Have you ever had the experience of driving along and seeing an old, but relatively clean sofa that someone has disposed of on the curb? After a quick inspection and a “sniff test”, that used sofa may end up in your basement rec-room for your kids and pets to destroy instead of the new furniture in your living room.
I’ve seen many usable items on street corners, but I’ve rarely seen anything salvageable related to HVAC.
The most obvious reason people don’t dispose of HVAC units on street corners is that it’s illegal. It also has some value with scrap metal and perhaps some usable spare parts. The problem of turning that scrap into cash is that the defunct HVAC unit must be disposed of properly to eliminate the damage that HCFC and HFC refrigerants do to the Earth’s ozone layer. The legal options at this point are to find a qualified scrap yard that follows EPA HVAC disposal guidelines. There is no profit to be made but at least the HVAC unit is no longer your problem. If there is any life in your old HVAC unit, then consider donating it to a worthy cause. At least you will have a small tax deduction if you file an itemized return with the IRS. One other option is to purchase a new unit from a qualified HVAC company that will haul the old unit away and reward you with a small discount or rebate. The last option is to have your old unit refurbished but this may cause issues later with the phase-out of the chlorine-based refrigerants. The best plan is to keep your existing system away from the scrap heap with regular maintenance and cleaning by a qualified HVAC technician.