Other CSST Manufacturer Responses to Fire Claims

Omega Flex, Ward Manufacturing not involved in Lubbock case

Thursday, Jan 30, 2014  |  Updated 5:17 PM CDT
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NBC 5 contacted two other companies who produce corrugated stainless steel tubing to see what they had to say regarding the safety of their product when it comes to lightning strikes.  Their replies are below.

Omega Flex, Inc.

We contacted Omega Flex for a statement, below is their reply.

“Safety is Omega Flex’s top priority and the driving force behind our innovative corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST) products and our efforts to push for national bonding standards for all gas piping systems within a home, including black iron pipe and CSST.  It also is important to note that since Omega Flex introduced its CounterStrike® lightning resistant product, there have been no documented incidents of lightning damage associated with it.

"A properly installed and bonded CSST system has been independently proven to be the safest way to reduce damage from lightning strikes to the gas piping system.  When considering all of the issues, CSST is far more effective than black iron pipe.  There are about 65 deaths every year caused by gas explosions resulting from rigid pipe systems, which fail due to leakage at joints, corrosion and natural events like floods, tornados, earthquakes, and human error.  Calls by the plaintiffs’ lawyers and their allies to resort to that outdated and dangerous technology would place the public in even greater danger.  In contrast, there have been no deaths or injuries proven to be caused by CSST since it was first introduced in 1989.

"Omega Flex was the first CSST manufacturer to require bonding as part of its installation guidelines and to call for bonding of all gas piping systems.  Despite these efforts, the country still lacks uniform bonding standards, leading to inconsistencies on how CSST systems are installed and inspected.  To keep homes and families safe until there are national bonding standards, Omega Flex developed CounterStrike®, the first CSST product with a built-in conductive jacket that protects structures from indirect lightning strikes without the need for additional bonding.  It also is the only gas tubing product in the U.S. rated for seismic and fire resistance, as well as enhanced lightning protection.”

Ward Manufacturing:

We contacted Ward Manufacturing for a statement.  In an email they referred NBC 5 Investigates to AHRI, air-conditioning, heating & refrigeration Institute for comment.  In a statement, Francis Dietz, Vice President of Public Affairs for AHRI said:

“The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) standards and certification programs address HVAC and water heating equipment energy efficiency performance; AHRI does not develop standards or certify performance on issues of product safety.  However, AHRI, on behalf of its member companies that manufacture CSST, has worked with the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) to introduce state legislation that requires home inspectors to notify their clients, in writing, that only a licensed electrical contractor can determine if yellow CSST, when seen during an inspection, is properly bonded and grounded per the current National Fuel Gas Code and as required by the manufacturer’s installation instructions.  AHRI has proposed such model legislation to the Council of State Governments’ Suggested State Legislation (SSL) Committee, which voted unanimously to include it in next year’s SSL publication. The publication is an annual volume of suggested draft legislation for state lawmakers about topics of major interest and is an effective way to get legislation introduced in multiple states.”

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