Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (CSST) has become a popular choice for gas piping systems in residential and commercial applications due to its flexibility, ease of installation, and cost-effectiveness. However, one critical aspect often overlooked is the necessity of bonding CSST to protect against lightning strikes. This article explores the importance of bonding CSST and the key considerations to ensure safety and compliance with industry standards.
Understanding CSST: CSST is a flexible, stainless steel pipe used to supply natural gas and propane in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. Its flexibility allows for easy installation and reduces the need for additional joints, minimizing potential leak points. It is usually seen with a yellow covering. Despite its advantages, CSST is susceptible to damage from lightning strikes.
The Lightning Threat: Lightning poses a serious threat to gas piping systems. When lightning strikes a building, it can induce electrical currents in nearby metallic systems, including CSST. This induced current can create a spark that may ignite gas leaking from the tubing, leading to a potentially catastrophic situation.
Bonding as a Protective Measure: To mitigate the risk of electrical currents induced by lightning, bonding CSST is essential. Bonding involves connecting the CSST to the electrical grounding system of the building, creating a path for lightning-induced currents to safely dissipate into the ground. Proper bonding helps prevent sparks and reduces the risk of fire or explosion.
National Standards and Codes: Recognizing the importance of bonding CSST for lightning protection, national standards and codes have been established. For instance, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has specific guidelines outlined in NFPA 54 (National Fuel Gas Code) and NFPA 70 (National Electrical Code). Compliance with these standards is crucial to ensure the safety and reliability of gas piping systems. Inspectors do not inspect to nor report on codes. Having CSST bonded is considered best practice by many home inspection companies such as Habitation Investigation.
Key Bonding Considerations:
- Professional Installation: Bonding should be performed by qualified professionals with knowledge of local codes and standards.
- Electrode Connection: The bonding connection must be made to the electrical service grounding electrode system to establish a reliable path for lightning-induced currents.
- CSST Manufacturer Recommendations: Follow the specific bonding requirements provided by the CSST manufacturer. Each product may have unique considerations.
Benefits of Proper Bonding:
- Enhanced Safety: Proper bonding significantly reduces the risk of fire or explosion resulting from lightning-induced currents in CSST.
- Code Compliance: Adhering to national standards and local codes ensures that the gas piping system meets safety requirements.
- Insurance Compliance: Some insurance providers may require adherence to safety codes, including proper bonding, to maintain coverage.
Bonding CSST is a critical safety measure to protect against the potential dangers of lightning strikes on gas piping systems. Homeowners, contractors, and professionals involved in gas system installations should prioritize compliance with national standards and local codes to ensure the safety and integrity of these systems. By understanding the importance of bonding CSST and following recommended practices, we can create safer environments and reduce the risk of accidents related to lightning-induced currents in gas piping systems.