F-Gases are chemicals that contain ‘Florine’ and strict regulations are in place concerning their safe handling. The certification body Refcom state that companies undertaking installation, servicing maintenance stationary RAC equipment containing, designed to contain F-Gases must hold a company certificate. The deadline for full certification was 4 July.
In some cases however, companies working with refrigerants are mistakenly assuming that they are not required to gain full certification if they work on small systems below a 3kg limit. As a result they are not applying for full certification in compliance with the F-Gas Regulations.
The confusion seems to have arisen due to a clause in the regulations but Refcom Secretary Steve Crocker explains: ‘<i>This is a serious misconception that needs to be clarified. The bottom line is that the 3kg limit is only applicable to leak checking. Failure to do so is a breach of the F-Gas Regulations. It’s that simple.
Businesses need a Company Certificate if they employ personnel to undertake installation, servicing or maintenance on stationary RAC equipment that contains or is designed to contain F-Gases, regardless of the equipment’s system charge.
Undertaking installation, servicing or maintenance activities on RAC equipment (containing less than 3kg of F-Gas), requires a minimum of a category II qualification. However a category III qualification is not sufficient for any service and maintenance work on equipment and only enables the holder to undertake recovery activities on RAC equipment.
A category IV qualification only enables the holder to undertake non-invasive leak checking activities on any size of system A Company Certificate is not required if only recovery work or leak checking activities are undertaken, any manufacturing, repairing activity, undertaken at manufacturers sites stationary refrigeration, Air Conditioning or heat pump equipment containing fluorinated greenhouse gases.
Here at LYNXAC, you can be assured that we are fully certified and compliant with Refcom’s full regulations concerning the handling of F-Gas.
The refrigerant R22 is one of many currently in use in refrigeration and Air Conditioning equipment which is classified as an Ozone Depleting Substance (also known as an HCFC refrigerant), and which comes under the EU ODS Regulations. These regulations were recently revised and additional obligations have been placed on owners regarding leak checking, record keeping and labelling.
In addition the Commission has provided some definitions related to the recovery and reuse of ODS refrigerants in stationary RAC and heat pump equipment. These are summarised below.
CONTINUED USE OF HCFC’s
The phase out dates remain unchanged:
From 1st January 2010 it is illegal to use virgin HCFCs to service RAC equipment. This ban applies even if HCFC was purchased before the ban date. It is illegal to stockpile and use any supplies of virgin HCFCs after the end of 2009.
From 1st January 2015 it will be illegal to use recycled or reclaimed HCFCs to service RAC equipment.
Note: these bans refer to the “use” of HCFCs for servicing and maintenance. Customers can continue using RAC equipment containing HCFCs beyond the phase out dates provided that no additions of refrigerant are required.
Any company anticipating using reclaimed HCFCs to maintain systems after the end of 2009 should contact their refrigeration supplier to discuss how to meet the anticipated demand. Due to the impending deadline on the use of virgin HCFCs, suppliers are likely to run-down their stocks of virgin gases before the actual deadline, so stocks may become limited before the end of December 2009.
RECLAIMED OR RECYCLED?
The new legislation includes an important distinction between “recycled” and “reclaimed” gases.
Recycled HCFCs are recovered HCFC that has been subject only to a basic cleaning process (this might include mechanical filtering and moisture removal). Recycled HCFCs may only be used by either the undertaking which carried out the recovery (in most cases the refrigeration contractor) or the undertaking for which the recovery was carried out (the owner). Recycled HCFCs may not be placed on the market – “placing on the market” means the supplying or making available to third persons within the Community for payment or free of charge. For example, the owner could use the recycled. HCFC in RAC equipment at other sites they operate from but they cannot sell recycled HCFC to a third party.
Reclaimed HCFCs are recovered HCFC gas that has been chemically reprocessed to a specified standard. Reclaimed HCFCs may be placed on the wider market and used by undertakings other than the original contractor and owner. Reclaimed HCFCs must be held in containers labeled as such, with information on the batch number and name and address of the reclamation facility. Reclaimed material has been reprocessed to a specified quality that is suitable for use in a refrigeration system whereas recycled material is of an unknown quality – it might contain contaminants that could impair the performance of a refrigeration plant.
Labelling of equipment using recycled or reclaimed HCFC
Where recycled or reclaimed HCFCs are used, the RAC equipment must be labelled to show:
The quantity and type of recycled/reclaimed HCFC added in the system, and
Other label elements set out in Annex I to Regulation EC/1272/2008
SUMMARY OF OTHER NEW REQUIREMENTS
Leak testing and rectification
These new operator (or equipment end user) obligations are broadly similar to those of the EC F gas Regulation:
to prevent and minimise any leakages and emissions of controlled substances.
to carry out the new leak testing requirements as in the table below:
Storage for recycling or reclamation
Before you recover HCFC refrigerant for recycling or reclamation you should consider the following points if the owner intends to store the materials on site:
The holder should ensure that cylinders used to store recovered/recycled HCFCs remain within their statutory pressure test validation period.
