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Chemicals used in refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioning units contain chlorofluorocarbons and hydrofluorocarbons, which destroy Earth's protective ozone layer. Refrigerant chemicals also contribute to climate change. Refrigerants must be captured and not knowingly released into the atmosphere.

Technician certification

To ensure refrigerants are handled safely, people who service and dispose of appliances that contain refrigerants, or vehicle air conditioners must:

  • Be certified through an EPA-approved training program
  • Use EPA-approved refrigerant recovery or recycling equipment
  • Handle and store refrigerants properly
  • Keep records

Learn about the requirements and how to become certified:

Appliance service activities that would require certification include:

  • Attaching and detaching hoses and gauges from the appliance to measure pressure in the unit
  • Adding or removing refrigerant from the appliance
  • Any activity that violates the integrity of the refrigerant circuit while there is refrigerant in the appliance

Refrigerants must be removed from appliances or vehicle air conditioners before the units are disposed of. Refrigerants made of chlorofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, and hydrofluorocarbons may only be sold to certified technicians, buyers that employ at least one certified technician, or certified wholesalers or appliance manufacturers for eventual resale. Refrigerant in self-sealing "small cans" containing less than 2 pounds of refrigerant are exempt from this sales restriction and any reporting requirements. Anyone selling refrigerant must verify that the buyer is properly certified and post a sign that explains the sales restrictions.