Most of you know by now that as of January 1st, 2018 end users are no longer able to purchase thirty pound cylinders without being licensed with the Environmental Protection Agency. This change was very similar to the purchase restrictions on other refrigerants such as R-22, R-12, and R-502. These regulations were put in place in an effort to reduce laymen’s access to refrigerant. While, some people may know what they are doing when working with refrigerant a good portion of them do not. It’s because of these outliers who do not know how to handle refrigerant that this new law/regulation was passed.
R-134a is an HFC refrigerant. HFC refrigerants are known for their extremely high Global Warming Potential, or GWP. GWP is a measure of how much heat a greenhouse gas traps in the atmosphere. The baseline measurement of GWP is Carbon Dioxide which is set at a GWP of 1. R-134a has a GWP of 1,430. Think about that for a moment folks. That’s over fourteen-hundred times that of Carbon Dioxide. These high GWP refrigerants are known as ‘Super Gases,’ due to the effect that they have on the environment.
It is worth noting that there are exceptions for R-134a. You can no longer buy cylinders but you are still able to purchase cans of refrigerant without a license. Single or multi-use cans can be found at some retailers or on Ebay still.
How Can I Get Certified for R-134a?
In order to be able to handle these super gases you need to be section 609 certified with the Environmental Protection Agency. This section 609 comes straight from the Clean Air Act of 1990. Today there are more than one million people certified under this section 609. There are a few ways for you or your employees to become certified with the Environmental Protection Agency. Some of these options are listed below:
- A licensed 609 certification trainer comes to your place of employment, puts on a class, and then hands out testing to each attendant. After the tests are completed they will then be mailed to MACS Worldwide to be graded. If passed you will then receive your license through the mail.
- A 609 trainer can either be from an outside party like a vendor/salesmen or it could be a designated person at your company. I have seen both. A good trainer will go over all of the details and help attendees with questions that they are unsure of. Ideally, most everyone should pass this test.
- The other option is to 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.
- Please note that for each of these scenarios it will take twenty dollars per person in order to take a test.
- Lastly, if you are trying to purchase R-134a but are not licensed there is one more avenue for you to go through. You can provide a formal letter to the purchaser that you are intending to resale the product and that you or your company will not be using the refrigerant.
According to the EPA’s website, “(The) EPA recommends that wholesalers obtain a signed statement from the purchaser indicating that he or she is purchasing the refrigerant only for eventual resale to certified technicians.”