Tag: epa

In this episode of the podcast Jeremy Arling from the EPA comes on and answers some common questions about the new rule changes that affect recovery, leak repair, record keeping and evacuation on HVAC and refrigeration systems. You can find the complete rule update HERE
a
s well as Jeremy’s presentation slides HERE as well as a quick sheet for technicians HERE

If you want an app to help you keep record of recovered refrigerant I would suggest looking at the R-Log app HERE

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If you remember my recent article on the company who went to my friends house for a PM and did nothing but leave a system quote.

Well it got worse….

Josh left them D rated review on a popular review site and the owner of the company responded with… an apology? A bottle of wine?

No

They responded with threats. Threats that they are going to report Josh and us to the EPA because we added 1/2lb of refrigerant to the system.

Here is a quote from this companies public review response… this is a DIRECT QUOTE

We advised him that the company that came out and added R22 to a leaking system is in violation of the EPA laws, and we would report the company with a copy of this review stating that the other company came out and added 1/2 lb of R22 freon

Before you get the wrong idea. I would never condone “gas and go” behavior. In this case the unit was about 3 degrees of subcool low and we weighed in 1/2 lb and performed an electronic leak check. We found the TINIEST of hits on the evaporator in the fin pack and we instructed Josh of his options.

Sometimes a system needs to be recharged to get the customer cooling or because the leak is very small and the customer chooses not to repair it at that time.

In systems containing UNDER 50 LBS of refrigerant this is not against EPA regulations.

I’m not sure where people get this from, other than THIS which applies only to systems over 50 lbs and even then, some recharging is allowed.

By all means, know and follow the EPA regulations, perform proper leak detection, give the customer all their options but leave off the high and mighty scare tactics.

Scare tactics are bad for our industry and bad for our customers.

— Bryan

This topic came up because I was testing out the new MR45 digital recovery machine and that machine goes off by itself when it hits a 20″ Hg vacuum. This is a cool feature but it is good to know when that level of vacuum is overkill and when it’s not enough according to EPA requirements.

Why would you need to recover into a vacuum you might ask? Well, so long as you are above a PERFECT VACUUM (and you always do) there are still molecules of refrigerant in a system even at 0 pisg (14.7 PSIA at sea level). In low pressure systems like centrifugal  chillers the entire system charge can often be in a vacuum when the system is off, this means that recovery on these systems means you START below 0 PSIG and go down from there. 

First off let’s pretty much assume that none of you are using recovery machines OLDER than 1993 so really only look at the right side of the chart above.

If you are working on an air conditioning system with UNDER 200 lbs you are safe taking your recovery to 0 or atmospheric pressure. If the system you are working on has OVER 200 lbs of refrigerant or if you are working on a medium pressure or low pressure system you will need to pull the system into a vacuum.

The EPA does make an exception if the system has a know leak and pulling into a vacuum will result in contamination of the recovered refrigerant. Here is an excert from the EPA final rule summary from 1995 (still in force)

Also let me clarify that 25mm hg absolute is another way of saying 25 torr or 25,000 microns, it’s just a finer scale and it goes from 760 torr (760,000 microns) down as the vacuum gets deeper whereas inches of mercury (“hg) goes up as the vacuum gets deeper.

— Bryan

We all know (or should know) that venting refrigerant is a big no-no and can result in huge fines from the EPA.

There are many other potential violations, but two that can easily occur if you aren’t thinking ahead are the disposal of mercury and oil.

Mercury is found in fairly large quantities in the bulbs of old thermostats. Instead of ditching these stats, gather them up and return them to an A/C supply house for proper recycling. Most supply houses offer this service.

Refrigerant and Vacuum pump oil are both oils that we often need to drain for one reason or another. Make sure to capture the oil in a pan (or an oil coil cleaner jug) and turn it in to an oil recycler. Many auto parts stores and auto mechanics will have no problem taking it off your hands.

— Bryan

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