Many older thermostats contain mercury. But how to know if yours does? In this blog post, we’ll explore what mercury is, why it’s harmful, and how to identify if your thermostat contains mercury.
What Is Mercury?
Let’s begin with the basics: what is mercury? Mercury is a heavy metal that is naturally occurring in the environment. However, it can also be released into the environment through human activities.
It is worth noting thant mercury exposure can have harmful effects on human health and the environment.
So, how does mercury end up in your thermostat? Before 2005, thermostats often contained a small amount of mercury in the switch that turned the heating or cooling system on and off. This was done because mercury is a good conductor of electricity, which made it an ideal material for the job. However, because of the environmental and health risks posed by mercury, the use of mercury in thermostats has been banned in many states since 2006.
Does My Thermostat Have Mercury?
Now, you may be wondering: how can you tell if your thermostat contains mercury? If you have an older thermostat, it may be difficult to tell just by looking at its exterior.
To see if your thermostat contains mercury, remove the front cover. If after removing the cover you notice one or more glass ampoules (sealed vials) that contain a silver liquid, then your thermostat has a mercury switch.
If you’re not sure if your thermostat contains mercury, it’s best to contact a professional HVAC technician to help you identify it.
If your thermostat does contain mercury, it’s important to dispose of it properly. Mercury-containing thermostats should never be thrown in the trash, as this can release the mercury into the environment. Instead, they should be taken to a hazardous waste collection site. To find a thermostat recycling site near you, visit the Thermostat Recycling Corporation Website.
Many local governments have programs for collecting and recycling mercury-containing thermostats, so check with your local authorities to find out where you can take yours.
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