Expanding Your Career In Refrigeration: Which EPA Certification Should You Choose?

Posted on: 1 June 2015

If you're ready to expand your career in refrigeration, obtain an EPA technical certification. EPA technical certification gives you the opportunity to work in a variety of positions, including new home residential contracting. The Environmental Protection Agency or EPA set up special guidelines to protect the ozone layer from the harmful liquids and aerosols used in cold storage repairs. You need to learn how to apply, discard and transport these types of substances properly.

Refrigerant contractors must abide by these guidelines when they work in residential, industrial and commercial settings, or they can lose their certifications. If you choose to become a certified EPA refrigerant contractor, you must attend an approved program and pass your certification test once you complete class. To get started on your career change, here are EPA refrigerant certifications you can choose.

Type 1 Certification for Small Appliances 

If you choose to work in a small to mid-size setting, such as for a local appliance company that offers repairs to customers, you may obtain your Type 1 Certification in Small Appliances. Small appliances is used to describe deep freezers, ice cream makers, refrigerators, and other types of residential and commercial cold storage units. Air conditioning units are also included in Type 1. 

The appliances mentioned above use less refrigerant than large, industrial-grade cold storage units or cooling systems. In most cases, 5 pounds is the limit for the refrigerants used by small appliances.

Type 1 certification requires you to study at an accredited trade school, then take the exam at the school or online once you finish the program. You can also take a manual test and mail it to The State Board of Refrigeration Examiners in North Carolina. However, mailing your exam to the board may take longer to receive your results and/or certification.

If Type 1 isn't for you, consider taking a program that teaches Type 2.

Type 2 and Type 3 Certifications 

Type 2 certification requires you to learn how to use and dispose of high-pressured gases, such as those used in espresso machines and super market cold storage units. Type 3 certification is designed for contractors who work with low-pressure appliances, such as centrifuge equipment. 

Your trade school will show you how to handle the substances used for Type 2 or 3 equipment properly through classroom exercises, tests and apprenticeships. You should understand that low and high pressure appliances and equipment can explode if they exceed temperatures of 50-58 °F, depending on the type of pressure they use. 

Because of the dangers, it's critical that you learn how to ventilate work site correctly while working on equipment. One of the most important parts of your training prior to the certification exam is to learn how to contain refrigerant leaks in residential, commercial and industrial settings. You may want to focus on this area a little more before taking your Type 2 or 3 certification exams, as the test may contain numerous questions on safety.

If you choose a Type 2 or 3 program for your certification, you'll need to take the exam at an EPA-regulated site. The passing grade for this exam may change, so it's a good idea to ask your trade school for the correct information when you sign up for the program.

Type 4 Certification for All Appliances

If you wish to earn all three certifications, you can take the Type 4 certification exam. Your studies at your trade school will be longer and more in-depth. In addition, you must successfully demonstrate how to place, remove and discard refrigerants in each type before you graduate your program. 

If you have questions about the EPA certifications, the exams or your courses, contact a trade school, such as HVAC Technical Institute, for more details.