Mercury: Thermostats

Most homes have thermostats, many of which contain mercury. Mercury-containing tilt switches have been used in thermostats for more than 40 years. They provide accurate, reliable temperature control, require little or no maintenance, and do not require a power source.

Like all mercury-containing products, thermostats that contain mercury have the potential to contaminate our environment.

Now the good news: Electronic mercury-free thermostats are available. They can be programmed to control temperature at preset times. This results in lower utility bills and less pollution from burning coal.

As an energy conservation measure, some utilities offer free programmable thermostats to replace old ones. Programmable thermostats can also be purchased.

Mercury Thermostat Disposal Guidelines

Switch to an electronic or digital thermostat.
  • When your thermostat needs replacing due to normal wear or to gain the environmental and financial benefits of a programmable thermostat, consider purchasing a programmable thermostat and recycle the one that contains mercury.
  • If you chose to wait, use stickers or some other form of identification to mark mercury-containing thermostats.
  • Contact IDEM for free mercury stickers:
Properly dispose mercury thermostats - recycle them!
  • Never remove the internal mercury switch from your thermostat.
  • If you hire a contractor to replace your mercury thermostat, select one who is participating in the Indiana Mercury Reduction and Recycling Program.
  • If you replace the thermostat yourself, place the used thermostat in a sealable, plastic container marked "Mercury for Recycling."
  • Take the container to a local mercury recycling site, such as your local solid waste management district, or in Marion County, contact the ToxDrop at (317) 327-2234.