EPA 608 Core Section Study Guide

Posted January 21st, 2011 in HVAC EPA 608 Certification Study Guide by VickSmith

EPA 608 Certification Core section of the test will cover 10 HVAC Training areas of study that the technician will need to prepare for. The technician should be familiar that CFCs and HCFC refrigerants contain chlorine which leads to the destruction of chlorine. They should also be able to distinguish whether a refrigerant is CFC, HCFC, or HFC. (i.e. R-12 is CFC, R-22 is HCFC, R-134 is HFC)

Ozone Depletion

The HVAC technician should be familiar with the Clean Air Act and Montreal Protocol. They should be aware that of venting of refrigerants and its substitutes at time of service or disposal is prohibited. This is the reason HVAC training is crucial to passing certifications as this knowledge would be second nature to trained technicians. The technician should also be aware that ozone depleting substances are being phased out and be familiar with the Jan 1, 2010 ban of production, import, and use of HCFC-22 and HCFC142b for ongoing servicing needs of existing equipment. By Jan 1, 2020 remaining production and import of HCFC22 and HCFC-142b will be in place.

Section 608 Regulation

The HVAC trained technician should also have good knowledge on Section 608 regulations and what it covers. They should know that all air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment containing CFC of HCFCs are covered by this regulation with the exception of motor vehicle air conditioners. Motor vehicle air conditioners are covered by section 609.

The technician should also be able to distinguish between high and low-pressure refrigerants. Low pressure refrigerants are CFC-11 and HCFC-12. High-pressure refrigerants include CFC-12, CFC-500, CFC-502, CFC-114, and HCFC-22. Very high-pressure refrigerants are CFC-13 and CFC-503.

Substitute Refrigerants and Oils

The HVAC trained technician should be aware that there is no “drop-in” replacement for CFCs. Substitutes require more power to cool at the same level as CFCs. There are numerous modifications required to existing equipment to function with the substitutes. Another concern on substitutes is its increased toxicity levels.


This section of the exam test the HVAC training of technicians on how to use refrigerator gauges which include definition of the color codes, the different types of gauges and its proper use. The technician should also be familiar with refrigerant states and pressures at different stages of the refrigeration cycle.

Three R’s (Recover, Recycle, and Reclaim)

The HVAC trained technician should be able to define recover, recycle, and reclaim from a refrigerant perspective. Recovered refrigerants pertain to refrigerants removed from air-conditioning equipment and stored in an external container without being tested or processed. Recycled refrigerants have been extracted and cleaned for reuse. Reclaimed refrigerants has been reprocessed and tested to comply with industry purity standards.

Recovery Techniques

The technician would need to have had HVAC training on refrigerant recovery techniques as their knowledge will be validated in this section. They should be familiar with the different factors impacting speed of recovery such as temperature, size of equipment, and hose used. They should also be aware that mixing of refrigerants should be avoided.


 The technician should be able to prove that they have completed HVAC training on safety practices concerning refrigerants. This includes awareness on risk of exposure to refrigerants, knowledge of the protective equipment, knowledge of cylinders (whether they are reusable or disposable), use of nitrogen for leak detection. 

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