About CSST Flexible Gas Pipe
: we only sell the Black, arc-resistant version of the CSST pipe. We recommend against using Yellow CSST pipe (without arc-resistant jacket), as it has been almost entirely phased-out by most manufacturers due to lack of electrical safety
CSST gas pipe has already established itself as a viable alternative to black pipe in a similar way as PEX tubing has done with regards to its’ copper counterpart.
While black pipe still stands strong in the gas market, flexible gas pipe has been gaining rapidly, surpassing the 1 billion ft mark (installed in the US) in the years 2015-2016.
According to the CSST Safety website, about 300,000 new and existing homes have CSST installed in them every year - this accounts for nearly half of all new homes built (with gas line systems inside).
CSST piping is suitable for new construction (single & multi-family homes, commercial and industrial buildings), renovations, gas appliance additions and other applications requiring gas distribution.
CSST vs Black Pipe for gas applications
It can be argued that CSST lacks the pricing advantage over black pipe, however, it easily makes up for the difference since black pipe uses a multitude of fittings and shorter pipe runs (pipe nipples), which, when added together, either meet or more often exceed the CSST price point. According to GRI (Gas Research Institute), using CSST instead of black pipe can reduce labor alone by as much as 65%. We’ve prepared a list of additional comparison points below for further consideration:
- CSST is flexible and thus requires a fraction of the fittings used for the rigid black pipe installation - this makes installation much quicker and easier.
- Less connections also means less potential leak points.
- Inherent flexibility also makes the CSST piping a preferred choice in areas prone to earthquakes or soil shifting.
- Black pipe lacks the arc-resistant jacket, which makes it more prone to electrical arc damage.
- No special tools or machinery for cutting and threading is needed for CSST pipe.
- A lot less support is required due to lighter weight of the CSST, which makes it a piping of choice for attics and crawlspaces. Less support also equates more freedom of movement and resistance to screw penetration.
- Light weight makes is easier to store and transport the CSST gas tubing.
- ProFlex CSST connection system is the easiest and most installer-friendly in the industry.
- Unlike most black gas pipe, which is imported, ProFlex is made in the USA and 100% factory-tested.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What is the difference between ProFlex and others on the market, such as GasTite (FlashShield™), OmegaFlex (TracPipe® CounterStrike®) & Ward (WardFlex® Max) CSST?
A: The distinct difference and advantage of ProFlex system is the fitting itself. ProFlex connection method is unique since it relies on the sealing O-ring rather than the flare connection and therefore is much more installer-friendly and easier to make, also allowing to re-use the fittings. Flare-style connections common in other brands require precision and clean working area, both of which can be hard to achieve in typical jobsite conditions. ProFlex corrugated steel pipe itself is annealed, which gives it additional flexibility without compromising its strength.
Q: How reliable is ProFlex compared to other flexible gas pipe brands?
A: ProFlex CSST connection has been on the market for 20+ years (as of 2019) with no changes to the system, whereas others have implemented one or several changes to the connection system to prevent leaks or to correct existing design flaws.
Q: Is CSST piping approved in US?
A: Yes, ProFlex Flak Jacket pipe is approved for use in the USA and meets the latest ANSI LC 1-2018 & CSA 6.26-2018 standards.
Q: Are ProFlex CSST pipe or fittings interchangeable with other brands?
A: No. Each manufacturer lists their system as a whole (pipe + fittings) and these must be used together.
Q: Are any special tools required for the installation of ProFlex pipe?
A: No. Only the standard pipe cutter to cut the pipe, crescent wrenches/pliers to tighten the fitting and a utility knife to strip the jacket are needed. We’re aware that some manufacturers require a jacket stripping tool, but this is mostly due to the nature (structure) of the jacket itself in these brands and this tool is not needed for the ProFlex CSST.
Q: Should CSST pipe be bonded (grounded)?
A: Flak Jacket CSST (black color) does not require bonding. However, where local code conflicts exist, it (local code) should prevail. We have bonding clamps available for all CSST sizes up to 1-1/4" if needed. Bonding instructions can be found in the installation manual on pages 37-38.
Q: Can CSST pipe be used for underground installations?
A: In short, ProFlex CSST can be used underground only encased in a larger diameter non-conductive, water-tight tubing/conduit with no fittings or exposed pipe present. Details are in the manual on pages 20-21 and 26. We do not recommend using CSST pipe for underground applications simply because it was not designed for this purpose. Instead, consider using Polyethylene (PE) gas pipe, which is specifically intended for outdoor underground installations and direct burial.
Q: What is the maximum rated operating pressure for ProFlex pipe?
A: 5 psi maximum.
Q: Is Flak Jacket CSST UV-resistant?
A: Yes, it is UV-resistant. However, when installed outdoors less than 6ft above ground level, it must be protected by a conduit against damage.
Q: Is Flak Jacket conductive?
A: It is semi-conductive per ANSI LC1-2018.
Q: What is the difference between Yellow and Black CSST pipe?
A: Yellow-coated CSST is what some call 1st
generation CSST, which was a subject of concern for lack or electrical arc resistance. Most manufacturers have already phased-out this product for safety reasons. Black-coated version (ProFlex Flak Jacket and other 3 brands mentioned above) is the 2nd generation pipe with arc-resistant jacket, designed to prevent electrical damage to the corrugated steel pipe.
Q: Is ProFlex CSST pipe resistant to lightning?
A: At present, there’s no gas pipe on the market (including CSST, black and copper pipe) which is considered lightning-proof or lightning-resistant. The electrical charge generated is simply too high to be fully protected against in the event of a direct strike. Lightning-related damage to gas system occurs almost entirely due to improper installation and absence of or errors in grounding.
NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) reports an average of 370,000 fires to residential buildings and out of these, only 160 are attributed to lightning-caused fires started from gas piping, or approx. 0.04% (1 in 2500). This number involves all types of gas pipe. CSST Facts website offers a more detailed study of this subject, showing that CSST gas pipe is a safe and viable choice.
ProFlex Flak Jacket™ (black color) we sell is the arc-resistant version of the CSST piping with an electricity-dissipating coating, which was designed to protect the steel tubing from electrical arc damage. Flak Jacket CSST installation manual contains the details covering proper installation and grounding techniques to prevent lightning associated damages.
Q: Which states have the most lightning-related damages?
A: According to III (Insurance Information Institute), top 10 states with the most lightning-related claims*
include (in declining order by # of claims): Florida, Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, California**
, Alabama, Illinois, Arkansas & Virginia.
In addition, according to Vaisala National Lightning Detection Network - West Coast, Northern-most (bordering Canada) and North-Eastern states experience the least lighting activity, while Central and South-Eastern states experience the most activity.
*all types of claims
**due to high number of residents and buildings in this state
Q: Is CSST pipe suitable for DIY installation?
A: No. As with all gas piping projects, only qualified and licensed professionals should perform the installation, in accordance with all applicable local and national codes.