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Many of our HNP homes have had roofing repairs due to the April 17th hail storm. 

 

Unfortunately, many of our homes have been discovered to have problems with gas lines, Freon lines, and air ducts that were placed flush or too close to the underside of the roof.  Consequently, roofing nails that penetrate the roof are damaging these lines and ducts! 

 

The roofers have to drive their nails through the decking (at least one-half inch exposed within the attic) such that the nails will not back out over time.  Also, the roofers do not go inside an attic to check on gas lines, etc that can be hit by roofing nails, because if the house and gas lines are built and placed correctly then there would be no such risk with roofing nails penetrating the roof decking inside an attic. 

 

Also, the installation of attic insulation has been found to push gas lines, etc within harms way of the roof decking.  It is really important for our HNP homeowners to go into their attics to check the underside of the roof for gas lines, Freon lines, and air ducts that have been placed too close to the roof decking.  Anything within two inches of the roof decking should be moved further away to be safe from future roofing nails. 

 

Check out the following link to a Channel 8 video that shows what these gas lines look like ----  http://www.wfaa.com/video/index.html?nvid=268648

Also, check out the Channel 8 news report (July 31st) that is shown at the bottom of this web page for more on the gas line / attic issue.

 

We currently have three HNP reports shown below that have discovered this issue with their attics.  It looks like all home builders have this issue to some degree.   As we continue to receive such reports, we will post them below.

 

So please ----- check your attics!!

 

 

 


 

2305 Dobree;  I just inspected my attic on August 11th and found no gas line or Freon lines being located too close to the roof decking.  However, I did find a three-foot section of air duct that was placed flush with the underside of the roof decking.  I'll be getting a bracket to help move this air duct away from the roof decking such that any future roofing nails won't penetrate it. 
 

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From resident on Adams Court:  "We got home today (Aug 7th) and the house smelled horrible.  We had a natural gas leak.  We had our roof replaced 8 years ago and when we went up into the attic we saw that the lines had been punctured - apparently it happened 8 years ago and just now started leaking enough to be noticeable????  Anyway, yup, this is real.  The gas company came out and turned off our gas.  Now we have to get someone out to replace the lines - and make sure the person who replaces our roof next month doesn't puncture them again."

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Sent: Sunday, August 03, 2008 2:53 PM
Subject: Re: HNP: Some homes could have gas line issue in attic!

 
Our neighbors 2 doors down had their gas lines hit. It was a nightmare for them for over a week.
 
Mysti (Richmond Circle Block Captain)
 
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Gas leak dangers arise during roof repairs

02:48 PM CDT on Thursday, July 31, 2008

By MONIKA DIAZ / WFAA-TV

 

Monika Diaz reports

July 31, 2008

MORE: News 8 video       

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MANSFIED - This year, North Texas has seen its share of storms that has resulted in many family homes in need of new roofs.

But during repair work on homes in Mansfield, some families said they discovered a potentially dangerous problem in their attics.

Michael Ebert, of Mansfield, said he called a roofing contractor in early July to make roof repairs. After going on vacation, he returned to find his house was filled with natural gas.

“I got in right away, opened up some doors for ventilation and called the gas company,” he said..

Minutes after making the call to the gas company, he found the source of the gas leak in his attic. As it turns out, it was the roofers making repairs while he was gone that hit one of his gas lines by puncturing it with a nail.

Ebert said he also noticed some other surprises while checking out the attic.

 “I was just kind of shocked by the way they installed the gas line because it was flushed actually at the decking of the roof,” he said. "This is common sense. You don't put a gas line flushed against a roof.”

Ebert shared his story with some of his neighbors, which was when he quickly found out he wasn't alone. Chelsea Escalon, a mother of two, had to evacuate her home weeks earlier after roofers hit a gas line in her attic.

“It had been leaking at that point 15 hours at least,” she said.

She also noticed that part of her gas lines were too close to the roof decking.

“It can't be done this way…,” she said. “The pipe can't run along the roof decking. That is the most ridiculous thing I have heard of.”

