Guidance

HCFCs in refrigeration and air conditioning equipment

Maintain equipment that contains hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) including leak checking and qualifications needed to service equipment.

Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) represent the largest remaining use of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) in the EU.

HCFCs are mainly used in refrigeration and air conditioning equipment.

The use of HCFCs in new equipment was banned in 2001. From 1 January 2015 the use of ‘recycled’ and ‘reclaimed’ HCFCs to top up or service existing equipment is also banned.

You can still use your old equipment, but your technician can’t do any work that involves breaking into the refrigerant circuits.

Recycled and reclaimed HCFCs

Recycled HCFCs are HCFCs recovered from products, equipment or containers during maintenance or disposal and then put through a basic cleaning process.

Reclaimed HCFCs are recovered HCFCs that are reprocessed to the standard of ‘virgin’ (unused) HCFCs.

Use qualified technicians

Anyone you employ to check leaks, recover refrigerant, or maintain and service equipment that contains HCFCs must have one of the following qualifications:

  • City and Guilds Certificate in Handling Refrigerants Scheme 2078
  • Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) Safe Handling of Refrigerants Reference J01
  • 2079-11 City and Guilds Level 2 Award in F Gas and ODS Regulations: Category I
  • 2079-12 City and Guilds Level 2 Award in F Gas and ODS Regulations: Category II
  • Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) J11 Category I – leak checking, recovery, installation, service and maintenance of equipment
  • Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) J12 Category II – installation, service and maintenance of equipment with a charge of less than 3kg, (6kg if hermetically sealed) and leakage checking

Check for leaks

If you continue to use refrigeration or air conditioning equipment containing HCFCs, you must take measures to prevent leaks of HCFCs, like regularly maintaining your equipment.

A technician must check your equipment for leaks:

  • every 12 months if it’s ‘charged’ with (contains) 3kg or more HCFCs and isn’t hermetically sealed
  • every 12 months if its charged with 6kg or more HCFCs and is hermetically sealed
  • every 6 months if it’s charged with 30kg or more HCFCs
  • every 3 months, if it’s charged with 300kg or more HCFCs

HCFCs are hermetically sealed in equipment if any part of the product that contains HCFCs is permanently sealed shut. Most commercial and industrial refrigeration and air conditioning systems aren’t hermetically sealed.

You must ensure any leaks are repaired within 14 days and check the equipment again within 1 month to check the repair has been effective.

Further information

For more information on ODS regulations, contact:

Published 31 December 2014