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Refrigerants are found in most of today's refrigeration, freezing, heat pump and air conditioning systems. They are dangerous because they can affect the ozone layer and contribute to climate change.

Refrigerants labelled CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) are banned from use.

Those designated as HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons) are subject to a ban on new installation and refilling.

Refrigerants labelled HFCs (freons) contain neither chlorine nor bromine and do not deplete ozone, but they do contribute to the greenhouse effect.

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency's website provides information on the impact of different refrigerants on the ozone layer and the greenhouse effect.

New rules on leakage control and reporting of refrigerants from 2015

On 1 January 2015, EU Regulation 517/2014 on fluorinated greenhouse gases came into force. This changes the requirements for which equipment must be leak checked and how often. Some equipment has new requirements and some is no longer subject to leakage checking.

New leakage control intervals

Previously, the amount of refrigerants was calculated in kilograms. Now this is to be converted into carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e). The limit for leakage control at an installation containing refrigerants used to be 3 kg of charge. The limit is now set at 5 tonnes CO2e. This means that you, as the operator, need to know the type and amount of refrigerant you have in order to assess whether you have refrigerants equivalent to more than five tonnes of CO2e. The conversion is done by multiplying the amount of gas (kg) by the GWP factor of the gas. The GWP (Global Warming Potential) factor indicates how much 1 kg of a gas affects the climate in relation to 1 kg of CO2. Different refrigerants have different GWP factors. To see if your installation meets the limit, see link on page or contact your certified control company.

Example: a refrigeration unit contains 10 kg of HFC-404a and the GWP factor of the gas is 3922. The quantity (kg) is then 10 x 3922 = 39 220 kg = 39.22 tonnes of CO2e.

How often should leakage checks be carried out?

Equipment containing:

  • Less than 5 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent of greenhouse gas has no leakage control requirement.
  • 5 tonnes CO2e or more must be leak checked at least every 12 months.
  • 50 tonnes CO2e or more shall be leak checked at least every six months.
  • 500 tonnes or more of CO2e shall be leak checked at least every three months.

Leakage checking shall be carried out by a certified company with certified personnel. See link on page.

Annual report

Where installations comply with the requirement to submit an annual report, this must be submitted by the operator by 31 March of the year following the calendar year in which the leakage control took place.

Information to the supervisory authority before installation

Operators who are going to install or convert equipment with 14 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent or more, must inform the Environment and Construction Unit well in advance of the installation or conversion.

Environmental penalty

Infringements of the existing provisions may lead to an environmental penalty. The Environment and Building Department is obliged to levy these charges even if the violation was not intentional or negligent.