How to Get Rid of a Portable Air Conditioner or Window AC Unit

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Did you know that approximately 300,000 cooling appliances are left by the side of the road each year in Quebec? These appliances are not recycled responsibly, and each one generates an average of 1 tonne of greenhouse gases (GHGs), equivalent to more than 100,000 extra vehicles on Quebec roads every year.

Leaving an air conditioner by the side of the road is something from another era, like refusing to wear a seatbelt or smoking in a restaurant . . . ,

La Presse

What are the most environmentally friendly ways of getting rid of your old portable air conditioner or window AC unit? Here are three practical tips for disposing of your old air conditioner in an environmentally sound manner.

1. Repair your air conditioner

Before getting rid of your old portable air conditioner or window AC unit, ask yourself this: can it be repaired? By extending the useful life of your air conditioner, you avoid using the raw materials needed to manufacture a new appliance.

What are the most common AC problems?

Several AC problems can occur:

  • The unit is no longer blowing cold air
  • The appliance leaks
  • Only a minimal amount of cold air is flowing
  • The unit is noisy

The best way to prevent air conditioning failure is to ensure regular air conditioner maintenance.

Find an air conditioning repair service near you

Several air conditioning repair services exist in Quebec that can help you decide whether repair is possible and at what cost. Before contacting an air conditioning repair service, we recommend that you check with the company that you dealt with for the purchase and installation of your air conditioner to see whether the appliance is still under warranty. If so, you may be able to have it repaired for less.

To find professional help for your air conditioner repair, we recommend consulting the Protégez-Vous interactive map of appliance repair services, which identifies 720 tested repair services.

You can also:

  • Do a search on Google Maps to find the best air conditioning repair service near you, and read the reviews
  • Ask a family member or friend to refer you to a trusted repair service

2. Sell or give away your air conditioner

You’ve finally decided to replace your old air conditioner. How do you go about getting rid of your old working air conditioner in an environmentally friendly manner? You’ve got two options:

Sell your air conditioner

Several online classified ad sites exist to sell your old air conditioner. It’s a good way to ensure your air conditioner pickup free of charge by an individual, and to make a bit of money. Many users look for used air conditioners.

The most popular classified ad sites in Quebec are:

Give away your air conditioner

A good way of getting rid of your old air conditioner that still works is to pass it on. You’ll make someone else happy and you’ll get rid of your appliance quickly while being environmentally friendly.

You have two options:

  • Give it to a family member, friend, co-worker or acquaintance
  • Contact a donation centre to arrange for an air conditioner pickup, or bring it in yourself

3. Recycle your air conditioner

Has your air conditioner died or reached the point where nobody wants it? Giving it to GoRecycle so that it is recycled properly is one of the best ways of fighting climate change.

Find a nearby recycling drop-off point

Over 260 drop-off points (including ecocentres, recycling centres and sorting centres) exist in Quebec to ensure that your air conditioner is recycled responsibly.

The portable air conditioner or window AC unit recycling service is free. Simply check out GoRecycle’s drop-off point locator to find the location nearest you, and bring in your old air conditioner.

Note that only portable air conditioners and window AC units are covered by this service. Wall-mounted heat pumps and other types of air conditioners are not covered, since it is specified in the Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ) standards that HVAC technicians handle them. Appliances must be removed by a certified HVAC technician to ensure that they are safely disconnected without any gases escaping before the appliance is recycled. For more information, visit the Corporation des entreprises de traitement de l’air et du froid (CETAF) or the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI).

We recommend that you make sure you’re a citizen of the municipality being served and that you haven’t reached your maximum number of annual visits, and that you check out the business hours before you go.

To conclude

Following this advice will allow you to get rid of your old air conditioner in an environmentally friendly way while helping reduce GHGs. Make a responsible choice for the environment and for future generations!

About GoRecycle

GoRecycle is the only organization recognized by RECYC-QUÉBEC that ensures the responsible recycling of cooling appliances in Quebec. We recycle refrigerators, air conditioners, freezers, wine coolers, dehumidifiers and water coolers through over 260 drop-off points in Quebec, and over 90 banner pickup partners with the purchase of a new fridge. GoRecycle is a non-profit organization (NPO).