How to dispose of a window air conditioner

Old or broken window air conditioners need to be disposed of with care and cannot simply be thrown out anywhere due to their hazardous inner components.

Like all other things, air conditioners reach the end of their lifespan and no longer cool down the same way they did when they were brand new. Household appliances are designed to operate optimally for a certain amount of time before they give in.

If you have an air conditioner, any type and model, you will know that the unit is going to last you an approximate period of time if you care for and maintain it regularly.

Window AC units are no different. They run their course and there is a particular way of disposing of old window air conditioners.

Throwing away window AC units

In the case that you either have a broken window air conditioner or one that is working but has been replaced with a new one, the disposal of the unit is important and needs much consideration for a few reasons.

People may not be aware that simply throwing away a window air conditioning unit is not the right approach.

It is important to be aware of the correct ways to dispose of a broken or old window air conditioner to avoid certain legal or environmental implications.

How to dispose of a window air conditioner

Disposing of a window air conditioner is more than simply throwing out the trash. There are certain issues when it comes to the disposal of window AC units and the process requires careful attention.

Some of the ways you can dispose of a window AC unit might be illegal, harmful to the environment, toxic, or dangerous.

Air conditioners operate using a refrigeration process by refrigerants. Refrigerants can be made up of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), including R12, Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), including R22, and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), including R410A and R134.

All of these are compounds either in a liquid or gaseous state, are toxic and are believed to be harmful to the ozone layer, contributing negatively to the greenhouse gas effect of climate change.

Simply disposing of your window AC will likely lead to the refrigerants leaking and damaging the environment, therefore, people with an EPA 608 licence need to remove this refrigerant before you dispose of the unit.

There are various safe methods you can use to get rid of a window air conditioner you no longer need, and this involves either selling the unit if it still works, having qualified contractors refurbish it, donating it if the unit is still in working condition, trading it in if you buy a newer unit for a discounted price, or recycling it, amongst other options listed below.

Disposal of a window air conditioner
Sell it
Have it revamped
Donate it to a worthy cause
Trade it in
Give it to a rebate program
Recycle it
Hand it into a local transfer station
Give it to a professional
Strip it and sell its parts

Turning a unit in for a bounty

This is another way of getting rid of an old window AC unit and actually getting paid for it. Some regional and local utilities have programs that they sponsor whereby you can receive cash for allowing the old unit to be picked up and recycled.

To find out about such programs, you can contact your electricity provider and see if there are any bounty programs in your area or city, so that you can get rid of your unit and replace it with a new one.

Some programs offer discounts towards a new air conditioner in return for your old unit.

Selling internal valuable parts of your unit

Window air conditioners are known to contain various valuable metals that can be sold individually. This involves the process of stripping the unit and finding metals such as steel and copper wires that people will buy at the scrap yard.

It is important that in this instance, too, you hire a licensed EPA professional to remove the refrigerant in the unit before it is stripped. This is done to avoid contact with refrigerant and releasing it into the environment, which could lead to ozone damage.

Disposing of your air conditioner at local transfer stations

The local transfer station is another good place to take an old window air conditioner. These stations have a dedicated disposal area specifically for appliances that have refrigerant in them.

With this option, you need to be prepared to pay for them to take the window AC off your hands, so calling before you go to the station can be beneficial if you do not want to pay to give away an old or broken window air conditioner that you want to dispose of anyway.

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