Hydrofluorocarbon transition

Ecology adopted a rule in 2019 to transition away from the use of potent greenhouse gases known as hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, in products and equipment starting Jan. 1, 2020. 

A hydrofluorocarbon molecule.

Reporting hydrofluorocarbons

This is the January 15, 2020 list of manufacturers that reported the status of their use of restricted HFCs.

All manufacturers were required to notify us by Dec. 31, 2019 about the status of each product class that uses restricted HFCs. To do that:

  1. Fill out the notification form using Adobe Reader. (Do not use Adobe Pro.)
  2. Submit your completed notification form using our online reporting system.

What are hydrofluorocarbons?

HFCs are chemicals made up of hydrogen, fluorine, and carbon. They are commonly used in air conditioning systems, refrigeration, producing insulating foams, and as propellants. There are many forms of HFCs. They are greenhouse gases that are thousands of times more powerful than carbon dioxide. In Washington, HFCs account for about 4 percent of overall greenhouse gas emissions.

Since the 1990s, we have used HFCs instead of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) because we thought they were less harmful to the earth's protective ozone layer. Now, HFCs are rapidly building up in the atmosphere. If we don't stop using HFCs, HFC emissions will increase to 7–19 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Transitioning away from HFCs

EPA has removed HFCs from the list of acceptable substitutes for ozone-depleting substances.

The 2019 Legislature agreed that HFCs pose a significant threat to Washington’s environment and that safer, cost-effective alternatives are available. The Legislature passed a law to transition away from using equipment and products that rely on HFCs.

Hydrofluorocarbons in commercial refrigeration manufacturing will be phased-out over the next four years in Washington.

Transition timeline

By Dec. 31, 2019, all manufacturers were required to notify us about the status of each product class using restricted HFCs. The restrictions go into effect at different times for each product category:

  • Jan. 1, 2020 — propellants, rigid polyurethane, spray insulating foam, and new supermarket refrigeration systems.
  • Jan. 1, 2021 — new refrigerated food processing and dispensing equipment, and compact residential refrigerators.
  • Jan. 1, 2022 — new residential refrigerators, and new and existing vending machines.
  • Jan. 1, 2023 — new uses in cold-storage warehouses and built-in residential refrigerators.
  • Jan. 1, 2024 — new uses in centrifugal and positive displacement industrial chillers.

Complying with Washington's HFC law

The law focuses on reducing the use of HFCs in new equipment, so manufacturers and distributors must meet these requirements. In most cases, residents and businesses that own or use equipment containing HFCs will not need to do anything to obey with the law.

Frequently asked questions

We answer common questions about which businesses are affected by the law and what they need to do to comply.