Refrigerant Gas Leak Detection

Refrigerant Gas Leak Detection
Tel: +44 (0)191 490 1547
Fax: +44 (0)191 477 5371
Email: [email protected]
While BRA/FETA have made every effort to prepare this guide in
compliance with the requirements of current regulations and industry
practice, BRA/FETA can accept no responsibility for the
consequences of individual or corporate actions as a result of
following the code.
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Section 1
Section 2
Why the code of practice has been produced
Who the code is for
Scope of the code
How the reader will benefit from the code
Regulations, standards and directives
Section 3
Environmental Protection Act
F-Gas Regulation (EC) 846/2006
Ozone Depleting Substances Regulation (EC) 2037/2000
BS EN378/2000 Refrigerating systems and heat pumps –
Safety and environmental requirements.
BS EN378/2007 (Final draft) Refrigerating systems and heat
pumps – Safety and environmental requirements.
Direct leak detection methods
Section 4
Fixed leakage detection systems
Portable electronic leak detectors
Ultraviolet (UV) indication fluids
Proprietary bubble solutions
New installation tightness test for leakage detection
Operational system tightness test for leakage detection
Indirect refrigerant detection methods
Section 5
Manual checks
Refrigerant detection system certification
Page 2 of 28
Section 6
Individual competence and training
Section 7
Removing refrigerant from the system
Section 8
Refrigerant recovery
Options for the reuse of refrigerants
Recovery for reclamation or destruction
System charging
Section 9
Adding refrigerant after a small unknown loss
System recharge after large refrigerant loss
Record logs
Section 10
Refrigerant handling
Refrigerant usage
Maintenance records
Other guidance
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Section 1
This Code of Practice sets out the recommendations of the British Refrigeration
Association (BRA) for good practice in carrying out tightness testing for leakage
in Fluorocarbon refrigeration systems in commercial and light industrial
Whilst it is felt the Code of Practice cannot be exhaustive, it is nevertheless
thought to reflect the industry’s technical capabilities and technological
understanding, together with legislation and standards at the time of publication.
The Code of Practice should form the basis for users of refrigeration equipment
to provide the installing/servicing contractor/designer with requirements for
tightness testing for leakage in order that emissions of refrigerant are minimised.
The Code of Practice also identifies the competence requirements for individuals
performing leakage detection tasks in accordance with best practice and legal
The Code of Practice emphasises the need for those designing, installing,
commissioning, servicing and maintaining refrigeration systems to take all
reasonable steps to minimise leakage potential.
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Section 2
Regulations, Standards and Directives
There are Regulations, Standards and Directives that stipulate
requirements for tightness testing for leakage of refrigeration systems.
Environmental Protection Act 1990
Under the Environmental Protection Act the deliberate venting of
refrigerant is an offence.
Specific to the activities undertaken during the service and maintenance of
refrigeration systems the following actions could be construed as
deliberate venting.
1 The venting of “surplus” refrigerant from a system to atmosphere, if it is
considered that the system may be overcharged.
2 The venting of the refrigerant charge to atmosphere instead of
recovery when decommissioning a refrigeration system.
3 The use of refrigerant as a tracer for leak detection.
4 The process of “breaking a vacuum” with refrigerant during the process
of multiple evacuation of a refrigeration system.
5 The use of a refrigeration system or refrigerant container as a source
of pressurised gas for cleaning purposes.
6 The addition of refrigerant to a system thought or known to be leaking
before locating and rectifying the leaks.
The following actions could be construed as inadvertent loss:
1 Loss of refrigerant from leaking joints, seals, gaskets and cracked
pipes etc, before the leak has been detected and eliminated.
2 Loss of refrigerant from safety relief devices during operation to
prevent danger.
3 Loss of residual refrigerant dissolved in oil etc, after normal processes
of refrigerant recovery have been undertaken.
4 Loss of small quantities of refrigerant from “charging lines” such as
occurs during the normal service process of connecting and
disconnection to the system.
5 Loss of small quantities of refrigerant from sections of system pipework
or components, after having taken all practicable steps to recover
6 Loss of small quantities of refrigerant along with non-condensable gas
only when the system is purged through a properly refrigerated noncondensable gas purging device.
