Introduction to the Section 608 Study GuideThis study guide was put together by the International Training Institute to helpprepare individuals for the EPA Section 608 certification exam. The information inthis study guide is based on the most current information available at the time ofpublishing.As a reminder, it is the technician’s responsibility to comply with any futurechanges the EPA may make.This guide will contain words in “BOLD” to help you remember key concepts andwords. At the end of each section (Core, Type I, II, & III) there will be a practicequiz. If you can answer the questions on the quiz, then you should be wellprepared to take the certification exam.Certain personal information is required on the exam. Technicians should beprepared to present: Picture identification Social security number Home addressAt the beginning of the exam, you will need to fill in your personal information andalso create a unique identification number. This number will be in Social Securitynumber format xxx‐xx‐xxxx and will be visible on the front of your certificationcard. DO NOT use your Social Security number when filling in this part.During the exam, read each test question thoroughly. Pay special attention toclarifying words like: always, never, not, sometimes, minimum, maximum, least,most, best, worst and similar words.Read every answer, even if you think the first one is correct. Many questions aremissed because not all the answer options are read. And you can always skip aquestion and come back to it.3

About the Section 608 ExamThe test is divided into 4 sections: Core, Type I, Type II, and Type IIIType I: A Type I technician primarily works on small appliances such asdomestic refrigerators, window air conditioners, PTACs and vendingmachines, etc. Type II: A Type II technician primarily works on equipment using a highpressure refrigerant such as HCFC‐22. The equipment includes residentialand lt. commercial air conditioners and heat pumps, roof top units,supermarket refrigeration and process refrigeration. Type III: A Type III technician primarily works on equipment using a lowpressure refrigerant such as HCFC‐123 or CFC‐11. These units areprimarily chillers. Universal: A candidate passing all three types is certified as UniversalEach section has 25 multiple choice questions. A technician must achieve aminimum score of 70% (18 out of 25) to pass that section of the exam. The Coresection must be passed to receive any other certification.For example: A technician could pass Core, Type I and Type III and fail Type II. Inthis case the technician would be certified as a Type I & Type III technician. Coremust be passed to receive any certification. All sections must be passed in order toachieve Universal Technician status.A technician may choose to take Core plus any combination of Type I, Type II orType III. It is not required to take all four sections on the exam.Tests are closed‐book tests. The only outside materials allowed are atemperature/pressure chart and a calculator. The temperature/pressure chartand calculator are both available onscreen, on the online version of the exam.Otherwise, you may remove the chart at the end of this study guide for the exam.4

COREIn this section we will cover general knowledge such as: Ozone depletion Clean Air Act and the Montreal Protocol Section 608 regulations Substitute refrigerants and oils Refrigeration Three R’s Recovery techniques Dehydration evacuation Safety ShippingMany consider the Core Section to be the most important section as Core isrequired to achieve any other certification type. And also because theinformation found in the Core Section, comes up again in other sections.5

Ozone Depletion:Ozone is a naturally occurring gas molecule that is made up of three oxygenatoms (O3). This gas occurs both in the Earth’s upper atmosphere and at groundlevel. At ground level, ozone is considered “bad” and is a pollutant that causessignificant health risks as well as damaging vegetation.The ozone that occurs in the upper atmosphere or stratosphere is considered“good” ozone. This “good” ozone in the stratosphere is a layer that extendsabout 6 to 30 miles above earth and creates a protective shield for Earth fromthe sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Depletion of ozone allows more of thesun’s harmful UV rays to reach the earth resulting in the following problems: Increased temperature of the earth Increased cases of skin cancer Increased numbers of cataracts in the eyes Increased ground level ozone Crop and vegetation loss Reduced marine lifeWhile the total amount of ozone in the stratosphere varies by location, time andseason, the effect of ozone depletion is a global problem.Destruction Process of OzoneOzone can be destroyed by chlorine and bromine atoms emitted into theatmosphere. When a chlorine atom meets with an ozone molecule, it takes anoxygen atom from the ozone molecule. The ozone molecule (O3) changes to anoxygen molecule (O2), while the chlorine atom changes to a compound calledchlorine monoxide (ClO).6

