The Ultimate Guide to Safely Disposing of an Oil Space Heater

When it comes to disposing of an oil space heater, it’s crucial to follow the proper steps to ensure the safe and responsible handling of this type of appliance. Oil space heaters are commonly used for supplemental heating, but they can pose environmental and safety risks if not disposed of correctly. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the entire process, from draining the oil to recycling the metal components, to help you navigate the disposal of your oil space heater with confidence.

Draining the Oil

The first and most critical step in disposing of an oil space heater is to remove the oil from the unit. This is a crucial step, as the oil can be hazardous and must be handled and disposed of properly. Here’s how to drain the oil:

  1. Locate the Oil Drain Plug: Typically, oil space heaters have a drain plug located at the bottom of the unit. This is where the oil will be drained from.

  2. Prepare a Suitable Container: Gather a sturdy, leak-proof container, such as a metal or plastic container, that can hold the entire volume of oil from the heater. The average oil space heater can hold anywhere from 1 to 5 gallons of oil, so choose a container with an appropriate capacity.

  3. Drain the Oil: Place the container under the drain plug and use a wrench or pliers to carefully remove the plug. Allow the oil to drain completely into the container.

  4. Dispose of the Oil Properly: Once the oil has been drained, it’s essential to dispose of it properly. Oil should never be poured down drains, onto the ground, or into storm sewers, as it can contaminate water sources and harm the environment. Instead, contact your local hazardous waste disposal facility or waste oil recycling service to find out the proper way to dispose of the oil in your area.

Recycling the Metal Components

how to dispose of an Oil Space Heater

After the oil has been removed, the next step is to recycle the metal components of the oil space heater. This includes the outer casing, the heating element, and any other metal parts. Here’s how to recycle the metal:

  1. Disassemble the Heater: Use tools to carefully dismantle the heater, separating the metal parts from any non-metal components, such as plastic or rubber.

  2. Clean the Metal Parts: Wipe down the metal parts to remove any remaining oil or debris. This will help ensure the metal is accepted by the recycler.

  3. Find a Scrap Metal Recycler: Search for a local scrap metal recycler that accepts old appliances and metal items. Many municipalities or waste management services can provide information on where to recycle metal in your area.

  4. Transport the Metal Parts: Carefully transport the metal components to the recycler. Some recyclers may even offer pickup services for larger items like oil space heaters.

  5. Receive Payment: Depending on the weight and type of metal, you may receive a small payment for the scrap value of the heater’s metal components.

Disposing of Non-Metal Components

Any non-metal parts of the oil space heater, such as the thermostat, control panel, or any plastic or rubber components, should be disposed of properly. These items may not be accepted by scrap metal recyclers, so you’ll need to check with your local waste management or hazardous waste disposal service for the appropriate way to handle them.

Donating or Selling the Heater

If the oil space heater is still in good working condition, you may be able to donate it or sell it to someone who can continue using it. This is a great way to extend the life of the appliance and prevent it from ending up in a landfill. Check with local charities, thrift stores, or online marketplaces to see if they accept donations or are interested in purchasing used oil space heaters.

Disposing of the Heater Safely

If the oil space heater is no longer in working condition and cannot be donated or sold, it’s important to dispose of it safely. Oil space heaters should never be placed in a landfill, as the oil and other components can leach into the soil and groundwater, causing environmental harm.

Instead, contact your local waste management or hazardous waste disposal service to find out the proper way to dispose of the heater in your area. Some municipalities may have specific guidelines or collection events for large appliances like oil space heaters.


Disposing of an oil space heater requires careful attention to detail and a commitment to responsible waste management. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your oil space heater is disposed of safely and in an environmentally friendly manner. Remember to always prioritize safety, follow local regulations, and consider all options for recycling or donating the appliance before resorting to disposal.

Disposing of a Broken Space Heater
10 Ways to Ensure Safe Waste Oil Disposal
Disposing of an Oil-Filled Heater
Heater, Mineral Oil-Filled
How to Dispose of an Oil Filled Heater