Italians could face jail for R32 retrofits

Italians could face jail for R32 retrofits

The Italian refrigeration association, Assofrigoristi, has warned installers who retrofit R410A air conditioners with flammable R32 that they could face jail or a fine of up to to €5,200.

Faced with shortages and high prices of R410A, Assofrigoristi has echoed recent UK warnings and reminded Italian installers that EC-certified home air conditioning units using non-flammable A1 refrigerant R410A cannot be retrofitted with a “mildly flammable” A2L gas like R32.

Assofrigoristi points out that an installer who modifies an essential component such as the refrigerant, alters the CE marking of the manufacturer and assumes full responsibility for it. The CE mark presupposes, for the manufacturer, the verification of the application of the Safety Directives such as the Machinery Directive, the EMC Directive, the PED Directive and, where applicable, the ATEX directive.

The association also reminds the industry that the Italian Legislative Decree 17/2010, which implemented the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC, establishes “the prohibition of placing machines on the market that may affect the safety and health of people, domestic animals and property”. It must be ensured that the machinery meets the relevant essential health and safety requirements; provide the necessary information, such as instructions; carry out the appropriate conformity assessment procedures; draw up the EC declaration of conformity and make sure that it accompanies the machine; affix the CE marking.

In effect, an Italian installer who alters its characteristics could face arrest and a jail sentence of up to three months or a fine of up to to €5,200. This is over and above any other possible penalties in the event of an accident.