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Under the duty of care refrigerant being recovered would be classified as
“Controlled waste”. It would not be classified as “waste” if the recovered
refrigerant is recycled and returned to the original owner.
Also refer to Hazardous Waste Regulation requirements for handling and
movement of recovered refrigerant.
Section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act, states that it is illegal to
“treat, keep or dispose of a controlled waste in a manner likely to cause
pollution to the environment, or harm to human health”. Therefore care
should be taken to avoid accidental discharge of such controlled wastes
and ensure all who handle them are aware of Regulations.
Section 34 of the Act (Duty of Care) places a specific responsibility on
personnel who have control over any refrigeration system to ensure that
anyone undertaking tasks on their behalf does not allow these substances
to escape. If all of the elements of “actual power over the technical
functioning” as defined by the EU Commission, are devolved by the
operator to a third party through contractual arrangements, the authority of
operator and the responsibilities attached to it under the Regulation should
be deemed transferred to that third party.
F-Gas Regulation (EC) 846/2006
The F-Gas Regulation places duties on operators and personnel involved
in the manufacture, installation service and maintenance of applications
containing fluorinated greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol.
Article 3 – Containment
Operators of stationary refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump
equipment, shall:
prevent leakage of these gases, and
as soon as possible repair any detected leak.
Operators of these applications shall ensure they are checked for leakage
by certified personnel according to the following schedule:
applications containing ≥3kG shall be checked at least once every
12 months. This would not apply to hermetically sealed systems
containing <6kG.
applications containing ≥30kG shall be checked at least once every
6 months.
applications containing ≥300kG shall be checked at least once
every 3 months.
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The applications shall be checked for leakage within one month after a
leak has been repaired, to ensure the repair has been effective. The
British Refrigeration Association recommendation is that this shall be
carried out on a subsequent visit.
Operators of applications containing ≥300kG shall install leakage
detection systems. These systems shall be checked at least once every
12 months to ensure proper functioning.
Where a proper functioning leakage detection system is in place, the
frequency of the leakage inspections shall be halved.
Operators of applications ≥3kG shall maintain records on the quantity and
type of gas installed, and any quantities added and the quantity recovered
during servicing, maintenance and final disposal. They shall also maintain
records identifying the company or technician who performed
maintenance, as well as the dates and results of the leakage inspections.
These records shall be made available on request to the competent
authority and to the Commission.
Article 4 – Recovery
Operators of stationary refrigeration cooling circuits, air conditioning and
heat pump equipment shall be responsible for ensuring proper recovery by
certified personnel to ensure their recycling, reclamation or destruction.
Article 5 – Training and certification
At present, in the UK the minimum requirement for personnel handling FGas refrigerants is either:
City & Guilds 2078 certificate in handling refrigerants.
CITB Safe handling of refrigerant certificate.
Consultations are continuing across the EU Commission Member states
and the above may be subject to change in 2008.
Ozone Depleting Substances Regulation (EC) 2037/2000
Under the Ozone Depleting Substances Regulation it is mandatory that
Chloroflurocarbon (CFC) and Hydrochloroflurocarbon (HCFC) refrigerants
are recovered, recycled or destroyed. The Regulation also states that it is
the user’s responsibility to ensure that applications containing ≥3kG are
checked for leakage annually and that appropriate steps are taken to
detect and remedy refrigerant leaks.
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BS EN378/2000 and EN378/2007 (Final draft) Refrigeration systems and
heat pumps – safety and environmental requirements.
This standard is intended to minimise possible hazards to persons,
property and the environment from refrigeration systems and refrigerants.
In doing so, it identifies the required design pressures for the system
based upon the type and design of the system, and the refrigerant utilised.
It further identifies the relationship between the design pressure and the
pressures for limiting devices, relief valve setting, rating for pressure relief
discharge, leakage test pressure and strength test pressure.
The minimum value of allowable design pressure shall be determined by
the minimum specified temperature given in the table below to determine
the saturated refrigerant pressure.
Ambient condition
High pressure side with air-cooled
High pressure side with water
cooled condenser or water pump
High pressure side with
evaporative condenser
Low pressure side with heat
exchanger exposed to outdoor
ambient temperature
Low pressure side with heat
exchanger exposed to the indoor
ambient temperature
Maximum leaving water
temperature +8K
When evaporators can be subject to high side pressure e.g. during gas
defrosting or reverse cycle operation, the high pressure side specified
temperature shall be used.
