Knowledge / FAQ

Most obligations are the responsibility of the ‘operator’, defined as the “the natural or legal person exercising actual power over the technical functioning of the equipment and systems.”

This is not necessarily the owner; especially in situations where a building is leased or a business has multiple sites run by managers.

1. Use Trained Technicians:

Your first and overriding responsibility is to ensure that the company you employ to work on (install, leak test, maintain & dispose of) your refrigeration & air conditioning equipment is F-Gas registered.

2. Leak Testing:

Operators of equipment containing fluorinated greenhouse gases need to ensure the equipment is checked for leaks under the following requirements:

Maximum interval between checks
1 year or 2 years with leak detection installed (5 CO2Tonnes)
6 months or 1 year with leak detection installed (50 CO2Tonnes)
3 months or 6 months with leak detection installed (500 CO2Tonnes)

3. Records:

Operators of all stationary systems containing the equivalent of 5 CO2 tonnes or more of F-Gases must maintain records in the form of an onsite F-Gas log including:

  • Quantity and type of F-gases installed, added or recovered
  • Identifications of the company or technician carrying on servicing
  • Dates and results of leakage checks

4. Labelling:

Systems containing refrigerant must be labelled to display at least the type and quantity of the F-Gas in the container or equipment.

Yes, but it is often not always the right solution…

Refrigerant Blends:

Some refrigerants are actually composed of a mixture of multiple refrigerants in specific proportions such that when a system loses part of it’s charge this mixture can change as result due to losing different amounts of each refrigerant making up the gas.


Contamination within refrigerant poses significant risk to the operation of the equipment for example where oil enters the system, this is notorious for killing costly compressors.

Where a leak is identified, the nature of the risk should be considered by a professional.

SFG20 is set out by BESA to provide industry best practice guidelines for building engineering maintenance. This includes all of the HVAC equipment we have vast experience in servicing.

Valuable Insight

It is often missed that the standard does not intend to set hard and fast rules but instead act as a framework for best practice. This is important to consider as strict adherence to the standard will see you maintaining Air Handling Unit’s monthly.

It is important to tailor the maintenance to the individual site. Sites and Buildings can vary in complexity and importance. The user must therefore understand what is required on the site/building and this is reflected in the maintenance and frequencies. As an example,
the frequency of maintenance visits to the air conditioning system serving a commercial bank data centre, may be significantly different to the maintenance frequency of an air conditioning unit in an unoccupied office. The task in SFG20 will have the same frequencies as it is a generic guide. The user must therefore adjust the frequency to suit their requirements’

CIBSE Guide M provides guidelines for expected life-span of equipment however it is careful to acknowledge that there a some key variables that have significant impact on the baseline figures they provide, these include:

  • Operating environment
  • Run hours
  • Ambient conditions
  • Quality of design
  • Quality of maintenance

We encourage you to get in touch for any queries and where you require help forecasting for your estate.