The Refrigerant Sales Restriction
The following questions and answers provide information about the restriction on sales of refrigerant to certified technicians.
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:
The restriction excludes:
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:
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 The sales restriction on pre-charged split systems went into effect on January 9, 1995, but is no longer in effect for these systems due to the January 27, 1995, stay.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Written by EPA's Stratospheric Protection Division
Last updated on July 1, 1998