How to Recycle an Air Conditioner

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How to Recycle an Air Conditioner

High-quality air conditioners provide home and property owners with years and, in many cases, decades of high performance. However, even the most durable and smoothly operating air conditioners inevitably break down. The primary reasons for AC unit deterioration include corrosion from exposure to weather elements, cracked pipes, and poor maintenance. Inoperable air conditioners prompt home and property owners to not only search for replacement units, but also properly recycle their malfunctioning units. Home and property owners can find a wide variety of new and used AC units online by shopping on eBay. First, they should learn about the main components and then review the best way to recycle their old units.

Common Components of an Air Conditioner

Some home and flat owners may dispense with an air conditioner unit that only requires a replacement part to operate smoothly. This means that before home and property owners decide to recycle their air conditioners, they should check to verify which part, or parts, require replacement. If more than one part requires replacement, consumers should recycle the old home appliance and purchase another unit. Air conditioners possess four primary components that require understanding.




Receive liquid refrigerant

Attached to the cold side of the air conditioner

Fan blows air over chilled coils


Located on the hot side of the unit

Regulates and transfers heat

Consider saving the condenser if the unit is not salvageable

Expansion Valve

Controls the flow of refrigerant into the evaporator

Typically the first major component to break down

Maintains high pressure until refrigerant enters the evaporator


Durable pump that pressurizes refrigerant

Part of the process that turns gas back into liquid

Found on the hot side of the air conditioner

Although the four components comprise the standard air conditioner infrastructure, a growing number of manufacturers, such as Daikin and Mitsubishi, have added subtle tweaks to their designs. Home and property owners can find all of the components mounted inside of a metal box or spread out within the interior of the unit. Since central air conditioners share a control thermostat with the home heating system, the condenser and compressor operate outside of the home.

Recycling an Air Conditioner

Air conditioner units, especially central air systems, contain an assortment of metals that make it worthwhile to find a scrap yard that pays for the metals. Scrap yard operators can utilise all of the metal stripped from the components and the air conditioner housing. Home and property owners must perform all of the work to window and central recycle air conditioners before they bring the disassembled units to scrap yard operators.

Free the Freon

AC units include heavily regulated Freon that can cause harm to people who spend too much time around the released gas. Before do-it-yourselfers take apart their AC units for recycling, the must first remove all of the Freon. They cannot vent the Freon, but instead, they must allow a certified technician to reclaim the gas. The EPA fines anyone caught releasing the gas into the environment. Once a professional removes the Freon, do-it-yourselfers can then break down the metal into scrap.

Scrap the Compressor

Older air conditioners include compressors that operate unprotected from debris and moisture buildup. Newer units seal compressors inside of a thick layer of steel. Most scrap yards and recycling businesses pay a premium for high-grade, thick steel. Before cutting a sealed unit open, do-it-yourselfers must drain the entire compressor. Then, they open sealed compressors by placing the sealed unit in a vice and cutting with an angle grinder. They should strip the wire from the motor or they can offer the motor to a recycling centre with the wire attached.

Scrap Copper Lines

Home and property owners can find several copper lines that may bring top dollar at a recycling centre or scrap yard. To ensure they receive the best prices for their copper lines, home and property owners should cut out every solder joint before removing the lines. Do-it-yourselfers who do not have the expertise or patience to remove the solder joints should consider hiring an expert.

Scrap the Radiator and Condenser

AC unit radiators and condensers work in tandem to compress air and remove heat. Manufacturers typically use copper-aluminium to produce radiators. Do-it-yourselfers need to clean out the radiator before they offer the component for sale at a scrap yard or recycling centre. To remove the steel contamination, they need to cut off the steel by using a sawzall or circular saw. The condenser coils only need a few swipes of a clean cloth soaked in warm soapy water.

How to Buy an Air Conditioner on eBay

As one of the more popular home appliances listed for sale on eBay, air conditioners come in a variety of shapes and styles to match the needs of most consumers. You find the right eBay seller by typing keyword-specific terms into the powerful search engine. For example, you can narrow your search for sellers by specifying that you want the search engine to returnnew and used AC results. Whatever search criteria you use, you must vet each seller candidate until you find the one that matches your buying needs. The customer feedback that eBay compiles on each seller's product page offers the most conclusive evidence of seller integrity.

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