As of July 1, 2020, units with A2 and A3 refrigerants cannot be traded without government certification in New South Wales.
© roegger, 2014
The Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) changed the safety status of air conditioning units using flammable and higher flammability refrigerants (A2 and A3, respectively) to “declared articles” as of July 1, which means that they cannot be traded without government certification.
The updated classification for refrigerants can be found on the website of the Standards Association of Australia (SAA).
“This certification which includes local independent testing must be provided and approved by the government prior to any sale,” according to the Climate Control News website.
The new rule covers refrigerants with a “flammability classification of Class 2 or Class3 in accordance with ISO 817. For refrigerant blends that have more than one flammability classification, the most unfavorable classification is taken,” according to the SAA. ISO 817 categorizes A2 refrigerants as flammable and A3 refrigerants as higher flammability.
The standards on flammable refrigeration outlined by the Geneva, Switzerland-based International Organization for Standardization(ISO) can be found here.
Notably, the new rule does not require certification for A2L refrigerants, categorized as “lower flammability” by ISO 817.
In 2018, systems using R32 (an A2L) made up 53% of all pre-charged small air conditioning units imported into Australia, an increase from 39% in 2016, according to “Cold Hard Facts 2019,” prepared for the Australian Department of Environment and Energy.
Flammable refrigerants were first introduced onto the NSW declared list in 2018, and the legislation came into effect on July 1, 2020. “This delay was in in order to allow traders toseek certification,” said the Climate Control News website.
Further details about flammable refrigerant licensing, fees, and penalties can be found on the New South Wales local government’s “Fair Trading” website.
To apply for a license, tradespeople in New South Wales are advised to consult the “Explanatory notes for the approval and sale of electrical articles in NSW – January 2020” document, which can be downloaded here.