Depending on where you live, an air conditioner may be an essential requirement in your home. Living in a hot house or apartment can be incredibly tough. An air conditioner will help cool down a space and making it far more enjoyable to inhabit.
The main issue when looking to dispose of an air conditioning unit is knowing the correct way of doing so. Just disposing of it in your general waste is illegal in many countries, with strict guidelines put in place. This is because of the harmful refrigerants air conditioners contain.
Dependent on the age of your air conditioner, it will more than likely contain one of these three refrigerants; CFC (chlorofluorocarbon) which is an early type of refrigerant or HFC (hydrofluorocarbon) and HCFC (hydrochlorofluorocarbon), which were introduced later as a 'better alternative' at the time. Today we know that all three of these refrigerants are the worst contributors to the destruction of the ozone layer. With around 11% of the world's total warming emissions coming from refrigerants. This is why it is essential to dispose of air conditioning units in the correct, safe and most sustainable way.
You can read more on refrigerants in How to dispose of a refrigerator
The main body of an air conditioner also has its part to play in harming the environment; with the rest of it being made up of non-biodegradable materials such as plastics and metals. Thankfully these elements can, more often than not, be recycled. But leave it to the experts. You should never try to break down an air conditioner for recycling yourself. As the extraction of the refrigerants should always be handled and disposed of by a professional.
Where to dispose of an air conditioner
Taking everything into consideration it is therefore very important to pick the right option for disposing of your air conditioning unit.
Here are several options for disposing of an air conditioner:
Contact the manufacturer or retailer - The company you purchased your air conditioner from may offer a recycling program. Many companies are trying to reduce their carbon footprint so should offer you a solution of what to do with your old unit. They may recycle some of the parts from your old unit into new ones.
Contact the installer - This is a great option as air conditioning units are often situated in awkward locations. Getting the installer in to remove your unit will be less hassle and save time. However this option could be costly.
Change for newer model - When purchasing a new air conditioning unit some companies will offer to take your old one, but this may incur a charge. However, some places will offer free removal as an incentive to purchase a new one from them.
Recycle Centre - If you have removed the unit and are able to transport it yourself, you could take it to a recycling centre. Usually places that accept refrigerators and freezers will also take air conditioners. But do make sure to check with your local facility first before traveling.
Sell or donate it - If you are just looking to upgrade your unit and your old one is still in good condition why not pass it on to someone. Offer it up to a friend or family member or even to a local charity which helps people that are less fortunate. You could choose to sell it and make some money to put towards your new unit, on a site like Gumtree, craigslist or Facebook marketplace.
Remember that it's always best to extend the life of appliances to reduce the amount needing to be disposed of. But when disposing, do so responsibly. Getting professionals in is always best and never dismantle an air conditioner by yourself. When transporting to either a new home or recycling centre, take care and keep the unit up the correct way. This will ensure the refrigerants inside don't leak or mix together.