New rules to tighten R134a refrigerant supply

New rules to tighten R134a refrigerant supply

New EU F-Gas regulations to tighten the buying and selling of R134a refrigerant have come into effect from the start of January.

The changes are designed to improve compliance with F-Gas rules. These have required workshops buying R134A have F-Gas qualified Technicians since July 2010. It’s suggested up to 50% have simply ignored the requirement, but this looks set to become more difficult.

The changes have implications for garage owners, workshop technicians – and primarily those supplying R134a refrigerant. The EU, working through the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), have placed extra new responsibility on the seller to ensure F-Gas handling qualifications are in place.

Where the F-Gas Regulation 2006 MAC Directive (40/2006) placed legal responsibility  only with the buyer, the 2014 EU F-Gas Regulation (517/2014), uses the phrase “sold to and purchased by”.

So, those supplying garages will have to change the way they operate, and keep R134a sales records from 1st January. It’s also mandatory to verify workshops buying R134A have F-Gas qualified Technicians. The sale of New 1234Yf Refrigerant is exempt from the screening and record keeping requirement, and does not require the technician to have an F-Gas qualification.

James McClean, managing director of Motorclimate and CompressorTech, and a leading supplier to UK motor factors, is keen to flag up the new screening requirements and is urging sellers to take action early.

He says legally compliant record keeping requires two elements; first, a customer (Workshop) letter of assurance which will need to be signed by each customer, then secondly, a customer employee (Technician) form detailing, name, qualification awarding body, certificate no and expiry date.

McClean adds from conversations with DEFRA its “highly unlikely” there will be any fines, penalties or prosecutions during 2015 – unless there is no attempt to keep records. More rigorous enforcement, which could include spot checks or fines, may begin late next year.

He said: “DEFRA admit that no reasonable lead time has been offered to the car parts wholesalers or distributors, but eventually the system will be policed, and fines could be handed out to factors and workshops that don’t follow the new rules.”

McClean says taking action early can help motor factors cement their supply relationships. If the customer does not have qualified technicians, R134a can still be supplied for use on 18 specified types of vehicles excluded from the legislation. These include buses, coaches, plant, agricultural, heavy commercial and emergency services vehicles.

McClean concludes: ‘If the garage technician signs to say that he is buying R134a for use only on the 18 vehicle types, then you can legally sell to him.”

Further information on the record-keeping requirements can be found on the government website by using the ‘More Details’ button below.

16 Comments

  1. just get on with it and till the EU to bogg off sum one will always seal you gaz its just the big idiot like kwik fit that compile as they do not now what they are doing in any way I have been working on A/c for over 25 year’s I have forgotten what the EU know about it.

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    • I think that reply pretty much sums up why there is a need to have qualified technicians dealing with this!

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      • Could agree more Chief Tech the trade needs to up its game and clamp down on cowboys and non certified / qualified people working on cars full stop. (Hope my grammar was right…)

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  2. Roger Meadows, that is the sort of uneducated comment that is going to provoke ridicule amongst compliant, experienced a/c technicians that you will not like. I’m sure that after 25 years in the a/c business you have forgotten a lot more than some people know. But, are you certificated? How do you dispose of waste refrigerant? If you are certificated, does it not annoy you that operators who have not gained accreditation and carried on without it are able to? I for one will not hesitate to report anybody I know who does not have certification and is operating (indeed I have done).

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  3. More nanny state nonsense. R134a is not ozone-depleting, it is simply considered a greenhouse gas, which most sensible people realise is a money-spinning invention (when are they going to tax those volcanoes that spew forth more CO2 in a good blast than humans can in a hundred years?).

    Stop bellyaching that ordinary folk can do your job without needed certificates to prove they can accomplish simple tasks, and look at the terrible state this world is in. In other words, some perspective needed. Dear me.

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    • “Studies show that globally, volcanoes on land and under the sea release a total of about 200 million tonnes of CO2 annually.

