How to Throw Away an Old AC

Proper AC Disposal

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), about 6 million air conditioning units are thrown out every year. The removal of old units, especially those made before the year 2000, presents a variety of environmental challenges. That’s because they contain hazardous materials in refrigerant and insulating foam, such as greenhouse gases, ozone depleting substances, mercury, oil, and others. Proper AC disposal is therefore essential.

Per federal law, refrigerant must be recovered from the unit before it is disposed of or dismantled. Other materials must be removed as well and properly managed and stored. Old units that use R-22 refrigerant are of particular concern; this substance contains chemicals known to damage the ozone layer. It can be harmful to the environment, and to yourself, to dispose of an AC on your own. But there are many ways to go about doing so safely, with the help of skilled professionals.

Find an AC Disposal Bounty, Rebate, or Discount Program

Some local or regional utilities sponsor programs in which you can turn in your old air conditioner. As the appliance owner, you may be paid a “bounty” so the appliance can be collected and recycled. Depending on your utility, you may be offered a rebate or discount towards buying a high-efficiency model. Electricity providers offer these programs individually, so contact your local utility or state government office to learn more.

Local Sanitation Departments

Your local sanitation company can help you discard your AC unit. It is familiar with federal, state, and local regulations pertaining how to prepare the appliance and where to take it. Also, you’ll need a qualified professional to remove the coolant, and the sanitation department may have access to those allowed to do so. Many sanitation departments have air conditioner disposal areas and staff or partner with a third-party entity that handles this work.

Exchange It with a Retailer

The retailer you buy a new AC from may offer the option of handing over your old unit. They’ll essentially do the job for you. You may also get a rebate, or the retailer could adjust the cost of your new purchase. The retailer manages the entire process of preparing and discarding the appliance, so there’s no guesswork on your part.

Consider AC Recycling

When undergoing AC disposal, you can recycle your air conditioner by donating it (if it’s still working), which can earn you a tax deduction, or find a local organization that purchases and reuses compressors, motors, copper tubing, and even Freon gas. Metals and plastics that are not recyclable can be removed and reused for other purposes. Recycling reduces the amount of material that goes into landfills where they can potentially cause a range of environmental problems.

Bring It to the Scrap Yard

Scrap yards qualified to dispose of air conditioners have EPA-certified recycling facilities. Find these Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) partners in your state using the EPA’s website. Since they must adhere to government regulations to participate in the program, you can be rest assured your AC will be disposed of properly.

Refrigerant Scale

An air conditioner requires a precise amount of refrigerant, specific to the model and size. Too little refrigerant and the system won’t maintain adequate temperatures; too much and high pressures can cause damage and shorten the life of the compressor. A refrigerant scale is used to gauge how much refrigerant is going into an AC when installing or recharging it.

The tool measures the weight of the refrigerant added or removed, so can help determine if there’s a leak.

Alternatives to AC Disposal

Having second thoughts? You can choose against AC disposal and refurbish your old air conditioner. Depending on your model, its age, and condition, making fixes, topping off refrigerant, and cleaning the system can help it work more reliably and efficiently. Connecting smart controllers can add functions such as remote control, scheduling, and improved temperature and humidity management. Your local AC repair technician can advise you on the best option.

Contact Ideal Temp

We are trusted in and around Kansas City, MO, for air conditioner replacement and installation. Our specialties include designing the right HVAC system for you to address any comfort or efficiency challenges. Advanced equipment and tools are used to achieve optimal performance while our trained technicians properly size and seal custom ductwork per all industry standards. To get started, book an appointment online or call us at 816-720-7803 today!