F Gas Regulations and your air conditioning system

The use of fluorinated greenhouse gases (F gases) like hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) is governed by Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 and  impacts anyone who -

·         manufactures, uses or services equipment that contains F gases, like refrigeration and air conditioning systems, solvents or aerosols
·         produces or wholesales F gas
·         imports or exports F gas, or equipment containing F gas, to or from the EU

Many air conditioning and heat pump systems contain F gases.  Companies that operate or service and maintain fixed air conditioning units containing F gas must meet the following requirements.

Check if your cooling system contains F gas

Look at the list of Fgases regulated by the EU.  HFC 404A and HFC 410A are common in air conditioning and heat pump systems.  To find out if your equipment contains one of these F gases you can:
·         check your manual or the labels on your equipment
·         if we installed your equipment, then contact us for advice

Only trained technicians can carry out work on equipment containing F gases, including:

·         installation
·         testing for leaks
·         general maintenance
·         disposal or decommissioning when you no longer need the product

You can rest assured that all our air conditioning technicians have the specific qualifications needed to work on equipment containing F gases and London Cool holds F gas certification issued by Refcom.
The regulations state that when installing air conditioning equipment and adding F gas we must add a label stating -
·         that the equipment contains an F gas
·         the industry name for the F gas, or the chemical name if there isn’t an accepted industry name

From 2017 the label must also state the:

·         mass of F gas in the equipment (in kg)
·         carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent mass of F gas in the equipment (in tonnes)
·         the global warming potential (GWP) of the F gas
Find out how to use an F gas global warming potential to calculate the weight of the F gas in CO2 equivalent.

‘Hermetically sealed’ equipment

If F gas is ‘hermetically sealed’ within a product, the label must also state that’s the case. F gas is hermetically sealed if both of the following apply:
  • any part of the product that contains F gas is welded or brazed shut, or permanently sealed in another way
  • the product has a tested leakage rate of less than 3 grams per year
A system that meets these two conditions is considered hermetically sealed, even if it has capped valves or capped service ports to allow access for repairs and maintenance.

Check for leaks

You are responsible for stopping leaks from your equipment.
Contractors such as ourselves who install, maintain or dispose of equipment share responsibility for trying to stop leaks with the operators of equipment.
A regular maintenance contract will include checking for leaks, and equipment that contains F gas above certain thresholds must be checked for leaks at specific intervals.
Taking into account the quantity of F gas in the equipment and the ‘global warming potential’ of the F gas, the below table sets out the:
  • F gas thresholds, in tonnes CO2 equivalent, at which leak check intervals are specified
  • maximum allowed interval between leaks checks for equipment that meets each threshold
  • quantities of commonly used HFCs equal to each threshold 
Maximum interval between leak checks

HFC 410a (kg)

1 year


6 months


3 months


If you find a leak
If a leak is found during a check, it must be repaired and the leak test repeated within a month to check the repair worked.

The future

With regard to the future control of refrigerants in the EU, those with a GWP below 2500, such as R410A, will be phased down. The process started in 2015 and continues until 2030, with a target of 80% phase-out/phase-down.

Our suppliers

R410A is a 50/50 mixture of R125 and R32. R410A has a GWP of 2088, compared to just 675 for R32.

Daikin’s approach, along with a number of other companies, is to replace R410A with R32.  R32 is slightly flammable, but according to Graham Wright, legislation specialist with Daikin UK, is ‘acceptability safe in many applications and offers many benefits on the road to reducing the use of HFCs.’
The lower GWP of R32 compared with R410A is explained by comparing the effect of a charge.
• 10kg of R410A is equivalent to 20.88 t of CO2
• 10kg of R32 is equivalent to just 6.75 t of CO2

R32 is also more efficient as a refrigerant than R410A.  Graham Wright’s comparison is that 0.7 kg of R32 in a 3 kW split system has an equivalent performance to 1 kg of R410A.

Fujitsu’s approach to the new energy efficiency standards is to follow the EU climate action plan 20/20/20 by 2020 – ie 20% less primary energy use, 20% less CO2 emissions and 20% share of renewable energy.  Their air conditioners have reached the ‘Class A’ ranking – the highest energy efficiency level that is now shown on energy labels in Europe.

In their latest newsletter, Toshiba confirm that it is phasing out use of R410A in split systems and moving to R32.  ‘UK contractors had initially expressed reservations about the use of R32, due to its mild flammability as an A2L refrigerant. However, the latest market research carried out by Toshiba shows there is now broad acceptance among installers and specifiers that R32 will become the mainstream solution for small and medium sized systems in the future, due to its lower cost and lower GWP’.

Panasonic has announced a full switch to R32 in 2018.  Alfredos Armaos, UK Country Manager at Panasonic Heating and Cooling, explains how the full switch to R32 will benefit suppliers as ‘it allows them to offer a more sustainable solution, and for installers it introduces the opportunity to offer a more energy-efficient and cost effective option to clients.’

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries adopted the new lower GWP refrigerant R32 in all 274 models of their new high efficiency air conditioning range released in Japan in May.2017.

If you would like further information or would like to book an engineer’s visit to service or check your air conditioning system, then please contact us on 0800 440 444, email sales@londoncool.com or send an enquiry via our website.  


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