Corrugated stainless steel tubing is a form of pipe or conduit used to distribute natural gas throughout a building. This flexible piping, often referred to as CSST, serves as an alternative to traditional black steel gas pipes. CSST transports natural gas and propane from storage tanks to furnaces, water heaters, or even cooking appliances. Corrugated stainless steel tubing may also be found in laboratory and research settings, as well as industrial and manufacturing facilities.
This material shares many properties with PEX piping, but consists of stainless steel rather than thermoplastic components. Instead of running corrugated stainless steel tubing like traditional hard piping, installers run it like electrical wiring. This means it can easily be passed around obstacles or obstructions within walls or ceiling cavities. Contractors typically rely on special clips and tube supports to fasten the tubing to the building structure.
One of the primary advantages to using corrugated stainless steel tubing is the ease and speed at which it can be installed. Rather than cutting apart walls and ceilings to add piping, installers simply snake the tubing through available openings as needed. It naturally curves to fit around corners or over beams, which minimizes the number of fittings and connections needed to join the tubing together. This allows projects to be completed quickly, and also helps to keep labor and material costs low.
Since its introduction, some municipalities have banned the use of corrugated stainless steel tubing or placed restrictions upon its use. This is due to the risk of fire associated with this tubing. If the tubing is exposed to a lightning strike or other electrical surge, electrical energy can easily blow a hole in the wall of the pipe. This allows gas to leak out and can lead to fires or explosions. To reduce this risk, electricians and plumbers use special bonding or grounding techniques when installing corrugated stainless steel tubing.
When choosing corrugated gas line materials, buyers must consider many factors to find the right product for each application. The diameter of the tubing should allow gas to travel at the required velocity, and should also take into account pressure and temperature conditions. Installers must choose tubing with the right type of fittings or fasteners to enable easy and efficient connections with gas supply lines and appliances. Some applications may also require the use of tubing with a special chemical coating, which enhances the strength and durability of the tubing.