What is CSST Grounding?
Corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST) is generally recognized as a yellow, flexible gas line installed to gas fireplaces, gas stoves, and gas dryers. CSST has been installed in most homes with natural gas or propane service since the 1990s.
Early on, installers, city, and county building officials did not take seriously the need to properly bond the piping to the electrical system per the manufacturer's instructions. The results of this ignorance have been devastating.
Homes built after 2008 will most likely will not be a problem for your buyers and sellers. CSST is safe when properly grounded.
Why Do I Care?
Near-by and direct lightning strikes can, and do hit the gas line system, energizing the CSST piping. When this happens (and it does) the electricity wants to get to the ground as soon as possible. Think of this like the breeze you feel when you open your door on a cold day to a warm home. The temperature naturally wants to equalize flowing from hot to cold (or the 2nd law of thermodynamics for you geeks out there).
Since the electrical charge wants to stabilize so badly, it aggressively seeks a place to go, and if needed will jump to the nearest conductive surface. When this happens, it can create a small pinhole in the thin metal of the CSST creating a spark which effectively creates a disastrous blow torch in your home.
What Should I Do?
If you are unsure if your CSST gas piping is grounded, you should call a licensed electrician and request an inspection. If you know you need to have your CSST grounded, be sure a licensed electrician performs the work. An incorrectly grounded system is just as dangerous as an ungrounded system!
How Much Does It Cost?
As with most electrical repairs the cost can vary significantly based on many factors, but a good rule of thumb would be between $150 - $500 for most single-family homes in Central Iowa.
A few factors to help you determine the cost:
- Least expensive situation: The gas meter and the home's ground rods (most likely located near the electrical meter) are on the same side of the home.
- Most expensive situation: Gas meter and ground rods on opposite sides of a multifamily home.
- Whatever the cost, it will be far less than the cost of losing your home and all of the memories you have inside!
- Don't risk it!