Fgas Leak Check Changes - Jan 2017

Mandatory documented leak checks apply to air conditioning and refrigeration equipment based on according to how much damage could be caused to the atmosphere if the whole charge were released. The frequency of the test inspections is based on the GWP of the refrigerant multiplied by the estimated volume contained in each individual system – this gives the CO2e figure. If the system contains between:

  • 5 and 50 tonnes CO2e it requires one inspection per year.
  • 50 to 500 tonnes CO2e require inspection every six months.
  • Greater than 500 tonnes CO2e require quarterly inspections.
  • The leak checking frequency can be halved if permanent leak detection systems are fitted. Permanent leak detection systems are mandatory for system charges of 500 tonnes CO2 equivalent and above.

How often does a system need leak checking?

  • R410A  (2088 GWP)  more than 2.39kg once a year, 23.9kg twice, more than 239kg four times
  • R407C (1774 GWP) more than 2.81kg once a year, 28.1kg twice, more than 281kg four times
  • R404A (3922 GWP) more than 1.27kg once a year, 12.7kg twice, more than 127kg four times
  • R134a (1430 GWP) more than 3.49kg once a year, 34.9kg twice, more than 349kg four times
For other refrigerants, it is 5000 divided by its GWP to get the first inspection visit weight, then just move the decimal place one to the right to get the rest!

Note: Some clients may ask for the Carbon loading of an air conditioning or refrigeration system, especially if they are ISO14001 accredited, this is a simple calculation of the refrigerant GWP x total refrigerant charge. So, for example, a system with 25kg refrigerant of R410a has a carbon loading of 52200kg (25x2088). This is equivalent of 52.2 tonnes so two documented leak checks per annum are required.

Labelling changes

From 1 January 2017, any product containing F-Gases placed on the market has to have added to its label the quantity expressed in weight and in CO2 equivalent of FGas contained in the equipment, and the global warming potential of the gas.
 For more details of all of the 2014 FGas Regulation Requirements see:

Calculate the carbon dioxide equivalent quantity of an f-gas
Guidance for users, producers, and traders

Air conditioning inspection requirements (TM44 Inspection)

Why are air conditioning inspections required?

Having an air conditioning system inspected by an accredited air conditioning energy assessor is designed to improve efficiency, reduce energy consumption, operating costs and the carbon emissions of the system. The energy assessor will highlight improvements to the operation of existing systems or opportunities to replace older, less energy efficient systems or oversized systems with new energy efficient systems.

As the replacement of refrigerant is restricted in older systems (as established in other legislation), there is an additional incentive to improve or replace older systems with more modern energy efficient units.

Air conditioning inspection:

The person who controls the operation of the system, such as the building owner or manager, has statutory obligations and duties of care in the operation and maintenance of air conditioning systems. Inspection, maintenance and cleaning programmes maintain the ability of the system to provide healthy and comfortable environments for building occupants, limiting the escape of refrigerant gases and ensuring the safety of equipment.

When air conditioning inspections are required

All air conditioning systems with an effective rated output of more than 12kw must be regularly inspected by an energy assessor. The inspections must be no more than five years apart. The regulations require the first inspection of the affected air conditioning systems to be  carried out as follows:

For all systems first put into service on or after 1 January 2008, the first inspection must have taken place within five years of the date when the system was first put into service for other air conditioning systems, where the effective rated output is more than 250kW the first inspection must have taken place by 4 January 2009 for other air conditioning systems, where the effective rated output is more than 12kW the first inspection must have taken place by 4 January 2011


Systems requiring an air conditioning inspection

Only air conditioning systems with an effective rated output of more than 12kW are affected by these regulations. This will include systems consisting of individual units which are less than 12kW but whose combined effective rated output is more than 12kW.

The effective rated output is the maximum calorific output in kW stated by the manufacturer of the system as deliverable during continuous operation while complying with the useful efficiency indicated by the manufacturer.

One or more air conditioning units within a building controlled by a single person are considered to comprise a single air conditioning system for the purposes of the regulations. The person who controls the operation of the system is the person who controls the technical functioning of the system, not someone who can just adjust the temperature or
whose only responsibility is to adjust the controls.

A building designed or altered to be used separately is where the accommodation is made or adapted for separate occupation. This could be indicated by the accommodation having its own access, a separate provision of heating and ventilation or shared heating and ventilation, but with the ability of the occupier to independently control those services. For a non-dwelling, the part could be deemed to be separate even if some facilities (e.g. kitchen and toilet facilities) were shared.

An air conditioning system is defined as ‘a combination of all components required to provide a form of air treatment in which the temperature is controlled, or can be lowered,  and includes systems which combine such air treatment with the control of ventilation,  humidity, and air cleanliness’. This includes both fixed self-contained systems, such as split systems and centralized systems.


What can I expect from the report?

The purpose of the inspection report is to ensure that the building owner or manager is provided with information regarding the efficiency of the air conditioning systems that they control, together with advice on how to improve the energy efficiency of the system, to identify opportunities to save energy and to reduce operating costs.

The air conditioning inspection report will include at least the following details:
  • the likely efficiency of the system and any suggestions made for improvement
  • any faults identified during the inspection and suggested actions
  • the adequacy of equipment maintenance and any suggestions for improving
  • the adequacy of the installed controls and control settings and any suggestions made for improvement.
  • the current size of the installed system in relation to the cooling load any suggestions for improvement.
  • •summary of the findings and the key recommendations
There is no legal requirement to act on the recommendations. Acting on the advice and key recommendations in the inspection report and rectifying faults or making appropriate improvements, where this is attractive and cost-effective, will contribute to the efficient running of air conditioning system, which will contribute to a reduction in carbon emissions and reduce the operating costs for the building occupants. In some cases, the costs of providing both heating and cooling may be reduced, in cases where these two systems are unnecessarily in use at the same time due to inappropriate controls or settings.

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For a free, no-obligation quotation, please feel free to contact us.

We provide air conditioning solutions in the residential, commercial and public sector.

For a free estimate or expert advise please call: 01743 540445

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