Fact Sheet: Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Systems


Content


Introduction

The Federal Halocarbon Regulations, 2003 (FHR 2003) were promulgated under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) on August 13, 2003.

The objective of the FHR 2003 is to reduce and prevent the release of halocarbons from air-conditioning, fire-extinguishing, refrigeration, solvent systems and associated equipment that are

  • owned by the Government of Canada (department, agency, board or Crown corporation);
  • part of a federal work or undertaking, or
  • located on Aboriginal or federal land (all tenants on such lands are subject to the FHR 2003).

This document focuses on the provisions of the FHR 2003 that relate specifically to air-conditioning and refrigeration systems. It is not intended to replace the full legal text of the FHR 2003, which must be consulted to ensure complete regulatory compliance.

A similar document on fire-extinguishing systems is also available.


Definitions

air-conditioning system: an air-conditioning system, including any associated equipment, that contains or is designed to contain a halocarbon refrigerant.
certified person: a service technician who holds a certificate recognized by three or more provinces or by the province in which the work is being done. The certificate indicates successful completion of an environmental protection course in recycling, recovery and handling procedures for halocarbon refrigerants, as outlined in the Refrigerant Code of Practice.
chiller: an air-conditioning or refrigeration system that has a compressor, an evaporator and a secondary refrigerant.
chiller overhaul:
• replacement or modification of an internal sealing device;
• replacement or modification of an internal mechanical part other than an oil heater, oil pump, float assembly or vane assembly (in the case of a chiller with a single-stage compressor); or
• any procedure or repair that resulted from the failure of an evaporator or condenser heat-exchanger tube.
installation: does not include the reactivation of a system by the same owner at the same site.
owner: person who holds a right in, has possession, control or custody of, is responsible for the maintenance, operation or management of, or has the power to dispose of a system.
purge system: a purge unit on a refrigeration or air-conditioning system, including any associated release recovery equipment.
refrigeration system: a refrigeration system, including any associated equipment, that contains or is designed to contain a halocarbon refrigerant.
small (refrigeration or air-conditioning) system: a system, other than one normally installed in a means of transportation, that has a refrigeration capacity of less than 19 kW as rated by the manufacturer.

Prohibitions
Prohibited ActivitiesExceptions
Releasing a halocarbon from a system or associated container or device.
Purging from a purge system that emits less than 0.1 kg of halocarbon per kilogram of air purged.
Releasing a halocarbon from a container or equipment used in the re-use, recycling, reclamation or storage of that halocarbon.No exceptions.
Purchasing, transporting or storing a halocarbon in a container that is not designed and manufactured to be refilled and to contain that specific type of halocarbon.Halocarbons used as laboratory reagents or analytical standards.
Installing a system that operates with items 1-9 in Table 1.No exceptions.
Installing or operating a purge system that emits more than 0.1 kg of halocarbon per kilogram of air purged.No exceptions.
Charging a system without it first being leak tested. If a leak is detected, the certified person must notify the owner, and the owner must have the leak repaired.If charging a system is necessary to prevent an immediate danger to human life or health.
Note: Each case must be reported to Environment Canada. See “Leak Tests” below.
Charging a system for leak testing with items 1-9 in Table 1.No exceptions.
Charging an air-conditioning system designed for occupants in a motor vehicle with items 1-9 in Table 1.No exceptions.
Charging a system with items 1-9 in Table 1.• Chiller (See next prohibition).
• Small system.
• System on a military ship.
Charging a chiller that has undergone an overhaul with items 1-9 in Table 1.
Note: The owner must provide written notice to Environment Canada within 14 days after a chiller is charged. See “Servicing” below.
• Chillers on a military ship.
• Until December 31, 2009, an owner can charge a system with items 1-9 in Table 1, provided that:
1. certain information is reported to Environment Canada within 14 days after charging AND
2. one year after the date of the charge, the chiller no longer contains that item.
Effective January 1, 2010, charging a system on a military ship with items 1-9 in Table 1.No exceptions.
Effective January 1, 2015, operating a chiller that contains items 1-9 in Table 1.No exceptions.

Table 1. Halocarbons (From Schedule 1 of the FHR 2003)

  1. Tetrachloromethane (Carbon Tetrachloride)
  2. 1,1,1-Trichloroethane (Methyl Chloroform)
  3. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
  4. Bromochlorodifluoromethane (Halon 1211)
  5. Bromotrifluoromethane (Halon 1301)
  6. Dibromotetrafluoroethane (Halon 2402)
  7. Bromofluorocarbons other than those set out in items 4-6
  8. Bromochloromethane (Halon 1011)
  9. Hydrobromofluorocarbons (HBFCs)
  10. Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)
  11. Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
  12. Perfluorocarbons (PFCs)

Certification

Only a certified person may do work (installation, servicing, leak testing, charging or any other work that may result in the release of a halocarbon) on a system.

The work must be carried out in accordance with the Refrigerant Code of Practice.


Servicing, Decommissioning and Leak Testing

Servicing

An entry in a service log is required for any work (installation, servicing, leak testing, charging or other) that could result in the release of a halocarbon.

