless steel tubing, or CSST, is becoming the standard for natural gas delivery within homes throughout the United States.
Developed in Japan in the 1980s to reduce the risk of leaking gas and related fires following earthquakes, CSST was an improvement over the rigid black iron pipe that frequently failed during seismic activity.
CSST is a flexible, stainless steel pipe covered in yellow or black plastic coating. It’s typically routed though, under or along floor joists in the basement, inside interior walls or over ceiling joists in attic spaces.
U.S. contractors began using CSST in 1990, and it quickly grew in popularity because of its convenience. More than 1 billion feet of CSST gas piping has been installed in 8 million U.S. homes since 1990, according to CSST Safety, a coalition of CSST manufacturers.
“CSST is a great, time-saving alternative to black iron pipe or copper to run a natural gas or propane line,” said John Hannan, vice president, sales, Pro-Flex CSST. ” Because it’s flexible, it eliminates the need for numerous fittings, cuttings and threading pipe.”
Due to its flexibility, CSST can be snaked through walls or around obstacles, making installation easier and quicker.
Installation time is reduced often as much as 70 percent compared to standard piping and can be accomplished with a tube cutter and wrench, Hannan said. While CSST is more expensive than traditional pipe, the reduced labor and installation costs often result in a lower overall cost.
“CSST has become a common product for gas piping”, said Hoss Budde, president, Burnaby Manufacturing Ltd. “A lot of consumers will find that contractors have gotten rid of the threading machine and will only offer hookups using this product.”
In addition to the convenience and easier installation, CSST has fewer connections, which makes it more resistant to leaks.
“CSST leaves a job with virtually only two joints, one at the connection of the service and one at the appliances,” Budde said. “It gives peace of mind knowing there are no joints in the walls or ceilings.”
The yellow or black PVC cover makes CSST easily identified during any renovation work, so contractors and homeowners know exactly where the gas piping is, Budde said.
Installation should be performed by a qualified professional who can ensure the CSST is properly connected. Building codes require CSST to be bonded to prevent electric shock in case of failure in a branching circuit and grounded to prevent damage or fire from an electrical surge caused by lightning.
Building codes before 2009 did not require bonding or grounding of CSST, so homeowners with CSST installed in older homes should have it inspected by a qualified electrician to make sure it complies with current codes, according to CSST Safety.
When installing CSST, it’s important to accurately identify the British thermal unit, or BTU, requirements of a given appliance since that will determine the appropriate tube size for the machine to operate effectively, Hannan said. Consumers should also know that it is prohibited to mix and match fittings from different CSST manufacturers.
“Not all CSST brands are the same,” he said. “Be sure to read the reviews that sellers of CSST will provide.”
by Tonya McMurray
Natural Living – Fall/Winter 2019
Energy Solutions Centre – https://www.energysolutionscenter.org/
Pro-Flex CSST – https://www.proflexcsst.com/