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Tip Of The Week: What To Do With Old Mercury Thermostats

Today’s thermostats come in all shapes, sizes, functions and options making the idea of upgrading a system easier than you may think. There is truly a thermostat that will fit all your needs but what do you do with the old mercury thermostat once you have found the perfect replacement? One word, recycle.

Did you know Tower Equipment Company is a mercury thermostat drop off location? With Environmentally friendly products and services have taking on a significant  role in the HVAC world over the last several years, especially in Connecticut it is more important than ever to recycle.  It is actually illegal in Connecticut to dispose of a Mercury Thermostat in solid waste bins. Any manufacturer, retailer, wholesaler, or contractor found in violation of the provisions of this section is subject to fines up to $25,000 per thermostat that is disposed of incorrectly. Not only can you avoid a costly fine, you will help protect the environment from being contaminated by mercury. Continue reading for the top three reasons why you need to recycle your old thermostats.

#1 Mercury is Harmful To The Environment & Who Live In It. 

When mercury is exposed to our environment it creates bacteria that bioaccumulates in shellfish and fish which is a primary food source for people around the world. This is probably where you have most commonly heard of mercury affecting our environment. Only just a few years ago people were being warned not to eat salmon for fear of mercury poisoning.  In fact, the World Health Organization says that exposure to Mercury can cause adults to have severe neurological and behavioral issues, kidney toxicity, digestive tract issues, and lung issues which can be fatal if inhaled or ingested. Mercury exposure can be even more detrimental to children’s neurological development system which effects their language, memory, cognitive thinking, fine motor skills, visual spatial skills, and attention.

Contact with elemental mercury is also hazardous and typically occurs when working with mercury and products which produce it, such as in industrial environments and coal-burning facilities.

#2 Mercury Cannot Be Destroyed. 

Mercury cannot be destroyed but it can be recycled and reused. A mercury thermostat holds 3 to 12 grams of elemental mercury – it’s typically the largest source of mercury in a home. The mercury within a thermostat is contained in a compact fluorescent light bulb which is safe as long as it remains in the light bulb.

When mercury thermostats are discarded with everyday trash, it is likely that the mercury bulb within the thermostat will bust and the mercury will escape. When the mercury from an old thermostat is no longer contained, it becomes a dangerous hazard to the environment.

#3 Recycling Saves Consumers & Contractors Money. 

Mercury spills are extremely expensive to clean up and if you are caught throwing old thermostats in the trash you can be fined up to $25,000 per thermostat. Costing as much as $300,000 per spill clean, contractors and homeowners want to avoid a costly cleanup. This is where the Thermostat Recycling Corporation comes into play.

TRC is good for contractors and consumers, as they provide a reliable, safe, and affordable means to dispose of mercury thermostats. There is little to no cost for contractors to participate in the program, which means they can offer thermostat recycling without charge. Contractors have a simple and safe way to dispose of the thermostats they collect on the job, therefore avoiding potential hazards and penalties for improper disposal. The thermostat recycling program is an added incentive contractor can pass to their customers and a strong selling point among consumers who are looking for environmentally friendly services and solutions in the HVAC space.

Consumers benefit from the thermostat recycling program, too. The burden of properly disposing of their old mercury thermostats is eliminated, without additional fees. While TRC only offers free recycling for mercury thermostats, they do promote the recycling of other mercury-containing items through a partner environmental service company.

Remember you can recycle all wall mercury thermostats at Tower Equipment Company for your convenience!

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New thermostat Options 

While Mercury thermostat technology was the standard for decades they are being phased out due to the fact they are not environmentally friendly. If you have an older thermostat know you do not need to run out and replace it right away. The mercury inside the Thermostat is in a light bulb so you can not directly come in contact with it although you may still want to consider changing it out for a new thermostat.

Electronic thermostats have become the new standard in the field being the most economic option available. On the other hand, if you want to help lower your electric bill think about getting a new Programmable thermostat and a smart thermostat. These thermostats are very energy efficient and can help you save money while giving you better control of your HVAC system. They allow you to program your system on the go and they are projected to take over the market by 2020.

Want to talk through your options with one of our representatives? Contact Tower today and we will outfit you with the perfect thermostat for your needs. Remember to bring your old mercury thermostats when you come to pick up your replacement, we will recycle it for you!

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