Informational Guide

Getting Rid of Old Boilers? Risks, Options, Recycle!

Is your old boiler taking up too much space unnecessarily? Read on to find out how to recycle your boiler responsibly.

by Dmitri Kara

No boiler lasts forever. Be it iron-cast, copper, steam, coal, oil, gas, or electrical, boilers work well, boilers are sturdy, but you eventually need to replace and get rid of the old one.

Check our other guides:

Wrech and Tools for Scrapping

Investing in a new boiler can be energy efficient and save money over time and down the road. As heating your home and hot water become an ever more useful commodity while winters become colder, making sure that cost stays in a reasonable range when up for a new boiler!

  • But, if you have an old unit lying around, how to get rid of it?
  • Do you worry about the environmental repercussions of sending a boiler to trash?

Well, Air Conditioner Lab has a dash of useful tips to help you get rid of your old boiler the best way possible.

Important! First, you have to de-install and detach your previous unit safely! Once that’s done, you’ll need a plan to get rid of the boiler.


Here’s what you need to know about risks and responsibilities with old boilers:

Risk: Solid Fuel Back Boilers might Explode

Dangers come from draining such units, especially if you do it long enough before actually detaching the boiler. The crucial moment is venting. If for some reason you drain but not dismantle, make sure that you remove all and there’s no way for pressure to build up.

The next best thing is to drill an opening, preferably in a vertical or near-vertical manner. The goal is to avoid redundant back boilers building up pressure.

Solid fuel boilers are usually heavily built-in and taking one out requires partial demolition of the chamber.

Also consider using a small room heater if you have not installed a boiler and want to heat up your place.

Risks with Solid-fueled Old Boilers?

The alert follows several incidents in recent years, which resulted in serious injury, and sadly, in one case, a fatality.

  • A redundant solid fuel back boiler had been left in a sealed condition.
  • Later, a coal or wood fire was lit in front of the boiler.
  • The unit heats sufficiently and internal pressure causes the boiler to explode.

Risk: Removing an Old Gas Boiler?

We do not recommend trying to remove old gas boilers yourself.

You should always take help from a gas-safe certified heating engineer for this process. Professionals disconnect gas and power supply before removing the unit, thus avoiding the risk of fire.

According to 247 Stay Warm (New Boilers), once a unit is installed, certified tradesmen carry tests to ensure that gear works properly and as intended by design. This process should take about a day or so, hence you will not have to live without heating in your home for too long, but carrying thorough testing is a must, the professionals say. Installation might take longer when a conventional boiler is being replaced with a combi system.

After the removal of the old boiler (which normally are located in the basement), you may be looking for a new heater system for your home. If so, check our list of best heaters for the basement.

Risk: Disposing of Asbestos in Old Boilers Responsibly

It is crucial to know that boilers are classified as commercial waste, not household waste.

So taking your boiler to an old council tip for disposal by yourself is not always a good idea. Boilers have hazardous substances like asbestos (if they are very old), so you need to hire a professional waste collection/disposal team to remove. This is where the professionals come into play.

According to an expert from the boiler servicing department of My Plumber UK, specialized technicians have the know-how, tools, and training to deal with hazardous waste, following the right protocols and practice. Experts also point out the following boiler sections that contain hazardous asbestos:

  • Insulation – walls & pipes;
  • Gaskets – around hand-holes and manholes;
  • Cement and paper;
  • In boiler rope insulation;
  • Raw asbestos filler;
  • Sealants & tapes – in joints.
Popular Boiler Manufacturers Using Asbestos:

American Standard, Inc. Aqua-Chem, Inc. Babcock & Wilcox; Cleaver-Brooks; Combustion Engineering; Crane Co. Dunkirk Boilers; Riley Stoker Corporation; Foster Wheeler; Henry Vogt Machine Co. Kewanee Boiler Manufacturing Inc. Parsons; Weil-McLain; Zurn Industries, Inc. And the list goes on.

Recycle an Old Boiler

Experts say that up to 95% of boiler waste collected from residential customers can be recycled and thus help the environment.

However, that’s not the case with asbestos. To burn or bury the substance is against the law, for it releases toxic fibers that you or others might breathe in, and that’s when things turn bad.

If you take the necessary precautions, you help nature and play your part in being a responsible citizen of society.

Can You Leave an Old Boiler to Scrappage… Yourself?

Unfortunately, that’s a no, no. Boilers are built from a bouquet of materials, and some like asbestos require delicate waste management.

Scrap Yard

Can Professionals Take a Boiler to Landfill?

In the unfortunate case of no recycling centers in your area, try landfills. Some might have procedures in place for handling old boilers and thus take the burden off your shoulders.

Old Boiler Scrap Value: Can You Sell?

Be it a cast-iron, copper, or a more recent unit merging plastics and synthetic materials, you can always take your boiler to a local scrap yard and see what they give you in return for your boiler. It probably will not be too much, but you could get anywhere between $50 a hundred or so, depending on the boiler type and size.

For reference, the average for a tonne of steel ranges between $200 and $400. No matter how long a boiler lasts, selling your old boiler for scrap is not only possible but a somewhat good idea in a financial manner.

You won’t be making millions out of it, but a few bucks extra. Also, since we can reuse metal, selling it to scrape is a conscientious and eco-friendly way to dispose of a boiler.

Of course, safety and condition are out of the dispute, but unless you want to juice your cents and maximum value, needy family or elderly senior might find use in what you want to throw away, comments Energy Guide (UK). If you have the heart to look into the option, search for non-profits in your area that single-handedly help or work together with the state.

Points to Remember When Recycling A Boiler

  1. .Never attempt to dismantle your boiler on your own.
  2. .Hire a professional engineer to help.
  3. .Taking your boiler to a recycling center is not a good idea.
  4. .You should set up a boiler box to keep your old boiler in if it has hazardous materials to it. Health comes first, and containers that keep dismantled parts safe save lives.
  5. .You can sell parts of the boiler to ensure you add no more waste to landfills and the environment. This will also be a good financial decision on your part.

Getting Rid of Old Boilers – Conclusion

You now know where and why risk lays.

Why you have to be careful and responsible when about to dispose of your old boiler. It can not only be hazardous to your health but also extremely dangerous for your life, that of your loved ones, and the integrity and sustainability of your home or property.

So, make sure you identify the type of boiler you have and thus, the best way for you to get rid of it, be it to recycle, sell to scrape, or else.

Ensure that you do not add to the harmful substances already polluting our environment!

And before you get a new one, check our guide:

Last Updated on December 31, 2022

Dmitri Kara

Started writing as a jack of all trades in 2012 and is currently a recognized expert in a wide range of domestic and commercial trade topics. Dmitri has appeared for quite a few reputable outlets such as,,,,, and many more.