July 2012

NASFM Launches National Safety Campaign on the Proper Bonding of Existing Yellow CSST Gas Piping Systems
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The National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) has launched a nationwide safety campaign to bring awareness to homeowners on the importance of proper bonding of yellow corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST) due to potential damage risks associated with lightning. 

Figure 1: Yellow CSST

Yellow CSST is flexible metal gas tubing (Figure 1). Since the early 1990s, yellow CSST has been installed in more than 6 million homes in the United States. It is used to supply natural gas or propane to furnaces, water heaters and other gas appliances.

In the last few years, the manufacturer’s instructions and national building codes have changed with respect to requirements for bonding and grounding CSST in new installations. As this is a safety improvement, NASFM is working to bring this awareness to existing homeowners who may already have CSST installed, so they have the opportunity to have their structures inspected and upgraded to the new specifications.

Figure 2: Bonding Clamp Connection to Gas Piping System

A bonding device installed on a gas piping system will reduce the likelihood of electrical arcing to or from other bonded metallic systems in the structure. Proper bonding and grounding of metallic systems can reduce the risk of arcing and damage from lightning strikes on or near a structure (Figure 2).

The current CSST bonding procedure is defined in 2009 (and 2012) NFPA 54 National Fuel Gas Code (sec. 7.13.2), and referenced in the 2011 NFPA 70 National Electric Code (sec. 250.104 Informational Note #2). The bonding procedure includes the requirement for the attachment of a bonding clamp and minimum 6-gage bonding wire connecting (bonding) the gas piping system to the existing grounding system of the premises.

It is recommended that homeowners contact a licensed electrician to determine if existing CSST systems have been bonded in accordance with the current building codes and manufacturer’s instructions.

The goal of the national safety campaign is to bring awareness to homeowners. Many steps have been taken thus far in this effort. U.S. congressional resolutions have been introduced in the House (H.R. 638) by Representatives Robert Dold (R-IL) and Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX), who both sit on the House Financial Services Committee. Rep. Dold is a majority member of the Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity.

The Senate resolution (S. 483) was introduced by Senators Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), who both sit on the Senate Committee of Commerce, Science and Transportation. Sen. Pryor is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance. These resolutions underscore support for NASFM’s efforts to raise awareness of proper bonding for yellow CSST to the specification of the NFPA Code. The Congressional Fire Service Institute (CFSI) also issued a CSST Safety Resolution. 

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak
completed a PSA on CSST safety for Oklahoma
residents and business owners in June.

Because lightning storms are prevalent in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Insurance Department and Insurance Commissioner John Doak recently produced a public service announcement (PSA) which will play on all major viewing stations across Oklahoma.

NASFM is working with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to explore options to raise awareness of proper bonding of existing yellow CSST systems to reduce risks for homeowners. 

More information on CSST safety can be found on www.CSSTSafety.com

Copyright © 2012 NAIC, All rights reserved.