Why EPA Certification Matters For Servicing Residential AC Systems
When searching for a contractor to service or install your home air conditioning or heat pump system, it is important to work with a team that carries Environmental Protection Agency certification for the safe handling of the refrigerant contained in the system. This is required by federal law for all equipment, appliances, and other residential and commercial products and systems.
While there are a variety of EPA certification levels required, depending on the type of equipment (think autos, commercial refrigeration, central & ductless AC, etc.), in this article we will focus on how these requirements impact our service team at Save Home Heat in the maintenance, repair, and installation work that we perform in our customers’ homes, primarily on central and ductless AC and heat pumps.
Why Is EPA Certification Important?
The regulations that are in place governing the handling and disposal of a wide variety of refrigerant gases, simply put, were enacted to help protect the health of our planet and help ensure that future generations will inherit an environment that will allow them to flourish. The issue of protecting the stratospheric ozone layer surrounding our planet, which helps screen us from harmful cosmic rays (cancer and other serious ailments), is one of several important concerns of the EPA, the impetus for the actions it has taken, and related research that is ongoing.
Section 608 Technician Certification by the EPA of service techs, installers, and others who handle refrigerants in a wide variety of applications is intended to curb and control the release of many different refrigerant gases to the atmosphere. Scientific research has clearly determined that these gases are harmful to our protective ozone layer and as a result, to our health.
What Are EPA Certification Requirements?
The EPA regulations which pertain to installing and servicing residential central and ductless AC and heat pump systems come from Section 608 of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. These regulations were initially established as the 1955 Air Pollution Control Act, and were later modified and expanded to become the Clean Air Acts of 1963 and 1970. The overall purpose of these acts is to minimize carbon emission pollution and maintain the overall health of our planet. Refrigerant gases fall under this important umbrella.
The Clean Air Act can be thought of as an ongoing process that is likely to be revised and updated as we continue to learn more about how different products and substances impact our planet and our health.
Per EPA regulations, technicians covered under Section 608 are anyone who:
- Attaches or detaches service hoses and gauges to or from an appliance while in the process of measuring refrigerant pressures in the appliance
- Adds refrigerant to or removes refrigerant from an appliance
- Performs any service that violates the integrity of an air conditioner or similar appliance
These regulations also cover motor vehicles and small household appliances. Regarding specifically the residential work that our team at Save Home Heat performs, this pertains to installations, as well as maintenance and repairs.
Types of EPA Section 608 Technician Certification
There are four types of Section 608 certification, which vary for the different types of equipment the technician is being certified to work on. Certification is a one-time proposition for the individual, without the need for retesting at a later date.
The types of Section 608 certification are:
- Type I for servicing small appliances (5 lb. or less system capacity, which may include some smaller residential AC or HP systems)
- Type II for servicing or disposing of high-pressure appliances (covers many residential systems we work on)
- Type III for servicing or disposing of low-pressure appliances (commercial chiller systems and related)
- Universal Type for servicing all types of equipment, regardless of pressure level
The tests for each of these certification levels is usually taken following preparation studies and/or schooling. The content of the various tests varies somewhat for the specific certification level and types of equipment the technician is being tested on. However, there is some general curriculum that all tests cover.
Section 608 Certification signifies knowledge of:
- The environmental impacts of the products that are being handled
- The Clean Air Act and the Montreal Protocol (international environmental agreement)
- Section 608 regulations and requirements
- Substitute refrigerants and oils
- Refrigeration processes
- Refrigerant recovery, recycling, and reclamation practices and equipment
- Accepted safety practices
- Storage, handling, and shipping procedures for refrigerants that have been recovered from systems
EPA Certified Refrigerant Handling at Save Home Heat Company
Our team at Save Home Heat strictly adheres to EPA policy and federal law in all aspects of the handling, storage, and reclamation of refrigerants in the work we perform for homeowners in the Boulder-Denver area. We require all of our team members who handle refrigerants, per EPA guidelines, to carry Type I, II, or Universal certification. Most of our service technicians and installers carry the all-encompassing Universal certification. Our customers can be confident that whoever visits their home to install or service an AC or heat pump system is qualified to work on their system, and carries EPA certification to back that up.