Reclamation And The EPA

[Editor’s note:This letter is in response to the article “The Fine Points of Reclamation,” March 3.]

As one component of the Clean Air Act, the U.S. government included the practice of refrigerant reclamation. Refrigerant reclamation involves the process of cleaning dirty or used refrigerants and restoring them to virgin purity standards. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in cooperation with The Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI), adopted purity standards for reclaimed refrigerants. This standard is known as ARI 700-1999. It was decided that reclamation facilities, those facilities set up to clean dirty or used refrigerants back to ARI 700 standards, would be certified by the EPA. The official list of EPA Certified Reclaimers can be found on the EPA website:

As part of this certification, reclamation facilities are subject to specific reporting requirements to the EPA. In addition, EPA-certified reclamation facilities are required to have all reclaimed refrigerants tested to ensure that they meet the ARI 700 purity standards prior to their sale. That means that all refrigerants that have been reclaimed must be tested. Prior to purchasing reclaimed refrigerants, customers should request the test results from the reclamation facility.

As mentioned, the EPA provides the official certification and acceptance of reclamation facilities. In addition, ARI established a voluntary reclaimer certification program. In this voluntary program, the ARI annually selects a random sampling of the reclaimer’s product for testing to verify that the reclaimed refrigerant meets the ARI 700-1999 Standard. Some reclaimers choose to participate in this voluntary program to provide their customers with some additional assurance that they are following correct procedures. Many other reclaimers choose not to participate simply because they believe that since they are already testing all of their reclaimed refrigerant, the ARI program only adds additional time and expense to the process.

Many of the past concerns surrounding reclaimers and reclaimed refrigerants were caused by unethical business practices by some reclaimers. Fortunately, either market pressures or government regulation have put those reclaimers out of business. The reclaimer industry today is very reliable. It is important to remember that all reclaimers must be EPA certified and all are required to submit all reclaimed refrigerant for testing. To alleviate any concerns about the quality of a reclaimer or reclaimed refrigerant, the wholesaler or contractor purchasing reclaimed refrigerant should verify that the reclaimer is EPA certified and should insist on receiving a copy of the ARI 700 test report from the reclaimer. These simple steps will help ensure that consumers can have confidence in reclaimed refrigerants.

Don Rodgers, RMS of Georgia, LLC, Alpharetta, Ga.

Publication date: 04/14/2003