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HVAC Products Containing Mercury and Proper Disposal

Products Containing Mercury and the Environment including new State Laws & Regulations and pending legislation

HVAC Products Containing Mercury and Proper Disposal – Mercury is extremely harmful to the environment and cause severe health problems in humans and animals. For many years HVAC and HVAC Controls manufacturers have used mercury in switches. Mercury is a liquid metal and provides a good source used in many switches because of its fluidity and conductivity. From thermostats to boiler controls the liquid metal provides a reliable and efficient switching mechanism to start and stop certain sequences in HVAC applications.

HVAC Products Containing Mercury and Proper Disposal

Because it is very harmful to the environment and because many people do not know it is harmful or they are irresponsible and improperly dispose of products containing mercury some States have come up with laws regulating products which contain mercury or there is pending legislation ban the sale and use of products which contain this substance. Manufacturers have alternative methods to control HVAC applications and have taken steps to decrease production of making products which contain this substance and increase production of replacement controls especially for the States where there is current or pending legislation.

HVAC Products Containing Mercury and Proper Disposal

It is important if you replace your thermostat to check to see if it has mercury before throwing it in the trash. If you see a little oval bulb with a silver liquid inside the bulb you have a thermostat which contains mercury. It is important to properly dispose of this part of your thermostat which contains mercury. Other HVAC controls which contain mercury are boiler controls especially on steam boiler systems. It is improbable that the typical homeowner or business owner will replace this control if it malfunctions but maintenance personnel and HVAC and boiler technicians should be aware of these new laws and the fact that mercury harms the environment so that they properly dispose of any product which contains mercury.

At the end of the usable life of a product which contains mercury the products which contain mercury must be recycled or disposed of in accordance with Local, State, and Federal Regulations so that the mercury in these products do not harm the environment.

Please refer to your individual state laws and regulations to determine specific requirements for disposal of any products containing mercury. Never put products which contain mercury in the trash. Call your local refuse or Disposal Company or the State Environmental Protection agency and ask how to properly dispose of products which contain mercury.

HVAC Products Containing Mercury and Proper Disposal – States with Current or Pending Legislation Banning the Sale or Distribution of Products which Contain Mercury*


State Effective Date
California July 1, 2006
Connecticut July 1, 2004
Illinois July 1, 2007
Louisiana January 1, 2007
Maine July 1, 2006
Massachusetts May 1, 2008
Minnesota August 1, 2007
New York January 1, 2008
Rhode Island January 1, 2006
Vermont January 1, 2007

For a comprehensive updated list of state laws concerning mercury click here.

HVAC Products Containing Mercury and Proper Disposal *If your State is not listed check you Local, State, and Federal regulations for laws pertaining to the sale, distribution, use, and disposal of products which contain mercury. Many state, local, and even private waste disposal facilities have special collection methods for products that contain mercury.


HVAC Products Containing Mercury and Proper Disposal

HVAC Products Containing Mercury and Proper Disposal

Types of Boilers | HVAC Heating and Cooling

Types of Boilers

There are many different types of boilers in the boiler room today in a variety of heating applications. There are two main categories of boilers among the different boilers and those two categories are steam boilers and hot water boilers. Either of those categories can be fueled by oil, gas, or electric (although electric is uncommon for steam boilers). They have different designs and piping configurations as a steam boiler system is designed to turned the water into steam and uses gravity and pressure to deliver the heat and the hot water boiler systems are designed to simply make hot water to be circulated (by a circulator pump) through a piping system to provide heat. Typically, hot water boilers are more efficient than steam boilers for a few reasons. First, there is less heat loss throughout the hot water piping and the shell of the boiler because the hot water boiler operates at a lower temperature than the steam boiler. This means there is less heat loss throughout the entire boiler and piping system. Secondly, because the hot water boiler operates at a lower temperature, it requires less fuel or energy to convert into heat. What kind of boiler do you have in your boiler room?

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Boiler Circulator Pump – Hydronic Components

Boiler Circulator PumpBoiler Circulator Pump – The boiler circulator pump induces the flow of hot water through the boiler and the boiler loop. Usually the boiler circulator pump is controlled by the aquastat however there are various levels of control that can be found that control pumps. One way is by the aquastat as mentioned above. Another way is by an end switch in a zone valve. A thermostat in a particular zone will call for heat and the thermostat calls for the zone valve to open. When the zone valve is fully open an end switch closes the circuit to energize the circulator pump. Typically, the circuit is a control circuit so when the end switch closes it closes the circuit for a relay to energize the circulator pump

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Hot Water Boiler Expansion Tanks – HVAC Hydronics

Hot Water Boiler Expansion Tanks – HVAC Hydronics

Hot Water Boiler Expansion Tanks - Boiler Expansion TanksHot Water Boiler Expansion Tanks – There are two types of expansion tanks used on hot water boiler systems. The steel expansion tank and the bladder type expansion tank. These expansion tanks are used to provide a cushion for the expansion of water when it is heated. Without this cushion of air the pressure in the boiler system would rise and exceed the setting on the pressure relief valve causing the pressure relief valve to open and discharge water to relieve the pressure. It is necessary to for an HVAC technician to understand how these expansion tanks work in order to properly troubleshoot hot water boiler problems which may occur as a result of an issue with an expansion tank. One of the first things to check on a hot water boiler system when the pressure relief valve discharges water excessively is the expansion tank.

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Boiler Components and Controls – HVAC Hydronics

Boiler Components and Controls – Hot Water Boiler Expansion Tanks

Boiler Components and ControlsBoiler Components and Controls – All hot water boilers must have an expansion tank. Water expands when it is heated and there must be a place for it to expand to so that the pressure in the boiler loop system remains constant. Without an expansion tank the pressures in the boiler loop system would vary wildly and most likely will exceed the maximum pressures designed for the boiler hot water loop system. This will result in setting off the pressure relief valve. There are two different types of expansion tanks that can be used on hot water boiler systems. The most modern is the bladder type expansion tank (see picture to the right). The other type of expansion tank is a basic cylinder or barrel looking tank that hangs from the ceiling or is located in the attic. These tanks need to be drained from time to time to make sure they are not full. If they fill up with water and have to be drained constantly there is a problem with your boiler that should be looked at by a boiler technician. The bladder type expansion tank does not need draining on a regular basis like the cylinder or barrel type tank.

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Ceiling Fans Save Energy: Ceiling fans installed strategically in your home or business can save you in air conditioning energy costs in the summer. The draft effect from the fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting by up to 4 degrees and still remain comfortable. Make sure you purchase ceiling fans with energy efficient motors and blade designs. Some ceiling fans have inefficient motors and bad blade designs that will reduce the energy savings you can realize. A qualified electrician can install ceiling fans in your home or business and you can enjoy the savings and compliment your HVAC system.

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