Mercury-Filled Thermostats -- Time to Retire Old Technology

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September 25, 2014


Mercury-Filled Thermostats -- Time to Retire Old TechnologyRemember the "good old days": lead paint covering children's toys, DDT in our pesticides, family vehicles without child safety seats, and mercury-filled thermostats. Increased research and advances in technology have revealed the dangers behind the use of all these once-accepted items. Change can be slow in coming. Mercury-filled thermostats may have served their purpose at one time, but it's definitely time for them to go.

The Problem with Mercury

In short, mercury, a chemical element, affects the human brain in insidious ways and is the most powerful neuro-toxin known to man. Mercury accumulates in the environment and won't break down in the human body. One characteristic of the element – and the reason it was used in thermometers and thermostats – is its sensitivity to heat. It also remains in a liquid state up to 30 degrees sub zero Fahrenheit. Mercury reacts to heat by expanding, and, quite quickly, can change states to a toxic vapor. The toxicity of mercury and state bans on the use of mercury in the home or environment are reasons enough to retire mercury-filled thermostats in your Fort Wayne area home.

The Use of Mercury in Thermostats

Older, mercury-based thermostats function by way of a tilt switch that responds to a bimetal coil. The coil inside the thermostat contracts and expands, activating the mercury switch, which opens or closes a circuit. The circuit controls the on/off operation of an air conditioner, furnace, boiler or heat pump. Replacing outdated thermostats is a safety essential; disposal of mercury-filled thermostats should be left to professionals.

Don't wait to phase out your mercury-based thermostat. Hartman Brothers Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. has served the Fort Wayne area since 1963. We can easily change out your old thermostat and replace it with an energy-saving, mercury-free digital thermostat to eliminate the worry of having even the smallest amount of mercury in your home. Feel free to contact us about replacing your existing thermostat, or for expert advice on any other home comfort issues you may have.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in New Haven, Indiana and surrounding Fort Wayne area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about thermostats and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Danylo Samiylenko/Shutterstock”


New Haven , Fort Wayne , thermostats , indiana , Mercury-filled thermostats

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