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

By In CSST Lawsuit On November 18, 2010


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 called CounterStrike®, 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 – Email – Minneapolis Home Inspections

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About the Author

Reuben

Reuben is a second generation home inspector with a passion for his work. He grew up remodeling homes and learning about carpentry since he was old enough to hold a hammer. Reuben has worked for Structure Tech since it was purchased by Neil in 1997, and is now co-owner of the company. Reuben’s favorite customers are the ones who have a lot of questions; he grew up thinking he was going to be a school teacher because he enjoyed teaching others so much. In a sense, that’s a lot of what home inspections are about, so Reuben truly does what he loves. Reuben has an A.A. degree in liberal arts and has attended most of the Building Inspection Technology classes at North Hennepin Community College. Reuben and his wife are the proud parents of two young childen, Cy Alexander and Lucy Nicole, and have a German Shepherd named Stanley. With two young children Reuben doesn’t have much free time, but he still tries to play disc golf as often as possible during the summer. Reuben lives in Maple Grove, MN. Professional Qualifications / Memberships: *ASHI Certified Inspector *President, ASHI Heartland Chapter *Member, Minnesota Society of Housing Inspectors (MSHI) *Licensed Minneapolis Truth-in-Sale of Housing Evaluator *Licensed Saint Paul Truth-in-Sale of Housing Evaluator *Licensed Maplewood Truth-in-Sale of Housing Evaluator *Licensed Hopkins Truth-in-Housing Evaluator *Licensed Robbinsdale Point of Sale Evaluator *Affiliate Member, Southern Twin Cities Association of Realtors

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2 Comments

  • Dale Griffis 3 YEARS AGO

    Actually, the biggest problem with standard CSST is the bond. I'll explain. All gas piping must be bonded with a dedicated copper ground to the ground buss in the electrical panel box. The problem arises when the communications guys cross the CSST with their low voltage wiring. When the lightning strikes, it actually strikes the communication lines ( which aren't bonded ) and arcs to the thin CSST, sometimes in several places, which subsequently burns small holes in the CSST and ignites the gas that is now escaping at the same time. I have installed miles of Stainless gas lines and have done my fair share of repairing after the fires. Every time without exception it has been the communication lines that caused the problem. I find CSST to be a good product, there just needs to be care exercised when installing low voltage near it.