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The pressure relationships to which the system and components shall be
designed to meet relative to the maximum allowable pressure (ps), are
given in the below.
Design pressure
System strength test pressure
Tightness test pressure for assemblies
Safety switch device for limiting the pressure for
systems with relief device, setting
Safety switch device for limiting the pressure for
systems without relief device, setting
Pressure relief device, setting
Pressure relief valve achieves the required flow at
1.1 ps
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≥ 1.0 x ps
1.1 to 1.3 x ps
≥ 1.0 x ps
≥ 0.9 x ps
≥ 1.0 x ps
≥ 1.0 x ps
≥ 1.1 x ps
Section 3
Direct refrigerant detection methods
Notwithstanding the legal requirements to identify and remedy refrigerant
leaks, there are other good reasons for this to be carried out:
1 Environmental impact – many refrigerants damage the ozone layer and
most also contribute to global warming.
2 Higher running costs – running costs will escalate as the leakage of
refrigerant reduces efficiency. This has a double impact on the
environment in that the lost refrigerant has an impact, but the
additional energy consumption of the system leads to greater carbon
dioxide emissions from power stations.
3 Increased servicing costs – these may include call out charges, finding
and remedying the leak, replacement refrigerant, possibly even the
replacement of a burnt-out compressor and consequent system
4 Health and safety hazards – dependant upon the refrigerant and the
location of the leakage, if it were into a confined space exposure levels
could potentially be exceeded leading to suffocation if sufficient loss
and displacement of air occurs.
Fixed refrigerant detection systems
There are a number of systems commercially available on the market.
These fixed multi point type systems monitor refrigeration installations for
refrigerant leakage continuously, recording the levels of refrigerant
detected. These devices can be configured to activate different alarms
dependant upon the level of refrigerant detected.
The F-Gas Regulation identifies a legislative requirement for a fixed
leakage detection system to be installed on all refrigeration systems
containing ≥300kG of fluorinated greenhouse gases.
As with portable refrigerant detectors, different refrigerant detection
technologies exist, and suitability of the application and refrigerant should
be verified with the system manufacturer.
System design:
The following points should be considered at the design stage:
• Areas to be covered for refrigerant detection – sample points
should be in locations of historical leakage and susceptible areas
e.g. compressor housings, plant rooms, packs/plant, condenser
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headers, receiver assemblies, suction/liquid filter drier assemblies,
valve stations, evaporator coils, bases of pipe work risers etc.
Number of sample points allocated per detector channel – a system
with a greater number of sampling points will generally provide
greater coverage increasing potential to detect refrigerant.
If there is more than one refrigerant utilised in the installation.
If confined spaces exist that require monitoring for safety reasons,
covering these areas ensures compliance with BS EN378:2000
(BS EN378:2007).
How alarms are to be enunciated – consider alerting employees at
risk from asphyxiation from localised leakage in confined areas.
This can be by a warning beacon/sounder or a relay connection to
a building management system (BMS).
What should be done with the data generated by the system – an
IP addressable system enables remote monitoring to continually
retrieve alarms events and fault data and automatically initiate an
alarm via e-mail, SMS or fax. Response times and reports can be
generated to provide an overview of performance.
System installation:
The monitor should be located to be easily accessible for manual
interrogation and maintenance.
Systems that utilise sample tubing should ensure that the pipework
is not:
• Installed such that kinking or flattening can occur
• Run from a very warm to very cold space
• Installed with a corner radius less than 150mm
• Sample points should be installed facing down
• “split” sample pipes should be of equal length from the junction to
sample point
• All pipework to be securely clipped to cable tray and not restrict
access to other equipment
Commissioning should be carried out by the manufacturer/supplier
of the system to ensure:
• The system is set up and configured to factory specification and
• Each channel is configured to correct requirements for the area
under cover i.e. refrigerant, concentration level for alarm
• All connections to remote alarms and/or BMS system are tested
• IP address for the unit if connected to Local or Wide Area Network
is configured
• Appropriate training and instruction is provided to appropriate
personnel, both maintainers and operators of the system.
