Are old window air conditioners worth anything?

Old, broken, or worn-out window air conditioners can still have some value, so before you get rid of your old window air conditioner, you should know which internal parts of the unit can make you money.

Like any other household appliance in your home, air conditioners also have a lifespan and, eventually, they will give in. Replacing an old window air conditioner is a good option to ensure that you still have a cooling system.

Typically, when an old appliance has run its course, people tend to dump them in scrap yards, recycling centers, or with scrap metal dealers.

However, even old, broken, and worn-out window air conditioners can have some value, primarily due to the materials they contain.

While the overall value of these components may not be very high, it can still provide some financial return, and recycling these materials is an environmentally responsible way to dispose of old appliances.

Scrapping old window air conditioners

When an old household appliance breaks, it is time for it to be thrown out and replaced with a newer, better one. This happens with old air conditioners too.

If you have a window unit that you want to replace with a new one, getting rid of your old one is probably your first initial thought since the unit no longer functions, but is this really the case?

Should you throw your old window air conditioner in the junkyard, or could it possibly still be worth something?

When considering what to do with an old, non-functioning window air conditioner, you have a few options beyond simply discarding it in the junkyard.

Many recycling centers accept old appliances, including air conditioners, for proper disposal and recycling, safely handling refrigerants and recovering valuable materials like copper and aluminum.

Scrap yards may pay for the metal components of the air conditioner, such as copper coils and aluminum fins.

Some manufacturers and retailers have recycling programs for old appliances. They may offer incentives or discounts on new purchases when you bring in your old appliance for recycling.

Keep in mind though, that proper disposal is not just about recovering valuable materials; it’s also about minimizing the  environmental impact.

This is because appliances may contain substances that can be harmful if not disposed of properly. For information on how to properly dispose of old appliances, check with your local municipality or waste management department.

Are old window air conditioners worth anything?

As surprising as it might be for some, your old window air conditioner could still be worth something, and before getting rid of it completely, you may want to keep some of its valuable parts and make a profit from them.

An old window air conditioner can be scrapped for cash, and this is because your window AC usually contains a lot of valuable scrap metals that can be bought and re-used.

When you take apart a window air conditioner, you will find that it has a variety of different metal materials inside it such as copper, electric motors, aluminum, and wire.

On average, if you want to get rid of an entire window air conditioner at a scrap yard, they may pay you between $4 to $6 for it, but, if you have taken the time to disassemble the unit this can double or even triple those earnings and get you approximately $12 to $18 for the valuable metals inside the unit.

The scrap yard is the only place you can profit from your old unit as scrap metal recycling companies also accept units that have been properly disposed of.

It is important to note that recycling your whole unit can make you money but dissembling it first can make you even more money.

Safety when taking apart your window AC

Safety is of utmost importance when dealing with window air conditioners, especially when considering the removal of refrigerant.

It is advised that you first get a licensed HVAC professional to come and remove the refrigerant from your unit completely before you sell the parts.

Most scrap metal companies do not accept air conditioners that still have refrigerant in them for safety reasons, and attempting to remove refrigerant yourself can land you a fine from the EPA.

Residual oils should also be removed by a professional, since these oils can be hazardous, and their removal requires specialized knowledge and equipment.

If you plan to dismantle the air conditioner to salvage valuable materials, seek professional assistance. HVAC technicians or scrap metal professionals can safely extract components, minimizing risks associated with handling various parts.

Removing metals from radiators in your air conditioner

Every window air conditioner contains radiators located in the part of the unit with coils. Remove any steel you find attached to the radiator.

Doing this means that you have non-ferrous metal, such as copper or aluminum, to sell to the scrapyard. Non-ferrous metal is worth more than ferrous metal.

Steel is a ferrous metal and the best way to tell if you are dealing with steel is by testing it with a magnet. If the magnet sticks to the metal, then it is real steel.

As always, safety first, so when disassembling your air conditioners or handling metal components, take appropriate safety precautions.

Wear gloves to protect your hands from sharp edges, such as these from Work Formula, which are ideal for handling such a process.

Also, don’t forget to use eye protection if needed. We recommend these Dewalt goggles, which will protect you from dust and debris.

Tools needed to take apart the window AC unit

You cannot just take apart an air conditioner without the right tools on hand. You need specific tools that are equipped for handling heavy-duty materials such as the components and structural materials of the air conditioner.

And you also need protective gear to ensure safety. Your hands and eyes in particular need protection from cuts or small pieces potentially flying into your eyes.

Make sure that the air conditioner is disconnected from the power source before beginning the disassembly process.

Here’s a list of tools and protective equipment you might need:

Tools and protective gear Description
Screwdriver set
  • Tool for every home
  • Chrome vanadium double ended bits
  • Contains different screw heads you would need
Seyvum Power Drill
  • Steel, Nylon, Plastic
  • Cordless drill set.
  • Contains li-ion Battery
  • 57-piece drill bits
Maxpower wrench set
  • 4-piece set
  • Non-slip worn spanner for quick adjustment jaws
  • Adjustable wrench set with various sizes included
QWork vice
  • Suitable for metal working
  • Durable and made of aluminum alloy
  • Can rotate 360 degrees and tilt 45 degrees
Enventor sawzall
  • 20V brushless, cordless Sawzall
  • Contains two 2.0AH battery packs
  • Contains 5 saw blades for metal and wood-cutting
TS metal protective glove
  • Upgraded level 9 stainless steel gloves
  • Denser tissue makes the gloves more durable
  • Ideal for mechanic and construction work, amongst other uses
Dewalt safety goggles
  • Elastic headband
  • Tough coat, hard-coated lens
  • Anti-fog lens
  • High level of protection from dust and debris
  • Adjustable head strap
Miller wire strippers
  • Adjustable wire strippers
  • Made form ergonomic and nonslip material
  • Safe cable stripper tool
ToolLeague cable cutter
  • High quality 10-inch wire cutter
  • Widely used for aluminum, copper, and communication wires
  • PVC non-slip handle

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