Revised F-Gas Regulations 2015
8th October 2014
It has been long recognised that refrigerants can have a damaging affect on the earths atmosphere and CFC’s, the most damaging gases, were removed from the market some years ago. Regulations were introduced in 2007 to limit the damage caused by the replacement F-gas refrigerants and these measures are to be updated with the implementation of (EC) 517/2014 which come into affect from 1st January 2015.
These new rules will encourage manufacturers to reduce the use of the most damaging gases in stepped phases between 2015 to 2030 and reinforce requirements for operators and companies that undertake maintenance work of refrigeration equipment to take steps to prevent F-gas leaking and repair leaks as soon as possible.
Requirements for Testing
Current requirements for testing are based on the weight of HFC’s used in the appliance. The revised regulations take the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of a gas into account and state the requirements for testing in CO2 equivalent. The regulations for testing refrigeration equipment designed for use in commercial premises will change to:
- For equipment that contains less than 5 tonnes of CO2 equivalent there is no requirement for testing. In the case of R404 refrigerant this is equivalent to 1.3kg. However the current exemption for testing of equipment with less than 3kg (6kg for hermetic systems) will be extended until 1st January 2017.
- For equipment that contains between 5-50 tonnes of CO2 equivalent the equipment should be tested for leakage every 12 months, or if a leakage detection system is installed, every 24 months. With R404 refrigerant this equates to 1.3kg to 13kg.
- For equipment that contains between 50-500 tonnes of CO2 equivalent the equipment should be tested for leakage at least every 6 months, or if a leakage detection system is installed, every 12 months. With R404 refrigerant this equates to 13kg to 130kg.
- For equipment that contains above 500 tonnes of CO2 equivalent the equipment should have a leakage detection system installed and be tested for leakage at least every 6 months. With R404 refrigerant this equates to more than 130kg.
- From 1st January 2020 the use of F-gases with a GWP of more than 2500 for service will be prohibited for systems which contain more than 40 tonnes CO2 equivalent. This will affect R404A systems.
The GWP value of a refrigerant is a means of comparing its relative effect when released into the atmosphere compared to Carbon Dioxide which has a GWP of 1. Flourinated gases can have GWP values thousands of times greater than this and the common refrigerant R404a has a GWP of 3922.