Discover everything you need to know about the 2020 F-Gas Service Ban here.

What is the phase down?

The phase down of HFCs is designed to steadily reduce the global warming potential (GWP) of all gasses placed on the market in refrigeration, heat pumps and air conditioning in the European Union. The target is to reduce the CO2 equivalent of all gasses in use to 21% of the baseline by 2030. Individual producers and importers will receive a quota based on their 2009-12 baseline.


2009 - 12








Baseline 100%








This is not a ban on any particular type of F-gas, and operators can continue to use the equipment that they have at present. By limiting the total GWP of the F-gases in equipment it is expected that the gases with the highest GWP will be eliminated from the market first.

The higher the GWP of a particular gas, the more expensive it will become. Future costs should be considered when planning for maintenance and servicing of equipment.

Service ban

In 2020, a service ban will come into force which will mean that equipment with a charge in CO2 equivalent greater than 40 tonnes will no longer be able to be refilled or serviced with virgin HFCs with a GWP > 2,500.

This ban doesn’t apply to equipment designed for low temperature refrigeration, at temperatures below -50°C.

Recycled or reclaimed gases with a GWP > 2,500 can still be used for servicing and maintenance until 2030, if labelled correctly.

Although possible, the use of HFCs with a high GWP will become increasingly expensive, so in the long term it will make financial sense to opt for equipment containing refrigerants with a low GWP.


Charge size threshold of 40t CO2 equivalent









So, what does this actually mean, and what should I do? 

All retailers have refrigeration units in one of the following categories, and will need to check whether they need to comply with the regulation: 
  • Small hermetically sealed systems (ice cream freezers, bottle coolers, stand-alone retail displays) which typically contain between 0.1 and 0.5kg 

  • Condensing units, used in small shops, convenience stores and food service – are medium-sized systems with one or two refrigerated display units which are cooled by a condensing unit, typically containing between 2 and 10kg of refrigerant

  • Central pack systems which are used in supermarkets and other large stores which typically contain more than 100kg of refrigerant

If you haven’t already, you will need to identify whether the refrigerant you are currently using is affected by the Regulation. If it is, you will need to consider what refrigerant solution to choose for your refrigeration unit – in order to be compliant. For this, you have a couple of options: 

  • Switching your current refrigerants, to reclaimed and recycled HFC – which are exempt from the ban… but only until 2030
  • Switching to lower GWP refrigerants – by retrofitting your existing refrigeration system, OR replacing your current refrigeration system with new, compliant equipment

If you feel that replacing your system is the way forward, the government has created schemes to help support with the cost, including The Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme, and The Scottish Government SME Loan Scheme. 

What happens if I don’t do it? 

In short, you can say hello to a fine of up to £200,000 – which would not be a great start to the year! 

Need more info or some advice? 

We know reading all these terms and abbreviations on paper seems daunting and confusing – however our team of expert refrigeration technicians will be able to guide you through, and help you understand the process in as much detail as you need. 

Get in touch with us today by giving us a call on 01527 577999, or fill out our handy contact form here, and one of the team will be in touch.

Posted on 03/02/2020