April 12th, 2019
Air conditioning systems and refrigeration units use refrigerant for the cooling process. While recharging kits are available for Do it Yourself use on automobile air conditioning systems the same thing does not apply for your home. Refrigerant used in HVAC units and refrigerators is controlled by the EPA. Recharging systems or removing refrigerant requires a license. Items that use refrigerant can not be disposed of with the refrigerant being removed first. Refrigerant is recovered and recycled to prevent environmental damage.
The State of California is very strict when it comes to rules about refrigerant. Systems that contain 50 or more pounds of refrigerant gas may even be required to submit annual reports about their refrigerant usage. Systems that use more than 2,000 pounds must have an automatic system for monitoring and leak detection. The rules are scheduled to become even tighter by 2020. Most homeowners do not need to worry about refrigerant usage in these ranges but they should be aware of the basic rules regarding refrigerant.
A refrigerator can not be disposed of without the refrigerant being recovered from the system. A removal tag must be placed on the equipment as proof of the service being completed. Homeowners can not recharge their own HVAC systems, the work must be done by certified HVAC personnel. Refrigerant is also increasing in cost as manufacturers meet requirements set by the EPA. Having your air conditioning inspected on a yearly basis has become even more important. Not only does a leaking system cause environmental damage but refilling it after repairs are made can be costlier than in the past.
Homeowners can save money by doing as much of their own home repair work as possible. Air conditioning systems are one of the areas that really should be left to the professionals. Without a certification, you can not legally buy anything other than R-134A refrigerant designed only for automobile AC systems. You may also find yourself in violation of state laws.