When you first start as an HVAC contractor, a primary goal is establishing yourself as a reputable local service. One of the first things you need to do is to get the Section 608 Technician Certification. Its purpose is to help you understand refrigerant pressures, so you can maintain, service, repair, and dispose of equipment using refrigerant.
We’ll break down what it is, the different types, what’s covered on the exam, and how you can get certified.
Outlining the EPA Certification
The Section 608 Technician Certification is an official recognition notifying individuals that the contractor knows the official laws and regulations regarding refrigerant removal.
There are different types of 608 certifications you can get. They include:
- Type I: Needed to service smaller appliances like window AC units, water coolers, and refrigerators
- Type II: This type of certification is necessary to service or remove high-pressure refrigerants from appliances such as:
- Residential HVAC units
- Heat pumps
- Retail refrigeration, e.g. supermarkets
- Type III: Useful when removing low-pressure refrigerant from equipment
- Universal: Covers servicing or removal of refrigerant under Type I, II, and III certifications
Why Do You Need an EPA Certification to Remove Refrigerant?
Technicians need the 608 certifications because refrigerant is an ozone-depleting substance (ODS). If a large amount gets released into the atmosphere, it can harm the environment and all living things. As a result, it damages the ozone layer and increases the impact of the sun’s UV rays on our skin, which can cause skin cancer.
However, a technician will know how to handle refrigerants with the proper certifications. Their knowledge will decrease the amount released, reducing its impact on the ozone layer and natural life.
Follow these steps to get your Section 608 Technician Certification
1. Know the Requirements
Each certification will have different requirements. But you’ll be expected to pass a core test that addresses specific HVAC principles such as:
- Handling refrigerant
- Safety measures
- Recover, recycle, reclaim
- The regulations surrounding Section 608 of the Clean Air Act
- How ozone-depleting substances impact the environment
Each test type is closed-book, with 25 multiple-choice questions. You’ll need to answer 18 of them to pass. Once you pass the core test, you’ll also need to take a specific certification exam.
However, it’s important to note that passing one test doesn’t mean you’ll be certified in other areas. For example, if you pass the Type II test, you won’t be qualified to handle refrigerants on Type I equipment because of the differing knowledge. Also, to gain universal certification, you’ll need to pass all three tests.
2. Take a Certification Prep Course
Prep courses aren’t mandatory but can provide the knowledge needed to pass certification tests. Furthermore, they’ll give specific examples correlated to the type of equipment.
Let’s say you were taking a Type I course; it would focus on using “passive” recovery devices for refrigerant removal. On the other hand, a Type II course would cover concepts on leak detection since you’ll be working with high-pressure equipment.
You can take this test prep course offered by the ACCA to give you information on all topics covered in the exam. It’ll take just over three hours to complete, but if you don’t finish it in one sitting, you can access it whenever you want.
3. Search for an EPA-Certifying Program
Next, you’ll have to find a legitimate EPA-certified organization. You can find a list of qualifying programs on the EPA website.
Some states have several testing sites, with multiple test-taking options like remote or mail-in. Contact the organizations to determine whether they have a testing method suited to your needs.
4. Pass and Get Certified
After passing the core test, you’ll need to take the certification exam specific to the equipment you’ll be handling. These tests are 50 questions in total. You’ll need to get at least 70% to qualify for your certification.
Depending on your location, your exam results will be available immediately once you take the test. If you pass, you’ll receive your certification details in the mail. In the meantime, you can print proof of your qualification online.
Once you’re certified, the qualification doesn’t expire. But you’ll need to maintain a record of your results in case you’re asked. Furthermore, you’ll need to stay updated with the rules and regulations of state laws regarding refrigerants.
By getting your Section 608 Technician Certification, your HVAC business will become more profitable, secure, and efficient.