Refrigerant Management and Rule 1415
Over the past 20 years, we have seen an increased interest in the subject of refrigerants management with a focus on the impact of the emissions of these gases into the environment. Therefore several regulations have been put in place to better monitor the use of refrigerants and to limit the emissions into the environment. The Clean Air Act section 608, the Montreal Protocol and the Assembly Bill 32 (better known as AB32) all deal with the handling of refrigerants in different ways: The Clean Air Act prohibits the venting of refrigerant gases into the atmosphere, the Montreal Protocol is playing a significant role in phasing out Freon or R-22, and AB32 ensures that the state of California is on track to reduce refrigerants emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
In addition to those three, the Rule 1415 of the South Coast Air Quality Management District is another regulation that has been put in place in the past to ensure a reduction of refrigerants emissions from stationary air conditioning systems. This rule was adopted in June 7, 1991 and has undergone changes through the amendments of 1994 and the amendments of 2010. The purpose of this rule is to reduce emissions of high-global warming potential refrigerants from stationary air conditioning systems by requiring persons subject to this rule to reclaim, recover, or recycle refrigerant and to minimize refrigerant leakage.
Rule 1415 is applicable to any person who owns or operates an air conditioning system, as defined in this rule. This rule is also applicable to any person who installs, repairs, maintains, services, relocates, or disposes of an air conditioning system; to any person who services or maintains recycling and recovery equipment; and to any person who recycles, recovers, reclaims, or sells high global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant.
With all these regulations in place, you would think that refrigerants reclaim industry would thrive and grow substantially, but that is not the case. The truth is, the regulations in themselves do not mean anything unless they are enforced. Even if technicians must get a certification from the EPA in order to handle, service, buy or sell refrigerants, it wouldn’t mean anything if the consumers are not aware of that and they do not care. It is hard to enforce regulations when the people are not well informed while others are just in for easy money. It is hard to enforce reclamation and recycling of refrigerants when people do not see the value in doing so.
The truth is, it can save a lot of money for system owners to reclaim and reuse their refrigerants instead of buying new ones every time they service their unit. On top of that, it saves the environment and conserves energy for other purposes rather than producing virgin gases. Regular leak checks are not only good for the owners but for the environment too. So in the end, we should all be winner if we carry out these regulations.« Previous | Next »