Dehumidifiers are appliances meant to remove moisture from the air. This is done by cooling the air that the unit draws in that causes condensation. This condensed moisture gets stored in the holding tank that needs to be emptied out on a regular basis.
For the air to cool in the unit, a dehumidifier uses Freon or chlorofluorocarbon gas. Since a dehumidifier contains Freon, you cannot simply throw it away with your regular trash, just like other types of appliances containing Freon like air conditioners and refrigerators.
Similar to freezers, window air conditioning units, and refrigerators, dehumidifiers contain a refrigerant material that can pose harm to the environment. Disposing of such items is illegal without getting rid of the refrigerant first. This is a quite dangerous process that needs the help and guidance of a certified technician. Continue reading to know how to dispose of your dehumidifier properly and safely.
What is Refrigerant?
Nearly all dehumidifiers contain a certain type of chemical refrigerant called HCFC or hydrochlorofluorocarbon. Once HCFC gets released into the atmosphere, it can damage the ozone layer and act as a greenhouse gas. This becomes twice as damaging to the environment.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency revealed that Americans dispose of around one million dehumidifiers every year, the majority of which contain the dangerous HCFC. Proper disposal of your old and discarded dehumidifier helps ensure that the HCFC it contains doesn’t get released to the atmosphere to help prevent further damages to the ozone layer.
How to Dispose of Your Dehumidifier
If your retailer is not a certified recycler or your utility company doesn’t collect appliances, you can call your local department of public works and inquire about the safe disposal practices in the area.
If you have a large dehumidifier, you might need to book a special trash pickup. On the other hand, you may need to take your dehumidifier to the nearest hazardous waste disposal facility.
You can also hire a technician who will get rid of the refrigerant before you can dispose of your dehumidifier. Take note that this job calls for special equipment and training so never attempt to do it on your own.
Follow these simple steps to dispose of your dehumidifier:
- Contact the household hazardous waste facility in your area to check if they are accepting dehumidifiers. If yes, you can dispose of your dehumidifier there. If they don’t, which is possible, you can proceed to the next steps.
- Get in touch with your local department of sanitation office to book an appointment for pick up of your dehumidifier or for Freon removal. You might need to pay for the service.
- Put the dehumidifier by the curb the night prior to the scheduled appointment. Your local government facility will either drain it off Its Freon or they will pick it up. If it is drained, a tag will indicate so.
- Leave your tagged dehumidifier by the curb for regular recycling or trash pickup, depending on your community.
Take Advantage of Bounty Programs
To encourage more people to get rid of their old appliances the safe way, electronic companies in most areas provide rebates or bounties for recycled dehumidifiers, freezers, window units, and refrigerators.
Contact your electric company to check if it offers this type of service. If yes, it may only accept working units or units made after a particular year. You can ask the company if they have these requirements and check your unit to determine if it is eligible.
Check with Your Retailer
There are retailers of refrigerated appliances that collect then recycle old items, specifically those that are still working. Some retailers even provide discounts on replacement appliances when you trade in your old unit.
Before you trade back or resell your old dehumidifier to the retailer from whom you bought it, see to it that the company has been certified with the recycling program of your state.
Outdated or inefficient appliances use up more energy than required and uncertified retailers may resell the appliance to another customer or may even fail to discard it legally.
Sell Your Dehumidifier
You can sell your old dehumidifier at the flea market or garage sale. You can do this together with other old appliances you have or you can just sell the unit by itself.
Check the classified section on your local newspaper to know if someone put up an ad on buying old appliances. You can also put up an ad yourself about selling your dehumidifier. One more option is to sell your unit to a pawnshop.
Donate Your Dehumidifier
You can also donate your dehumidifier to any charitable organization around your area. Search for Salvation Army or Goodwill stores or look for local secondhand shops that donate all or most of the profits they earn to charity.
In case you are living in a place with many options of such kind, you can do some research to identify an organization that offers support to the specific cause that interests you, like a thrift shop that donates all proceeds to cancer research. You can request a receipt if you want to use your donation as a tax write-off.
Give Away Your Old Dehumidifier
Finally, if you don’t have much luck donating or even selling your old dehumidifier, you can always talk to your family and friends to know if there is someone who might be interested to take the appliance.
You can give your dehumidifier to relatives suffering from sinus headaches related to humidity or someone who has mold allergies. Family and friends who have issues with insects will also benefit from a dehumidifier since humidity attracts ants, termites, silverfish, cockroaches, centipedes, and other types of bugs and resulting in them turning moisture-rich spots into their breeding sites.
Throwing away your dehumidifier isn’t something that you can just do haphazardly. There are important steps you have to follow to ensure that it doesn’t cause any harm or pose danger to the environment.