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Inspections and Legislation

Legal and Legislative requirements affecting the documentation, performance and operation of refrigerant based air conditioning are now fully in place. They outline certain obligations which you are required by law to comply with.

The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive

The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive states that from January 2011 it is mandatory for Air Conditioning Systems of 12kW and above to have a regular inspection programme in place.

Airtech Air Conditioning is able to support you with the development of the right ‘ACI’ Air Conditioning Inspection for the EPBD. The inspection will not only give you legal compliance with the Directive but also highlight any system operational and maintenance improvements to reduce your energy costs and carbon emissions. The programme is fully accredited through our in house engineers and supply partners.

R22 Phase Out on Air Conditioning Systems

From 31st December 2009 it will be illegal to use virgin R22 refrigerant for service or maintenance of air conditioning systems. From 31st December 2014 it will be illegal to use recycled R22R refrigerant for service or maintenance of air conditioning systems. Stockpiling of new or recycled R22 will also be illegal and availability of the recycled refrigerant will therefore become more difficult. Airtech can provide you with a complete design and replacement service to meet your specific needs.

The European Union’s F-gas Regulation

The European Union’s F-gas Regulation No 842/2006 became law on 4 July 2006. This imposes obligations on ‘operators’ of this equipment from 4 July 2007 that you should know about. F-gases include HFCs, which are the commonest refrigerants in use today. The Regulation aims to minimise emissions of these gases, which affect global warming if they escape into the air.

User responsibilities

‘Operators’ are defined as the people or organisations that have actual power over the technical functioning of the equipment. The legal responsibility for compliance with the Regulation lies with the operator. For further details of the definition of the operator see the DEFRA Guidance for Users. Any equipment small enough to plug in rather than have to be permanently wired is likely to be excluded from the requirements, other than an overall requirement to prevent leakage and to repair any leaks as soon as possible.

For stationary refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump units over 3kg charge (6 kg if hermetic), operators must:

  • Prevent leakage, and repair any leaks as soon as possible
  • Arrange proper refrigerant recovery by certified personnel during servicing and disposal
  • Carry out leak checks to the schedule shown below
  • Ensure that only certified competent personnel carry out leakage checks
  • Maintain records of refrigerants and of servicing

For non-stationary equipment (e.g. mobile units on trucks) and any other products containing F-gases, operators must ensure that appropriately qualified personnel are used to recover gases, as long as this is feasible and not excessively expensive.

Leak checking schedule

The leak checks must be carried out according to the procedure laid down by the Commission in October 2007 (Industry guidance is available from the Institute of Refrigeration or you can download the full text of the leak check regulation ). The schedule for leak checks varies depending on the amount of refrigerant in the system, as follows:

  • At least annually for applications with 3kg or more of F-gases (unless the equipment is hermetically sealed and labelled as such, in which case the threashhold is up to 6kg). For a definition of hermetically sealed see the DEFRA Guidance for Users
  • At least once every six months for applications with 30kg or more of F-gases
  • At least once every three months for applications with 300kg or more of F-gases
  • Leakage detection systems must be installed on applications with 300 kg or more of F-gases, and when these are in place, checking requirements are halved
  • If a leak is detected and repaired, a further check must be carried out within one month to ensure that the repair has been effective

Maintenance and servicing records

Operators of all stationary systems containing 3kg or more of F-gases must maintain records including:
  • Quantity and type of F-gases installed, added or recovered
  • Identification of the company or technician carrying out servicing and details of the Operator
  • Dates and results of leakage checks, specifically identifying separate pieces of equipment containing 30kgs or more of refrigerant
  • It is the operator’s responsibility to ensure that the relevant servicing personnel have obtained the necessary certification, which shows that they understand the regulations and are competent. A sample equipment register is available from ACRIB.

How to know how much F-gas is in the system?
The system should be labelled with this information, but if not, you can estimate this using a Calculator provided by UK Government.

Need to find out more?

The Government Department BERR has set up a website with Frequently Asked Questions, up to date Guidance and a copy of the Regulation at here.

Airtech is a proud Refcom Elite holder of the Refcom F-Gas Certification.

Please contact our Service Department for decommissioning, re-commissioning, installation, service and maintenance of fixed and portable Air Conditioning Systems that contain F-Gas.