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F gases are fluorinated gases that include HCFCs, HFCs and CFCs used in refrigerated applications and equipment, including air conditioning. Certain F gases have been proven to deplete the ozone layer, whilst others directly contribute to greenhouse gases associated with global warming. EU legislation has been put into place in order to limit the use of these gases, controlling how much F gas is released into the Earth’s atmosphere in an effort to protect the environment. Legally, air conditioning installations and equipment that contain more than 2.14kg (5 Tonnes CO2) of an F gas refrigerant should be leak checked once a year. If the system contains more than 24kg (50 Tonnes CO2) of F gas refrigerant, then they should be check checked every 6 months for leaks and damage by a contractor certified to work with F gases.
Owners of equipment that use and contain HFCs should, according to the legislation,
- Use qualified, specialist and appropriately trained contractors to repair, maintain, dispose of and service refrigerant and equipment
- Use any and all measures to help prevent refrigerant leaks
- Repair leaks as soon as they have been detected
Owners of equipment or systems that contain 2.4kg (5 Tonnes CO2) or more of an F gas refrigerant are under additional obligations, which include:
- Conducting regular, scheduled testing (annually, bi-annually or quarterly if a system meets the certain threshold) by qualified and certified contractors with the intention of identifying leaks
- Maintaining the appropriate records, detailing: the date of each leak check along with the results, the quantity and type of each refrigerant used, the quantity, type and equivalent CO2 in Tonnes of each refrigerant which has been disposed of, recovered from or added to the system and the identity and details of the company and contractor who carried out the maintenance or service
Integrated Compliance are qualified to carry out F gas testing. If necessary, annual F gas checks can easily be incorporated into a Planned Maintenance Contract.
Is the landlord able to access a property for safety checks?
The contract you make with your tenant should allow you access for any maintenance or safety check work that needs to be done. You must not use force to enter the property. Further information is provided in regulation 39 of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.
A landlord has to show that they took all reasonable steps to comply with the law. HSE recommends the following actions and strongly advises that a record be kept of all correspondence with the tenants:
- Leave the tenant a notice stating that an attempt was made to complete the gas safety check and provide your contact details.
- Write to the tenant explaining that a safety check is a legal requirement and that it is for the tenant’s own safety. Give the tenant the opportunity to arrange their own appointment.
HSE inspectors will look for repeated attempts to complete the gas safety check, including the above suggestions; however the approach will need to be appropriate to each circumstance. It would ultimately be for a court to decide if the action taken was reasonable depending upon the individual circumstances.find out more