When chlorine monoxide meets ozone, it releases its oxygen atom and formstwo O2 oxygen molecules, leaving the chlorine molecule free to attack anotherozone molecule and repeat the process. It is estimated that a single chlorine atomcan destroy 100,000 ozone molecules.There has been a great deal of controversy over the subject of Ozone depletion.Some believe that the Chlorine found in the stratosphere comes from naturalsources such as volcanic eruptions. However, air samples taken over eruptingvolcanoes show that volcanoes contribute only a small quantity of Chlorine ascompared to CFC's.In addition, the rise in the amount of Chlorine measured in the stratosphere overthe past two decades matches the rise in the amount of Fluorine, which hasdifferent natural sources than Chlorine, over the same period. Also, the rise in theamount of Chlorine measured in the stratosphere over the past twenty years,matches the rise in CFC emissions over the same period.Unlike other Chlorine compounds and naturally occurring chlorine, the chlorinein CFC's will neither dissolve in water nor break down into compounds thatdissolve in water, so they do not rain out of the atmosphere.Despite being heavier than air, CFCs reach the stratosphere through wind motionsthat carry them upwards.Ozone depletion potential (ODP) is the measurement of the ability of CFCs andHCFCs to destroy the ozone. CFCs have the highest ODP, followed by HCFCs. HFCsdo not contain any chlorine and therefore do not have an ODPGasCFCHCFCExampleR‐11, R‐12, R‐500R‐22, R‐123ElementsChlorine, Fluorine, CarbonHydrogen, Chlorine, Fluorine, CarbonODPHigherLowerHFCR‐134aHydrogen, Fluorine, CarbonNone7

CLEAN AIR ACT:The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates section 608of the Federal Clean Air Act.Failure to comply could cost you and your company as much as 27,500* perday, per violation and there is a bounty of up to 10,000, to lure your competitors,customers and fellow workers to turn you in.Service technicians who violate Clean Air Act provisions may be fined, lose theircertification, and may be required to appear in Federal court.The EPA may require technicians to demonstrate the ability to properly performrefrigerant recovery/recycling procedures. Failing to demonstrate these skills canresult in revocation of certification.It is a violation of Section 608 to: Falsify or fail to keep required records; Fail to reach required evacuation rates prior to opening or disposing ofappliances; Knowingly release (vent) CFC's, HCFC's or HFC’s while repairing appliances,with the exception of de‐minimus releases; Service, maintain, or dispose of appliances designed to contain refrigerantswithout being appropriately certified as of November 14, 1994. (It is theresponsibility of the final person in the disposal chain to ensure thatrefrigerant has been removed from appliances before scrapping.) Vent CFC's or HCFC's since July 1, 1992; Vent HFC's since November 15, 1995; Fail to recover CFC's, HCFC's or HFC’s before opening or disposing of anappliance; Fail to have an EPA approved recovery device, equipped with low lossfittings, and register the device with the EPA; Add nitrogen to a fully charged system, for the purpose of leak detection,and thereby cause a release of the mixture; Dispose of a disposable cylinder without first recovering any remainingrefrigerant (to 0 psig.) and then rendering the cylinder useless, thenrecycling the metal;In addition, some state and local government regulations may contain regulationsthat are as strict as or stricter than Section 608.8

