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CSST Lawsuit - Lubbock, TX ... Settled

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[#1] Posted: 10/01/2014 - 1:36:16 PM
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It appears the pending lawsuit against CSST manufacturers has been settled out of court.

Case files will be closed and I would guess the push was from the manufacturers to minimize publicity.

Such action just makes me much more cautious when I note CSST in houses I inspect.

CSST Lawsuit - Lubbock, TX ... Settled Out of Court

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[#2] Posted: 10/01/2014 - 2:06:55 PM
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Black coated CSST???

Has anyone seen it?

Marc

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[#3] Posted: 10/01/2014 - 2:25:56 PM
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I'm sure it is out there in use, but I've only seen it via advertising and the CSST manufacturer's in their efforts to paint it as a superior product over the original yellow-jacketed CSST.

It's called "CounterStrike" and made by TracPipe. I won't put their URL on this thread. Just Goggle it and you will get plenty of links.




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CSST Lawsuit - Lubbock, TX ... Settled
[#4] Posted: 10/01/2014 - 9:05:09 PM
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Lighting is going to poke a hole in the black coated pipe just like the yellow covered pipe. It is still a thin flexible pipe and lighting is color blind!

I have been told Lubbock no longer allows CSST pipe and that other TX municipalities are considering the same. If we are lucky, we might start seeing a move to really limit the use of CSST across the country.

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CSST Lawsuit - Lubbock, TX ... Settled
[#5] Posted: 10/01/2014 - 11:44:42 PM
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So, does anyone out there have numbers? How many houses have had fires as a result of CSST failures due to nearby lightning strikes?
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CSST Lawsuit - Lubbock, TX ... Settled
[#6] Posted: 10/02/2014 - 02:06:38 AM
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Some googling got me......


According to NFPA statistics, there are about 370,000 fires every year in home structures in the US. (See the table for the leading causes of those fires.)

CSST Fire Safety

As you can see, lightning is relatively a rare cause of fire to US homes - about 1% of the total. However, gas piping fires ignited by lightning are even less common. According to NFPA statistics, there are on average about 150 fires each year in which lightning ignites natural gas. Furthermore, these types of fires have been fairly constant since 1980?about 100 to 150 per year. This means that there were fires in the gas piping system ignited by lightning before the introduction of CSST in the United States. This also means that CSST fires are only a part of the 150 lightning/gas piping fires per year. So if we assume, for the sake of argument, that half of those fires are due to CSST (75), as a proportion to the total number of fires in the U.S., CSST fires would account for about 0.02% of the residential fires in the U.S. each year. Although manufacturers are working diligently to reduce the risk of damage to their products from lightning, CSST lightning fires are very low on the scale of threats to the general public.

More at.....

www.csstfacts.org/csst-safety-...ety.aspx



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[#7] Posted: 10/02/2014 - 03:28:16 AM
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Quote: Originally posted by Scottpat

Lighting is going to poke a hole in the black coated pipe just like the yellow covered pipe. It is still a thin flexible pipe and lighting is color blind!

I have been told Lubbock no longer allows CSST pipe and that other TX municipalities are considering the same. If we are lucky, we might start seeing a move to really limit the use of CSST across the country.


I'm curious why appliance connectors seem to have escaped harm for 50 years.

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[#8] Posted: 10/02/2014 - 03:43:18 AM
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CSST is a concern, but one that may be driven by journalistic sensation seeking.

Appliance connectors are a perfect example. They're in every house, every last one. Why no firestorm of concern about this material that is, essentially, CSST?

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[#9] Posted: 10/02/2014 - 04:26:43 AM
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Quote: Originally posted by Marc

Black coated CSST???

Has anyone seen it?

Marc


Almost everyday.

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[#10] Posted: 10/02/2014 - 06:07:35 AM
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I think the reason appliance connectors have escaped is due to their short length. Normally they are only a few feet whereas most CSST will span the length or width of the house. The amount of CSST pipe increase the percentage of possible problems.
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[#11] Posted: 10/02/2014 - 06:17:08 AM
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Quote: Originally posted by Chad Fabry

Quote: Originally posted by Scottpat

Lighting is going to poke a hole in the black coated pipe just like the yellow covered pipe. It is still a thin flexible pipe and lighting is color blind!

I have been told Lubbock no longer allows CSST pipe and that other TX municipalities are considering the same. If we are lucky, we might start seeing a move to really limit the use of CSST across the country.


