By Steve Vacha, President
Home Standards Inspection Services
Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (CSST) is a corrugated pipe with distinctive yellow coating and is much thinner than other, traditionally used pipes. This thinner pipe has been known to develop holes when energized by an electrical lightning strike.
Several years ago I inspected a home that had this occur. The home owner was in her kitchen and noticed the smell of natural gas. She quickly turned off the gas to the home (good she knew how to do this) and called MUD. Lightning had struck her chimney, traveled to the gas line at the fireplace and, as the lightning jumped to another metal, punctured a hole in the CSST gas line. If she had not been home, her home would have filled with gas.
From firsthand experience I suggest it is important to ground the CSST pipe. MUD will tag the CSST gas line if it is not grounded, recommending it be grounded. The MUD website states:
“The National Electric Code (NEC) states that the metal piping system (including gas lines) is required to be bonded if it is “likely to be energized” (250.104, 2005 NEC).”
“Manufacturers claim bonding and grounding of CSST may provide increased protection of the gas piping in a building. For costs associated with bonding and grounding, contact a licensed electrician.”
With MUD’s recommendation there should be little doubt as to whether or not to ground the CSST gas pipe.