What are F-Gases, and what regulates their use and control?
Jon FleetHead of Aftercare
Fluorinated gases (F-Gases) are a family of man-made gases used in a range of industrial applications including refrigeration and air conditioning, as they can transition between gas and liquid at different pressures and temperatures during the compression, condensing and evaporation cycles within the system. However, they are powerful greenhouse gases, with a global warming potential (GWP) of up to 23,000 times greater than carbon dioxide (CO2). Reducing their use and release can contribute to UK and global efforts to address climate change. The European F-Gas Regulation has introduced tighter control on F-gas production, equipment, service and maintenance.
What is the aim of the F-Gas Regulations?
The core aims of the ‘new’ F-Gas Regulation 517/2014 is to reduce and contain emissions of these gases by:
- Training and certification of companies and personnel working with F-gases
- Reporting of production, importing and exporting of F-gases
- Labelling of products and equipment containing these gases
- Recovery of F-gases from products and equipment at decommissioning stage.
Who can carry out F-Gas regulated work?
Only qualified personnel are allowed to work on machinery and equipment containing F-Gases. Additionally, only certified companies or qualified personnel will be able to order, collect or take delivery of F-Gases. There are four categories of certification with a category 1 certificate, allowing the engineer to carry out all related activities on any refrigeration and air conditioning system.
How often do leak tests need to be carried out?
For installations containing less than 3 kg of F-Gas, no leak tests are required. Annual inspections are required for installations containing between 3kg and 30kg, and minimum six-monthly inspections for those larger than 30kg and less than 300kg. Systems larger than 300kg either need three-monthly and/or a fixed automatic leakage detection system installed.
What records must be kept?
Operators of installations containing more than 3kg of F-gases must maintain records of the quantity and type of gas installed, added, or recovered. These records must contain the identity of the company or technician carrying out the inspection or service and the dates and results of all leak checks.
How does Calibre help operators of equipment containing F-Gas?
Calibre is registered with REFCOM, a leading provider of F-Gas certification, and all of our service engineers are certified in Stationary Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (SRAC) category 1.
We provide fully traceable records of our customer’s assets, including location, make and model, and a full history of the installation including type and quantity of F-gas, leak test results, and repairs. In addition, we trace all F-Gas cylinders including new and recovered gases. This ensures that at any time of inspection or request we can provide all relevant F-Gas information to our customers for peace of mind and to assist them in any audit they may have.