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How to Properly Recycle Your Old Thermostat

As an HVAC company in Maryland, we strive to provide the best service to our customers and help educate at the same time. Thermostat safety is often off the radar but it is still of concern. While most new thermostats do NOT contain Mercury – some older models do. Our local Maryland communities like Annapolis, Laurel, Bowie, College Park, Glen Burnie, Crofton, and Pasadena are historically older and possibly contain original thermostats. It is important to recycle old thermostats properly to avoid dangers to yourself and the environment.

Does My HVAC Thermostat Contain Mercury?

Most current quality electronic or manual thermostats do not contain mercury. When you inspect the packaging, look for the lettering symbol, which you will remember from your chemistry class, is Mercury’s element symbol from the periodic table. 

Older thermostats will contain a small glass bubble or “ampoule” which contains the mercury. This element looks like liquid silver inside the glass ampoules. Mercury ampoules were used in the past as a switch to tell the system when to activate the heating or cooling.  Because of their mercury content, recycling old thermostats must be done following specific protocols.

Recycling Old Thermostats with Mercury in Maryland

Mercury is hazardous and exposure to it should be avoided. DO NOT take apart the thermostat before recycling old parts or tamper with the mercury ampoule. The safest way to deal with an older thermostat is to contact us at Grove Heating and Cooling and have an experienced technician schedule your thermostat replacement.  

Maryland has prohibited the sale of mercury thermostats, meaning you can no longer buy a thermostat that contains mercury, but it is still possible to have one installed in your home. Should you decide to upgrade to a new model, recycling old thermostats that contain mercury is required – you cannot just throw them in the trash.

Older mercury model thermostats needing to be disposed of properly, will need to be taken to:

MD DEPT OF THE ENVIRONMENT

1800 WASHINGTON BLVD, #105 BALTIMORE, MD 21230

410-537-3070

Which Home Products May Contain Mercury?

In addition to recycling old thermostats, there are other common older household items which can contain mercury and must be safely recycled. Batteries, fluorescent bulbs and lamps, appliances like gas ranges, large freezers, some washers, gas stoves/ranges, and gas hot water heaters also possibly contain mercury switches, and should be disposed of properly if upgraded.

More general materials which may contain mercury include:

  • Paint
  • Paint thinner
  • Pesticides
  • Herbicides 
  • Medications, in rare cases

Learn more about Maryland household hazardous waste and how to safely dispose of hazardous materials. 

HVAC Heating and Cooling Help in Maryland

If we may be of service to you, your residence or your company in Maryland, do not hesitate to contact us and allow us to partner with you in meeting the heating and cooling needs of your home or business. With decades of experience and commitment to the local community we strive to treat you with the consideration that you deserve.  

As a locally owned and operated company, our communities in Prince Geroge’s, Anne Arundel, and Queen Anne’s counties are important to us! We want to ensure your safety in the home, as well as the safety of our environment!