HVAC Recycling Old Parts: Is It Something You Should Do?

Just as other materials have certain standards regarding what can and cannot be recycled, HVAC recycling is generally subject to local and federal regulations. When a new furnace or AC replaces an existing unit, a number of rules determine how the old unit must be handled and who should do it.

In most cases, HVAC recycling won’t be an issue for the homeowner, as it’s handled by the HVAC contractor that installs the new unit. However, it’s still helpful to be generally familiar with requirements that are typically enforced.

Air Conditioners

All air conditioners, whether central AC or window units, circulate refrigerant as part of the cooling process. Refrigerant is a hazardous, toxic chemical that is not environmentally friendly. In compliance with federal law, before recycling an old air conditioner, a licensed HVAC contractor must remove all refrigerant content. Typically, the AC unit will then be transported to an approved site for disposal. Any other recyclable materials will be removed at that time. Usually, all these requirements will be fulfilled by the HVAC contractor who installs the new unit.


Gas-fired and electric furnaces are large, heavy items that will typically not be picked up by standard trash collection. However, many municipalities offer special bulk-item pickup that may haul away used furnaces. In most cases, this is a special service whereby the date and time of the pickup must be scheduled with the city and the unit will have to be placed at the curb.

Individual Components

Certain parts incorporated in an air conditioner or furnace may be individually recycled at certain facilities that handle these materials. Components that can be recycled may include:

  • Air-conditioner coils
  • Air-conditioner compressor motor
  • Air-handler blower motor
  • Copper tubing
  • Metal or aluminum ductwork

For complete HVAC sales and service, including HVAC recycling, ask the experienced professionals at Paitson Bros., serving Wabash Valley homeowners since 1922.

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