The demand for new-generation smart thermostats is higher than ever. More homeowners are choosing to make the upgrade to improve their temperature control capabilities at home while also increasing energy efficiency, which paves the way for more energy savings.
However, as the demand for newer thermostats increases, the environmental load increases along with it, with older models needing disposal. But instead of throwing them away, consider recycling as the better disposal option.
Types of Thermostats
There are multiple ways to categorize the different types of thermostats in most homes today. However, for this blog, we will be talking about three main types:
Mercury-containing thermostats are analog devices that adjust your temperature settings using a dial or level. These thermostats contain bimetal coils that either contract or expand in response to room temperature. Meanwhile, mercury acts as a switch that opens or closes a circuit for the operation of the HVAC controls.
Programmable thermostats automatically adjust the temperature based on the settings you input into the system. These can be adjusted however you like at different times during the day.
WiFi-enabled thermostats are smart devices that offer even more powerful HVAC controls, allowing users more control over their temperature preferences. Electronic sensors are integrated into the machine and can communicate directly with other components to provide the ideal room temperature. Above all, they have their own IP address and can connect directly with smart devices and the internet for even greater control.
Should You Throw Away Old Thermostats?
Homeowners considering a thermostat upgrade or replacement might be tempted to just throw the old one away. However, laws have been created to prevent the disposal of old thermostats, particularly mercury-filled thermostats, and instead, have them recycled.
Mercury inside old thermostats is housed within ampules, which can hold up to 12 grams of elemental mercury. When these thermostats are discarded together with everyday trash, the ampules can break and the mercury can escape, which can be hazardous to the environment.
Recycling prevents this from happening. When you recycle thermostats, the ampule is removed, and the mercury is separated, distilled, and sold for reuse. But recycling should not be limited to mercury-containing thermostats.
Made from high-impact polystyrene and other materials, both programmable and WiFi-enabled thermostats can be recycled to recover their plastic and metal parts. These components are processed independently at the recovery site and later sold for reuse through resource recovery services.
How to Recycle Thermostats You Replaced
Recycling thermostats is one of the best ways to reduce waste from landfills and prevent the introduction of hazardous waste to the environment. Here are some ways to recycle thermostats you replace:
Drop it off at a Thermostat Recycling Corporation (TRC) Collection Site
The Thermostat Recycling Corporation (TRC) is a non-profit organization established as a joint venture between large electronics manufacturers to promote the safe collection and proper disposal of mercury-containing thermostats. They boast a vast network of household hazardous waste collection sites across the country where you can quickly dispose of your old thermostats.
Check with Local Retailers that Recycle Electronic Waste for Free
Large retailers like Best Buy and Staples offer electronic waste collection and recycling services for different electronic devices, regardless of where the item was bought. Check with your local retailer to see if they have similar programs.
Bring it to Household Hazardous Waste Collection sites
Various state environmental agencies and local communities have hazardous waste collection programs to help households properly dispose of their hazardous wastes. Contact your local environmental agencies for more information.
Donate to your Local University
Local universities, particularly those with a Robotics program, welcome donations of old thermostats. For us at Value Controls, this is our preferred recycling method as a way of helping our local Robotics Department at the University of Texas at Arlington.
Along with selling warrantied pre-owned controls, Value Controls also recycles unwanted controls. Value Controls donates items that do not meet our standards to the robotics department of the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA).
The robotics team LOVES the small circuit boards and electronic components that come from HVAC controls. Since we will not resell them, we are glad that UTA can use them for educational purposes. This also positively influences our planet since these parts are not going to landfills.
Get In Touch With Value Controls Today
At Value Controls, we are committed to protecting our environment by prolonging the life of the very devices that bring comfort to our homes. We offer the best value on certified pre-owned EMS and HVAC controls and thermostats at affordable prices. Contact us today to learn more about our products and services.