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Portable electronic refrigerant detectors
There are ranges of portable electronic refrigerant detectors that are
sensitive to leakage rates as small as 3 g/yr. The selection of these
devices must be made to ensure that their suitability for the refrigerant
within the system.
Caution should be taken to use suitable electronic refrigerant detection
devices with Hydrocarbon (HC) refrigerants due to their flammability.
For the most part, there are four types of electronic refrigerant detection
• Corona discharge
• Heated diode
• Infrared
• Ultrasonic
In all cases individual manufacturer’s data should be consulted to verify
Whilst carrying out refrigerant detection inspections in plant areas it may
be necessary to temporarily isolate ventilation systems and compressor
cooling fans.
Ultraviolet (UV) indication fluids
Refrigerant detection systems have been developed using a fluorescent or
coloured dye which is added into the system and is distributed throughout
the system with the lubricant, it indicates leaks by its emission with the
leaking refrigerant. The refrigerant evaporates and the additive remains at
the site of the leak. This becomes visible under an ultraviolet lamp. Care
must be taken with this method to ensure compatibility with system
components, and the compressor manufacture should be consulted to
authorise its' use. The client or operator of the system should also be
consulted for consent to the fluid being utilised. There is no reaction with
the refrigerant therefore the use of this method is not limited to
fluorocarbon refrigerants.
It should be noted that the effectiveness of this method of leakage
detection will be significantly reduced in systems with efficient oil
separation devices.
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In order for this method to be most effective it is important that any
emitted fluid is thoroughly cleaned from the components once the area of
leakage has been identified and the leak remedied.
Proprietary bubble solutions
Possibly the simplest and the most sensitive of methods of tightness
testing for leakage is a “weak soap” solution applied to the area being
tested. Commercially available purpose made liquids are recommended
for this procedure, as these make this task easier and cleaner.
This method would be unsuitable if the system or section being tested
is operating in a vacuum.
The use of this method should be considered in conjunction with the use
of portable electronic refrigerant detection devices.
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Indirect refrigerant detection
Direct refrigerant detection
Proceed to direct
refrigerant detection
1. Checking
system logbook
2. Visual
inspection of
3. Visual
inspection of
system safety
4. Visual
inspection of
system refrigerant
5. System
tightness test for
6. Logbook
7. Re-inspection
of repair
* Inspection and
analysing service
and maintenance
records and
inspection reports.
* Inspection of
handling reports.
recovery etc)
* Inspection of
system data –
design and
- noises
- vibrations
- corrosion
- oil leakage
- material
- component
- sight
… leading to
risks for ref.
Inspection of
technical condition
- safety devices
- pressure limiter
- gauges
- sensors
- outlet discharge
Inspection of system
refr. Charge by…
- sight glasses
- level indicators
inspection by…
- electronic
portable detection
sensitivity to be
Update and
reporting of
results on
Mandatory reinspection within 30
days, can be on
same day at
suitable time period
System pressure
- operating pressure
- operating
Set values
inspection for…
- safety devices
- pressure limiter
checks by…
- bubble solution
- UV fluid
Areas to check…
- joints
- valves/stems
- seals
- vibration areas
- seals on
- cons to safety
operating devices
Mandatory repair
of detected leak
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- NEW SYSTEM PRESSURE TEST 1. System design & test
2. Visual inspection of
system & components
3. System strength test
4. System tightness test
5. Operating system tightness
test for leakage inspection
Analyse system design to
- design pressure Ps
- limiting device pressure
- tightness test pressure
- relief device pressure
- strength tests pressure
Inspect for…
- Pressure test safety
- component working
- isolation/removal of
components unable to
withstand strength test
Undertake system strength
Reduce strength test pressure to
tightness test pressure…
Carry out steps 2-7 of operating
system tightness test for leakage
inspection procedure.
In accordance with the
requirements of BS EN
Record temperatures
Inspect for leakage with bubble
Test pressure duration - 24hrs
recommended, minimum 6hr
Log book…
Record results of test
Log book…
Record results of inspection
Re-test if necessary
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Section 4
Indirect refrigerant detection methods
In addition to direct refrigerant detection methods, good practice during
the service and maintenance procedures by employing indirect refrigerant
detection techniques may identify a requirement for further direct
refrigerant detection procedures to be implemented.