Mansfield city council member Cory Hoffman said he also had the same problem. He kept a piece of the damaged line that was hit four times. The leak in his home went unnoticed for hours.

"The scariest part was the next day when we realized that we slept through it," he said.

Corrugated stainless steel tubing, or CSST, is widely used across the nation. The flexible gas piping system is installed in nearly all homes built since the late '80s.

Phil Farmer, an independent inspector, said he has seen the product in attics plenty of times in his career.

“Very common that's the path of least resistance for gas lines, and you want to run them to access fireplaces to appliances," he said. "You have to run them throughout the attic and the walls.”

But Farmer said what's not common is seeing them so close to roofing decks.

“Any time that there is a natural gas leak, a safety issue, it needs to be addressed and find a better way to do it,” he said.

According to installation guides by some CSST manufacturers, the pipe should be routed in areas that will minimize the opportunity for physical damage and or installed in areas where the tubing is free to move to avoid a potential puncture threat. The manuals state that mechanical strike protection must be used if tubing is routed in locations which are within three inches of a potential threat such as drills, screws or nails.

In the incidents in Mansfield, the homeowners said strike protection was not installed in the area where the lines were struck and the piping was pushed against the roof deck,

“It is not protected by any nail plates or anything that would prevent a nail from coming through and puncturing that line,” Ebert said.

The city of Mansfield is investigating four similar incidents where roofers punctured the gas lines this year. The cases involve different builders, different roofing companies and different CSST or flexible piping system manufacturers.

Mansfield spokesperson Belinda Willis said installers and inspectors did what they were supposed to do and followed residential codes. However, she said they are looking to see if any changes are needed. The city is looking at the installations, materials roofers used and every possible factor that could have contributed to the issue.

"The safety of our citizens is a priority,” Willis said. “Our inspectors got together and looked at the situation and exchanged information to see why it might be happening ... This is an issue now so they can take that into consideration.”

News 8 contacted two of the companies who built the homes where the gas lines were punctured.

D.R. Horton did not respond to calls or e-mail, but the president of Mercedes Homes of Texas, Stewart Parker, gave a statement.

"Mercedes Homes and our trade partners make every effort to meet or surpass local building codes and accepted building practices," read the statement. "These standards were met in this situation. Despite the fact that all local building codes were met and the home was outside of the warranty provided at time of purchase, Mercedes Homes has approved and completed repairs to the property. It is difficult for a homebuilder to anticipate events that occurred on this home. However, we are working with our trade partners to ensure that additional safeguards are in place to minimize the possibility of this event occurring in the future."

Leo Wadley, a representative for the Roofing Contractors Association of Texas, said roofers are unable to know or see the lines near the underside of roof decks.

The association recommends that homeowners call a licensed professional plumber to look at the lines before a re-roofing or remodeling project. Farmer said homeowners should heed that advice.

“Common sense would prevail," he said. "And maybe have a plumbing test or have a plumber look at the gas lines to see if there are any leaks."

Back at Ebert's house, crews sent by his builder, Mercedes Homes, repaired the gas lines in his attic. He said he hopes his experience brings more awareness and wants cities and everyone in the building industry to pay extra attention before tragedy strikes.

“I don't want a ticking time bomb to go off somewhere ... ,”he said. “It's not about the money [or] who is going to pay for the repair. It's about how many houses have been built like this?”

Hoffman said he plans to address the issue with the city council to see if any code changes are needed. The city is also passing along the information to the International Code Council, which is a membership association dedicated to building safety and fire prevention and develops the codes used to construct residential and commercial buildings including homes and schools.

Most cities, counties and states that have adopted codes choose the International Codes developed by the ICC, but they are not required. Cites, counties and states have the power to change their codes. Anyone can make a suggestion to the ICC for a code change.

While Fort Worth inspectors have not seen any problems, News 8 learned that the city will be holding a session for its inspectors with a CSST manufacturer representative next Monday for additional training.

For further questions, industry experts News 8 spoke with advised homeowners to contact their local building departments and inspectors.

E-mail mdiaz@wfaa.com