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Air conditioner disposal: a how-to guide

Is your air conditioner disposal being a thorn in your side? Let a contractor help.

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Air conditioner disposal doesn't happen at the dump. Seen here is a former landfill by Captain Kimo on Flickr.When a central or window air conditioner has a major malfunction, you have more to consider than just what unit will replace it. State and county regulations determine how you must handle air conditioner disposal. Most states prohibit simply taking the equipment to the local landfill.

Proper air conditioner removal and recycling will help you switch to a new unit without making a negative impact on the environment. You have a few distinct options to choose from when planning to dispose of an old AC unit.

Broken or outdated HVAC systems should be disconnected by a professional. Once the wiring is cut and the duct work is sealed, the unit can be removed.

Many homeowners don't want to handle air conditioner disposal on their own. Moving a bulky, heavy central unit takes a lot of physical strength if you don't have the tools to make the job easier. Consider hiring a waste removal service to take away the unit. They may charge a small fee for the service, or simply take the scrap value of the equipment in exchange for the work. Check that they are licensed in any way required by your state before hiring them.

Old air conditioner disposal goes hand-in-hand with installation! Get free quotes now!

Waste management services in many towns and cities offer bulk pickup of equipment like air conditioners. Call your local department for more information on how they can help with air conditioner disposal. If they won't offer curbside pickup, they may have recommendations on other local services that do travel to homes for recyclable materials.

Many areas feature bounty programs, designed by government officials or independent organizations, which offer a reward in exchange for air conditioners and other refrigerated appliances.

It is possible to earn money to offset high replacement air conditioner prices by taking the unit to a scrap metal buyer. However, call the company and ask about refrigerants before loading your air conditioner into a car or truck for delivery as junk metal. Many establishments won't accept units that haven't been properly discharged. The EPA has banned the discharge of refrigerant gases and foams found inside appliances like air conditioners.

You will need to hire a professional to properly drain the unit as part of the air conditioner disposal process, or choose a scrap metal buyer that has the equipment to handle this process.

Consider hiring a contractor that includes the removal of an old unit as part of their installation service to replace an outdated and inefficient model. Many home cooling experts are happy to do so. Discuss your plans to receive an air conditioner estimate that includes removal and proper disposal. This is usually the easiest option, because you won't have to handle the unit yourself or hunt for an acceptable recycling program.

If you are ready to swap out your current air conditioner for a new model with a great warranty and need air conditioner disposal services, find the right contractor for the job.

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Photo credit: Captain Kimo via Compfight CC.