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Mercury-Thermostats: Alternative Products
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Thermostats and Control Systems
Provides information about the various types of thermostats available.

For residential heating and cooling, accurate and reliable alternatives to mercury-switch thermostats include electronic thermostats (with digital displays) and snap-switch thermostats (open- or sealed-contact magnetic switch, sealed type also called "sealed-in-glass" switch, or bi-metal switch). These are readily available at hardware and home improvement stores. For heating and cooling in large buildings, additional alternatives to the mercury-switch thermostat include reed switch, vapor-filled diaphragm thermostats, and air-controlled heating and cooling.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, programmable electronic thermostats "offer as much as a 50% rate of return on energy dollars." The potential for the conservation of energy and subsequent pollution prevention benefits may be a reason to replace mercury thermostats.

To safely remove an unwanted mercury thermostat, unplug the electrical connection prior to dismantaling. Use a screwdriver and a pair of wire cutters to remove the entire thermostat from the wall. Do not attempt to remove the switches themselves or dismantle the thermostat in any way. Store the thermostat in two unbreakable containers (e.g. two plastic bags). See the Handling, Recycling and Disposal section for more information.


The Topic Hub™ is a product of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx)

The Mercury-Thermostats Topic Hub™ was developed by:

Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association
Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association
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Hub Last Updated: 10/16/2009



Last Modified 10/04/2011

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