How to Dispose of an Old AC Unit

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • Phone number to energy department in your area

  • Phone number to trash collection agency


Make sure to inquire about how the coolant is being disposed of. If you suspect anything illegal or suspect about the practices to dispose of the coolant, visit the Environmental Protection Agency's Compliance ( website to lodge a complaint.


Do not leave the unit just sitting on your property--the machine can break down and cause a coolant leak. This can become a hazardous area that will require specialized equipment to clean up.

As air conditioners get old and worn down, they eventually will have to be replaced. When this occurs, many people are at a loss as what to do with the old air conditioner. If you have an old air conditioner that you need to get rid of, think twice about just putting it out on the curb for the trash collectors to come pick up. All air conditioners have some sort of coolant that requires special care upon disposal.

Step 1

Call the power company in your area and inquire about a bounty program. Some energy departments offer a discount on your bill for recycling old appliances in lieu of more energy-efficient ones. If there is a bounty pickup, ask what the restrictions are.

Step 2

Call your municipal waste department if no bounty is available. It may not pick up a large item without a special appointment. Inquire about any charges that may apply and if it will accept the unit with coolant still housed in the machine.

Step 3

Call an air conditioning technician if the municipal waste department will not accept machine that still has coolant inside. The technician will safely remove and dispose of the coolant so the unit can be picked up.

references & resources

R.L. Cultrona

R.L. Cultrona is a San Diego native and a graduate of San Diego State University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in theater, television and film with a minor in communications and political science. She began writing online instructional articles in June 2009.