Only during a pre-drywall inspection can you see all of the material to determine if there has been a dangerous CSST installation.
CSST is C orrugated S tainless S teel T ubing, and has replaced black iron in many areas and by many builders as the preferred gas supply tubing of choice. It is a fine product.
But, it must be done right!
This CSST product you see is called CounterStrike. It is made by a company called OmegaFlex, and hit the market in 2011 after a previous generation of CSST, TracPipe, was said to be lightning vulnerable and discontinued for sale in the United States. The previous product is now in the courts. There are many blogs about that on this AR site.
There is a whole page of warnings regarding the use and installation of this product on the OmegaFlex instruction site (108 pages) found here.
Many areas of the guide begin with this sign.
In the first paragraph of the warning page it says, "The TracPipe CounterStrike CSST (Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing) flexible gas piping material must only be installed by a qualified person who has been successfully trained through the CounterStrike gas piping program."
That information is in bold on the page. They consider it to be very important.
It also says that improper installation can result in "gas leaks, fire, asphyxiation and explosion" (their words).
It specifically states that kinks in the piping can lead to leaks, which can cause any of those things to occur.
When I went into the basement of this house I saw this.
That is a pretty serious kink! And it is held PRESSED flat by that plumbing drain tubing, which is bulging outward due to opposite pressure from the CSST!
In another couple of days this would have been covered up with drywall!
Apparently the "qualified" and "successfully trained" installer (which says to me took a class and passed tests) thought this was an ideal installation.
This is from the OmegaFlex instruction website link above, on page 27:
YOU ARE NOT A "SUCCESSFULLY TRAINED" CSST INSTALLER. DOES THE PHOTO ABOVE LOOK ANYTHING LIKE THE DIAGRAM ABOVE TO YOU?
And not to me either. The tubing in the photo above is 1", so the minimum bend radius is 5". The absolute is 3".
What does the home inspector do? He takes a photograph and brings it to the attention to the buyer verbally and in a report.
Dontchaknow that for some reason this installation was replaced later with a proper one?
My recommendation: home inspectors only observe and report. They try to do the best they can for their clients. They don't pretend to know everything. But they know some things. This home inspector can tell you that sometimes they just feel something to be improper and go look it up later! And if they err, it is almost always on the side of their client!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560