That thermostat on the living room wall seems innocent enough, but lurking inside may be one of the most dangerous heavy metals out there. Mercury, which can cause a number of serious health conditions, is found in many wall thermostats. Therefore, it is imperative to safely recycle the gadgets when you’re ready to replace them. “If the thermostat has ‘sliders’ or a knob to adjust temperature, it probably contains mercury,” says Randy Roberson, Vice President of Indianapolis-based Duncan Supply Company. “The absolute way to tell is to remove the front cover of the thermostat. If it contains mercury, you should be able to see a clear glass cylinder within the thermostat that contains mercury.” Roberson notes that most thermostats with digital displays are mercury-free. Organizations that help recycle thermostats are popping up around the country. One example is the Thermostat Recycling Corporation, a nonprofit that was founded by thermostat manufacturers Honeywell, White-Rodgers and General Electric to help contractors and individuals responsibly recycle mercury thermostats. The organization partners with HVAC distributors, wholesalers and other businesses to collect the thermostats, which are then shipped to recyclers. Since 1998, the organization has collected more than 1 million thermostats, keeping 4.9 million pounds of mercury out of local landfills. Not a wholesaler? You can still find a recycling location by visiting TRC’s website. Type your ZIP code into the store locator bar and nearby collection sites will pop up. Partners are available at 3,000 locations in 47 states.
Find a Safe Home for Old Thermostats
Mercury-containing thermostats pose serious health and ecological risks if not recycled properly.