ACtion Magazine - June 2016 - (Page 8)
ummertime is here, and that means many shops are feelMACS knows about a few such laws, although certainly not
ing the full heat of A/C season. With temperatures rising, all of them. In California, for example, the Bay Area Air Quality
customers are seeking cool rides, and to help them out (and Management District (which includes several counties surroundkeep their profits up), many shops are offering A/C System Top- ing San Francisco) adopted Rule 7 of Regulation 12 on June 17,
Off Service. But in some parts of the U.S. that
1992. Section 301 states: No person shall
simple refill may not be legal (and if it is, it
add refrigerant to any motor vehicle air
may be against your shop's policy for ethical
conditioning system unless that system
...unless that system has no detectable leaks. It further rereasons). How then should you handle a customer who asks for it?
has no detectable leaks quires a visual inspection followed by the
The U.S. Environmental Protection
use of an electronic leak detector (which
Agency (EPA) regulates mobile A/C system
meets SAE Standards). Other California
service, basically by requiring technicians to
AQMDs have passed similar regulations.
become Section 609 Certified and to use equipment and methods that
In 2014 the Wisconsin Legislature passed AB 695, a law that
meet certain standards. But one thing it doesn't require is leak repair, repealed their state's licensing requirement for mobile A/C techwhich may seem counterintuitive for the nation's top environmental nicians, instead requiring them to become Section 609 certified
agency. There are, however, several state and local laws that do re- through an EPA approved agency (such as MACS). But this bill
quire leak repair prior to recharging, which is something you should did not change Wisconsin's existing leak repair law. The topping
research in your area.
off of leaky systems is still prohibited under ATCP 136.20 (as is
knowingly or negligently releasing refrigerant into the environment). Similar legislation exists in Colorado's Air Quality Control Commission Regulation Number 15 (5 CCR 1001-19), which
requires mobile A/C system leak testing in that state. Several
other localities have issued the same laws, making it important
for each shop and technician to know those laws applicable to
where they live and work.
This myriad of regulations stems from the early days of the
CFC phase out (around 1990) when the revised Clean Air Act was
passed, partially because some communities didn't think existing
rules went far enough. However, most areas of the U.S. simply
follow the current federal program (Title 40 CFR, Part 82).
So what about that customer who insists they need a recharge,
even though you're sure their A/C system has a leak (including
the really small ones)? We asked a few MACS member shops,
and the consensus was pretty much the same across the board.
Each response said it's against their shop's policy to recharge a
leaking system (for ethical reasons, all MVAC refrigerants are
ozone depleters and / or they contribute to global warming), and
indicated they educate their customers as to why it's such a poor
service practice. In most cases, customers seem to agree and reschedule service when their finances allow.
MACS has always recommended that finding and fixing the
leak(s) is the best solution for the customer and the environment.
What's the policy at your shop? How do your local laws compare? Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website
www.macsw.org to let us know! ❆
Manager of Service Training
You can reach Steve at
ACTION * June 2016
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