An official website of the United States government.

This is not the current EPA website. To navigate to the current EPA website, please go to This website is historical material reflecting the EPA website as it existed on January 19, 2021. This website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work. More information »

Definitions of Section 608 Terms


Any device which contains and uses a Class I (chlorofluorocarbon; CFC)Class II (hydrofluorocarbon; HCFC) substance or substitute (e.g. hydrofluorocarbon; HFC) as a refrigerant and which is used for household or commercial purposes, including any air conditioner, motor vehicle air conditioner, refrigerator, chiller, or freezer. For a system with multiple circuits, each independent circuit is considered a separate appliance. EPA interprets this definition to include all air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment except that designed and used exclusively for military purposes.


Any person who is currently registered as an apprentice in maintenance, service, repair, or disposal of appliances with the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Apprenticeship (or a State Apprenticeship Council recognized by the Office of Apprenticeship).

Major maintenance, service, or repair

Maintenance, service, or repair that involves removal of the appliance compressor, condenser, evaporator, or auxiliary heat exchanger coil.

Motor Vehicle Air Conditioner (MVAC)-like appliance

Mechanical vapor compression, open-drive compressor appliances used to cool the driver's or passenger's compartment of an off-road vehicle, including agricultural and construction vehicles. This definition excludes appliances using HCFC-22 (also called R-22).

Opening an appliance

Any service, maintenance, or repair on an appliance that would release any refrigerant from the appliance to the atmosphere. Connecting and disconnecting hoses and gauges to and from the appliance to measure pressures within the appliance and to add refrigerant to or recover refrigerant from the appliance are not considered "opening."


To reprocess recovered refrigerant to at least the purity specified in the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) Standard 700-2016 and to verify this purity using the analytical methodology prescribed in the standard. Reclamation requires specialized machinery not available at a particular job site or auto repair shop. The technician will recover the refrigerant and then send it either to a general reclaimer or back to the refrigerant manufacturer.


To remove refrigerant in any condition from an appliance and store it in an external container without necessarily testing or processing it in any way.


When referring to a refrigerant, recycle means to extract refrigerant from an appliance (except MVACs) and clean refrigerant for reuse in equipment of the same owner without meeting all of the requirements for reclamation. In general, recycled refrigerant is refrigerant that is cleaned using oil separation and single or multiple passes through devices, such as replaceable core filter-driers, which reduce moisture, acidity, and particulate matter. Under Section 609 of the Clean Air ActHelpClean Air ActA law amended by Congress in 1990. Title VI of the CAA ( directs EPA to protect the ozone layer through several regulatory and voluntary programs. Sections within Title VI cover production of ozone-depleting substances (ODS), the recycling and handling of ODS, the evaluation of substitutes, and efforts to educate the public., refrigerant can be removed from one car's air conditioner, recycled on site, and then charged into a different car.

Refrigerant circuit

The parts of an appliance that are normally connected to each other (or are separated only by internal valves) and are designed to contain refrigerant.

Small appliance

Any of the following products that are fully manufactured, charged, and hermetically sealed in a factory with five pounds or less of refrigerant: refrigerators and freezers designed for home use, room air conditioners (including window air conditioners and packaged terminal air conditioners), packaged terminal heat pumps, dehumidifiers, under-the-counter ice makers, vending machines, and drinking water coolers.


Any person who in the course of maintenance, service, or repair of an appliance (except MVACs) could be reasonably expected to violate the integrity of the refrigerant circuit and therefore release refrigerants into the environment. Technician also means any person who in the course of disposal of an appliance (except small appliances, MVACs, and MVAC-like appliances) could be reasonably expected to violate the integrity of the refrigerant circuit and therefore release refrigerants from the appliances into the environment.

Activities reasonably expected to violate the integrity of the refrigerant circuit include but are not limited to: attaching or detaching hoses and gauges to and from the appliance; adding or removing refrigerant; adding or removing components; and cutting the refrigerant line. Activities such as painting the appliance, rewiring an external electrical circuit, replacing insulation on a length of pipe, or tightening nuts and bolts are not reasonably expected to violate the integrity of the refrigerant circuit.

Activities conducted on appliances that have been properly evacuated are not reasonably expected to release refrigerants unless the activity includes adding refrigerant to the appliance.

Technicians could include but are not limited to installers, contractor employees, in-house service personnel, and owners and/or operators of appliances.