How to Dispose of a Water Heater

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

Disposing of a water heater can be a difficult task. Especially if you’re working alone. Here’s an easy way to do it all by yourself.

Water heaters are big, clunky and heavy. If yours fails and you want to get rid of it yourself, you’ll want to enlist the help of someone else. Unless you follow these simple steps for disposing of it yourself.

What to Do With an Old Water Heater

If your water heater doesn’t work anymore, you’ll want to get rid of it. If it still works and you’re simply upgrading it, consider selling it on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. If it doesn’t work, you can post in on either of those sites as scrappers are often eager to pick up free metal refuse to bring to recycling centers.

If you want to get the water heater out of your house and you don’t have a helper to carry it, consider cutting it in half.

Steps for Making it Easier to Get Water Heater Out of House

  1. Use a ferrous metal cutting blade on your circular saw.
  2. This process will involve sparks and potentially flying bits of metal.
  3. Use safety glasses, long sleeves, hearing protection and good work gloves for this project.
  4. With the water heater placed on its side set the circular saw against the metal.
  5. Lift the blade guard and plunge the saw into the tank.
  6. Cut across the tank. When you can’t reach any farther, roll the tank and continue cutting.
  7. Once you’ve cut all the way around the tank, wait until the saw blade stops spinning and lift it off the tank.

How and Where to Recycle a Water Heater

Contact your recycling company. Some will pick up water heaters as part of their regular recycling pickup. Another option is bringing it to a recycling center yourself as scrap. Water heaters are made of steel and have copper and brass components. A recycling center will pay you a going rate for the metal. If you don’t want to bother bringing it in, you can put half of the water heater in your trash can (provided it fits) one week and the other half the next week. Contact your garbage hauler for details. Many will also pick up the full water heater if you contact them in advance of pick up.