Understanding your legal requirements
What is F gas?
F gas, short for fluorinated greenhouse gas, is a man-made gas found in refrigeration and air conditioning systems, solvents and some aerosols. F gas can stay in the atmosphere for centuries, trapping heat in the atmosphere. This is known as the greenhouse effect. Due to the negative impact on the environment, the use of F gas is regulated.
What does the law say?
The EU has introduced a new regulation on the use of fluorinated greenhouse gases, replacing the 2006 regulation. If your system plant contains more than 3kg of refrigerant, leak checks must be carried out at least once a year. Records also need to be kept to show work has been carried out by an engineer who holds a current refrigerant F gas handling license.
What you need to do...
1. Check if your system contains F gas.
You can find this information in your system manual or on the labels of your equipment. You can also speak to the company that installed your air conditioning system. When we install equipment, we will always inform the customer if the F gas regulation applies to them.
2. Ensure only trained engineers carry out work on your equipment.
This includes installation, leak testing, general maintenance and disposal of equipment. At Mechcool, all our engineers are qualified to handle F gas.
3. Check for leaks.
You are legally responsible for ensuring equipment containing F gas is regularly checked for leaks at least once a year. If a leak is found during a check, it must be repaired and repeat tested within a month to check the work was a success. As qualified engineers who install and repair equipment, we share the responsibility for trying to stop leaks.
Please be aware that equipment that didn’t require leak checks under the 2006 regulation may do so now. The new regulations apply if your system contains an F gas with a high global warming potential, such HFC 404A. Check your manual to see if this is the case.
4. Keep records
You and the company that services your equipment must keep records about any system that has to be checked for leaks. You must also record if the gas used in the equipment has been recycled or reclaimed. Records must kept for five years and available to government officials if they ask for them. All Mechcool F gas clients are put onto our record system to ensure peace of mind.
For more information about F gas, visit the Gov.uk website.
R22 gas and the law
It is now illegal to use refrigerant gas R22 in air conditioning systems. This means systems will not be able to be topped up with any R22 gas (new, recycled or reclaimed). If your system pre-dates 2004, it is likely to contain the banned gas. If this is the case, you must either replace your air conditioning system or top it up with a modern alternative. The latter usually requires replacing some parts.