      While 200 million tonnes of CO2 is large, the global fossil fuel CO2 emissions for 2003 tipped the scales at 26.8 billion tonnes. Thus, not only does volcanic CO2 not dwarf that of human activity, it actually comprises less than 1 percent of that value. “

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  4. Certification is necessary these days to beat the cowboys. England is full of illegal traders because we are so slack in England. This can often put peoples lives at risk. Even air con gas can cause harm I believe if bought from a dodgy source or topped up with the old sort?? Remember the exhaust fumes in planes that was being used in the air-conditioning system. Passengers were feeling sick etc.

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  5. Hi, I have used refrigeration gasses for years, now retired still topping up air on systems for my own use and relatives vehicles, I have all the right equipment for recovery etc but im now unable to obtain the F gas for my needs r410 or r134. I don’t run this as a business and understand as an individual I don’t do more then a regular 15 vehicles, I can carry out the above mentioned without certification, but f gas suppliers won’t supply. What now? Go to school at age 79, absurd. Let’s get out of the EU fast. Sick of these stupid regulations, it’s all about extracting more money out of people’s hard earned wages to send to Brussels. No good lets get out of EU.

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  6. I read this with interest and was surprised at some of the comments. We seem to have individuals with the opinion that because they have been working with refrigerant for years that it has became their right to do so. Indeed it is – and if you come and see me I’ll put you through a practical assessment and test your level of knowledge in this subject area to make sure that (1) You’re not a danger to yourself (2) you’re not a danger to anyone around you (3) you can actually use the equipment in a “competent manner” (4) you’re capable of making decisions which are safe and accurate based on the operation you are performing and the results you have found. This is all about competency, and protecting our environment. We have a register of qualified technicians who have gone through the assessment process and proved that they can undertake this activity correctly – we have taken the cowboys and those who “think” they know it all – out of the equation. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to have a rant.

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    • yes grandfathers clause

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  7. I need to recharge a Danfoss compressor on my yacht fridge (sealed compressor) and the instructions are very clear and easy to understand – I am an experienced engineer but no refrig experience. I understand about the new regs and the reasons. I am being offered on Ebay by wegasanycar-dot-com a small container with charge hose and fittings a gas that claims to be compatible with R134-a. However the ad also says ‘automotive use only’. Isotherm/Danfoss state R134-a and state ” Make sure to buy pure R134a with no additives – dye – stop leak – or oil.” The so-called compatible gas is a hydrocarbon not a fluoro compound and it is nearly 1/3 of the density of R134-a for the same required charge. Obviously it would be easier to call a refrig technician but that is simply not practicable under my circumstances – they yacht isn’t accessible. Any suggestions much appreciated 🙂

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  8. Leave it to the experts. It’s not just about recharging. If it has lost its charge it has a leak
    It’s like pumping up a punctured tyre

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  9. An engineer regassed my fridge and i now know he had no Fgas license, He told me a pack of lies. How do i report someone for using gas without a licence?? and who to?

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  10. perhaps they could stop the sale of r134a refill cans being sold by motorspare shops first !!! for the un educated to release into the atmosphere when trying to fix there own cars on the cheap. and now we also have to put up with a stealth anti pollution tax on r134a as well as the cut back on production to push up prices. this time last year it was £60 + vat for 12kg now its £275 +

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  11. Thanks to a certain supplier who had a say in drafting the legislation for MAC
    F gas we now have to compete with the fast fits and garages and the motor accessory suppliers for business who
    Gas it up and send it out no dye , oil if you’re lucky no proper leak checks , but they have the machine and can swipe the visa card
    Customers car loses gas and maybe gets a refund , no insentive to find a leak , the MAC F gas law should be like the MOT If you want your ac looking at you pay a fee regardless !
    So if it has a leak and the customer declines a repair you still get paid …
    Good for the environment good for the business …

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  12. This is all idiotic, Brussels likes to have their money for “certificates” to milk all EU citizens while they are paid 5K/month to go there and have a nap. One can walk into WALMART in the states and buy as many R134A cans their heart desires… last time I checked we ALL share the same atmosphere. Any bleeping idiot can charge an a/c system, who’s going to buy 12oz cans for $10 to waste? I agree that if you are working a shop you need to recover the old refrigerant and recycle or dispose of properly, but there should be better options for individuals in Europe.

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