The F-Gas regulations and how they affect you.
The F-Gas regulations place legal obligations on companies & the users of refrigeration & air conditioning equipment.
Fluorinated gases (F-Gases) are man-made gases that, because they don’t damage the atmospheric ozone layer, are often used as substitutes for ozone-depleting substances.
However, F-gases are powerful greenhouse gases that can stay in the atmosphere for centuries and contribute to a global greenhouse effect.
With a global warming potential (GWP) of up to 23,000 times greater than carbon dioxide (CO2) there has been tighter control on refrigeration gas production, equipment, service and maintenance.
Almost all refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump systems contain these regulated gasses as their refrigerant, and it is now a criminal offence to release f-gases into the atmosphere.
The F-Gas regulation.
The F-Gas Regulation (EC) 842/2006 was adopted on 17th May 2006 and later revised and replaced by (EU) 517/2014 in April 2014. The overall aim of F-Gas is to reduce and contain emissions by using responsible refrigeration. These regulations include:
- Better containment of F-gases in their applications
- Recovery of F-gases from products and equipment reaching their end of life
- Training and certification of technical personnel and companies working with F-gases
- Reporting of production, import and export data within the EU
- Labelling of certain products and equipment containing those gases
How do I know if I have F-gasses in my equipment?
All refrigeration & air conditioning equipment should have an information plate affixed to it. In the case of air conditioning this is usually found on the outdoor condensing unit. In the case of refrigeration it is usually found on the main plant.
Amongst other information it will tell you which refrigerant is inside the system and the amount in kilograms.
Refrigerant types on system information plates are referenced with an ‘R’ number. e.g. R410a, R404a, R407a, R407c, R407f.
You can check the full list of affected F-gasses under the regulation here, where they are prefixed with HFC (Hydrofluorocarbons).
Who is responsible?
Most of the key obligations are the responsibility of the operator, who is defined as “the natural or legal person exercising actual power over the technical functioning of the equipment and systems.”
Note that the obligation is on the “operator who uses the equipment” – this is not necessarily the owner; especially in situations where a building is leased or a business has multiple sites run by managers.
What are my responsibilities?
(1). Use Trained Technicians: Your first and overriding responsibility is to ensure that the company you employ to work on (install, leak test, maintain & dispose of) your refrigeration & air conditioning equipment is F-Gas registered.
Since the original Ozone Depleting Substances Regulations (1994), there has been increasing levels of competence standards demanded of refrigeration technicians and the companies who employ them, e.g. only qualified personnel are allowed to work on machinery and equipment containing F-Gases.
(2). Leak Testing: operators of equipment containing fluorinated greenhouse gases need to ensure the equipment is checked for leaks under the following requirements:
|Maximum interval between checks||CO2Tonnes|
|1 year or 2 years with leak detection installed||5|
|6 months or 1 year with leak detection installed||50|
|3 months or 6 months with leak detection installed||500|
The CO2 Tonnage equivalent of a refrigerant is calculated:
Mass (in tonnes) of F gas × GWP of F gas.
For example – the most common air conditioning refrigerant is R410a. R410a has a GWP value of 2088. If your air conditioning system has 3.6kg of refrigerant in it the calculation would be:
3.6÷1000 (divide by 1000 as 1 kg is 1/1000th of a tonne) × 2088
(3.6÷1000) × 2088 = 7.52 Tonnes of CO2
In this case your air conditioning would need leak checking by a qualified technician once a year. By the same calculation, any air conditioning system with just 2.4kg or more of R410a in it falls in to the F-Gas regulations.
A full list of refrigerants and their Global Warming Potential (GWP) figures can be found here.
(3). Record Keeping: Operators of all stationary systems containing the equivalent of 5 CO2 tonnes or more of F-Gases must maintain records in the form of an onsite F-Gas log including:
- Quantity and type of F-gases installed, added or recovered
- Identifications of the company or technician carrying on servicing
- Dates and results of leakage checks
(4). Labelling: The label on the system must contain at least the type and quantity of the F-Gas in the container or equipment.
Further and more indepth guidance on F-Gas regulations can be found through DEFRA and the Environment Agency on the Government website here.
As a company Torr Engineering Limited are registered on the Refcom register of qualified F-Gas companies (Registration Number REF1009242) and all of our lead engineers are F-Gas Category 1 certificated.
Torr have already put in place F-Gas legislation compliance for numerous local clients. Should you require any further information or assistance with your F-Gas obligations, please don’t hesitate to ask. We’re here.