I'm curious why appliance connectors seem to have escaped harm for 50 years.

Because the brass is thicker. It's more able to sustain a lightning current without damage.

A few years ago, there was this flexible water heater connector that developed a pinhole leak following a direct lightning strike to the house. The fire marshall caught it during his post-strike inspection.

Marc

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[#12] Posted: 10/02/2014 - 06:44:07 AM
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Quote: Because the brass is thicker. It's more able to sustain a lightning current without damage.


Brass appliance connectors been disallowed for a long time. It fatigued and cracked.

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[#13] Posted: 10/02/2014 - 08:11:33 AM
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This got me googling for a while.....

Seems like a lightening strike can have all kinds of consequences to a house, with CSST being somewhere waaay down the list of likely possibilities.

I'm not going against HI canon, and will continue to respect those wishing to prohibit all things that might ever be dangerous, but I'm tending toward the idea that CSST frenzy is just that.

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[#14] Posted: 10/02/2014 - 09:47:07 AM
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From what I have seen of statistic from fire reports, CSST is not singled out in the report so definitive real world statistics are not available except as part of the whole as you have noted.
The big thing now is insurance subrogation with at least one of the Texas inspectors caught up in the fray. Seems a past client's house burned down due to lightening and the client's homeowners insurance company sued the inspector for failing to call out the presence of CSST and the lack of appropriate grounding. The inspectors E&O settled out of court costing the inspector only his deductible and the aggravation of obtaining reasonably priced E&O in the future.
This is likely not a big issue in some other parts of the country but here, the high propensity of lightening strikes coupled with the gas piping system always being located in the attics (no basements or crawl spaces here) sets up a "perfect storm" of sorts. Several municipalities have banned the product and at least some have created a "super bonding" requirement of sorts to try and deal with lightening strikes.
Then there is also the legal precedence that CSST is a defective product.
So whether it is really the fault of the CSST or not, there is a reason for informing the client about the issue.

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[#15] Posted: 10/02/2014 - 10:29:28 AM
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I agree. When I find it, which is hardly ever, I put it in the report.

I was just speaking reasonably, which isn't really allowed anymore.

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[#16] Posted: 10/02/2014 - 10:57:43 AM
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As noted the insurance company was doing it's job ... that being not to part with any or as little money as possible on any claim ... (my $0.02 about the insurance company's job).

So, they and their legal folks take a scatter gun approach and throw the spaghetti on the wall and see where it might stick and then pursue that avenue.

The HI that Jim noted was first thrown under the bus by the CSST manufacturer after the insurance company first came after them. That company peeled apart the TREC SOP and took items out of context and said that the inspector was at fault due to "x, y & z" that had been taken out of context. Actually he had done precisely what the TREC SOP required ... IF you read, understand the entire SOP.

The insurance company loved that (what the CSST manufacturer put together out of context) and then broadened the suit to also include and nail the inspector and his insurance.

Not for anything ... CSST and reporting of same is a standard topic of conversation at most every HI meeting in Texas since that happened.

And, as Jim noted, the AHJ(s) that have gone way overboard with bonding runs on everything metal in an attic is close to humorous ... except that we inspectors have to be very careful so that we don't get clotheslined with all the bonding wires strung from flue vent pipes, dryer vent pipes, CSST and on and on.

An interesting world we're blessed with down here with some of these things.

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[#17] Posted: 10/02/2014 - 8:21:55 PM
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Quote: Originally posted by kurt

Some googling got me......


According to NFPA statistics, there are about 370,000 fires every year in home structures in the US. (See the table for the leading causes of those fires.)

CSST Fire Safety

As you can see, lightning is relatively a rare cause of fire to US homes - about 1% of the total. However, gas piping fires ignited by lightning are even less common. According to NFPA statistics, there are on average about 150 fires each year in which lightning ignites natural gas. Furthermore, these types of fires have been fairly constant since 1980?about 100 to 150 per year. This means that there were fires in the gas piping system ignited by lightning before the introduction of CSST in the United States. This also means that CSST fires are only a part of the 150 lightning/gas piping fires per year. So if we assume, for the sake of argument, that half of those fires are due to CSST (75), as a proportion to the total number of fires in the U.S., CSST fires would account for about 0.02% of the residential fires in the U.S. each year. Although manufacturers are working diligently to reduce the risk of damage to their products from lightning, CSST lightning fires are very low on the scale of threats to the general public.

