Mercury is commonly known as a toxic element, but many people don’t realize that the mercury in their thermometers can be a major hazard when not disposed of properly. Each year, thousands of pounds of mercury are haphazardly dumped into landfills, demolition dumps and incinerators, creating a significant threat for the environment and human health. The federal EPA estimates that 21 tons of mercury had been used in the production of thermostats as of 2004. Mercury poisoning in humans can cause:
- Muscle weakness
- Vision impairment
- Emotional changes
In California, the sale of mercury-switch thermostats was banned in 2004, so if you have a thermostat that was manufactured after 2006, you have nothing to worry about. If your unit is older than that, however, it’s time to think about replacing your thermostat. The state does not have a law requiring you to dispose of your unit in a certain way, but there are thermostat recycling locations throughout the Central Valley that make disposal safe and easy.
Despite claims made by some thermostat manufacturers, mercury-switch units are not more reliable, more efficient or longer-lasting than digital thermostats. In fact, because mercury-based units contain many moving parts, they’re more susceptible to failure over time. A mercury-free thermostat, such as an Energy Star certified digital unit, is fully programmable, longer lasting and safe for your family and the environment. Many digital thermostats come programmed with optimal settings for energy savings, so you’re saving money right out of the box.
With a mercury-free thermostat, you can boost comfort and energy savings in your home. For more expert advice about maintaining a safe and environmentally friendly home or other topics related to home comfort, please contact us at Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning. We’ve been providing quality services in the Fresno area for nearly 40 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Fresno, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about mercury-free thermostats and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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