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General Description

The maintenance of motor vehicle air conditioning is regulated to prevent the escape of CFCs.

Summary of Federal Requirements

A Motor Vehicle Air-Conditioner (MVAC) is defined as a mechanical vapor compression refrigeration equipment used to cool the driver's or passenger's compartment of any motor vehicle. This definition is not intended to encompass hermetically sealed refrigeration systems used on motor vehicles for refrigerated cargo and the air conditioning systems on passenger buses using HCFC-22 refrigerant.

General Requirements

As of 11 May 2004, no person maintaining, servicing, repairing, or disposing of MVAC may knowingly vent or otherwise release into the environment any refrigerant.

Personnel servicing/repairing MVAC must be certified and the equipment they use is approved by the USEPA. Additionally, the USEPA administration must have been notified that there is an individual onsite who has been trained and certified and is performing MVAC repair.

When recovering refrigerant from MVACs, and MVAC-like appliances for the purpose of disposal of these appliances, appropriate recovery equipment must be used.

If a MVAC is going to be disposed of, the following steps must be performed:

  • recover any remaining freon refrigerant from the appliance
  • check that the refrigerant has been evacuated from the appliance or shipment of appliances by reviewing a signed statement from the person from whom the appliance or shipment of appliances is obtained that all refrigerant has been recovered.

CFC 12

Under the terms of an international treaty to protect the earth's ozone layer, CFC-12 production (also known by the trade name Freon) ceased at the end of 1995. CFC-12 is one of the chlorofluorocarbons gases that are responsible for the Antarctic "ozone hole" and that have been linked to depletion of the ozone layer over the mid-latitudes, including North America. When you service auto air conditioning systems that use CFC-12, you should consider the following:

  • Offer to fix leaks in the air-conditioning system. It helps to protect the ozone layer and conserves CFC-12 supplies. It is not correct, however, to state or imply that leak repair is required under federal law. Doing so would constitute consumer fraud.
  • Beware of illegally imported CFC-12 being offered for sale. This material could be confiscated by the government and because of its unknown origin could be contaminated.
  • Stay informed about which alternatives refrigerants are approved by EPA for use in automobiles and what the automobile manufacturers are saying about how alternatives perform in their autos. Use only an EPA approved alternative.
  • Handle refrigerants with care to prevent mixing. It is critical that supplies of CFC-12 and HFC-134a are kept free of contamination.
  • At present, advise vehicle owners to have cars retrofit only when the air conditioning systems need major work. In the future, as supplies decrease and costs of CFC-12 increase, it is likely that retrofits will make economic sense in more cases.
  • Follow the accepted procedures for changing fittings and marking refrigerants in auto air conditioners that have been retrofit.
  • Be prepared to provide consumers with up-to-date information about the use of CFC-12 and substitute refrigerants. Service shops should be able to offer information as well as respond to questions. Having brochures, fact sheets, posters, and/or videos on hand will help educate consumers about their options.

Summary of State Requirements

States have not typically issued additional regulations in relation to CFCs and Halons.

Laws and Statutes

The Clean Air Act

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Regulatory Sources
40 CFR 82.1 through 82.24
Protection of Stratospheric Ozone, Subpart A: Production and Consumption Controls

40 CFR 82.30 through 82.42
Protection of Stratospheric Ozone, Subpart B: Servicing of Motor Vehicle Air Conditioners

40 CFR 82.100 through 82.124
Protection of Stratospheric Ozone, Subpart E: The Labeling of Products Using Ozone-Depleting Substances

40 CFR 82.150 through 82.169
Protection of Stratospheric Ozone, Subpart F: Recycling and Emissions Reduction

40 CFR 82.170 through 82.184
Protection of Stratospheric Ozone, Subpart G: Significant New Alternatives Policy Program
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Last Updated: July 11, 2017