Contact local city or county waste management officials to learn if the water heater can be left for curb-side pickup or taken to a designated location for disposal. Other options include appliance recycling programs, scrap metal dealers, and designated landfills or dumps.
Disposal of a water heater is normally a problem only after a do-it-yourself replacement project, as a professional service normally handles the disposal of the old heater as part of the service of installing a new one. The first step for disposal is to drain the heater completely by connecting a water hose to the drain valve.
Next, locate an appropriate disposal option. Not all waste management services offer curb-side pickup of used appliances, and those that do may require an extra disposal fee, so check with local waste management or the servicing water utility company before leaving an old water heater at the curb. Some waste management services hold regular community cleanup days during which they take items not normally permitted with regular garbage.
In areas where pickup by waste management is not permissible, check phone directories and the Internet for local appliance recycling programs or scrap dealers. Ask whether the program or dealer has a pickup service, as well as whether any cash is paid for the heater. The remaining alternative is to take the heater to a landfill that can legally accept large items and pay the required disposal fee.