Home inspector: Gas line tubing in homes a cause for concern

By Charles Gonzalez - Anchor/Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Jeff Adams, president of the San Antonio Association of Real Estate Inspectors, said it's time for residents to become more aware of a safety issue that literally surrounds their home.

Corrugated stainless steel tubing gained popularity in the 1990s, as a cheaper and more versatile option for carrying natural gas into homes.

"This product is cheap and easy to run," said Adams. "It's flexible. Just roll it out, run it off and cut it."

CSST was originally created for areas prone to earthquakes because of its flexibility.

But Adams said its cost made its popularity grow across the country, including Texas.

But he warned that if not installed correctly, the line can be rupture due to electrical arcing from lightning strikes or other electrical problems in the home.

"There's a lot of issues with this product being energized period," he said. "Do a complete inspection of everything. This product can't be in contact with any type of wiring, it cannot be in contact with anything that can be energized."

Rod Sanchez, director of the city of San Antonio's development services, said most homeowners should not face serious issues as long as the tubing was installed correctly.

"If it's completely bonded, it doesn't cause that electricity to want to jump through the pipe and cause those holes," said Sanchez.

"A lot of your older homes throughout the city don't have any type of bonding of the gas pipe coming into the house," countered Adams.

Adams said home inspectors aren't required to look at gas lines to make sure they are bonded and grounded at all connections. He said adding to the problem is that many of these lines run in attics or down chimneys, making it harder to inspect.

"The message for San Antonians is make sure you're hiring licensed and bonded electricians and plumbers," said Sanchez. "Make sure that they're pulling permits and make sure they're getting inspections."

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