Manual checks – Refrigerant loss may be identified by carrying out
manual checks of the system and its operating conditions against the
design operating conditions, by analysis of one or more of the following
Compressor current
Liquid level
Recharge volume
Refrigerant loss indication – Any presumption of refrigerant loss shall be
followed up by an examination of tightness testing for leakage using a
direct method as described for an operational system.
Refrigerant loss presumption – One or more of the following conditions
being experience would constitute the presumption of refrigerant loss;
A fixed refrigerant detection system indicates refrigerant
The system produces abnormal noises, vibrations, ice formation
or insufficient cooling capacity
Indications of corrosion, oil leaks, component or material
damage at possible leakage points
Indication of refrigerant loss from sight glasses or level
indicators or other visual aids
Indications of damage in safety switches, pressure switches,
gauges and sensor connections
Deviations from normal operation conditions indicated by the
parameters analysed, including readings from real time
electronic systems
Other signs indicating refrigerant charge loss.
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Section 5
Refrigerant detection system certification
There are no Regulations, Standards or Directives at the time of
publication that stipulate the minimum requirement for the level of
sensitivity for static or portable electronic refrigerant detection devices, or
the requirement and frequency for calibration of these devices. In the
absence of this detail and to ensure sufficient provision exists to achieve
adequate levels of refrigerant detection, the following levels of sensitivity
and frequency of calibration are recommended.
Sensitivity – the recommended sensitivity level in the absence of
legislative requirement for fixed and portable electronic leakage detection
devices is 5 g/yr.
Calibration – to ensure reliable operation of fixed refrigerant detection
devices is maintained, and in the absence of a legislative requirement, it is
recommended for these devices to be calibrated every 12 months.
Fixed refrigerant detection devices should be serviced and calibrated by
the manufacturer or an approved agent. A certificate of service and
calibration should be issued to the operator of the fixed refrigerant
detection system.
For portable electronic refrigerant detection devices the recommended
frequency for calibration by the British Refrigeration Association is every 3
months. Calibration can be self-certified by the user employing a
measured calibration leakage device available from the manufacturer of
the refrigerant detection device. A record of the calibration must be
maintained by the operator of these devices and be made available for
inspection upon request by the operator of the refrigeration system, with
whom the responsibility for maintaining records for F-Gas Regulation
compliance lies.
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Section 6
Individual competence and training
In order that the task of refrigerant loss detection and system pressure
testing is carried out safely and effectively, it is necessary that minimum
levels of individual competence and training is identified and accreditation
acquired by the individual or company.
Refrigerant handling
The F-Gas Regulation at the time of publication has identified the
minimum level of training requirement for personnel handling F-Gas
refrigerants to be either:
City & Guilds 2078 certificates in Handling Refrigerants
CITB Safe Handling of Refrigerants certificate
Consultations are continuing across the EU Commission Member states
and the above may be subject to change in 2008.
Installers of new and those altering existing systems under the Pressure
Equipment Directive are required to be certified to the appropriate level
dependant upon the level or category of joint being made under the
For most commercial applications an “industry recognised”
qualification level suitable for Sound Engineering Practice (SEP) and
category 1 as defined by the Pressure Equipment Directive can be brazed
by personnel qualified as a minimum to:
The British Refrigeration Association’s Specification for Brazing and
Brazer Assessment.
Category 2, 3 and 4 joints can only be made by personnel certified by a
third party assessor, this invariably being a Pressure Equipment Directive
Notified Body.
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Leakage detection inspection
Personnel undertaking refrigerant loss detection and inspection activities
Be qualified for refrigerant handling as 6.2.
Have awareness and understanding of the system design,
operation and performance criteria.
Understand the operating pressures within the system and have
the ability to interpret against system design.
Have sufficient knowledge of areas of the system susceptible to
refrigerant loss.
Inspect the log book to identify areas having had refrigerant loss
and carry out close examination.
Thoroughly and systematically inspect all parts of the system that
are regularly accessed and maintained.
Have available calibrated equipment designed for the task in hand.
Be approved by their employer to competence levels
commensurate with the specific task being undertaken.
Have the brazing competence levels needed to satisfy the
requirements of the Pressure Equipment Directive when carrying
out remedial works.
Inspect and identify any potential areas where future refrigerant
loss may occur.
