Are you still using a mercury thermostat? Over the last few decades, there’s been an increase in awareness regarding the toxicity and dangers of the substance, which was once a prominent component in everyday items, including batteries, thermometers, electronic devices and, yes, thermostats.

Today’s thermostats have veered away from it through the years. As technology advances, the HVAC industry is finding newer, greener ways to keep businesses and homeowners cool while conserving energy and resources.

However, there are still several old thermostats, both in use and lying in landfills. Although the Thermostat Recycling Corporation has been working diligently since 1998 to collect and recycle these outdated (and dangerous) components, it’s anything but a short-term project. In 2014, the corporation saw a 13 percent increase in collections of mercury-bearing thermostats to be recycled.

You may be wondering how much of a difference this really makes. After all, thermostats only use a small vial of mercury to operate. Consider this: In 2014, a competition was held called Big Man on Planet (BMOP) that challenged HVAC businesses to collect as many of these thermostats as possible. The result led to the donation that amounted to over 252 pounds of mercury!

Why Proper Disposal of Mercury Matters

Not everything can be properly disposed of by throwing it into the recycling bin. Mercury that ends up in landfills sinks into the soil and comes straight back around to haunt us. Through the soil, mercury finds its way into our waterways and oceans, permeating our drinking water and poisoning the fish we consume.

Its impact isn’t subtle, either. Mercury poisoning causes severe side effects in humans, including memory loss, blindness and tremors. It is especially dangerous to pregnant women and can cause birth defects in children.

Do You Have an Outdated Thermostat?

Are you still using an outdated, mercury-based thermostat? If so, reach out to Bruno Air to see about getting it replaced, and then make sure you dispose of it properly. You can click here to find a drop-off location near you.