> fluorescent lamps
> thermostats
> thermometers
> pressure & other gauges
> tilt switches
> flame sensors & temperature probes
> button cell batteries
> local hazardous waste collection events
> mercury spill cleanup instructions

Disposal of Mercury-Containing Flame Sensors and Temperature Probes

Mercury-containing flame sensors and temperature probes may be found in gas-fired appliances. A flame sensor or temperature probe consists of a metal bulb and thin tube attached to a gas-control valve. The mercury is contained inside the tube and expands or contracts to open and shut the valve. Mercury is contained in the probe and capillary tube on the device. Do not attempt to remove the capillary tube from the device or even the device from the appliance to avoid the release of mercury. These devices should not be disposed of in the regular trash. The information below will:

  • help you identify appliances which may contain mercury flame sensors or temperature probes,
  • identify mercury-free alternatives if available, and
  • provide information on proper disposal of mercury flame sensors, temperature probes and appliances containing such devices.

Identifying Mercury-Containing Flame Sensors and Temperature Probes

Several types of gas-fired appliances that have pilot lights may have mercury-containing flame sensors or temperature probes including:

  • ranges
  • ovens
  • clothes dryers
  • water heaters
  • furnaces
  • space heaters

Some non-mercury flame sensors have been used in these appliances, but you should treat all sensors as if they contain mercury, unless you are certain they don't.

Alternatives Available

Newer model appliances use an electronic igniter or electronic flame sensor. If there is no available electricity to the appliance such as in recreational vehicles and residences without electricity, there may be no non-mercury alternative at this time.

Disposal Information


The appliances listed above are referred to as "white goods" and have been banned from disposal in Vermont landfills. To dispose of white goods:

  • Bring useable or repairable appliances to a company that can refurbish them and sell them at reduced rates to needy families.
  • Bring unusable appliances to a local solid waste collection center in your area.


Mercury Education & Reduction Campaign    103 South Main Street    Waterbury, VT 05671    802-241-3455
MERC is a program of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation

Vermont Agencies & Depts.  |  Access Government 24/7  |  About Vermont.Gov  |  Privacy Policy  |  Ask a ?
A Vermont Government Website Copyright © 2003 State of Vermont - All rights reserved