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Don’t Throw Away Your Old Thermostat!

You’ve probably heard us talk about the benefits of using a programmable thermostat, or have read our head-to-head comparisons of the Nest and Honeywell smart thermostats.  We’ve touted that swapping out your thermostat can be a do-it-yourself project, but, any time you replace a thermostat, you’re left with what to do with the old one. 

 

 

what should I doYour first inclination is to place it in the trash – especially if the reason you’re replacing it is that it no longer functions.  STOP!  Did you know that thermostats contain hazardous mercury that can contaminate the environment and can be fatal?  While installing a new smart thermostat helps protect the environment, throwing your old thermostat in the trash does just the opposite!

Since the 1830’s, thermostats have contained mercury – a metal that is liquid at room temperature and gives off vapor if not contained.  The new electronic thermostats do not contain mercury.  Although mercury thermostats are the largest source of mercury in homes, other sources of mercury include CFL and fluorescent light bulbs, batteries, and thermometers.  But there is no concern with exposure to mercury inside these devices, as long as the mercury is contained.  The problem arises when you throw them into the trash: the trash goes through a compactor, and then is taken to a landfill, so it is likely that the mercury bulb within the thermostat will bust at some point, and the mercury will escape.  Mercury does not break down.  It gets into the ground water, our lakes and streams, fish and birds, and becomes concentrated in our food supply, and in people.

Mercury contamination, Health Hazards of Mercury, Toxic mercuryAccording to the World Health Organization, mercury exposure is a major public health concern.  It can result in neurological and behavioral issues, kidney toxicity, and digestive tract and lung issues.  In utero and in children, it affects development, language, memory, cognitive thinking, motor and spatial skills, and attention.  It can be fatal if inhaled or ingested.  

mercury recycling, mercury in trash, banned thermostatsMany states have already taken steps to ban mercury-containing thermostats from being sold or installed.  In most states, including TN, it is illegal to throw out thermostats in the trash.  Although mercury cannot be destroyed, it can be recycled and reused.  However, mercury-containing products cannot be recycled by simply throwing it in your curbside recycling container.  So, what should you do?

Place your old thermostat in a sealable container such as a ziplock bag or plastic tuperware container.  This is so that if the mercury bulb breaks inside the device, its vapors will not be breathed in.

Check online for the nearest hazardous materials drop-off site.

thermostat installation, thermostat recycling But the easiest thing to do is to give it to us or any HVAC contractor.  We are all obligated to recycle the thermostats for you.

So, next time you’re getting your Spring or Fall maintenance visit, give us your old thermostat.  Or better yet, call on us to install a new thermostat for you, and we’ll take your old one with us when we leave.

If you live in the Nashville and surrounding area, call on us at 615-832-8500. We’re here for all your heating and cooling needs.

Important Tips & Advice

 

 

You often don't think about your heating or air-conditioning system until something goes wrong. But there is so much you can do to help keep your system from breaking down. We regularly post information to help you learn what you can do to keep your system running, to save money and energy.  Search our many posts, videos, and podcasts, for valuable information that is never a sales pitch. Subscribe to receive an email when something new is posted, so you won’t miss any important tips.

Choosing a Repair Company

Whether you’re talking about heating or cooling, repairing or replacing a system, you want a company that can advise you reliably based on what is in your best interest, not based on what is convenient or what earns them the most money (commissions). We'll help you choose the best solution to fit your needs. Check out our many posts at HVAC News You Can Use and our podcasts.

Going Green

We're concerned about the environment and know all the latest technologies - such as geothermal systems, LED lights, and smart thermostats - that can reduce energy and put more "green" in your pocket!  We've provided HVAC systems in certified LEED buildings and written many posts on ways to Go Green.

The Sign of Service

We are a repair company performing a full range of commercial and residential heating, air conditioning, energy management and comfort products service, maintenance, and installation. We are a locally-owned company serving Nashville-Davidson County and the surrounding counties including Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson, Sumner, Robertson, and Cheatham.

Who We Are

Our service technicians are fully trained and experienced.  We can tackle the most complicated system to the simplest of systems – from large commercial plants to single-family homes.  Our ownership group of Eddie Hutton, Tony Anderson, Roger Eldridge,  Swaney Powers and Alan Seilbeck have over 125 years combined experience as leaders in the HVAC industry.

Dispatch

We are proud of our dispatchers that respond to your telephone call. When your system is down they make things happen. Our trucks are loaded with most parts needed for a quick repair. You can call day and night 7 days a week. Our normal weekday hours are 7:00AM to 5:00PM. Click on the button below to schedule a service call online. Emails and forms can only be answered weekdays from 7-5.”  

615-832-8500 Online Service Call

Maintenance

Did you know you should service your HVAC on a regular schedule – just like you would your car?  We have specialized maintenance programs to ensure the clean, energy efficient and safe operation of your HVAC systems.  This helps minimize service interruptions/breakdowns and maximize your equipment's lifespan.  All maintenance contract customers are assigned a primary technician that will get to know your facility and equipment and will treat it like his own.  You’ll receive discounts on repairs or new installations, and get priority service when it is cold or hot outside and you need service promptly.  Plus, maintenance contract customers are never charged overtime rates for emergency services after-hours, weekends or holidays. We’ll teach you how to save on maintenance costs by showing you things you can do yourself and when you need a technician. Here are some good posts:  Repair vs. Replace, Things to Try Before Calling for Service, Springtime Tips that Pay Off.

Commercial

Our team takes on HVAC projects for office, school, retail and industrial facilities. Check out these case studies:

Replacement of a 250-ton Cooling Tower

Ductless HVAC at Brentwood Middle School