Improved standards of training for installers is essential

David Dunn, Commercial Director of Toshiba Air Conditioning believes that when we are considering the proposals to ban sales of equipment pre-charged with refrigerant, we need to address the issue of improved standards of training for installers.

He says: “Banning the sale of air conditioning equipment pre-charged with refrigerant has been suggested as a possible means of reducing the risk of leakage and making refrigerant sales more transparent.

“From the manufacturer’s point of view, this is do-able. All it would require is an additional stage to recover the refrigerant after run testing, then charge with OFN (oxygen free nitrogen), prior to sealing and shipping.

“From the installer’s point of view, however, it would mean that systems would have to be charged on site, with the additional time and cost this would involve.

“It would also add to the potential risk of refrigerant loss to atmosphere as charging refrigerant on site at hundreds of thousands of locations across the country, no matter how carefully done, will never be as controllable, precise or safe as in the manufacturer’s factory conditions, where charging is fully automated.

“We believe the key to ensuring that leaks are minimised is improved standards of training for installers and making sure current regulations on certification and competence are enforced. If the issue is accountability and traceability, then it would be straightforward to require manufacturers to provide returns documenting the quantity of refrigerant supplied in pre-charged equipment.”

Improve standards

David went on to say: “If the issue is reducing refrigerant release during installation, servicing and on-going operation, then policing the existing requirements and improving training is the most effective way of ensuring this.

“Toshiba Air Conditioning takes the issue of refrigerant containment very seriously and our suite of detection and containment solutions provides complete assurance for end users, building occupiers and the environment. Our technology, which has been highly commended in two recent national awards, is considered so effective that buildings equipped with the system qualify for additional BREEAM points, significantly boosting their environmental credentials.”

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