The Refrigerant Sales Restriction

Ozone Protection Hotline (800) 296-1996

The following questions and answers provide information about the restriction on sales of refrigerant to certified technicians. 

  1. What does the sales restriction cover?
  2. Who can buy refrigerant under the sales restriction?
  3. When did the sales restriction go into effect?
  4. What does EPA consider a "part"?
  5. When does EPA consider a part to be "pre-charged"?
  6. What does EPA consider a "pre-charged split system"?
  7. Can wholesalers sell different components of pre-charged split systems (e.g., evaporators and condensers) at different times to uncertified individuals?
  8. What precautions must wholesalers take to ensure that persons who claim that they are purchasing refrigerant only for resale to certified technicians are actually doing so?
  9. I understand that EPA recommends that wholesalers keep a list of persons (either by name or job title) who are authorized to pick up refrigerant for contractors who employ certified technicians. What if a contractor sends someone, such as a family member, to pick up refrigerant who is not on the list? What if a contractor wishes to have refrigerant delivered to his place of business when no employees or other authorized persons are present?
  10. Do wholesalers have to record the quantity of refrigerant sold in a pre-charged part?
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  1. What does the sales restriction cover?

  2. The sales restriction covers all CFC and HCFC refrigerants, except for refrigerants contained in air conditioners and refrigerators.

     Thus, the restriction covers refrigerants contained in:

    • bulk containers (cylinders or drums)
    • pre-charged parts
    Note: Effective January 27, 1995, the restriction on sale of pre-charged split systems has been stayed while EPA reconsiders this provision of the sales restriction.

     The restriction excludes:

    • refrigerant contained in refrigerators or air conditioners, such as: 
      • household refrigerators, 
      • window air conditioners, 
      • packaged air conditioners, and 
      • split systems, until EPA can complete reconsideration of this provision 
    • pure HFC refrigerants (e.g., 134a is excluded, but blends containing HCFCs are covered)
    • CFCs or HCFCs that are not intended for use as refrigerants
  3. Who can buy refrigerant under the sales restriction?

  4. The following people can buy any type of refrigerant under the sales restriction (for instance, R-11, R-22, and R-12), except for "small cans" containing less than 20 pounds of R-12:
    • technicians certified for Type I, Type II, or Type III equipment by a certification program approved by EPA under section 608 of the Clean Air Act.

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    • employers of certified technicians, or the employers' authorized representatives, if the employer provides the wholesaler with evidence that he or she employs at least one certified technician. "Employers" includes building owners who have a contract with a certified technician to perform installation or service.

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    • manufacturers of air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment, where the refrigerant is used in the manufacture of the equipment.
    The following people can buy any type of refrigerant under the sales restriction (for instance, R-11, R-22, and R-12), including "small cans" containing less than 20 pounds of R-12:
    • technicians certified for MVACs by a certification program approved by EPA under section 609 of the Clean Air Act.

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    • persons who buy refrigerants only for resale to certified technicians (e.g., wholesalers, reclaimers).

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    • persons who purchase refrigerants only for export outside the U.S. or shipment outside the U.S. on marine vessels. 
  5. When did the sales restriction go into effect?

  6. The sales restriction went into effect on November 14, 1994, for refrigerant contained in cylinders, drums, or pre-charged parts. The sales restriction on pre-charged split systems went into effect on January 9, 1995, but is no longer in effect for these systems due to the January 27, 1995, stay.
     
     
  7. What does EPA consider a "part"?

  8. EPA considers a "part" to be any component or set of components that makes up less than an appliance. For example, this includes line sets, evaporators, or condensers that are not sold as part of a set from which one can construct a complete split system or other appliance.
     
     
  9. When does EPA consider a part to be "pre-charged"?

  10. EPA considers a part to be "pre-charged" if it contains a CFC or HCFC that will become part of the operating charge of an appliance. Parts that contain CFCs or HCFCs that will not become part of the operating charge, such as thermal expansion valves whose bulbs contain CFCs or HCFCs, are not considered "pre-charged." Similarly, parts that contain only "holding charges" of nitrogen are not considered "pre-charged."
     
     
  11. What does EPA consider a "pre-charged split system"?

  12. EPA considers a "pre-charged split system" to be a set of parts, at least one of which is pre-charged, from which one can assemble a complete air-conditioning or refrigeration system. This may include a pre-charged condenser, pre-charged evaporator, and pre-charged line set, or simply a pre-charged condenser sold along with an evaporator and line set containing only nitrogen.
     
     
  13. Can wholesalers sell different components of pre-charged split systems (e.g., evaporators and condensers) at different times to uncertified individuals?

  14. Wholesalers may sell different components of pre-charged split systems at different times to uncertified individuals as long as the wholesaler has reason to believe that these will be assembled into new split systems.
     
     
  15. What precautions must wholesalers take to ensure that persons who claim that they are purchasing refrigerant only for resale to certified technicians are actually doing so?

  16. Wholesalers are legally responsible for ensuring that people who purchase refrigerant from them fit into one of the categories of people who can purchase refrigerant under the sales restriction (see the second question and answer above). Although the regulation does not specify precautions that wholesalers must take to verify the intent of individuals purchasing refrigerant for resale, EPA recommends that wholesalers who sell refrigerant for resale obtain at least a signed statement from the purchaser. This statement would state that the purchaser is purchasing the refrigerant only for eventual resale to certified technicians.
     
     
  17. I understand that EPA recommends that wholesalers keep a list of persons (either by name or job title) who are authorized to pick up refrigerant for contractors who employ certified technicians. What if a contractor sends someone, such as a family member, to pick up refrigerant who is not on the list? What if a contractor wishes to have refrigerant delivered to his place of business when no employees or other authorized persons are present?

  18. The rule states that wholesalers "may sell refrigerant to the purchaser or his authorized representative" if the purchaser provides evidence that he employs at least one certified technician. It is the wholesaler's responsibility to determine whether persons who claim to represent a refrigerant purchaser are indeed authorized representatives; EPA recommends, but does not require, that wholesalers keep lists of authorized representatives to help with this determination. Thus, if a wholesaler knows that a certain person is an authorized representative of a purchaser, then the wholesaler may sell that person refrigerant as the representative, even if the person does not appear on the list of representatives.

     Similarly, if a wholesaler knows that refrigerant delivered to the location of a purchaser when no one is present will ultimately be received by the purchaser or his authorized representative, then the wholesaler may deliver the refrigerant without obtaining the signature of an authorized representative.
     
     

  19. Do wholesalers have to record the quantity of refrigerant sold in a pre-charged part?

  20. Under the regulations, persons who sell CFC or HCFC refrigerants must retain invoices that indicate the name of the purchaser, the date of sale, and the quantity of refrigerant purchased. This applies to refrigerants contained in pre-charged parts as well as refrigerants contained in cylinders or drums. However, EPA recognizes that while the quantity of refrigerant contained in a pre-charged part may be standardized by for the make and model of the part, this quantity may not be immediately obvious to the wholesaler. Therefore, rather than attempt to estimate the quantity of refrigerant in a pre-charged part, wholesalers may simply record the identity of the pre-charged part (e.g., make, model, and number) along with the purchaser and date of sale. EPA believes that most invoices already contain this information. 

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     Written by EPA's Stratospheric Protection Division

    Last updated on July 1, 1998
    http://www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/608/sales98.html