Does your thermostat have mercury?
For thermostats in use, take off the cover and look inside. The thermostat has mercury if there is a glass ampoule (or ampoules) containing a silvery liquid.
In King County, it is illegal to put mercury thermostats in the garbage or to pour the mercury down the drain. Households and contractors/businesses have numerous no-charge options for recycling mercury-containing thermostats.
Buying a new thermostat?
Read the package label. Thermostats with mercury will have the “Hg” sign for mercury on the packaging.
Most thermostats sold today don't contain mercury. Programmable electronic thermostats and many manual thermostats are now mercury-free.
CONTRACTORS: how to dispose of thermostats
- Recycle the entire thermostat at the nearest vendor that accepts thermostats. Don't take apart the thermostat or remove the mercury ampoule.
- Most heating and cooling equipment suppliers in King County collect mercury thermostats for recycling. There is no charge for this service.
- Contractors may order their own mail-away recycling bin if they have at least seven technicians or if they are located far from other recycling services.
- To order a bin, contact the Thermostat Recycling Corporation (TRC) (external link). TRC charges a $25 one-time fee. All future mailing and recycling costs are paid by TRC. After the full bin is sent to TRC, an empty bin is returned to the contractor.
HOUSEHOLDS: how to dispose of thermostats
- Bring the entire thermostat to a household hazardous waste facility for no charge recycling. Do not take it apart.
- Take your thermostats to certain heating and cooling equipment suppliers. Some suppliers recycle thermostats from contractors and from the general public.
- If you are working with a contractor, ask him to recycle your mercury thermostat. They have many options for recycling.