EPA Refrigerant Certification  

What is EPA refrigerant certification? EPA refrigerant certification
is required for those that handle refrigerants. These refrigerants include such
ozone-depleting CFC (chlorofluorocarbon) refrigerants as R-11, R-12 and R-22. They must be certified and pass a written EPA certification test  administered by organizations approved by the EPA.  Starting on January 1, 2018, this requirement will also apply to appliances containing most substitute refrigerants, including HFCs.   The EPA has also restricted the sale of regulated refrigerants to certified technicians only.  

To become certified to purchase and handle refrigerants, technicians must pass a written EPA refrigeration examination specific to the type of work in which they specialize. Local and online EPA 608 certification tests are offered. Examples of EPA-approved certifying organizations include the North American Technician Excellence, Esco Group and RSES. 
The three possible areas of EPA refrigerant certification are:
Type I Certification —servicing small appliances; Type II Certification—high-pressure refrigerants; and Type III Certification—low-pressure refrigerants.

Certification exams and certification classes are administered by organizations approved by the U.S. EPA and include trade schools, unions, contractor associations, or building groups. Universal certification involves issues pertaining to all three specific types.

Technicians receiving a Universal Certification are certified to
work on any type of air conditioning and refrigeration equipment except motor vehicle air conditioning. To become Universal
you must pass the Core, Type I, Type II, and Type III
sections of the 608 exam.

The EPA 608 exam covers issues and compliance of the EPA 608 refrigeration recycling rules as specified in the Clean Air Act.
For information on the EPA 608 exam format click here. Some of the issues on the EPA certification test are summarized below.

Core Issues:

  • Ozone depletion
  • Clean Air Act and Montreal Protocol
  • Section 608 Regulations
  • Substitute Refrigerants
  • Safety Issues

  • Refrigeration states and gauges
  • Definitions of recover, recycle and
  • Recovery and evacuation techniques
  • Shipping requirements

Type I Certification: servicing small appliances 

  • recovery requirements including refrigerant identification techniques and passive recovery devices
  • definition of small appliances
  • recovery techniques
  • evacuation of small appliances with and without compressors
  • safety issues including high temperature decomposition products

Type 2 Certification: high pressure systems 

  • leak detection
  • leak repair requirements
  • recovery techniques including methods
    for speeding recovery and avoiding cross contamination
  • recovery requirements including evacuation and disposal requirements
  • refrigeration identification and pressure temperature relationships
  • safety issues including equipment room requirements

Type III Certification:  low pressure systems

  • leak detection including signs of leakage and order of preference for test pressurization methods
  • leak repair requirements including allowable annual leaks rates
  • recovery techniques including both liquid and vapor recovery and high pressure recovery device cut-out levels


  • recharging techniques including vapor introduction before liquid and charging
    of centrifugals
  • recovery requirements including disposal, major vs. non-major repairs and
    allowable methods
  • refrigeration including purpose of purge unit and P-T relationships of low
    pressure refrigerants
  • safety issues including ASHRAE Standard 15 requirements for equipement room
Information on this page summarized from:
(1) Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/heating-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration-mechanics-and-installers.htm
(2) US Environmental Protection Agency, Overview of Issues on EPA Certification Test,http://www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/608/technicians/certoutl.html

This site is intended only for informational purposes and is not a substitute for professional guidance.