EPA issues refrigerant rules

The Environmental Protection Agency issued its rules governing the availability and use of virgin HCFCs.

12/11/2009


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its long-awaited rules governing the availability and use of virgin HCFCs in 2010 and beyond. The new rules will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2010 as specified by the Montreal Protocol.

Click the following links for the HCFC Allocation Rule and the Pre-Charged Appliances Rule

Below is explanatory language from EPA's Web site about the two rules:

How would the rules work together?

• "Appliance" means any device which contains and uses a refrigerant and which is used for household or commercial purposes, including any air-conditioner, refrigerator, chiller, or freezer. Components such as condensing units, line sets, and thermostatic expansion valves are not considered "appliances."

• "Manufactured prior to Jan. 1, 2010" for an appliance, means the date upon which the appliance's refrigerant circuit is complete; the appliance can function; the appliance holds a full refrigerant charge; and the appliance is ready for use for its intended purposes. For a pre-charged appliance component, this means the date that such component is completely produced by the original equipment manufacturer, charged with refrigerant, and is ready for initial sale or distribution in interstate commerce.

• "Interstate commerce" means the product's entire distribution chain up to and including the point of sale to the ultimate consumer. It includes the sale or distribution of imported products within the United States, as well as the sale or distribution of products intended for export.

• Starting Jan. 1, 2010, the two rules will have the following effects on the sale, distribution, and installation of air-conditioning and refrigeration products charged with HCFC-22, HCFC-142b, or blends containing one or both of these substances:

• Sale and distribution of appliances pre-charged with HCFC-22 or HCFC-142b is allowed for self-contained, factory-charged appliances such as pre-charged window units, packaged terminal air-conditioners (PTACs), and some commercial refrigeration units, if manufactured before Jan. 1, 2010. The pre-charged appliance rule does not prohibit sale and distribution of pre-2010 inventory (i.e., stockpiled inventories).

• Sale and distribution of appliances pre-charged with HCFC-22 or HCFC-142b is not allowed for self-contained, factory-charged appliances such as pre-charged window units, PTACs, and some commercial refrigeration units, if manufactured on or after Jan. 1, 2010. This prohibition, which is contained in the pre-charged appliance rule, applies regardless of when the refrigerant was produced and whether it is virgin or reclaimed. Under the allocation rule, neither stockpiled HCFC-22 produced prior to Jan. 1, 2010, nor new HCFC-22 produced after that date can be used to manufacture new appliances on or after Jan. 1, 2010.

• Sale and distribution of appliance components pre-charged with HCFC-22 or HCFC-142b is allowed if the components (e.g. condensing units, line sets, and coils that are charged with refrigerant) were manufactured before Jan. 1, 2010. The pre-charged appliance rule does not prohibit sale and distribution of pre-2010 inventory (i.e., stockpiled inventories).

• Pre-charged components manufactured before Jan. 1, 2010, may be used to service appliances manufactured before Jan. 1, 2010, but may not be assembled to create new appliances unless there is no use of virgin HCFC-22 or HCFC-142b, in the components or otherwise. The allocation rule prohibits use of virgin HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b in manufacturing new appliances.

• There is no exemption from the pre-charged appliance rule for the sale or distribution of pre-charged appliances and pre-charged components that are charged with reclaimed HCFC-22 or HCFC-142b refrigerant. In other words, the provisions banning sale and distribution apply equally regardless of whether the appliances or components contain virgin or reclaimed refrigerant.

• Under the allocation rule, virgin HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b may only be used to service existing appliances. Virgin HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b may not be used to manufacture new pre-charged appliances or appliance components. Virgin HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b also may not be used to charge new appliances assembled onsite on or after Jan. 1, 2010, though new appliances (not pre-charged) may be charged with reclaimed refrigerant.

• EPA is providing an exception to the allocation rule that allows virgin HCFC-22 to be used in the onsite "manufacture" of appliances for a particular project between Jan. 1, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2011, if the components have been specified for use at that project under a building permit or contract dated before Jan. 1, 2010.

• Under the allocation rule, HCFC-22 produced prior to Jan. 1, 2010, may be used until Jan. 1, 2015, for the manufacture of thermostatic expansion valves and medical equipment. The sale and distribution of used appliances is not affected by either rule.



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