Beware Buying Refrigerant on Craigslist

As most of you know I search Google and other search engines a few times a week looking for anything new or changing in the refrigerant industry. This is where most of my ideas for articles and stories come from. During these searches and alerts I always always always come across Craigslist ads trying to sell refrigerant.

I don’t care what city you are located in. Chances are that if you go to Craigslist and search for a refrigerant that you are going to find a seller, if not multiple sellers. These sellers just want to unload their product and chances are they don’t even know what they have on hand. (Everything is Freon!) The last thing these sellers are going to ask an interested buyer is their Environmental Protection Agency certification number. (Either 608 or 609.) They just want the sale and they are not going to muddy the waters by following that pesky Federal Law. In fact, most of these ‘transactions,’ are cash only and there is no mention of certification numbers or intent to resale documentation. These people think that by flying below the radar that they will not be caught. Time will only tell.

This isn’t a new phenomenon. No, this has been happening for years. The difference here is that in past years the only refrigerants you really had to worry about obtaining a 608/609 number on were CFCs and HCFCs like R-12 and R-22. While R-22 was and is still popular the large majority of Craigslist transactions were on HFC refrigerants.

But now, with the passage of the new regulations in January 0f this year, all HFC refrigerants such as R-134a, R-404A, and R-410A cannot be purchased without providing a valid 608/609 EPA certification number. So, folks that means that every time one of these transactions are completed that the seller is in violation of Federal Law. While it is the seller who is breaking the law I would not want to be on the other end of this transaction. After all, why were you paying for refrigerant in cash in the back of a Wal-Mart parking lot? There’s no good answer there folks. A plea of ignorance isn’t going to help you.

I understand the need and I understand the demand. The supply has been more or less cut off to the average Joe since January of this year. I also understand that just by simply writing this article nothing is going to change. I can pick a random city today search refrigerant and find dozens of classifieds out there. The point of this post is to educate and to hopefully stop potential buyers from making a bad decision. If you need refrigerant that bad then you either need to take the time to become certified or hire a trained professional to handle the job.

Getting Certified

So how do you go about this the right way? How do you become certified? As I brought up above there are two main types of certifications: 608 and 609. A 609 certification is strictly meant for automobile air conditioning. While a 608 certification is meant for everything else. Most do-it-yourselfers who want to purchase refrigerant lean towards the automotive side of the industry.

I will point out that obtaining a license to purchase and handle R-134a is much easier than the other refrigerants. The 609 certification can be handled right at your desk. All you have to do is go directly through MACS Worldwide. MACS is the primary provider and manager of 609 tests and license granting. They started their program only a few years after the 609 rules were introduced back in 1990. Ever since 1992 MACS has been the leader in granting 609 tests and certifications.

Obtaining a 608 certification isn’t as easy as going to a website. No, in most cases you will either need to go through a training class through your employer or through a local community college or education center. Before that though you first┬áneed to determine what kind of 608 you need. Do you go for the small application application? Larger applications? Or, the universal?

If you are thinking about making a career in HVAC then I would highly suggest going with the Universal application just so that you have all of your bases covered in case something pops up down the road. Some resources on 608 certifications can be found by clicking the links below:


In conclusion folks before you go out and start scouring for refrigerant across classified websites stop and think. Do I really need this? Is it worth the risk? Or, should I hire a professional to take care of my problem? If you are still persistent that YOU should do it then take the time and do it right. Get certified. Understand how it works. Then perform your repair.