How to Throw Away or Recycle A Space Heater

modern space heater in room

Your old space heater has reached the end of its life. It’s a natural part of owning an appliance, but how can you safely dispose of it? Here are some tips for you.

What would be of our lives without space heaters? Can you imagine being cold and not having a steady heat source to warm up your room before going to bed?

Just thinking about it gives me the chills (pun intended)!

In this day and age, nearly every home has a space heater, it simply makes sense to own one. They’re easy to use, relatively cheap, and great at doing their job.

That being said, as wonderful as they are, it’s an unescapable fact of life that they will eventually fail or die off altogether. If you’re reading this, yours has already reached the end of its life, and you’re probably wondering how can you throw away or recycle your trusty old unit.

The process should not be too complicated, but there are some things that you should keep in mind.

Below, you will find a list with some tips for you to dispose of your appliance in the best and safest possible way. I know you’re likely sad to throw away your old companion, so let’s give it a proper send off.

Sounds good? Let’s go!

Throwing Away Your Old Space Heater

This might sound like something simple, but depending on the model you own, there could be some substances you have to get rid of before disposing of the heater.

In some cases, you might even need the help of a professional to do this safely, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Here are some tips for you:

  • Check for hazardous substances
  • Drain the unit
  • Get some help
  • Recycle the metal (optional)
  • Take it to a waste disposal site

#1 Check for Hazardous Substances

hazard warning sign
Make sure your appliance is free of contaminants

Before throwing your heater away, you have to make sure that there are no contaminants inside it that could pollute the environment.

Depending on where you live, some substances might not be considered hazardous. If you’re doubtful, you can always go online to find a list of common dangerous substances, and go from there.

If you own an infrared heater, you should be on the clear, as they normally have no liquids inside them. However, models powered by fuel or oil need to be drained before trowing them in the bin.

Once you have done that, you can safely dispose of your space heater in your home.

#2 Drain the Unit

As stated above, some fuel or oil-powered heaters need to be completely drained before being thrown in the bin.

When a space heater is disposed of, it normally ends up in a waste disposal site, where it’s taken apart and sometimes crushed. If you leave any kind of liquid inside it, it will seep out during this process, contaminating the ground, and any water sources near it.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that you can dispose of oil in the same way that you can dispose of fuel, but you can’t. Since they are very different substances, they need to be drained differently.

If you’re uncertain of how to go about this, you can always call your manufacturer. But the one thing I can tell you right now, is that you have to wait until the unit is completely cool.

Failing to do this could put you at risk of sustaining severe burns from the scorching-hot liquids.

Once you’re certain your space heater has no more fuel or oil inside it, you can safely throw it in your home’s bin and wait for the garbage truck to come and collect it.

#3 Get Some Help

professional technician repairing heater
Do not hesitate to call a professional if you can’t drain your heater

Draining your appliance should not be very difficult, but in some models, the fuel container can be sealed shut. This can make it hard for you to comfortably access it and prepare your heater for disposal.

If this is your case, you’ll have to call a certified technician that can help you access the liquid’s container for draining.

In some cases, they will have to take the unit away and drain it themselves, which solves your problem right off the bat, as they will dispose of it after doing so.

I know it can be tempting to try and access the container yourself, but please, don’t, these are sealed off for a reason. Technical knowledge and special tools you might not have, are required to do this safely.

#4 Recycle the Metal

Once you’re certain that there’s nothing else inside or around your heater but metal and plastic, you can start thinking about recycling. You could even make a couple of bucks doing so!

Now, as you can imagine, you can’t do this yourself in the comfort of your home. There are several processes and complex machines involved in recycling, so you’ll have to take it somewhere people specialized in doing this can work on the unit.

By recycling, not only will you be reducing waste in landfills, but also helping the environment, as the parts in your old heater will be repurposed.

#5 Take It to a Waste Disposal Site

electronic waste for recycling or safe disposal
Dispose of the unit to waste disposal sites if your heater is too large to fit in the bin

I know you’re not going to be very excited about hearing this, but you might have to take your space heater to a waste disposal site.

This is necessary when your unit is too large to throw in the bin, since, as you may know, there are certain size limitations when trowing stuff away in residential areas. Some tower space heaters can be complicated to dispose of on your own and cause you a lot of problems.

There are specialized waste disposal sites which can take care of this for you. And the best part is that finding them should not be too difficult. In most cases, you’re one Google search away from finding one of these sties near you.

Sure, you’ll have to drive over there and talk to a couple of people, but isn’t that better than having to find a way to tear the unit apart and throw it away in pieces?

At the end of the day, it will all come down to your personal preference, but I’d advise trying to do this first, as it will make your life much simpler.

Is Throwing Your Appliance Away the Only Option?

Now that we’ve covered all your options when throwing away your space heater, let’s talk about saving the heater.

Sometimes, the appliance is not a total loss. In certain cases, a simple repair could get it back to normal. If your space heater is not too old, I’d advise trying to repair it before giving up and disposing of it.

Here are some things you can try before calling it a day:

  • Check your wall outlet, and your power cord
  • Clean the air filter
  • Replace the propane canister (only for gas models)
  • Check the unit’s internal components for continuity

If none of the solutions above work for you, you’re back to square one, but at least you’ll know for sure that there’s nothing else you could have done.


Throwing away an appliance is always inconvenient. Not only are you getting rid of something you’ve owned for years, but also have to spend your hard-earned money on a replacement.

There’s really no winning here.

It is of the utmost importance that you always make sure the machine you’re throwing away has no harmful liquids inside it, and see whether you can recycle any of the appliance’s parts.

I know how tempting it can be to simply throw the heater in the bin and be done with it, but it’s our responsibility as members of society to ensure no one involved in the disposal process is in danger because of us.

Thank you so much for sticking with me all the way to the end. If you found this article useful and got a clearer idea of how to dispose of your household appliances, why not keep learning from our other incredible resources below?

I wish you all the best!

I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more