If appliance disposal is new to you, you might be wondering whether you can recycle dehumidifiers. The answer is yes. In fact, if your unit still works, recycling it by passing it on to someone else is the least wasteful approach. Moreover, you should not (and most landfills will not allow you to) throw out a dehumidifier with other trash.
This is because the refrigerant in dehumidifiers—like that of refrigerators, freezers, and ACs—is toxic. Plus, some components of a dehumidifier (whether it still works or not) are potentially recyclable.
This article will help you understand how to dispose of your dehumidifier properly and where you might find the best dehumidifier recycling/disposal options for your situation and locality.
Why Should Dehumidifiers Be Properly Disposed Of?
Dehumidifiers, along with other electronic and refrigerant-containing appliances, should not be thrown out with regular trash. Refrigerants, such as Freon and R-22, can disperse in air and actually break down UV-protectant ozone in the atmosphere. While the use of the newer R-410A—an ozone-safe refrigerant—is becoming increasingly prevalent, this chemical is still is a greenhouse gas and a biohazard/poison.
Also, the printed circuit board materials behind the dehumidifier control panel contain a variety of toxic waste materials. They should be disposed of in a similarly separate and careful manner.
Lastly, some dehumidifiers have coils made of copper, a recyclable and potentially valuable metal.
Ways to Dispose of Your Old Dehumidifier (Where to Recycle Working Dehumidifiers)
Private Sale or Donation
The most effective way to recycle a functional dehumidifier is to directly give, sell, or donate it.
Where to recycle your dehumidifier depends considerably on your location and intentions:
If you donate the unit to an official charitable organization and keep a record of the donation, it will be tax-deductible.
You can also turn your working dehumidifier into cash by selling it—using a classified ad, social media ad, or just word of mouth.
You could just give the dehumidifier to someone who seems like they could use it, too.
Bounty, Credit, Reward, Rebate, or Exchange Programs
Sellers, manufacturers, waste disposal services, and other businesses sometimes have programs that allow you to get cashback (bounty, voucher, discount, rebate, or reward). Retailers sometimes give credit that can be used for another purchase, or you might be able to exchange your old unit for a new one at a reduced cost (partial exchange).
Appliance and Hardware Stores
These could be small locally owned stores or franchises of large corporate retailers. In general, larger businesses are more likely to offer recycling services for working dehumidifiers, but always check the business website or contact to find whether they have takeback or reward programs.
Some municipal centers and utilities have various forms of a bounty program, in which you can get some money or other rewards in return for your old dehumidifier. Unfortunately, though, you have to check—not all public recycling centers or utilities have these programs.
Plumbers or HVAC Service Technicians
Some plumbers or HVAC servicers offer recycling for functional dehumidifiers, but—as with the entities listed above—always check first.
Local Waste Disposal Services
Often, the website for the municipal waste service clearly indicates whether/where they accept dehumidifiers. Sometimes, the answer is no; if this is the case in your locality, then consider looking into a local landfill or a private waste disposal service.
Many municipal landfills accept dehumidifiers and similar appliances; but, per EPA guidelines, they must consider them hazardous waste and dispose of them separately from regular solid waste/trash. You might not get any reward at a local landfill, but they will allow you to get rid of your dehumidifier in an environmentally responsible way.
Private Waste Disposal Services
Private disposal businesses do not necessarily offer more services than public ones; in fact, they are often more specialized and offer fewer free services. Therefore, check the company website or otherwise contact the private service to be sure they work with dehumidifiers and to find out how much you would have to pay.
How to Dispose of a Broken & Non-Working Dehumidifier
States, cities, and counties vary in their services and regulations, but federal EPA regulations establish an ultimate baseline: First, refrigerants must never go into landfills; second, only specially licensed personnel should recover refrigerant from a dehumidifier. If you want to be sure you get this right, the EPA offers advice and information about disposing of refrigerant-containing appliances.
Some localities have regular free pickup to recycle appliances. Alternatively, some will remove/recover refrigerant from an appliance, so you can proceed to dispose of it with the regular trash. In many localities, pickup or refrigerant removal is only on certain days and for a fee.
In rural areas, the best way to dispose of a broken dehumidifier is to bring it to the county landfill and follow the staff’s directions.
