As Wi-Fi-enabled and digital thermostats are becoming rampant today, a lot of people just throw out their old manual thermostats. Sad to say, a large group of individuals are not aware about the extreme toxicity that the mercury of a thermostat can bring. Below, we will be looking into the hazards of a mercury. Also, we will discuss the proper disposal and handling of mercury-containing thermostats.
What is Mercury?
Mercury is a type of metal that is used most often in barometers, fluorescent lamps, thermometers, and some household appliances. Even if this metal is a poor heat conductor, it is still a great electricity conductor. Because of the weak bonding in atoms, mercury stays in vapor or liquid form in room temperatures. Mercury is favorably used in old thermometers because it has tremendously low freezing point and tremendously high boiling point. These are unbelievably sensitive to temperatures, contracting and expanding with heat, most often in glass tubes that is associated with a temperature gauge.
Why is it dangerous?
Mercury is not safe for humans because it vaporizes in room temperatures. Once this vaporize, it will become an odorless, invisible gas that will be very soluble in oils and fats. Once inhaled, it easily enter one’s bloodstream and travel to the brain. Mercury poisoning can be highly dangerous to our nervous system.
Whilst results of drinking or eating mercury are less dangerous because it will just exit the body through the digestive system (but this is NOT a good idea), some mercury still gets inhaled in vapor form while it is digested. Mercury poses a great threat to our family when it is from a broken mercury-containing element. The liquid that is leaked will vaporize, turning to a toxic gas that will linger in air for a long time.
Removing of Mercury-Containing Thermostats
Although a lot of old, knob style or manual slider style thermostats have mercury, most of the digital thermostats don’t. If they do have, it usually comes with a note of “Hg” marking on its packaging. In order for you to remove any mercury-containing thermostat safely, here are the steps that you need to do:
- Properly turn off the thermostat.
- Shut off your HVAC system’s power from your circuit breaker box.
- Remove your thermostat from the mounting bracket carefully. See to it that you will not drop it since it has mercury inside. You can also consider to lay some cushions under just in case you drop the thermostat.
- Before you remove the wirings, it will be great if you take snapshots of the thermostat’s connection points so that you will have a reference when you install the new one.
- Disconnect the thermostat from the wiring but you must not remove any wirings from the wall. Keep in mind that you will be needing the wirings in your new thermostat.
- Recycle your old thermostat and DO NOT try to disassemble it.
If you own any materials that are hazardous and you need some help in removing this, know that you can count on us. Here at Conway AR Demolition Contractor, we will surely do our best to serve our clients well.
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