It is helpful to consider the steps that must be undertaken to ensure compliance with the F-Gas Regulation. The "set-up stages" (Steps 1 to 6) should have been completed by July 2007 when the on-going testing regime and record keeping becomes mandatory.
Step 1 : Identify all equipment with HFCs.
Ensure you have a list of every item of HFC equipment in your company. Refer to Refrigerants to help identify the relevant HFC refrigerants. It is a good idea to set up a database of all your equipment – this will be a very useful starting point for record keeping.
Step 2 : Establish how much refrigerant is in each system.
This is a crucial step as it influences the way the F-Gas Regulation will affect you. Many systems have a name plate that states the amount of refrigerant. Alternatively the plant operating manual or commissioning records should have an item specifying the amount of refrigerant in the plant. If you do not have records of this type you need to estimate the amount of refrigerant in the system. The UK Government have produced a Guide on this issue and have written a spreadsheet tool to help – this is a very useful material. Alternatively, ask your maintenance contractor for advice.
Step 3 : For all plants > 3kg define a leak checking regime.
You must establish how leak checking should be carried out and who is qualified to do it. You may need to get expert advice about this. The periodic leak checks need to be based on the use of portable test equipment (e.g. hand-held electronic HFC "sniffer") and should check all locations where a leak is possible.
Step 4 : For all plants > 300 kg fit leak detection equipment.
Click Automatic Leak Detection for further details.
Step 5 : For all plants > 3 kg establish a record keeping system.
This is a very important aspect of the Regulation that is designed to ensure that the whole process of leakage prevention is being properly managed. Click Records for further details.
Step 6 : Identify competent personnel to carry out leak checks and refrigerant handling.
The Regulation specifies that personnel carrying out leak checks and doing work that involves handling refrigerants (e.g. removing refrigerant, topping up a system etc.) must have a suitable qualification.
Step 7 : Implement the leak testing regime.
From July 2007 onwards, ensure that you are carrying out leak tests at the appropriate intervals (click here for leak test frequency). If leaks are found these must be noted in the plant record and repaired as soon as possible. The plant must be rechecked for leaks within a month of repair. This is actually good practice for all systems now – leaking systems cost more to run.
Step 8 : Ensure plant records are maintained and used to help reduce leakage.
From July 2007 onwards, ensure that you are keeping appropriate records for each HFC system. The data can be used to identify any refrigerant plants that have regular leakage problems. These should be investigated to see if any design modifications can prevent leakage.
Step 9 : Ensure refrigerant recovery is carried out during plant maintenance.
From July 2007 onwards, ensure that if refrigerant is removed from a system (e.g. for maintenance or at the end of plant life) that it is recovered using appropriate equipment and is then re-used or sent for recycling or destruction.