Proper Disposal of Air Conditioning Compressors


Although central air units have become very popular in homes today, window air conditioners are still common. The only problem with owning an air conditioner is the proper way to dispose of it when the time comes. Since air conditioners have coolant and oil in them, it's prohibited by law to just simply throw them out in the garbage.

Protecting the ozone layer

  • In 1992 a law was passed prohibiting people from improperly disposing of air conditioners and refrigerators due to the impact that the coolant and oil disposal has on the ozone layer. Improperly disposing of a compressor can result not only in a large fine, but it is very dangerous to you and everyone around you. An air conditioner technician will remove the old air conditioner, but usually for a fee of around $160.

Proper disposal

  • Contact your local landfill manager, scrap metal recycling center or hazardous waste facility and ask what the proper procedures are for disposing of an air conditioner compressor in your area. Since each county has different regulations as to how this should be handled, they will know the proper steps for your county. In some towns, an official cleanup day is declared specifically for people to bring their old appliances to the local fairground, and the town officials will see that they are disposed of in the proper manner.

Dangerous ingredients

  • Older cooling equipment contains insulating foams, and mercury that release greenhouse gases once disposed of in the landfills. In most areas the city municipalities pick up your old appliances because the law requires the city to dispose of refrigerants and mercury properly. Once the appliances are emptied of all refrigerants and oils, the heating ventilation and air-conditioning systems (HVAC) will recycle these refrigerants and oil if possible. If these chemicals are not recyclable and are hazardous then the HVAC will coordinate disposal with environmental health and safety. It's against the law for anyone not authorized by the state to dispose of any hazardous materials such as refrigerants, insulating foams, mercury and oil.

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