The 40 CFR 82 Subpart F (Recycling and Emission Reduction) regulation applies to anyone performing service on motor vehicles when that service involves the refrigerant in motor vehicle air conditioners (MVACs). Recovering refrigerants helps you maintain regulatory compliance, restore the ozone layer, protect the environment, and cleans the refrigerant of any contaminants.
- Venting refrigerants to the atmosphere is prohibited.
- Reuse of recovered refrigerants is prohibited unless it has been recycled or reclaimed.
Approved Refrigerant Recovery/Recycling Equipment
No one repairing or serving MVACs or MVAC-like appliances may perform service involving refrigerant for MVAC or MVAC-like appliances without using properly approved refrigerant recovery/recycling equipment. Refrigerant recovery/recycling equipment must be approved by the EPA or an EPA-approved independent standards testing organization.
Technicians are prohibited from changing fittings on the same recovery or recycling unit back and forth so that the same unit is recovering or recycling different types of refrigerant. Equipment that is converted for use with a new refrigerant must be able to meet the applicable equipment standards set forth in the regulations. Each new refrigerant must be used with a unique set of fittings to prevent the accidental mixing of different refrigerants. If the car is retrofitted for a different refrigerant, any service fittings not converted to the new refrigerant must be permanently disabled. Unique fittings must be permanently attached to the ends of hoses that attach to vehicle air conditioning systems and recovery or recycling equipment. A car designed to use a new refrigerant, or a car that is retrofitted, must have a label applied that gives specific information about the alternative refrigerant. The original refrigerant must be removed from the retrofitted system before charging with the new refrigerant. When using blends that contain HCFC-22, barrier hoses must be installed if the current system has non-barrier hoses.
Recovery and Recycling Blend Refrigerants
- Technicians may permanently dedicate an older piece of equipment to recover blend refrigerants, contaminated CFC-12 and HFC-134a, and other unknown mixtures.
- This equipment cannot be used to recover uncontaminated CFC-12 or HFC-134a.
- Refrigerant recovered using this equipment must be shipped off site for reclamation or destruction
- Technicians may also use a new piece of EPA-approved equipment to recover, but not recycle, any single specific blend equipment.
- Blend refrigerants in MVACs may be recycled provided that the recycling equipment meets the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Standard 2964, and the refrigerant is returned to the vehicle from which it was removed except for fleet vehicles with a common owner.
- Blend refrigerant recovered from fleet vehicles with a common owner may be moved among vehicles in such a fleet.
- A current list of approved blends can be obtained by calling the EPA hotline at 800-2961996.
The use of flammable refrigerants is not permitted. Refrigerants sold under the names of ‘Duracool 12a,’ ‘HC-12a,’ ‘OZ-12,’ ‘Envirosafe,’ ‘MaxiFrig,’ and ‘Permafreeze’ are flammable refrigerants and are not EPA approved substitutes. In addition, local fire codes often restrict the storage of flammable materials. Also federal, state, and local agencies may have regulations related to flammable refrigerants.
Technician Training Certification
No one repairing or servicing MVACs or MVAC-like appliances may perform service involving refrigerant without being properly trained and certified by an approved technician certification program.
Anyone repairing or servicing MVACs shall certify to the EPA that each person has acquired and is properly using EPA approved equipment and that each person using this equipment has been properly trained and certified. Certification is a one-time requirement. If an entity purchased refrigerant recovery/recycling equipment and submitted the certification to the EPA, the entity does not need to send a second certification to the EPA when it purchase a second piece of equipment, no matter what refrigerant that equipment is designed to handle. Certificates of compliance are not transferable. If ownership of an entity ever changes, the new owner shall provide the required certification within 30 days of the change of ownership.
- Anyone who owns EPA-approved refrigerant recovery/recycling equipment must maintain records of the name and address of any facility to which refrigerant is sent, as well as proof that all persons using the equipment are properly training and certified.
- If refrigerant is recovered and sent to a reclamation facility, the name and address of that facility must be kept on file.
- All records must be maintained for 3 years unless otherwise indicated.
No person may sell or distribute, or offer for sale or distribution, any substance for use as a refrigerant in a MVAC and that is in a container, which contains less than 20 pounds of the substance to anyone, unless it has been verified that the purchaser has been properly trained and certified. The only exception is that the purchaser intends the containers for resale only. The seller must obtain a written statement from the purchaser stating that refrigerant is intended for resale only and the statement must include the purchaser’s name and business address.
Currently there are no restrictions on the sale of HFC-134a. EPA is considering a proposed rule, which, if promulgated, would place the same restrictions and the sale of HFC-134a as stated above for other refrigerants.
Public Notification Requirements
Anyone who conducts retail sales of refrigerant in a MVAC, and that is in a container of less than 20 pounds, must prominently display a sign that states:
‘It is a violation of federal law to sell containers of Class I and Class II refrigerant of less than 20 pounds of such refrigerant to anyone who is not properly trained and certified to operate approved refrigerant recycling equipment.’