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Section 7
Removing refrigerant from the system
Once a system has been identified as having a leak, in order to effect a
repair it is necessary to remove refrigerant from the section concerned,
and it will be necessary to isolate the leaking component or section of the
system. Pumping the system down in order to achieve this is unlikely to be
sufficient, recovery of the refrigerant will be necessary.
Removal of refrigerant is also necessary when the system is
decommissioned at the end of its useful life.
Refrigerant recovery
Removal of refrigerant from a system can be achieved in numerous ways
of varying degrees. For example, liquid refrigerant can sometimes be
transferred into recovery cylinders by using the system’s own pressure,
but this will not remove all the system charge, and it will be necessary to
utilise a recovery machine to recover the vapour left in the system.
Alternatively recovery machines are available that can recover liquid
refrigerant and the residual vapour.
Recovered refrigerant must only be stored in special purpose recovery
cylinders – cylinders for new refrigerants must not be used.
Whilst recovering refrigerants it is essential that the cylinder is not
overfilled. Whenever refrigerant is being transferred into a cylinder it must
be continuously and accurately weighed. The maximum permissible
contents of a cylinder are printed on its data plate. The figure is a variable
depending on the density of the refrigerant. A general guide of 80% of the
cylinder volume is usually used.
Some “high” pressure refrigerants e.g. R410A may require specific
recovery cylinders.
There is no practical way of separating and reprocessing refrigerant
mixtures, therefore, care is required to avoid mixing of refrigerants. Mixed
refrigerants have to be destroyed – a process which should be avoided as
it is costly in financial and energy terms and the refrigerant is lost for future
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There are three categories that are used when defining the recovery and
reuse of refrigerants:
Recovery – To remove refrigerant from a system and transfer it to an
external cylinder. Depending upon the equipment used, the refrigerant
may or may not be treated in some way or have its condition tested.
Recycling – To treat used refrigerant to remove contaminants such as oil,
moisture, acid and particulate matter. This is typically achieved by passing
the refrigerant one or more times through an oil separator and filter drier
Reclamation – To reprocess the recovered refrigerant to virgin standard
quality and specification.
Options for the reuse of refrigerants
When repairing, maintaining or decommissioning a system, there are
various options that can be employed:
Recover and reuse refrigerant in the original system
Recover, recycle and reuse by original owner
Recover, reclaim and reuse by original owner
Recover, reclaim and make available for reuse by others
Recover and destroy
Refrigerant that has been simply recovered should only be used in the
system from which it was taken.
Recycled refrigerant should only be reused in systems belonging to the
same owner.
Only refrigerant reclaimed to virgin quality and original specification should
be sold or used in equipment of different ownership.
Grossly contaminated and mixed refrigerants have to be destroyed as
they are unsuitable and cannot be reclaimed.
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Recovery for reclamation or destruction
When refrigerant is transferred from a system as a liquid, the cylinder shall
display a warning that the refrigerant may contain contaminants. Having
recovered the refrigerant the system will retain any contaminants (oil,
water, acids and particulate matter) Disposal of this oil must be in
accordance with the requirements of the Hazardous Waste Regulation.
Recovered refrigerants should be returned to the original supplier or to a
similar organisation for reprocessing or destruction. Transport and
movement of the refrigerant must also be in accordance with the
requirements of the Hazardous Waste Regulation.
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Section 8
System charging
In order for the refrigeration system to operate efficiently it must contain
the correct quantity of refrigerant. On a new system this will have been
calculated and form part of the commissioning documentation.
There are two methods of adding refrigerant into the refrigeration system
by gas or liquid. When the refrigerant is a Zeotropic blend it must be
removed from the cylinder as a liquid, as if it is not, the composition will
change and the system performance may be affected. Charging points
should be incorporated into both high and low pressure sides of the
system to allow refrigerant to be charged in the appropriate form.
The hoses and manifold used to charge refrigerant must not contain air or
another refrigerant, to remove this either evacuate them or purge. When
purging use refrigerant in vapour form and at the lowest possible pressure.
Refrigerant can be added to a system in two possible ways:
As liquid into the receiver or liquid line. This is usually done after
the system has been evacuated prior to initial start up.