Montreal Protocol:The Montreal Protocol is an international agreement (Treaty) regulating theproduction and use of CFCs, HCFC’s, halons, methyl chloroform and carbontetrachloride entered into force in mid 1989.Known as The Montreal Protocol, this landmark agreement initially required aproduction and consumption freeze.The Montreal Protocol called for a stepwise reduction and eventual productionphase out of various Ozone Depleting Substances in developed countries. CFC'swere phased‐out of production on December 31, 1995.HCFC refrigerants are scheduled of phase out in the future. When virgin suppliesof CFC's are depleted, future supplies will come from recovered, recycled, orreclaimed refrigerants.Venting:Since November 15, 1995, knowingly venting any refrigerant is a violation ofthe CAA. This includes CFC & HCFCs, and/or CFC & HCFCs refrigerant substitutes,such as 134‐A or 410‐A.Only the de minimis release is allowed during service, routine maintenance orrepair, which refers to the small amounts of refrigerants emitted unintentionallyduring good faith efforts to recover refrigerants, during the normal course ofappliance operation or during the connection/disconnection to charge or servicean appliance.Nitrogen that is used for holding charges or as leak test gases may be released;however, nitrogen may not be added to a fully charged system for the purposefor leak detection and then released.All CFCs and HCFCs must be recovered before opening a system for service ordisposing of appliances.9

Cylinder & Appliance Disposal:Before disposing of any appliance containing a CFC or HCFC refrigerant, therefrigerant must be recovered. The person responsible for ensuring thatrefrigerants have been removed from household refrigerators before they aredisposed of is the final person in the disposal chain.All refrigerants in disposable containers have been recovered (0 psig or lower)and rendered useless before recycling the cylinder.SALES RESTRICTION:As of November 14, 1994, the sale of CFC and HCFC refrigerants is restricted tocertified technicians. Only technicians certified under Clean Air Act Section 609(Motor Vehicle Air Conditioning) are allowed to purchase refrigerants incontainers smaller than 20 lbs.Refrigerant Oils:Due to the change in refrigerant use, you may encounter new refrigerants, oldrefrigerants, and blends of older refrigerants as well as different oils in the field.Mineral, or petroleum, oils include paraffin‐based oils, napthene‐based oils,and mixed oils (a combination of napthene‐based and paraffin‐based oils).Synthetic oils include silicate ester, silicone, neo‐pentyl ester, dibasic acid ester,polyglycols such as polyalkylglycol (PAG), alkyl benzene (AB), and polyolyester(POE). Synthetic oils must be stored in metal containers. The ester oils aregenerally used with alternative refrigerants and are typically compatible withmineral oils and existing system components.10

Refrigerant oil must be miscible (able to be mixed) at low temperatures; it mustlubricate even when it is diluted; it must have electrical insulating properties; itmust maintain its stability; and it must provide a pressure seal.Oil Types:Oil TypeMineral OilAlkylbenzenePolyolesterPolyalkylenel lPolyalphaolefinAbbreviationMOABPOEPAGPAOUseCFC refrigerant systemsR‐22 and other refrigerant systemsHFC refrigerant systemsR‐134a automotive systemsR‐717 (ammonia) refrigeration systemsOil Properties:All refrigerant oils are hygroscopic (meaning they attract moisture). Allrefrigerant oils have certain properties in common. The viscosity of an oil refers toits thickness, while the density of the oil refers to the composition of the oil at agiven viscosity. An oil’s stability is its ability to lubricate without chemicalbreakdown; its solubility refers to its miscibility with various refrigerants.(Solubility of air refers to the air and moisture entrainment capacity of an oil.)Miscibility refers to the ability of an oil to be mixed; low temperature miscibilityrefers to the oil’s ability to remain mixed (in other words, not separate) at a lowtemperatureFoaming refers to the tendency of the oil to foam when it is subjected topressure changes. Foaming will reduce the oil’s ability to lubricate. Thedielectric strength of an oil is the threshold at which the oil conductselectricity. An oil’s oxidation value is its ability to resist sludge accumulation. Itsboundary film‐forming ability is its ability to separate high pressure and lowpressure.11

Substitute RefrigerantsThere is no “drop‐in” replacement gas for R‐12 systems; all replacementrefrigerants require additional retrofit procedures. In particular, the newrefrigerants are incompatible with the oils and lubricants used in R‐12 systemsand therefore, oils must be checked and changed out as part of the retrofitprocedure.R‐134A (also called HFC‐134a) is the leading replacement option for retrofittingR‐12 systems. The oils used in most R‐134A systems are ester based oils andester based oils do not mix with other oils. Leak check an R‐134A system usingpressurized nitrogen.Temperature glide is t