Recovered HCFCs pending recycling or reclamation are hazardous waste subject to the Hazardous Waste Regulations. Facilities storing recovered HCFCs must register with the Environment Agency as an exempt waste operation. Storage of recycled or reclaimed HCFCs does not require a permit.
System record keeping
Users of equipment containing over 3 kg of HCFC refrigerant must keep a record of the quantity and type of any gases removed or added, and of the company or technician carrying out the service or maintenance.
Undertakings using recycled or reclaimed HCFCs for service or maintenance must keep records of the undertakings which supplied the reclaimed gases and the sources of recycled gases.
WHERE TO GET MORE INFORMATION
Further advice on HCFC phase out strategies, solutions and decision criteria are available in the full information sheet “RAC 8—R22 Phase out” available from F Gas support. Additional leaflets on all aspects of the F Gas (HFC) and ODS (HCFC) Regulations are available at www.defra.gov.uk/fgas.
F Gas Support – UK Government have set up a free helpline to deal with individual queries about the F Gas Regulations and to provide a central resource for information, particularly for end users but also for anyone else affected by the F Gas or ODS Regulations. The following contact points are now in operation:
Installing an air source heat pump currently calls for an application for planning permission due to potential noise which could be experienced by neighbouring properties. While ground-source heat pumps and wood or fossil-fuel boilers are usually considered to be a ‘permitted development’ under planning regulations, the air source heat pump is not.
However, speaking at the opening of the first Southampton Eco Event, Chris Huhne, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, confirmed that the need for this planning permission will be lifted. He clarified that some restrictions such as consideration for noise and the number of heat pumps installed still had to be adhered to but that the process should now become very simple.
It is thought that new legislation will be in place later this year but that permission will not be required where the following criteria is met:
There is no wind turbine at the property
The external unit is less than 0.6 m3 in size
It is more than one metre from the edge of the householder’s property
It is not on a pitched roof, or near the edge of a flat roof
It meets additional criteria if in a conservation area, World Heritage Site etc
So if you are looking for an effective, renewable heating option such as an air source heat pump, contact us at LYNXAC – 0845 555 7080.
In March this year, details of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) were presented by Chris Huhne, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. The £860m scheme is designed to subsidise the use of renewable heating systems and technologies including biomass, ground source and water source heat pumps, solar thermal and biomethane.
Under the first stage of the RHI, organisations using renewable heat will receive quarterly payments for 20 years from the date they enter the scheme. There is also support available for existing eligible renewable heat equipment installed since 15th July 2009. A similar scheme for domestic users is due to begin next year.
The purpose of the RHI is to offer an investment in our future as well as several significant benefits:
To support emerging technologies and businesses in the UK.
To strengthens security of supply by offering several heating options.
To reduce carbon emissions
Contributes to the Government’s commitment to introduce measures to promote a huge increase in energy from waste through anaerobic digestion.
The planned implementation date was set as 1 October however the launch has been delayed by at least a month as the Government await formal state aid approval from Brussels.
While The Department of Energy and Climate Change insist that the scheme is only being delayed rather than abandoned, the immediate fears are that as heat demand is seasonal, delaying until the end of November could mean many customers will either put off a decision until next winter or buy a new fossil fuel boiler now, locking them in to higher carbon heat for years to come.
In new builds or renovations that are required to meet planning regulations Code for Sustainable Homes: Level 3 Mitsubishi Ecodan Air Source Heat Pump could be the answer. You can have the option of underfloor heating or radiators supplied by a renewable heat source allowing you to live in a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing environment.
It works by using the low grade heat energy held within the outdoor air which it transfers via the heat pump supplying your home with heating and hot water with incredible efficiency. It follows the principles of a standard refrigerator in that it uses a vapour compression cycle and its main components include the compressor, the expansion valve and two heat exchangers (an evaporator and a condenser).
Once fitted, the controls are as easy to use as any other method of heating with thermostats allowing you to control the temperature room by room. And rather than setting the timer to heat the house before you come home, you can leave it at a constant temperature or reducing slightly at night or for economy in the daytime to find the perfect balance. For every 1kW of electricity fed into Ecodan, you can get at least 3kW of heating energy working efficiently all year round even if the outdoor temperature should drop to -25 degrees C with the Zubadan model. So, all in all it proves to be an efficient, easy to use and affordable heating alternative for your home or business.
So why not call us at LYNX AC to discuss your new Ecodan Air Source Heat Pump on0845 555 7080