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Mercury-containing sensors may be found in some gas-fired appliances that have pilot lights. These include stoves, ovens, water heaters, clothes dryers, furnaces and space heaters. A sensor has a probe that consists of a metal bulb and thin tube attached to a gas-control valve. Mercury inside the tube expands or contracts to open and shut the valve.
Although there are some gas appliances that have been made with nonmercury thermostat probes, you should treat all of them as if they contain mercury. When you replace an old appliance, arrange for the pilot light sensor to be recycled.