HFCs are the refrigerants selected by the industry to replace the ozone depleting HCFCs such as R22. They have been selected for their thermodynamic properties, environmental performance and safety. They are, however, greenhouse gases and the European Union introduced the F-gas regulations in 2007 to ensure that emissions of F-gases are minimised, primarily by preventing leakage from systems.

What they mean to you

If you’re the operator of any equipment containing F-gases, you have a legal responsibilty to ensure that:

  • Leakage is prevented and leaks are repaired as soon as possible.
  • Refrigerant recovery is carried out by certified personnel during servicing and disposal.
  • Leak checks are carried out to the schedule detailed below.
  • Only certified competent personnel carry out installation, service and maintenance work.
  • Maintain records of refrigerants and servicing of your equipment.

How 21 Degrees can help you meet your Obligations

Placing your service contract with 21 Degrees ensures that your equipment is being maintained by suitably qualified engineers. As part of our standard service and maintenance procedures we keep records of the type and quantity of F-gas in each system, the quantity of gas added or removed and details of service and maintenance visits. We also carry out the leakage tests required to meet the regulations.

If you require more details on the regulations, please read on. Alternatively, contact 21 Degrees for advice.

Details of F-gas Regulations

Following the phase out of HCFCs  such as R22, most air-conditioning manufacturers began using HFC gases, initially R407C and now, more commonly, R410a.

HFCs are known as F-gases and are non ozone-depleting Nevertheless, they are green-house gases and  covered by the EU ’s F-gas regulations which came into force on 4th July 2007.

The F-gas Regulations state the following:

Leak prevention

  • Operators of equipment must prevent leakage, ensure leak checks are carried out and repair any leaks as soon as possible. They must also arrange proper refrigerant recovery by qualified personnel.
  • Operators must ensure systems are checked for leaks;
    • At least annually if more than 3kg charge,
    • At least once every 6 months if over 30kg charge.

In addition, automatic leak detection systems must be installed on applications with over 300kg charge and these systems should be checked every 6 months.

If a leak is detected and repaired, a further check must be carried out to ensure that the repair has been effective.

Maintain records

Operators must maintain records of all systems which contain 3kg or more of F gases. The records must include the following information:

  • The quantity and type of F gas in each system.
  • Quantities of any refrigerant added.
  • Quantity of refrigerant recovered during servicing, maintenance and final disposal.
  • The identity of the company and engineer who performed servicing and maintenance.
  • The dates and results of leakage checks.


Currently, the UK minimum requirements for personnel handling F-gas refrigerants are the City & Guilds 2078 Certificate in Handling Refrigerants, or the CITB Safe Handling of Refrigerants Certificate. However, a new F gas qualification is being developed and all personnel will need to have this new qualification by 2011.


Products and equipment which contain HFCs must be labelled with the type and quantity of the gas contained in the system.

Companies to be certified

There will be a register of companies qualified to handle F-gases. The details of this are still to be finalised in the UK but are likely to be based on the Refcom register. Only companies who have appropriately certified personnel will be allowed to take delivery of F-gases from July 2009

Sales of non refillable containers

The sale of disposable containers containing HFCs is banned from July 2008.


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