USA: The ACCA, America’s largest HVACR contractor group, has raised serious safety concerns over the possibility that unqualified people might be allowed to handle refrigerants.
The US EPA recently issued a proposed rule to rescind leak repair, maintenance, and reporting requirements for appliances and HVACR systems containing 50 or more pounds of substitute refrigerants. Included in the proposed rule was a request for comments on other Section 608 provisions, including the possibility of allowing anyone to purchase, handle, charge, and recover substitute refrigerants.
In a letter to Andrew R Wheeler, the EPA’s acting administrator, the ACCA’s director of industry and external relations Todd Washam said: “The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other federal, state, or local agencies, should not allow the general public to purchase, transport, store, handle, add refrigerant charges, and recover refrigerants.” The ACCA insisted that the sale and handling of refrigerants should be restricted to individuals who maintain EPA certifications which are endorsed and recognised by the HVACR industry.
The ACCA also describe proposals to rescind the leakage regulations as “misguided”, arguing that HVACR systems would use more energy as a result and lead to premature system failures due to system wear and tear.
Martin Hoover, chairman of the ACCA advocacy and political action committee, said, “The prospect of allowing the general public to purchase and handle refrigerants will create a whole host of problems for contractors. Contractors and technicians would face the even more likely prospect of servicing equipment with dangerous mixes of refrigerants, which increase system pressures and temperatures and could cause explosions. As the industry moves toward flammable refrigerants, this problem becomes an even more serious, and dangerous prospect. ACCA members urge the EPA to maintain and strengthen the Section 608 requirement to purchase and handle refrigerants.”
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