Key Requirements of F-GAS Regulation
R22 refrigerant ban
Current legislation means a total ban on the use of virgin R22 by 2010. Recycled R22 should be available until 2015, you will need to replace R22 with a refrigerant having similar performance and energy efficiency properties. MO99 meets these performance and energy efficiency properties better than R22. Unlike others, MO99 is also a straightforward drop-in replacement requiring minimal engineering work and in most cases no change of lubricant.
Leak Testing - The requirement for leak testing existing systems is based on the charge size in tonnes of CO2 equivalent. So, systems with higher GWP refrigerants will need to be leak tested more frequently than those with the same charge weight of a lower GWP refrigerant. The Leak test frequency is given in the table below with some example charge sizes for common refrigerants.
'Hermetically sealed system' is defined as a system in which all refrigerant-containing parts are made tight by welding, brazing or a similar permanent connection which may include capped valves and capped service ports that allow proper repair or disposal and which have a tested leakage rate of fewer than 3 grams per year under a pressure of at least a quarter of the maximum allowable pressure.
Fixed leak detection must alert the operator of the system or the service company and must be checked once a year. The requirement for maintaining system logs changes from 3kg HFC to 5 tonnes CO2 equivalent.
If a leak is found it must be fixed without undue delay and the system re-tested at the point of repair within one month.
Individual Training and Certification - Previously issued individual certificates remain valid e.g. City and Guilds 2079 Category 1, regardless of the date issue, however where a certificate had an expiry date such as the CITB /CSkills qualifications, reassessment is required. CITB no longer offers F-Gas certificates. There are now three valid certification authorities: City and Guilds, BESA Training or Logic Certification.
Company Certification - There are four DEFRA recognized company certification bodies: REFCOM, Quidos, BV, and Logic Certification.
Service Bans - From the 1st of January 2020, the use of F Gases with GWP > 2500 for service will be prohibited for systems that contain more than 40 tonnes CO2 equivalent. The most common HFC affected by this ban is R404A. A charge of 10.2kg R404A is equivalent to 40 tonnes CO2. There is an exclusion - recycled or reclaimed refrigerant can be used until the 1st of January 2030.
Placing on the market bans - There is a gradual phase-out of the use of some HFC's, dependent on GWP and application. The most applicable are shown in the table below: -
Labelling - You must add a label to any products you install that contain F-Gases. The label must include a statement that the equipment contains an F-Gas, the industry name for the F-Gas, or the chemical name if there isn't an accepted industry name and the mass of F-Gas in the equipment in (kg). Also, the carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent mass of the F-Gas and the GWP global warming potential of the F-Gas. If the system is "hermetically sealed" the label most also states that's the case. The F-Gas definition of hermetically sealed is that: any part of the product that contains F-Gas is welded or brazed shut, or permanently sealed in another way AND the product has a tested leakage rate of fewer than 3 grams per year. A system that meets these two conditions is considered hermetically sealed, even if it has capped valves or capped service ports to allow access for repairs and maintenance.
Record Keeping - The operator of the equipment, and the company that services it must keep records about any equipment that has to be checked for leaks. They must be kept for five years and made them available to government officials if they ask for them. The records must show: -
- Quantity and type of F-Gas in the equipment when it's installed
- Quantity and type of F-Gas added during maintenance (e.g. leak repairs)
- Details (name, address and certificate number if relevant) of any companies that install, service or decommission the equipment.
- Dates and results of all mandatory leak checks
- Measures are taken to recover and dispose of F-Gases when you dispose of the equipment (e.g. disposing of it through a registered waste carrier)
- You must also record if the gas used in the equipment has been recycled or reclaimed and if so the details of the recycled or reclamation facility (name, address and certificate number if it has one) and quantities of any gases recovered.