13 ASE Refrigerant Certification Tests
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Table of Contents
Mobile vehicle air conditioning (MVAC) systems cool the cabin of a car by moving heat. They move heat by evaporating a liquid to a gas inside the car and then condensing the gas back to a liquid outside the car. The liquid (refrigerant) is then sent back into the cabin of the car to repeat the process.
The MVAC is a sealed system and in a perfect world, the refrigerant would never leave the system. However, refrigerant can leak through faulty seals, lines, and other components. Refrigerant can also leak to the atmosphere during MVAC service and repair unless detailed procedures are followed and a refrigerant recovery machine is used.
The predominant refrigerant of MVAC systems from the 1930s until 1993 was R-12 (often called by its tradename “Freon”). During this 60 year period, almost all the R-12 lost during service and repair to MVAC systems was vented to the atmosphere. The venting of R-12 over the long period of time caused damage to the atmosphere. Section 609 of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 aggressively addressed this problem as defined in the next section.
Section 609 Regulations
- Venting Prohibition – Section 608 prohibits intentionally releasing refrigerants and most alternatives while maintaining, servicing, repairing, or disposing of MVAC systems.
- Technician Training & Certification – Technicians repairing or servicing MVAC systems must be trained and certified by an EPA-approved organization.
- EPA Approved Equipment – Technicians repairing or servicing MVAC systems must use refrigerant recovery equipment that is approved by EPA
- Equipment Certification Requirements – MVAC service shops must certify to EPA that they have acquired and are properly using approved refrigerant recovery equipment.
- Technician Certification Requirements – Service shops must verify that each person using the equipment has been properly trained and certified.
- Record Keeping Requirements – MVAC service shops must maintain records of the names and addresses of facilities to which the refrigerant they recover is sent. Service shops are also required to maintain records (on-site) showing that all service technicians are properly certified and must certify to EPA that they own approved equipment.
- Refrigerant Sales Restriction – Section 609 prohibits the sale of small cans (less than 2 pounds) of CFC-12 to anyone other than an EPA-certified technician.
If these new regulations and procedures are not followed,
the EPA can levy hefty fines on the shop owner,
the technician, and the equipment manufacturer.
Section 609 Training Vendors
Section 609 requires that any person who repairs or services a motor vehicle air conditioning (MVAC) system for consideration (payment or bartering) must be properly trained and certified under Section 609 of the Clean Air Act by an EPA approved program. The following training programs are the only ones that are EPA approved.
- AM General Corporation (Military)
- ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence)
- ESCO Institute
- Ferris State University (FSU)
- The Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ Association
- Mainstream Engineering Corporation
- Metro Atlanta Automobile Dealers Association
- Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide
- National Fluid Power Institute (NFPI)
- New York State Association of Service Stations and Repair Shops, Inc.
- Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX)
- Universal Technical Institute
- Wyoming Technical Institute
Of the 14 programs listed above, the two most prominent programs that deliver training to the public are Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide and ASE. These two programs are covered in the next two sections.
Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS)
MACS was founded in 1981 and is a non-profit trade association that focuses on total vehicle climate and thermal management. They have helped more than 1 million service technicians to comply with the 1990 U.S. EPA Clean Air Act requirements for Section 609 certification in refrigerant recovery and recycling.
Online – Test study manuals are available to download free as a pdf document from the MACS website and are available in both English and Spanish.
Test Prep Webinar – Students can optionally purchase a recorded Section 609 test prep webinar for $25 at the MACS web store as a learning aid to help you comprehend and navigate the MACS Section 609 certification test. The webinar recording is approximately 60 minutes and you will have access to it for three weeks. Currently, it is only available in English. Also, note that this cost is in addition to the $20 test fee.
Home Test – If you order a home study test, a hard copy study manual will be mailed to you with your test.
The cost for a MACS Section 609 test is $20 per test. You have the option of taking the Section 609 certification test online (on the MACS website), or you may order a home study test (English or Spanish) which includes a mail-in test. Payment must be made before a test will be issued online or for home study.
Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS)
Phone: (215) 631-7020
225 South Broad Street
Lansdale, PA 19446
P.O. Box 88
Lansdale, PA 19446
Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)
ASE offers a Refrigerant Recovery and Recycling Program that meets the EPA requirements. It is available fully online or as a paper/pencil (mail in) version.
Students can download a Refrigerant Recovery and Recycling Review Book as a PDF file for free.
The cost for a MACS Section 609 test is $19 per test. You have the option of taking the Section 609 certification test online, or you may order a printed booklet which includes a mail-in test. ASE also supports the purchase of vouchers so multiple seats can be purchased with one transaction.
1503 Edwards Ferry Rd., NE, Suite 401
Leesburg, VA 20176