What is Fgas and what are my responsibilities in relation to it?

The term ‘F-gas’ is an abbreviated term used to describe fluorinated gases that are used in a wide range of applications, including in air conditioning and refrigeration systems.  There are various different types of f-gases, the most commonly used within HVAC equipment are hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

These different types of f-gas refrigerant gases are often referred to with a code such as R22, R134a, R407c, and R401a.  Over the passage of time, industry specialists continually improved and refined refrigerant gases to make them more efficient and effective.

What legislation covers the safe handling of f-gas refrigerants?

 

There is legislation governing the safe handling and use of f-gases, which is administered at both national and EU levels.  The main reason for this is due to the threat of these refrigerant gases if they are leaked – they are classified as having global warming potential and are, as such, harmful to the environment.  The legislation was introduced by the EU in 2006 and this is continually reviewed and updated in line with various industry changes and other influencing factors.

Traditionally, systems containing less than 3kg of refrigerant weren’t subject to an annual check by an f-gas engineer, but further to the amended Fluorinated Greenhouse Gas Regulations, these systems are no longer exempt unless the system is hermetically sealed – in which case, only systems containing over 6kg of refrigerant are subject to a compulsory f-gas check.  If you are unsure of the capacity of your system, please contact Salix to discuss this.

The various regulations around the safe handling of f-gases place legal responsibility on the operators of equipment containing f-gas.  Some of these responsibilities include:

  • Conducting regular leak detection tests on systems containing f-gases. Typically this is a minimum of once a year but can be as much as 4 times a year, depending on the overall level of f-gases in your system.
  • Any system containing more than 300kg of refrigerants should have automatic leak detection devices fitted, as well as an annual maintenance check of these devices.
  • Taking steps to prevent any type of f-gas leakage from any system and reporting any leaks immediately with a review to repair.
  • Any refrigerant leak repair should be tested a month after completion to ensure it has held and no further problems have come to light.
  • Recordkeeping. You are required by law to keep detailed records of any systems with refrigerant including information such as the quantity and type of gas within each system, and details of any previous leaks and repairs.
  • Safely recovering f-gases into a reclaimed bottle and disposing of them via an approved gas handling merchant for safe reclamation or destruction.

The Salix Online Management Portal is the best way to keep your f-gas records up to date.  Allow us to keep your records tidy and up to date, keeping you compliant and safe.

REFCOM is the administering body within the United Kingdom and all companies offering installation, repair and maintenance work on HVAC systems must be registered with them.  Salix is a registered REFCOM member and has been since this was a requirement in 2009.  In addition to being a member of REFCOM, our engineers are trained to the latest standards.

How do I ensure F-gas compliance in my building?

 

By signing up for an AirCare Salix maintenance agreement, you are automatically ensuring compliance with the various f-gas requirements.  We will ensure that your records are kept up to date and the required checks are carried out according to the refrigerant capacity in your system.

F-gas checks are one of many reasons why it is important to have a routine maintenance agreement in place but by no means the only reason.   A well-maintained HVAC system will run more efficiently, cost less to run and work more effectively.

If you have any questions or concerns surrounding F-gas, please contact Salix and we will be happy to arrange a free, no-obligation survey of your premises.  Have complete peace of mind that your systems are safe and you are legally compliant.

Rob Tuffin