How to Dispose of Space Heaters?

A space heater is any portable heating device that warms up the surrounding environment by heating up the air molecules. Several types of space heaters are available in the market. There are infrared space heaters, oil-based heaters, electric heaters, and fuel-based heaters. These all have varying efficiencies and price ranges. 

Space heaters are essential if you live in a house where there is no central heating or it gets extremely cold in winters. Generally, space heaters are built to last, but the electric heaters with heating coils found in supermarket aisles are probably the least durable. Speaking from experience, they are not built to last and some may not even last one winter. 

So what happens when you end up with half a dozen electric heaters in your house that do not work? This is exactly what happened to me when I was living in campus housing during grad school. I ended up with 6 old, broken electric heaters that older residents so gracefully left behind in the house. 

I had to learn the hard way how to dispose of these so you don’t have to. This article will explain in detail what types of space heaters there are, what are the disposal options for each of them, and what are potential dangers of improperly disposing of them. 

How to Dispose of Space Heaters?

How you dispose of your space heaters depends on what type of space heater it is. If it is any sort of electric heater, it should be recycled by an electronic waste (e-waste) recycling company, if it is oil-based it should be taken to a hazardous waste facility, if it is mostly plastic and no e-waste company is around, it could be left to the curbside garbage collection. 

Recycling electric heaters: 

In many states in the United States and many European countries, electronic wastes are prohibited from being thrown into the trash. In New York, for example, there are many disposal options for electronic wastes like space heaters, and throwing out these appliances into the garbage is prohibited. 

If you have  an electric space heater, you have the following options: 

  • Find a reliable e-waste recycling company nearby and drop it off there or arrange a pick-up if available. Some companies also have mail-in services.
  • Some municipalities set up collection services for electronic waste. You may be able to drop your heater off at the disposal site or arrange a pickup.
  • If you live in a large apartment complex in New York City, it is possible your complex already has an e-waste collection system in place.
  • You can take your heater to a scrap yard and sell it for the metal parts.

If none of the above are applicable for you, you still have some options. If your heater is still working you should not throw it in the garbage or give it up for recycling. Your first approach should be to see if you can sell it to anyone who needs it. If no one in your area is willing to buy a used heater, you can try donating it. 

In winters it gets pretty cold, less privileged people may need a space heater for their housing. You should contact local charities to see if heaters are required. 

If donation or selling aren’t viable options, you can see if any local electronic repair shops or welding shops can make use of the metals in the heater. Some hobby centers may also benefit from your heater, they can take it apart and use the parts to build other things. 

If none of the options above are possible, you should contact your local waste management system to ask for instructions on how to dispose of your heater. Some municipalities still instruct their constituents to throw these appliances into the garbage or leave them by the curbside garbage for pick up. 

Disposing of oil-based space heaters: 

If your heater contains oil, I would recommend you contact your local hazardous waste collection facility for a pickup or you can drop it off at their facility. Oil is an environmental pollutant and you should not throw oil-filled heaters into the landfills. 

These oils will most likely leak into the soil and contaminate the ground. If the oils make their way into the water source it will be catastrophic for aquatic life. Oil can form a non-porous layer over the water preventing the water from getting oxygen from the air, this kills fish and aquatic plants. 

Oil degradation also causes the proliferation of unwanted microbes in the water that harms the ecological balance of the water source. 

Check carefully if your heater has any hazardous substance, you can check here to see what symbols signify hazardous waste. 

You will see a lot of blogs suggesting you drain out the oil yourself, only do it if it is not a health risk to you. For handling hazardous chemicals, you need some training and I would recommend you let experts do the work. 

Other types of space heaters: 

There are space heaters that are mostly made of wood or are run on fuels such as kerosene or butane. To find out if these are recyclable, you need to contact your local municipal waste management system. If these aren’t recyclable, you will most likely have to leave for pick-up on garbage day. 

Conclusion: 

Space heaters are essential if you live in a house where there is no central heating or it gets extremely cold in winters. Generally, space heaters are built to last, but the electric heaters with heating coils found in supermarket aisles are probably the least durable. Speaking from experience, they are not built to last and some may not even last one winter. 

So what happens when you end up with half a dozen electric heaters in your house that do not work? This is exactly what happened to me when I was living in graduate housing during grad school. I ended up with 6 old, broken electric heaters that older residents so gracefully left behind in the house. 

I had to learn the hard way how to dispose of these so you don’t have to. This article explains in detail what types of space heaters there are, what are the disposal options for each of them, and what are potential dangers of improperly disposing of them. 

Frequently Asked Questions: How to Dispose of a Space Heater

Can a space heater be recycled? 

Electric heaters are considered e-waste and can be recycled. You need to find an e-waste recycling company for that, curbside recycling does not accept e-waste. For any space heater with metal in it, you can take it to a scrap yard to sell it, the metal will be recycled. 

How do you dispose of a space heater? 

Depending on the type of space heater and where you live, you have several options. If it’s an electric heater, you can recycle it, if it contains oils then you need to hand it over to the hazardous waste management facility of your area. If it is an infrared heater and you have no e-waste management facility, you will have to throw it in the garbage. 

Can I throw a space heater in the garbage? 

It is not recommended. Space heaters with oil should be handed over to hazardous waste management. Electric heaters should be recycled. 

How do I dispose of an electric radiator? 

Electric radiators are considered e-waste. You should find a reliable company around you that recycles e-waste. E-waste is piling up in the landfills and we should all do our parts in reducing the waste we generate. 

How many types of space heaters are there? 

Mainly three, oil-based space heaters, electric heaters, and old-school fuel-based heaters. 

Are old space heaters worth any money? 

Some e-waste recycling companies may buy your electric heater from you for a certain amount of money. Otherwise, you can sell it to a scrap yard for its metal parts. 

References: 

  1. How to Dispose of a Space Heater – HeaterTips. (2022). Retrieved 13 February 2022, from https://heatertips.com/how-to-dispose-of-a-space-heater/
  2. Can You Recycle Electric Heaters? (And Ways to Dispose of) – Conserve Energy Future. (2022). Retrieved 13 February 2022, from https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/can-you-recycle-electric-heaters.php
  3. Space heater – CSWD. (2022). Retrieved 13 February 2022, from https://cswd.net/a-to-z/space-heaters/
  4. Hazardous Waste | Whitehorse, YT. (2022). Retrieved 13 February 2022, from https://www.whitehorse.ca/departments/environmental-sustainability/waste-diversion/additional-information/hazardous-waste#!rc-cpage=7622
  5. City of Mountain View – What’s Recyclable. (2022). Retrieved 13 February 2022, from https://www.mountainview.gov/depts/pw/recycling/garbage/recyclable.asp#
  6. Recycling. (2022). Retrieved 13 February 2022, from https://www.cambridgema.gov/Services/Recycling#!rc-cpage=253199
  7. Curbside Collections. (2022). Retrieved 13 February 2022, from https://www.cambridgema.gov/Services/CurbsideCollections#!rc-cpage=253200
  8. Space Heater. (2022). Retrieved 13 February 2022, from https://www.ramseycounty.us/content/space-heater
  9. Search | Recycling Alternative. (2022). Retrieved 13 February 2022, from https://recyclingalternative.com/search/#!rc-cpage=39739
  10. WasteWizard | Blue Earth County, MN – Official Website. (2022). Retrieved 13 February 2022, from https://www.blueearthcountymn.gov/1498/WasteWizard#!rc-cpage=488122

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