EPA Proposes Refrigerant 608 Rule Changes
October 20, 2015
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering new refrigerant handling rules commonly, called EPA 608 rules. These changes have yet to be formally released for comment; when EPA does finally release them, there will be a 60-day comment period for public response. The full text of the EPA proposal can be read here.
Some of the highlights include:
- Requiring substitute refrigerants, such as HFCs, to be recovered. Some exemptions would remain for certain previously exempt substitute refrigerants.
- Requiring record keeping by technicians for Ozone Depleting and Non-Ozone Depleting refrigerant recovered systems with a charge size from 5–50 lbs. when systems are being disposed of.
- Industrial process refrigeration (IPR) and commercial refrigeration equipment would have leak thresholds lowered to 20% from 35%; comfort cooling equipment would have leak thresholds lowered to 10% from 15%. This applies to refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment normally containing 50+ lbs. of refrigerant. If the threshold is exceeded, the owner must repair leaks.
- Regular leak inspections (or continuous monitoring) will be required for refrigeration and AC systems: annually for systems normally containing 50+ lbs. of refrigerant, or quarterly for commercial refrigeration and industrial process refrigeration systems normally containing 500+ lbs. of refrigerant.
- Systems normally containing 50+ lbs. of refrigerant with historical leak rates of 75% or more of their full charge for two consecutive years shall not be allowed to operate.
- Small cans, two pounds or less, of Non-Ozone Deleting refrigerant for motor vehicle air conditioner (MVAC) servicing may be sold without technician certification provided the cans are equipped with a self-sealing valve to reduce refrigerant releases.
- Creation of a database or published lists of certified technicians will be required.
- The EPA will update the technician certification test bank to assess candidate’s knowledge of current practices, including handling substitutes, flammable substitute refrigerants, and the impacts of climate change.