As a gas into the suction line, this is usually done when the system
is running and is being topped up. Never add liquid into the suction
If charging a Zeotropic blend into the suction line, it is necessary to
evaporate (flash off) the liquid by throttling the low side valve of the
charging manifold, proprietary devices for use in conjunction with a
charging manifold are available for this purpose.
New refrigerants should not contain any contamination, but, to be safe it is
recommended to incorporate a filter drier in the charging line.
Reclaimed refrigerants should only be used from a recognised source to
ensure it is of a proven purity of acceptable standard.
Recovered refrigerant should only be reused in the system from which it
was recovered from, to avoid any potential for cross contamination.
Page 23 of 28
The weight of refrigerant must be recorded and entered onto the record
log as required under the F-Gas Regulation.
Adding refrigerant to a system that has lost a small but unknown quantity
of refrigerant.
On small or critically charged systems, the residual charge should be
recovered and re-charged weighing in refrigerant to the same weight as
originally charged into the system at commissioning.
On larger commercial type systems, where the remaining quantity of
refrigerant cannot be identified, the addition of refrigerant can be in two
possible ways:
As liquid into the receiver or liquid line. This is usually done after
the system has been evacuated prior to initial start up.
As a gas into the suction line, this is usually done when the system
is running and is being topped up. Never add liquid into the suction
For Zeotropic refrigerant additions refer to the charging procedure
previously described.
Refrigerant should be charged into the system until there are no bubbles
observed in the sight glass when the system is operating at design
conditions. The sight glass should not be solely relied upon, system
operating pressures and temperatures, compressor current and
temperatures should be as recorded in the commissioning log. Recorded
operating levels should also be considered.
The weight of refrigerant must be recorded and entered onto the record
log as required under the F-Gas Regulation.
Adding refrigerant to a system that has lost a large proportion of the
refrigerant charge.
In the event of a large refrigerant loss from a system containing a
Zeotropic refrigerant, and where the loss has occurred from the vapour
side of the system where the potential for fractionation exists, the
remaining refrigerant should be recovered from the system and the
system recharged with new refrigerant.
Page 24 of 28
Section 9
Record Logs
In order that a detailed history of the work undertaken on the refrigeration
system is available to service personnel and the operator a suitable record
of such should be maintained and be available at site level to operative
undertaking any works on the system.
Refrigerant usage.
The F-Gas Regulation states that operators of stationary refrigeration, air
conditioning and heat pump applications containing 3kG or more of
fluorinated greenhouse gases, shall maintain records of the quantity and
type of refrigerant installed, any quantities added and the quantity
recovered during servicing maintenance and final disposal. They shall also
maintain records of other relevant information including the identification of
the company or technician who performed the servicing or maintenance
as well as the dates and results of leakage checks carried out. These
records shall be made available upon request to the competent authority
and to the Commission.
An example record log is provided on the DEFRA web site, see
Appendix I.
9.2.1 BS EN378:2000 (BS EN378:2007 Final draft) identifies a requirement for
an updated log-book to be maintained for refrigeration systems.
The following information shall be recorded in the log-book:
Details of all maintenance work and repairs
Quantities, kind of (new, re-used or recycled) refrigerant charged
on each occasion, and quantities transferred from the system on
each occasion
If there is an analysis of re-used refrigerant, the results shall be
kept in the log-book
Source of re-used refrigerant
Changes and replacements of components of the system
Results of periodic routine tests
Significant periods of non-use.
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Section 10
Appendix I
DEFRA Record log sample
Regulation (EC) No 842/2006 - F-Gas Regulation.
Regulation (EC) 2037/2000 - Ozone Depleting Substances
Environmental Protection Act 1990
Pressure Equipment Directive 1999
Hazardous Waste Regulations 2005
DETR Good Practice Guide 178
CITB Safe Handling of Refrigerants
BS EN 378:2000 Refrigeration systems and heat pumps – safety
and environmental requirements.
(BS EN 378:2007 Final draft) Refrigeration systems and heat
pumps – safety and environmental requirements.
Other guidance
British Refrigeration Association Guide to Good Commercial
Refrigeration Practice
Institute of Refrigeration Code of practice for the minimisation of
refrigerant emissions from refrigeration systems
Institute of Refrigeration safety code for refrigerating systems
utilising group A1 and A2 refrigerants
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