If the work could result in a release, the halocarbon must first be recovered into a container designed and manufactured to be refilled and to contain that specific type of halocarbon.

The service log must contain the following information:

  • name and address of owner
  • name of operator
  • specific location of system
  • description of system
  • name of certified person
  • certificate number
  • name of employer of the certified person (if applicable)
  • dated list of leak tests performed and leaks detected and repaired
  • type and quantity of halocarbon recovered and date recovered
  • charging capacity of system

Within 14 days after a chiller is charged with items 1-9 in Table 1, the owner must provide Environment Canada with a written notice containing the following information:

  • name and address of owner
  • name of operator
  • specific location of system
  • description of system
  • type and quantity of halocarbon recovered and date recovered
  • date of charge
  • charging capacity of system

Decommissioning

The FHR 2003 require that, prior to disposing of, decommissioning or destroying any system, all halocarbons be recovered into a container designed and manufactured to be refilled and to contain that specific type of halocarbon.

A disposal, decommissioning or destruction notice must first be affixed to the system, and that notice shall not be removed except to replace it.

This notice must contain the following information:

  • name and address of owner
  • name of operator
  • specific location of system before disposal, decommissioning or destruction
  • description of system
  • name of certified person who recovered halocarbon
  • certificate number
  • name of employer of certified person (if applicable)
  • type and quantity of halocarbon recovered and date recovered
  • type of system (e.g. air-conditioning or solvent system) and charging capacity
  • final destination of system

The owner must keep a record of the information contained in the notice for a period of at least five years.

Leak Tests

A leak test1 is required before charging any system.

If a leak is detected, the certified person must notify the owner, and the owner must repair the leak. As soon as possible after a leak is detected, or within seven days after the leak is detected, the owner of the system must

  • repair the leak;
  • isolate the leaking portion of the system and recover the halocarbon; or
  • recover the halocarbon from the entire system.

If it is necessary to charge the system to prevent an immediate danger to human life or health, it must be done in accordance with the FHR 2003.

Except for small systems (refrigeration and air-conditioning) and air-conditioning systems designed for occupants in a motor vehicle, leak tests of all system components that come in contact with a halocarbon are required at least once every 12 months. The certified person who conducts a leak test must affix a leak test notice to the system, and the notice shall not be removed except to replace it.

The leak test notice must contain the following information:

  • name and address of owner
  • name of operator
  • specific location of system
  • description of system
  • name of certified person
  • certificate number
  • name of employer of certified person (if applicable)
  • type of halocarbon
  • charging capacity of system
  • date of last two leak tests performed on system

The owner must keep a record of the information contained in the notice for a period of at least five years.


Record Keeping

The owner shall keep a copy of all logs, notices, records and reports required by the FHR 2003 with respect to that system, in Canada at the premises or site where the system is located, for a period of at least five years after the date that they are prepared or submitted.

In the case of a system at an unoccupied site or installed on a means of transportation, the owner shall keep a copy of all logs, notices, records and reports required by the FHR 2003 with respect to that system, at a single location occupied by the owner.


Release Reports

In the event of a release of 100 kg or more of a halocarbon from a system or from a container or equipment used in the reuse, recycling, reclamation or storage of a halocarbon, the owner must submit a verbal or written report within 24 hours after the release is detected. This report must contain the following information:

  • name of owner
  • type of halocarbon
  • type of system (e.g., air-conditioning) or container or equipment from which the halocarbon was released

Within 14 days after a release of 100 kg or more of a halocarbon is detected, a written report must be submitted that more fully details the circumstances leading to the release, as well as the corrective and preventative action(s) taken. This report must contain the following information:

  • name and address of owner
  • type and quantity of halocarbon released
  • date of release
  • type (e.g., air-conditioning system) and description of system
  • circumstances leading to the release, as well as the corrective and preventative action(s) taken

In the event of a release of more than 10 kg but less than 100 kg of a halocarbon from a system or from a container or equipment used in the reuse, recycling, reclamation or storage of a halocarbon, the owner must submit, no later than 30 days after January 1 or July 1, a written report containing the following information for each calendar half-year:

  • name and address of owner
  • type and quantity of halocarbon released
  • date of release
  • type (e.g., air-conditioning system) and description of system
  • circumstances leading to the release, as well as the corrective and preventative action(s) taken

The owner must report halocarbon releases of more than 10 kg to Environment Canada. Written reports must be mailed or faxed to the appropriate Environment Canada regional representative. See the list of Environment Canada contacts.


For More Information

Visit Environment Canada’s Stratospheric Ozone website for more information, including:

  • the Ozone Layer Protection Program
  • the FHR 2003
  • the Refrigerant Code of Practice

For more information, please contact your Environment Canada regional representative. See the list of Environment Canada contacts.


1 The following leak detection methods, depending on the type of system, are acceptable: electronic test, soap and bubble test, ultrasonic test, test with UV light for fluorescent dye. A standing vacuum test or a standing nitrogen pressure test will also suffice. (See the Refrigerant Code of Practice for further details.)