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‘Topping up’ means adding refrigerant to refrigeration and air conditioning systems before checking for, and fixing, any leaks. This is not allowed under the Australian codes of practice for handling both stationary and automotive refrigerant systems.
‘Topping up’ is not allowed for any existing system charges.
‘Topping up’ is bad for the environment. If you haven’t checked for and repaired, any leaks you will release refrigerant to the atmosphere.
Fluorocarbon refrigerant is found in most household and car air conditioning systems. It is an ozone-depleting substance and synthetic greenhouse gas. If released into the atmosphere, it can damage the ozone layer and contribute to global warming. The ozone layer protects life on earth by absorbing ultra-violet (UV) radiation from the sun.
UV radiation is linked to skin cancer, genetic damage, and immune suppression in humans and other living organisms.
You also run the risk of mixing refrigerants. If you add refrigerant to an existing system charge before you identify the existing refrigerant. This can weaken the performance of the system. There may also be a safety risk.
These are the reasons why discharging fluorocarbon refrigerant is illegal under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989. Penalties of up to $63,000 for individuals and $315,000 for corporations may apply. Only ARC-licensed technicians can handle and trade fluorocarbon refrigerant in Australia.
The refrigerant codes of practice are best practice guidelines on handling refrigerants for ARC-licensed technicians. They have been developed under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Regulations 1995. The codes are mandatory and help to reduce emissions of ozone-depleting substances into the atmosphere. This is consistent with Australia’s obligations as a signatory to the Montreal Protocol.Offical Information Factsheet