How to Dispose of an Air Conditioner

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Updated September 16, 2022

Even the best air conditioners will eventually need replacing. When the time comes, you’ll need to know how to dispose of an air conditioner properly. It is crucial to do so correctly and comply with the law. So, if you’ve got an old unit that’s out of service, keep reading to learn what you can do with it.


  • It is against the law to improperly dispose of an air conditioner, so ensure that you always take the extra steps to dispose of an AC properly.
  • You can use a few different methods to dispose of an AC, including using a recycling program or visiting a local sanitation department.
  • If you call the AC manufacturing company, they might be able to direct you to places they partner with that will help you dispose of your AC.

Finding Disposal Services for Air Conditioners

Regular maintenance will help prolong the life of your AC unit. For example, knowing how to clean leaves out of an air conditioner will extend the life of your appliance. You should also know how to check for a freon leak in a central air conditioner or how to refill freon in window air conditioners, which are also part of general maintenance. However, no matter what you do, eventually, your unit will break down for the final time.

Insider Tip

You can always donate your AC to places such as community centers if it is still in working condition.

While it may be convenient, no matter how tempting it seems, laws prevent you from putting your AC in the trash bin for the garbage collector to take away. Because of this, the proper disposal of your unit will take a little planning. Luckily, you have a few options.

Local Appliance Disposal Agencies

You could find a third-party agency that takes household items and appliances. You can call around and see who offers this service. Sometimes they’re even willing to do trash pickups where they come to your house for bulk trash collection. Make sure your air conditioning unit is ready to go by learning how to drain water from a window air conditioner.

Visit Your Local Sanitation Department

There is often more information to be found at your city hall. They should be able to direct you on how to contact this department and arrange for the disposal of your AC through a curbside pickup program.


Throwing your AC in the trash is illegal, so use a waste removal vendor or recycling station to get rid of your old unit.

Go to a Recycling Drop-Off Center

If you miss collection day, all is not lost. You can take your AC to a recycling center. This is a great way to ensure your making less of an environmental impact. They can take the scrap metals from your AC and use them for other purposes. You just have to call around to find the right place near you.

STAT: In 2019, 55.3 percent of occupied housing units in the state of Rhode Island relied on utility gas for heating. (source)

How to Dispose of an Air Conditioner FAQs

Why is proper disposal of ACs so important?

There are many reasons why proper AC disposal is so important. For one, it lessens the environmental impact that these machines have. Besides that, the fluids in your AC are considered toxic, so there are laws in place that stipulate proper disposal.

How do I find a bounty program in my area?

If you want to take advantage of a bounty program for AC disposal, contact your local electricity provider. They should be able to point you in the right direction.

Are there other options to safely dispose of my AC?

You should be able to contact the manufacturer of the AC for more options. They might have a special program that allows them to reclaim the AC.

How do I find out the collection schedule for recycling day?

You should call your waste management company to find out when the collection day for recyclable materials is. They should have more information.
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