The unusually warm winter many Americans have been experiencing is causing some unexpected trends – mainly a strange sense of glee in my native New England, though that may be due to the outcome of recent sporting events. For example, I came across several articles this morning about how retail and hardware stores are seeing diminished sales on shovels and other winter necessities.
However, while you may not be turning up your manual thermostats as much to get away from the frigid winter chills, this doesn't mean you should forget about this vital energy-saving tool until next winter. If you own an older manual thermostat, for instance, now may be the time to upgrade as seasonal deals could make saving money on home heating and cooling in the future more affordable.
But, before simply throwing that old thermostat, you need to ensure you're taking the proper precautions to help the environment.
This is because most old-fashioned thermometers contain mercury. These thermostats were for sale in places like New York as recently as 2005. Each older thermostat contains roughly a seventh of an ounce of mercury, a neurotoxin that has been linked to health problems in unborn babies and young children.
Recent research indicates only around two out of every 100 thermostats that contain mercury are recycled, though this is higher in some states like Vermont and Maine, where recycling is mandatory. (Other states, like Indiana, have voluntary programs that encourage contractors and suppliers to stop using these products). Regardless of the laws in your state, however, you may want to do the right thing by properly disposing of this energy-saving tool before you purchase a new model.
Eco-enthusiasts may even want to shop around for top products from big manufacturers like Honeywell that no longer contain the substance. This way, you can do your part by reducing your energy costs and the proliferation of a potentially harmful substance.