Getting an HVAC Universal certification requires passing a test that covers material from three HVAC certifications. These tests deal with handling refrigerants and other substances that can harm the environment.
HVAC Universal certification is provided by the Environmental Protection Agency and covers aspects of HVAC work that can potentially affect the environment. Type I certification deals with small appliances, including residential refrigerators and window air conditioners, while Type II certification deals with disposing of high-pressure refrigerant often used in commercial environments. Type III certification covers handling low-pressure refrigerant, often used in chillers.
Universal certification covers questions from each of these three certifications and core questions. Each of the four sections has 25 questions, and test-takers must answer at least 18 correctly to become certified. Those who pass the core section but fail other sections can still qualify for Type I, Type II and Type III certification.
Refrigerants are potentially dangerous to people, but the biggest risk they pose is to the environment. Chlorofluorocarbons are the leading cause of damage to the atmosphere's ozone layer. Even though CFCs have been phased out for consumer products, they're still used in a wide range of residential and commercial systems as of 2015. Certification ensures that experts know how to dispose of CFCs and other refrigerants safely.