More at.....

www.csstfacts.org/csst-safety-...ety.aspx


Thanks, that's helpful. But I think it's still a gross overestimate. My suspicion is that documented fires are probably more on the order of a dozen or so all together - since the beginning of time.

My next question is whether or not bonding with a #6 wire will provide any measurable reduction in risk over bonding with a #14 wire.

It seems to me that if there's a real risk here - Jim L's "perfect storm" -- the solution is to quit using the stuff.

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[#18] Posted: 10/03/2014 - 06:10:41 AM
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I see CSST going the same route as EIFS.... everyone rushed to use EIFS when it came out in the 1980's, then the problems started to show about ten years later. Then the lawsuits started to fly, fingers started to be pointed, new install methods and guidelines were developed and folks basically stopped using the product.
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[#19] Posted: 10/03/2014 - 10:32:17 AM
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Maybe. Depends on where the lawsuits go. It could be USG. Or not. But it's false equivalence in some ways.

EIFS runs contrary to elementary physics and human behavior. It ain't natural. CSST is a product that fits all other categories for functionality with the single apparent issue being lightning strikes. Couple that with it being almost a regional lightning thing w/incidence rates vastly higher than in my area or most of the country, and it kind of moves possibility for failure to very slim percentages.

I spent a while reading up on lightning strikes to buildings because I had no particular opinion on CSST. Bad strikes do some truly amazing stuff.....melt joint compound out of hard pipe gas lines w/subsequent leak hazard, or just fry the pipe......fry all sorts of stuff that create multiple ignition points.

With modern building products, CSST is just one more thing. Lightning protection might be safer and smarter, but it's not necessarily predictable either.

Should there be a point on the end of the lightning rod, or a ball? Inquiring minds need to know.....

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[#20] Posted: 10/03/2014 - 11:14:04 AM
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... And speaking of "points" ... there is always the shingle nail (points) that have pierced the CSST and caused gas leaks.

Happens on re-roofs or even some new home construction when the CSST has not been properly installed with adequate clearance from the roof decking.

Been a few issues of that down here with resulting lawsuits as well.


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[#21] Posted: 10/03/2014 - 3:48:16 PM
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But one could make the same argument about NMC or just about anything. Install it wrong and yes, someone can run a nail through it.

My points are academic; we're forced by necessity to point it out.

My personal non-report writing self says it's OK. My professional self says repeat the canon.

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[#22] Posted: 01/28/2015 - 09:53:27 AM
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There was a meeting this past Friday with the TREC Inspectors Advisory Committee and one of the agenda items had to do with CSST.

There are a number of documents that were prepared for the meeting about suggested changes to the TREC Inspection SOP and verbiage in the mandated TREC report template preamble.

From what I learned today it is being taken under advisement/review by TREC Legal. Usually when that happens changes end up being made.

Also in the documentation was a web link for a site that was started by the family of the gentleman who was killed in the home in Lubbock, TX that had CSST that was damaged with a lightning strike.

The young man's parents are endeavoring to make deficiencies with CSST known.

I've not reviewed the entire website and only want to present the URL here as a point of information as it is related to the original story I posted.

Brennen Teal Foundation


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[#23] Posted: 01/28/2015 - 10:03:43 AM
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Thanks Nolan.
I went around the site for a bit and got frustrated with how poorly done it is. I like learning more about csst, even if it is anecdotal.

It ain't over yet.

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[#24] Posted: 01/28/2015 - 10:14:27 AM
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Quote: Originally posted by Les

Thanks Nolan.
I went around the site for a bit and got frustrated with how poorly done it is. I like learning more about csst, even if it is anecdotal.

It ain't over yet.



Les,

From what I was told this morning she (young man's mother) has been doing presentations about the state trying to inform the public. Some folks have not been impressed with the presentation as there seems to be a lack of "professional" support to explain more details about CSST / bonding / grounding, etc., etc..

I can't say as I've only learned about this site today.

As you noted ... it is about education and learning all we can.

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[#25] Posted: 01/28/2015 - 10:22:21 AM
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I wonder what's the hurdle in progressing from 'what's wrong with CSST' to 'What to do if CSST is in your home'?

The site had no recommendation that I could see.

Marc

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[#26] Posted: 01/28/2015 - 12:12:27 PM
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Jim L said that there are not any crawlspaces in Texas. See you soon Jim. I'm moving to Texas.
 
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