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PATH Case Study

Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (CSST):

For the Short Run, It's the Gas Line of Choice


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Kevin Wagner
Wagner Heating and Cooling
Lititz, Pennsylvania

Contractor Type:

Small Residential HVAC Contractor

The Technology:

CSST Flex Pipe

The Project:

A development of four two-story townhomes with unfinished basements built by Pusey and Raffensberger. These 2,000- to 2,400-square-foot homes range in price from $285,000 to $355,000. Wagner used 1/2" flex pipe on a manifold to run gas lines between the main gas line and each unit's fireplace, duel-fuel furnace, and water heater.

"I use CSST exclusively. On top of the time savings, I don't have to purchase a $5,000 threader, which is required for steel pipe."

-- Kevin Wagner



Pennsylvania builders Pusey and Raffensberger hired Kevin Wagner to rough in and install a dual fuel furnace using heat pumps and natural gas for a four-townhome development. He won the contract largely because of his affordable bid. Wagner's bid was less expensive because he proposed to use CSST flex pipe for the gas line, which would allow him to complete the project faster than contractors using steel.

This townhouse--which looks like a single-family home--has an elevator and other accessibility features. "I use flex pipes on smaller projects such as this one because it cuts down on labor time," Wagner says. "This project took about two-and-a-half hours to do everything, including the final touch ups and putting the manifold in. If I used black steel pipe, I would have had to thread the pipe, which probably would have taken me 4 to 6 hours."

"Overall, it costs less in materials to use black iron pipe and thread it, but when you factor the labor in, flex pipe is much cheaper since CSST is so much faster to install in short runs. However, if you're doing a long run, maybe a 100-foot straight length, flex pipe doesn't make financial sense since black iron pipe is pretty quick on straight runs."


"I ran about 60 feet of the ¾" CSST for the main line, and probably close to 60 feet of ½" line for the furnace, fireplace, and water heater lines," Wagner says.

"I put a manifold in the basement down by the HVAC unit so the homeowners could add lines if they remodel, but it doesn't really matter where you put the manifold. You don't even have to use a manifold. Instead, you can just put in t-fittings. You might save some time, but it's less handy in the long run than the manifold, which has extra spaces for future retrofits. You can also turn the main gas line off right there."

"Flex pipes come with all sorts of accessories, including the manifold and other fittings. Each manufacturer has a slightly different manifold, but they all have about four or five ports of ½" outlets, with one ¾" outlet for the main. Most are made of black iron."

"Materials probably cost about twice as much for the CSST as for the black pipe. For this project, they cost about $350. Flex pipe costs about $1.70 a foot, fittings are about $7 to $12 depending on the size, and the manifold costs about $27."

Next Page >>

Kevin Wagner of Wagner Heating and Cooling has been in the heating and cooling industry for 17 years. He has been using CSST flex pipe since 1999, when it first became available in his area.

Why he switched to CSST:

"I use flex pipe because it cuts down on labor time. Overall, it costs less in materials to use black iron pipe and thread it, but when you factor the labor in, flex pipe is much cheaper since it's so much faster to install in short runs."

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Content updated on 9/25/2006

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