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Keeping Your AC from the Junkyard (“What Do You Do With an Old AC?”)


Fall is the time when the air is filled with the sounds of people tossing old air conditioners into the scrapheaps, creating a pleasing metal clang

Okay, I’m making that up. However, fall is a time of the year when many homeowners decide to make changes to their HVAC systems, and that often means having the AC replaced.

Of course, we would rather you didn’t have to do that, and we’re making it easier than ever with our “Dirty Secret” campaign: we’re offering our 21-Point Energy and Repair Saver System Tune-Up for only $97 for a limited time. That’s a huge savings off the regular price—and you’ll receive the benefit of keeping your AC from ending up sent to the scrapyard too early.

But that brings up an interesting question, one I often hear: “Hey Olive, do you just throw that old air conditioner into the junkyard?” I’m not a “junkyard dog,” but I am an HVAC expert dog, so I can tell you … the short answer is, “no.” The long answer is interesting if you’d care to hang with me…

Proper Air Conditioning Disposal and Recycling

Here’s the important info to know about AC disposal, which is that all types of air conditioning systems as well as heat pumps contain chemical refrigerant. It’s what they use to move heat out of a home and cool it down. If you are replacing a very old AC, it may use a type of refrigerant containing hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).

This is a harmful ozone-depleting substance, and you don’t want it released into the environment. It also contains greenhouse gases. It’s great that you’re replacing this old AC for up-to-date equipment, but it needs to be disposed of properly. However, even the newer refrigerant blends can still contain greenhouse gases.

The bottom line: it’s illegal to drop an AC in a dumpster or drop it off at the scrapyard. That’s a government regulation, straight from the Environmental Protection Agency.

We’re a fully certified HVAC company, so we know how to safely and legally dispose of old air conditioning systems. We can do several different things with the old AC unit. One of the standard procedures is to drain the refrigerant from the system before it is discarded. This is called reclamation.

The refrigerant is usually still good and can be used to repair other systems. In the case of older refrigerant blends, the refrigerant is becoming a rarer commodity necessary to repair out-of-date units. (Although I recommend you have a new AC put in if you have one of these old refrigerant models.)

We may recycle some units if they are still in decent shape and are not too old. Often, a customer will want to upgrade to a new model even when their current one is still in good working condition. For these, we may recycle the valuable components or even donate the units to buildings that need them.

You can trust us to handle all your HVAC services in ways that serve you, the community, and the environment. We are specially qualified and carry the CMC-C license from the State of Tennessee, which not all contractors have. Let us see that you have a great new AC and that your old one goes to the proper place.

Stay cool,