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Water Heater

When you purchase a new water heater, you’re probably not thinking too much about what you’ll do with the old one. And yet, that’s an issue that must be addressed. All of a sudden, you have two water heaters in your home, one that works and one that doesn’t. How will you get rid of the old, busted one?

If you have your new unit installed by a professional plumbing company, you’re in luck. A business like Carter’s My Plumber will typically provide a water heater removal service for you. Once we install the new water heater, we’ll prepare your old water heater to be recycled. We’ll then take it to one of the nearest recycling centers. Basically, getting rid of the old water heater isn’t something you’ll need to worry about.

But what if you choose to install the new hot water heater yourself? If you’re a DIY type, then water heater disposal is something you’ll need to think about. Can you simply take it to the recycling center, and have it used for scrap metal? Should you drop it off at the landfill? What’s the smartest, fastest, and most eco-friendly form of water heater disposal?

Here are a few tips and guidelines for hot water heater disposal.

How to Dispose of a Water Heater

When it comes to water heater recycling, there are several options you can consider.

Donating Old Water Heaters

If you’re having a new unit installed, it may be because the old one no longer works. But in some cases, homeowners opt for new units because they want to upgrade to a bigger tank or a more energy efficient model.

If your old water heater still has some life in it, you may be able to donate it to someone in need. We’d recommend calling around to places like Goodwill. They may be able to use it, or direct you to someone who can. Again, this really only works if your unit is still in good working order. But if you’d rather give it away than turn it to scrap metal, this may be your best bet for water heater disposal.

Heading to the Recycling Center

If your old hot water heater is just junk, then there’s no point trying to give it to someone. Recycling centers are probably your best bet. There, you can ensure your old hot water heater is safely reduced to scrap metal, along with all the other unwanted appliances and electronic items out there.

Depending on where you live, you may be able to find a local recycling center that offers a junk removal service. Some centers may even offer to pay you the going rate for appliances and metal items. But in other cases, you may actually have to pay a water heater disposal fee. It really just depends on your geographic locale, and on the current demand for old water heater scrap. The bottom line is that, if you wish to dispose of a water heater that no longer functions, the recycling center may be a better option than the landfill (but not always).

Calling Your Junk Removal Service

Do you have a trash pickup service? If so, it’s worth giving them a call. Some garbage crews will provide curbside pickup for old hot water heaters and other appliances. They may take these heaters off your hands and attempt to recycle or refurbish them. Note that there can sometimes be a fee associated with this.

As far as sustainable and responsible methods for recycling water heater appliances, this is an option well worth considering.

Heading to the Landfill

Of course, if all else fails, you may have little choice but to take your old hot water heater to the local junkyard. Usually, they will be willing to dispose of water heater products for you, without charging you any fees. You may luck out and find a junkyard that recycles old water heaters, so it’s always worth asking.

Working with a Junk Removal Company

If you don’t have a way to get your water heater to the scrap heap, consider calling a local junk company. For a small fee, they’ll haul off your old water heater for you. This isn’t necessarily the cheapest approach, but it may be the easiest. You can also ask them if they will locate an option to recycle the old water heater, or just toss it. Sometimes, you can find a junk disposal crew that will take an eco-friendly stance.

Junking Your Old Water Heater

If you’re handy and DIY-inclined enough to install a new hot water heater, then you may also have the technical savvy to dismantle your old one. This isn’t necessarily the right option for everyone, but if you want to take apart your hot water heater and sell the scrap metal, go right ahead!

Removing Your Hot Water Heater

The first step in the recycling water heater process? Removing your old hot water heater from where it’s mounted. It’s important to approach this cautiously, as there could be risks to your health and safety.

Some quick tips for removing water heaters:

  • Cut the power to your water heater. This means cutting off the electrical power, and for gas heaters it means shutting off the gas valve.
  • Shut off the power to your unit and then drain it. You’ll likely want to do this with a simple garden hose, which should direct the water into a drain.
  • Finally, remove the hot water heater. Sometimes, all you’ll need is a wrench and a bit of elbow grease. But if it’s been “hard plumbed” into place, you may also need a good, powerful saw to get the water heater free.

These are just a few simple steps you can take to unloose old water heaters, preparing them to be recycled or scrapped. Again, disconnecting water heaters can potentially be dangerous, especially if you’re not pretty comfortable working with gas. When in doubt, leave this work to a professional plumber.

Out with the Old Heater, In with the New Heater

Really, when it comes to removing an old water heater, the simplest solution is hiring a plumber who can provide a comprehensive service. In other words, bring in a trained plumber professional who can remove the existing water heater, install a new one, and safely remove the water heater you’re no longer using.

At Carter’s My Plumber, we can do all of this and more. We’re proud to be among the top plumbing and water heating companies in the Indianapolis area, and would love to help with your water heater installation and removal needs.

If you’re ready to chat with us about replacing a heater, reach out to Carter’s My Plumber at your next opportunity.

Kelson Carter

Article reviewed by:

Kelson Carter, aka, The Prince of Plumbing

Kelson is a 3rd generation Plumbing Contractor. His family business is located in Greenwood, Indiana, and provides Residential Plumbing Service to the Indianapolis Metro market.

Kelson grew up watching his grandfather and father do plumbing. After graduating high school, Kelson went to Trade School and became a Licensed Master Plumber and Licensed Plumbing Contractor. He is also Certified in Backflow Prevention. He currently owns and operates Carter's My Plumber with his parents.


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