Freon / refrigerant ..Leaks. What is the Law?
What is the law concerning refrigerant leaks and companies adding refrigerant?
Do technicians have to find the leak and repair it? Can they add refrigerant and not repair a leak. Are the laws different from state to state and where would I find that law. Thanks!
Yes laws are different for some municipalities like Austin, Texas which is more stringent than federal law.
There is no requirement by the federal entities that require a leak to be found or to prevent adding refrigerant to a leaking system on residential equipment. Commercial equipment that contains 50 pounds or more has different regs. I am not sure what they are because I have not worked on commercial equipment for many years.
The EPA laws do not differ between states.
Originally Posted by wintergreen
The technician should locate the leak and repair it.
The Montreal Protocal Act
All equipment containing a normal operating charge of 50 pounds or more have leak repair requirements if their anual leak rate is equal to or more then 35% for industrial proccess, or 15% for comfort cooling.
Doubtfull your system holds 50 or more pounds of normal operating charge.
So the tech by fed regulation can add refrigerant.
Assuming its not blowing out the coil or line set at him while he's charging it.
The question is, should you keep having techs add gas to it, or bite the bullet and repair or replace it so you have reliable and efficienct operation.
The EPA law does not differ but local regs may be more stringent than federal regs. The more stringent regulation will be the one that must be adhered too.
Originally Posted by second opinion
I agree that a leak should be located and repaired but it is not required for residential equipment.
The Montreal Protocol is the governing factor but it is not the law; EPA 608 is the governing document federally.
This is the relevant information concerning leak repairs:
Owners of equipment with charges of greater than 50 pounds are required to repair leaks in the equipment when those leaks together would result in the loss of more than a certain percentage of the equipment's charge over a year. For the commercial and industrial process refrigeration sectors, leaks must be repaired when the appliance leaks at a rate that would release 35 percent or more of the charge over a year. For all other sectors, including comfort cooling, leaks must be repaired when the appliance leaks at a rate that would release 15 percent or more of the charge over a year.
The trigger for repair requirements is the current leak rate rather than the total quantity of refrigerant lost. For instance, owners of a commercial refrigeration system containing 100 pounds of charge must repair leaks if they find that the system has lost 10 pounds of charge over the past month; although 10 pounds represents only 10 percent of the system charge in this case, a leak rate of 10 pounds per month would result in the release of over 100 percent of the charge over the year. To track leak rates, owners of air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment with more than 50 pounds of charge must keep records of the quantity of refrigerant added to their equipment during servicing and maintenance procedures.
Owners are required to repair leaks within 30 days of discovery. This requirement is waived if, within 30 days of discovery, owners develop a one-year retrofit or retirement plan for the leaking equipment. Owners of industrial process refrigeration equipment may qualify for additional time under certain circumstances. For example, if an industrial process shutdown is required to repair a leak, owners have 120 days to repair the leak. Owners of leaky industrial process refrigeration equipment should see the Compliance Assistance Guidance Document for Leak Repair (available from the hotline) for additional information concerning time extensions and pertinent recordkeeping and reporting requirements. EPA anticipates putting this document on the web site, but does not have an estimated date for when that will happen.
And if you read the addendums, the leak no longer has to be repaired completely.
Only enough that it is brought back under the trigger rate.
Its a bunch of BS these days.
EPA (federal law) says only systems with 50 lb or greater charges MUST repair leaks, and only when they exceed given leak rates. Typical residential units have 5-20 lb charges.
State and/or Local regulations may be more stringent, but not less.
Usually makes sense to find and fix leaks. But not required by federal law.
Here's the "simple" flowchart:
You wanna see the regs?
Get a big pot of coffee before you start reading...
In Austin the local ordinance requires that a refrigerant log must be applied to the (residential) condenser. If the leak rate exceeds a specific percentage (10% I think) the leak must be repaired or the leaking component replaced
As several PROFESSIONAL members have said - FIX THE PROBLEM ! No matter what the local codes, EPA laws, or Montreal Protocal say, you have a leak. It won't get any cheaper if you bandage the problem. Labor is going up -materials are going up- the cost of freon is going up - the price of a new system is going up. The sooner you fix the old system or replace to a new system, the less money you will spend in the long run. We all hate spending money on intangibles like comfort, a new roof, or tires on the car, but the dollars will continue to flow out of the check book if you don't fix the problem now. I feel your pain. Seek a professional.
Instead of learning the tricks of the trade, learn the trade.
Yeah yeah, I'm hip
Originally Posted by beenthere
I concur with fix the leak.Period> My question is do you have a leak or does your unit fall into the category of not being charged correctly from the start?
I find about half the no cool calls I make fall into the system having been charged with refrigerant using the beer can cool method. A year or two after the install and a dirty condenser,air filter,evap coil etc. will fool a lot of people with a set of gauges into believing a unit is low on GAS. Clean the system up and check superheat and you will know for sure.