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Dutch crackdown on illegal air conditioning installations

NETHERLANDS: With Dutch air conditioning and heat pump contractors seeing installations increasingly being carried out by non-certified installers, the country’s F-gas enforcement body is cracking down on the illegal activity.

In a campaign running until September 15, the Dutch Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) is checking whether online webshops, white goods and hardware stores comply with the F-gas regulations in ensuring equipment is only to be installed by certified installers.

In announcing the crackdown, the ILT said: “It appears that split air conditioners are still sold to private individuals, especially through web shops, but it is not demonstrated that the installation is carried out by a certified company. This is in violation of Regulation (EU) no 517 /2014.”

The Dutch air conditioning and refrigeration contractors’ group, the NVKL, has previously raised concerns about the increase of work being carried out by non-certified air conditioning and heat pump installers.

The NVKL says it is witnessing a strong increase in the supply of air conditioning units via online channels and non-certified installers. Under the European F-gas regulations the sale of split air conditioners to end users without proof that it is installed by an F-gas certified company is prohibited, as is the installation of a split air conditioner by a technician without F-gas certification.

The group argues that this constitutes unfair competition with the non-certified companies having considerably less administrative burdens and no quality assurance to prevent leaks. This enables them to offer lower quotation prices, the NVKL says. It also reports regularly seeing examples of poor installations as a result.

The NVKL seeks to raise awareness of the legal obligations of the country’s F-gas certification (BRL100) and to combat the unfair competition through increased enforcement efforts.

The NVKL says it regularly consults with the ILT to share experiences and report abuses. It urges members to report non-certified companies and illegal trade on the IL&T website. 

To raise awareness, NVKL is using social media, videos, fact sheets and information sheets to inform companies and technicians about legal obligations. There is also focus on the end user and a white paper for consumers with points of attention for the purchase of an air conditioning installation has been developed.

Sales to, and installations by, non-certified companies and individuals is a problem across Europe. UK contractors recently called for action to stop air conditioners being sold to the general public in direct contravention of the European F-gas regulations. 

Related stories:

Action demanded as illegal AC sales persist14 July 2020
UK: Despite alerting UK authorities, contractors continue to reveal instances of air conditioners being sold to the general public in direct contravention of the European F-gas regulations. Read more…

Dutch plan crackdown on illegal HFC trade24 September 2019
NETHERLANDS: The Dutch government’s human environment and transport inspectorate has pinpointed reducing greenhouse gas emissions and halting the illegal trade in HFCs as key targets  in its future plans. Read more…

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