What is LC1027?

PMG LC1027 is a proprietary listing criteria written by Titeflex Corporation in 2011 for its own patented CSST product, FLASHSHIELD®.

A listing criteria is published by the International Code Council for a plumbing, mechanical or fuel gas product when there are no code-referenced standards available that cover that product. In this case, the listing criteria was issued because at the time it was originally published, there were no codes or standards covering arc-resistant CSST products.

Titeflex wrote this listing standard for its own patented product, with arc-resistance testing that Titeflex claims only its FLASHSHIELD product can meet.

What is ANSI LC-1?

ANSI LC-1 is a nationally recognized performance standard for corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST) that was developed by the American gas industry in the 1980s and 1990s. This performance standard has a number of tests that the CSST product must meet in order to be listed to the ANSI LC-1 standard. The standard is published by American National Standards Institute, which has a process to ensure that standards are written by a broad cross-section of industry experts so that no one manufacturer or group can impose a solution to favor its own position.

ANSI LC-1 was published in 1991, and recognized and accepted by all major building codes, including the National Fuel Gas Code (NFPA 54), International Fuel Gas Code and the Uniform Plumbing Code. It has safely governed all CSST products for more than 25 years. For any CSST product to be installed in the United States today, all of the model building codes require that the CSST product must be tested and listed to ANSI LC-1.

Are ANSI LC-1 and LC1027 the same thing?

No. ANSI LC-1 is nationally recognized and accepted by all major building codes, which in turn are adopted by states and cities across the United States.

The LC1027 listing criteria is NOT accepted by any major building code, and it is not accepted by any state building code. In fact, it has been rejected by the National Fuel Gas Code, the Oklahoma Building Code Commission and the Iowa Council of Governments.

What Are the problems with lc1027?

Several reasons:

  • Titeflex wrote the LC1027 listing criteria for its own patented product FLASHSHIELD. Requiring all CSST products conform LC1027 would create a monopoly for Titeflex, and destroy the free enterprise that has led CSST manufacturers to advance their products over the years.
  • LC1027 is based on an aerospace standard covering airplanes that fly through thunderstorms. As a result, it requires that CSST product survive unrealistically high levels of lightning that may be appropriate for airplanes, but are not applicable to houses.
  • The only product listed to LC1027 – FLASHSHIELD – does not meet the performance levels set out in LC1027, and has design flaws that will lead to corrosion, putting homeowners and their families at risk.

Why would LC1027 create a monopoly?

Titeflex is the only manufacturer with a product listed to LC1027. Titeflex Corporation owns several patents for CSST with a multi-jacket design that are claimed to meet the arc-resistance performance levels in LC1027. These patents prohibit any other manufacturer from making or using a multi-jacket design for its CSST product. In fact, Titeflex is currently engaged in patent litigation over its FLASHSHIELD product. If these efforts succeed, Titeflex could charge any price it wanted because of its monopoly, and you would have to pay that higher price or go back to using schedule 40 steel pipe, which brings another set of risks for homes.

Why are lightning levels in LC1027 unrealistically high?

LC1027 uses data from an aerospace standard to set up the energy levels that Titeflex claims to impact CSST installed in a house– about 36 coloumbs (C). But the energy levels of a lightning bolt do not impact the CSST with its full force – energy is dissipated as it travels through all of the metal systems in a house, including electrical wires, computer and TV cables, ductwork, air-conditioning lines, and the building’s electrical ground.

Testing and computer simulations by the independent Gas Technology Institute show that energy levels from electrical arcing caused by lightning at the CSST is below 5C. Another independent review of CSST samples that have been damaged by lightning show that the median charge on the CSST is about 0.8C, with the most powerful strikes at about 2.8C.

Finally, one of Titeflex’s own engineers admitted that the CSST would not be impacted by the level of energy specified in LC1027.

That is direct strike energy by the way and higher than anything we would ever expect our product to see.

— Mark Harris, Titeflex Corp

What is the problem with FLASHSHIELD?

FLASHSHIELD is a CSST product with a CSST inner core, and three protective layers on the outside. The first layer is a thin semi-conductive plastic, the second layer is an aluminum sheath, and the third is another thin semi-conductive plastic jacket. The aluminum sheath is intended to be in contact with the brass fitting so that if the pipe is energized, the electricity will flow along the aluminum sheath through the fitting and then to ground.

The big problem is the chemical reaction between the aluminum sheath and the brass fitting. Because these two parts are made of dissimilar metals, there is a galvanic corrosion process that begins at installation. Over time, that corrosion will attack and deplete the aluminum mesh. Once that mesh is compromised, the advertised ability of FLASHSHIELD to handle electrical arcing can be seriously compromised. Here is what the mesh and fitting look like after undergoing required corrosion testing.

Why is the building code being changed to LC1027?

Good question! There are some states and towns that are considering changing the building codes to require the use of CSST that is listed to LC1027. This is being driven by Titeflex and others, including the National Association of State Fire Marshals. Titeflex would gain a monopoly because it is the only product listed to LC1027 and has several patents on the product. The fire marshals are misled by what they think is a safer product (because it is supposed to be better at resisting damage from lightning), but the actual performance is not as advertised, and the reality is that the increased levels are not necessary.

What can I do?

There are a number of different CSST products that are safe and reliable, and efforts to change the codes to LC1027 and favor one manufacturer will take away your choice of products, and maybe put the bulls eye on your back if something goes wrong with the FLASHSHIELD product you were forced to use.

Sign the on-line petition to let the politicians and the code agencies know that you oppose any efforts that would:

  • Take away your choice and eliminate free enterprise;
  • Increase your costs because of a CSST monopoly; and
  • Put the bulls eye on your back when FLASHSHIELD corrodes.

Why are OmegaFlex, Valencia Pipe Company and Ward Manufacturing joining forces to raise awareness of this issue?

Monopolies stifle completion and are bad for everyone, and we want to ensure that customers continue to have access to safe and proven CSST products.