Heating, ventilation and air conditioning, or HVAC, technicians may obtain an Environmental Protection Agency certification for managing refrigerants by passing an approved test administered by an acceptable certifying organization. The EPA offers Type I, Type II, Type III and universal certifications, depending on the type of appliances and equipment technicians use.
EPA tests for HVAC technicians are known as Section 608 certifications. The agency requires working professionals to have the certification if they perform services on HVAC systems that involve exposure to or handling of controlled refrigerants. Apprentices are excluded from the requirement as long as they work under the supervision of certified technicians at all times.
The Type I certification is for technicians who work with small appliances, including window air conditioners and domestic refrigerators. The test focuses on techniques for safely identifying and removing refrigerants from an HVAC system for effective disposal, especially when the appliance has compressor complications.
Type II certification tests technicians working with high-pressure refrigerants in heat pumps, supermarket refrigeration systems and other equipment. Obtaining this certification requires thorough knowledge of identifying and servicing leakages, handling refrigerants safely based on their reactive properties and choosing the most efficient and speedy methods of recovery.
The Type III certification is for technicians handling appliances with low-pressure refrigerants, such as chillers. The universal certification is a four-part exam for technicians servicing a wide range of appliances. It covers all Type I, Type II and Type III skills, and it also includes a core-knowledge section.