In areas with very extensive recycling services, most of the dehumidifier components are recycled or reclaimed in some way, but, unfortunately, the plastic almost always has to just go into the landfill.
Where Can I Recycle a Dehumidifier Near Me?
In this context, there is some ambiguity about the word recycle: Recycling could mean recycling the dehumidifier components to the greatest extent possible; it can also refer to passing the whole unit on to someone else.
You might be able to get cash for your recycled dehumidifier. Check for reward or exchange programs at local businesses and organizations—waste, appliance, hardware, plumbing, electric, or HVAC services. Check their terms to ensure it is worth it: Does the business/organization offer free (or reasonably priced) pickup, or will you have to make the drive? Will you be able to use the reward/rebate/exchange to buy something else that you want?
Keep in mind that getting a broken or undesirable appliance out of your home—and disposing of it responsibly—is worth something. Therefore, do not feel that you have lost if you cannot find a way to get anything back for your recycled dehumidifier.
How Do Dehumidifiers Get Recycled in Your Location?
- In New York: NY State has made appliance recycling universally easy. Free pickup and refrigerant removal are common. Also prevalent are takeback programs by retailers and manufacturers; these often include bounties and rewards to make recycling appliances at least cost-neutral, if not profitable, to the consumer.
- In Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania supports a variety of corporate trade-in, private recycling, and public utilities recycling programs—all at low- or no-cost and often with free pickup. The value of recycling is genuinely reflected in Pennsylvania law—but as with other states, these programs tend to be both stronger and more favorable to the consumer in densely populated areas.
- In Wisconsin: Free appliance pickup is not common in Wisconsin. However, the state strictly observes EPA guidelines. The consumer must seek out retailer recycling programs, private waste services, or public drop-off or pickup options for appliances (only available in some localities). Wisconsin residents are more likely to have to pay a little to recycle a dehumidifier.
- In California: California strictly observes EPA guidelines. However, as in other states, densely populated areas often have more recycling services by municipal utilities, sometimes including free pickup on certain days. Ultimately, California residents often have to seek out retailer reward or exchange programs to recycle their dehumidifiers.
- In Virginia: Virginia is comparable to other states in recycling policy and options. Virginians have benefited from the Dominion Energy recycle reward program, which recycles the whole appliance to the greatest extent possible and offers a small cash rebate, potentially reducing the upfront cost of a new, more energy-efficient dehumidifier.
People Also Ask (FAQ)
Do dehumidifiers have Freon in them?
All dehumidifiers have some sort of refrigerant. Freon is such a well-known trademark that many people use the name to refer to refrigerants in general.
However, new dehumidifier models almost always have newer refrigerants, such as R-22 or R410A; while considered safer than Freon, these newer refrigerants still must be treated with similar caution.
How many years do dehumidifiers last?
Sadly, some highly affordable dehumidifiers do not last more than a couple of years. Meanwhile, many high-quality (usually more expensive) models can remain functional for a decade with sensible use and proper maintenance.
When should you throw out a dehumidifier?
In general, the unit is malfunctioning if it stops dehumidifying under circumstances in which it previously worked well.
You might notice this by physical signs or sensations of excess moisture, or you might see an otherwise unexplainable increase in your hygrometer reading.
Sometimes, a dehumidifier might start leaking, but this is potentially fixable—by replacing/repairing the water tank or drainage connection.
However, if the unit is inexpensive or does not respond to repairs, you should probably dispose of it.
Can a dirty or malfunctioning dehumidifier make you sick or otherwise cause damage?
An ill-functioning dehumidifier will not usually cause harm directly.
However, allowing humidity levels to go up could promote mold growth, rotting, and disintegration of household possessions—as well as allergies and discomfort to inhabitants.
It’s important to clean your dehumidifier often. In rare cases, a dehumidifier that has undergone considerable wear and tear might actually develop a refrigerant leak. If you suspect this, dispose of the unit as soon as possible and do not attempt to donate, give, or exchange it.
In some localities, figuring out where and how to responsibly dispose of an old dehumidifier can get complicated. Hopefully, this article helped you see why it is important to get it right and helped you to understand all of the options in your area.
Many people, even those in sparsely populated areas, can find ways to get refunds, cash back, or tax deductions.
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