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Section 608 and 609 Changes Require Certifications and Record-Keeping; Affects Retailers, Wholesalers and Mobile AC Servicers

In January, 2018, the Section 608 rule extended purchasing requirements to non-ozone depleting alternative refrigerant substances such as HFCs. This means that now, the sale of most refrigerants of two pounds or larger is restricted to 608- and 609-certified technicians. This includes R-134a, which under past guidelines was excluded. There are new rules in place now for R-1234yf as well.

Additionally, distributors must keep refrigerant sales records and verify that purchasers are (or employ) 608- or 609-certified technicians. The rules are spelled out more specifically below.

Wholesalers Must Keep Records

Wholesalers selling either ozone-depleting or substitute refrigerants must retain invoices that show the name of the purchaser, date of sale, and the quantity of refrigerant purchased. Wholesalers selling refrigerant for resale are legally responsible for ensuring that their customers meet one of the categories of allowed purchasers under the sales restriction. Wholesalers can review their responsibilities under the program here at the EPA site.

Requirements for Sales of Large Cylinders to Service Technicians

The seller must keep an invoice listing the name of purchaser, date of sale, and quantity of refrigerant purchased. The seller must either see a Section 608 or Section 609 technician certification card. [Note that Section 609 technicians may not purchase HCFC-22; also called R-22.]. If the buyer is uncertified, but is purchasing on behalf of a shop or other facility, the seller must see evidence that at least one technician at that shop is certified (such as a letter from the shop stating a particular technician is certified plus a copy of that technician’s certification card).

The seller must keep a copy of the purchaser’s technician certification on file.

The purchasing facility must notify the seller if a certified technician is no longer employed. The seller is then prohibited from selling refrigerant to the buyer until they provide proof that another certified technician is employed.

Requirements for Sales of Large Refrigerant Cylinders to Refrigerant Wholesalers

The seller must have an invoice listing the name of purchaser, date of sale, and quantity of refrigerant purchased.

The seller does not need to see a Section 608 or Section 609 technician certification card. However, it is a good idea to get a written statement certifying that the product will be resold. The statement should include the business name and address of the wholesaler. Sellers of refrigerant are legally responsible for ensuring that their customers are allowed to purchase refrigerant, either for resale or that they employ a certified technician.

For Sales of Small Cans of Ozone Depleting Refrigerant (Less than 20 Pounds) to Motor Vehicle Air Conditioner (MVAC) Service Technicians, the seller must see the technician's Section 609 certification card. Only Section 609 certified technicians can purchase small cans of CFC-12 (also called R-12) or EPA-approved substitutes for MVACs containing an ozone depleting substance. Section 608 certified technicians may not purchase these cans. R-134a or R-1234yf sold in anything larger than a 2 lb. container requires certification to purchase. R-134a or R-1234yf sold in anything smaller than a 2 lb. container does not require certification to purchase. Additionally, all R-134a and R-1234yf small cans must use a self-sealing cap if manufactured after 1/1/18. R-134a or R-1234yf cans packaged before 1/1/18 using the old cap style may continue to be sold in 2018.

For Sales of Small Cans of Ozone Depleting Refrigerant, Less than 20 lbs., to Refrigerant Wholesalers, sellers must obtain a written statement from the wholesaler that the small cans are for resale only. The statement must indicate the purchaser's name and business address.

The new regulations are available at the U.S. EPA website.