9 Steps on How to Get Rid of Air Conditioner


Now that summer’s sadly coming to an end, you may be thinking to yourself that it’s time to remove the old air conditioner and replace it. How to get rid of an air conditioner can be a conundrum with no clear answer. Here’s a comprehensive rundown on what to do with an older, broken air conditioner:

1. Why it’s illegal to put them in garbage

It’s illegal to put out an air conditioner in the trash with all your other garbage. You’re also not permitted to drop it off at the dump. This is because regardless of make, model, or brand, air conditioners have non eco-friendly cooling refrigerant.

Usually, this is hydrochlorofluorocarbon 200, which is an ozone-depleting substance. The release of this into our atmosphere will eat away at the ozone layer, in addition to being a highly potent greenhouse gas. This is why any air conditioners need to be handled with utmost care.

2. Donation

Among the several different ways you can recycle and dispose of an old air conditioner is a donation to a local organization. If your air conditioner still works and isn’t a danger to operate, you may find value in giving it to a school, charity, or a worthy cause.

You’re not only helping somewhere you can be proud to help but it’s a tax deduction so an added bonus! Some organizations will also be willing to take it for parts and refurbish it for use. Always be honest regarding the state of your air conditioner and how it operates.

3. Local disposal programs

In some areas, there are appliance recycling depots or local disposal programs. They can help you dispose of your air conditioner, removing the more dangerous parts and sending the rest to the landfill. These are oftentimes a drop-off program. You may want to read local instruction regarding if any preparation needs to happen or if you have to remove the coolant from the appliance, such as is often the case with refrigerators and freezers.

4. Find a rebates or discount program

In some jurisdictions, you may be able to bring your air conditioner in to receive some money back. Some local utility companies support programs like this. The air conditioner is paid what’s called a ‘bounty’ to recycle appliances like these. Alternatively, you may be offered a discount towards a future purchase of a high-efficiency air conditioner. This is well worth checking out, seeing if there is something available in your neck of the woods.

5. Local retailers

Though we’re heading into the colder months of the year, if you’re in the market for an air conditioner, you may want to ask the retailer you intend to buy from if they are able to safely dispose of your old model. Some merchants provide this highly accommodating service while others do not. There are even some who may provide a discount to reduce the cost of your appliance purchase in exchange for a trade-in of sorts. For the latter evidently, the appliance must still be functional.

6. Air conditioning technician

If you absolutely cannot find a place to dispose or recycle your air conditioner, or you want to make it easy on yourself, you can bet someone who knows where to dispose of an air conditioner is a technician. Call an air conditioning technician and ask if they will take it or what their recommendation would be.

A lot of air conditioner dealers and technicians will remove and dispose of the coolant in the unit, at least. This will make it safer to arrange a pick-up with another service or to ensure a safe disposal in an existing waste management program.

7. Air conditioning pick-up services

There are some junk removal companies who will come and pick up your air conditioner. They can make it easy, although it comes at a minor cost. You don’t have to lift a finger with this. Junk removal does everything for you. Just remember to let them know what they’re picking up, confirm with them that they’re able to do it, and verify that the unit doesn’t need to have its coolant removed or be prepared in any special way.

8. Make it safe for disposal

It’s much easier to dispose of an air conditioner after it’s been prepared. Any doors, covers, or hatches should be removed to prevent harm to small animals. The coolant should be professionally drained. Tanks, tubes, or hoses containing coolant should be separated and provided to a hazardous waste collection center. Also, keep in mind that AC units can be very, very heavy. Have someone to help you move them. It is dangerous to attempt it on your own, causing serious injury.

9. That’s it!

How to get rid of an air conditioner can be a bit of work to do, but once that old air conditioner is gone, you can rest assured you did what was expected to ensure the most eco-friendly disposal possible. There’s no reason to leave it until next spring. Get rid of it today, set up its’ replacement, and from there, you’ve removed a step from your winter clean-up and summer get-ready routine come next March or April.