These are answers to frequently asked questions concerning the Section 608 refrigeration and air-conditioning regulations. If you have questions that are not addressed on this page, please contact the Stratospheric Ozone Hotline at (800) 296-1996.
Has EPA finalized the rule on restricting the sale of R-134a? Is it still legal to purchase R-134a?
EPA has finalized a rule making (69 FR 11946; March 12, 2004)(43 pp, 491 KB) that does not include a restriction on the sale of HFC refrigerant R-134a. EPA has limited the sales restriction to refrigerants that contribute to depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer, including HFC blends containing an ozone-depleting substance (e.g., FRIGC FR-12, Free Zone, Hot Shot or R-414B, GHG-X4 or R-414A, and Freeze 12). While EPA does not restrict the sale of pure HFC substitutes, it remains illegal to knowingly vent HFC substitutes during the maintenance, service, repair, or disposal of air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment (i.e., appliances).
EPA’s fact sheet, “The Refrigerant Sales Restriction,” provides detailed information on the types of certification required to purchase refrigerants.
Can I vent HFC-134a refrigerant?
It is illegal under Section 608 of the Clean Air Act to knowingly vent substitute refrigerants during any service, maintenance, repair or disposal of an appliance.
Is section 608 technician certification required in order to purchase R-410A?
HFC refrigerant substitutes that do not contain an ozone-depleting substance (such as R-410A or R-134a) are not covered under the refrigerant sales restriction. Therefore, section 608 technician certification is not required in order to purchase HFC refrigerant substitutes that do not contain an ozone-depleting substance. It remains illegal to knowingly vent HFC substitutes during the maintenance, service, repair, or disposal of appliances.
How can I become EPA certified? (Motor Vehicle Certification Programs)
Technicians who repair or service R-12 or R-134a motor vehicle air conditioners (MVACs) must be trained and certified by an EPA-approved organization. Training programs must include information on the proper use of equipment, the regulatory requirements, the importance of refrigerant recovery, and the effects of ozone depletion. To be certified, technicians must pass a test demonstrating their knowledge in these areas.
How can I become EPA certified? (Stationary Equipment)
In order to maintain, repair, or service stationary equipment, technicians must pass a test demonstrating proper handling of ozone depleting refrigerants and knowledge of EPA refrigerant regulations.
Does section 608 technician certification expire?
Section 608 Technician Certification credentials do not expire.
How can I file a complaint against a company or a person venting refrigerant into the atmosphere?
If you suspect or witness unlawful releases of refrigerant or other violations of the Clean Air Act regulations, you can file a report easily and anonymously by visiting EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance website.
How do I legally dispose of my household refrigerator?
Refrigerant must be removed from appliances prior to their disposal. Many local governments, private organizations, and appliance retailers will arrange for curbside pickup or drop-off of residential appliances in order to make sure that they are disposed of properly. More information concerning disposal programs for household appliances is available in the fact sheet titled “Safe Disposal Requirements for Household Appliances.”
What is the difference between ground level ozone and the ozone layer?
Ozone is a gas that occurs both in the Earth's upper atmosphere and at ground level. Ozone can be "good" or "bad" for your health and the environment, depending on its location in the atmosphere.
"Good" ozone occurs naturally in the stratosphere, approximately 10 to 30 miles above the earth's surface and forms a layer that protects life on earth from the sun's harmful rays. Ground-level or "bad" ozone is not emitted directly into the air, but is created by chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the presence of sunlight. Emissions from industrial facilities and electric utilities, motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, and chemical solvents are some of the major sources of NOx and VOC. Effects of ground level ozone are summarized here.
What are ionizers and other ozone-generating air cleaners?
Ion generators act by charging the particles in a room so that they are attracted to walls, floors, tabletops, draperies, occupants, etc. Abrasion can result in these particles being re-suspended into the air. In some cases these devices contain a collector to attract the charged particles back to the unit. While ion generators may remove small particles (e.g., those in tobacco smoke) from the indoor air, they do not remove gases or odors, and may be relatively ineffective in removing large particles such as pollen and house dust allergens. Although some have suggested that these devices provide a benefit by rectifying a hypothesized ion imbalance, no controlled studies have confirmed this effect. EPA has published a document titled "Residential Air Cleaning Devices: A Summary of Available Information" that provides information on the effectiveness of air cleaners. General information concerning ionizers is available by contacting the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Information line at (800) 438-4318 or (703) 356-4020.
How do I report accidental releases of refrigerants?
For accidental releases of class I or class II ozone-depleting substances (such as CFC and HCFC refrigerants), you may have reporting requirements under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA).
Owners or operators of appliances that have accidental releases of ozone-depleting refrigerants must still abide by the refrigerant leak repair requirements.
For accidental releases of ammonia refrigerant, you may have to report under the Emergency Release Notification requirements of EPCRA Section 304 to the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) for your state, and the National Response Center at (800) 424-8802.
For more information on release reporting and record keeping requirements, contact the RCRA hotline at (800) 424-9346 or TDD (800) 553-7672.
Which government agency implements the CFC tax?
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) imposes environmental taxes on certain ozone-depleting substances (ODS). Tax is imposed on an ODS when it is first sold by its manufacturer or importer. The manufacturer or importer is liable for the tax. For the taxable ODSs and tax rates, see IRS Form 6627 instructions (PDF 64k). For questions regarding tax filing requirements, please contact the IRS Customer Account Services staff toll-free at 1-800-829-4933.
Is the use of R-22 banned as of 2010?
HCFC-22 is also referred to as R-22 or by one of its trade names, Freon® 22. It is a popular refrigerant that is commonly used in a variety of refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment. Starting January 1, 2010, the production and import of HCFC-22 for newly manufactured equipment will stop in the United States. The production/import limit will be set at a level that is suitable for servicing existing equipment.
EPA - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency