Scrapping metal in old houses & Selling scrap metal
Sell Scrap Metal For Money
Selling scrap metal is an easy way to make extra money. If you sell scrap metal in a house that's about to be tore down, you can make a good profit. If you're confused about what can be recycled in an old house, keep reading. I've listed specific and general things to look for and gave a general idea as to the most current scrap metal prices.
Always get Permission!
Never scrap a house unless you own it or you have the owners permission. If you know of a house that is going to be tore down, you should either contact the demolition crew or the owner for permission.
Scrapping a house without permission is a felony. You could be charged with breaking-and-entering, grand theft and vandalism.
Scrap Metal Removal Supplies
phillips head screwdriver
straight edge screwdriver
crates/boxes to sort your metal
Don't forget your official scrap metal t-shirt! - Not mandatory but you'll look wicked cool!
Copper usually fetches the highest price at the scrapyard. The first place to look for copper in a house is at the water pipes. Find the hot water heater and start there. If they're copper, you can use a hacksaw to cut the pipes out. If you can, follow the copper pipe outside and cut that out too. Sometimes you have to dig but it's usually not that deep.
The next place you'll find copper is in the wiring. Assuming the electricity is off, all you have to do is look for a light fixture, and expose the wires. Older wires are usually tan and flat or black and round, but I've also seen yellow wires and orange wires. It will go throughout the house so you just have to follow it. You can either remove it by pulling it through the walls and ceilings or you can cut it into smaller pieces (smaller pieces are easier to strip). After removing it, you'll need to strip the plastic off using your knife and a pair of pliers.
There may be copper objects elsewhere in the house. Look for copper pots, pans, spigots and teakettles. Electronics and appliances such as dryers, washing machines, television sets, and computer monitors have a copper coil inside them, but you need to be extremely careful when trying to remove them (especially in tv's) because they still hold electricity inside. Copper can also be found in the cords to electrical appliances and extension cords. Just cut the cords off and strip the plastic off them.
There are many grades of copper, but a lot of scrapyards just use 2, with each getting their own price. Number 1 copper is shiny, uncoated and free of solder. Number 2 copper can be oxidized, painted, and have soldered joints. When you're sorting your copper pipes, use the hacksaw to cut off any fittings and place the fittings in the # 2 pile. The rest of the pipes and the electrical house wiring are #1 copper.
Always sort your metal into different crates or boxes before you take it to the scrap yard. Otherwise, you're likely to get the lowest possible price for everything.
Brass prices are high because brass is hard to find. If you're lucky, you'll find an old house with brass doorknobs. Sometimes, other hardware might be brass. If the water pipes aren't copper, they could be brass. Otherwise, check through any belongings that were left behind. Some common objects that could be brass are kettles, hand bells, beds, drawer handles and musical instruments.
Brass that has other metal attached to it is called irony brass and will lower the price up to 90%. If you find any brass fixtures, you should take them to a reputable antiques dealer before taking them to the scrap yard. A lot of times you can make more by selling them as antique fixtures than you could by selling them as brass.
Clean and Dirty Metal
You'll get more money for clean metal than for dirty metal.
Clean means stripped of plastic, screws and anything else not made of the same metal.
Dirty means it still contains screws, fittings, and other pieces.
Aluminum prices aren't as high as brass or copper, but it's a lot easier to find. A lot of old houses have aluminum window frames, aluminum doors and aluminum siding. Some even have aluminum lightning rods that go from the ground to the roof (cha-ching!). Also, look in the kitchen for any old aluminum pots and pans. If there's any old lawn mowers laying around, grab those too because there is aluminum inside (you'll have to take these apart to get the aluminum out). And of course collect any aluminum cans you find, but put them in a separate pile because they fetch a different price.
What kind of metal is it?
Use your magnet and your eyes.
Copper isn't magnetic and is reddish brown in color.
Aluminum isn't magnetic and is grey in color.
Brass isn't magnetic and is gold in color.
Steel is magnetic.
Scrap steel prices are the lowest of the popular metals, usually around $10 per 100 pounds. But that's because it's so easy to find. Any metal that doesn't fit into the other categories is considered scrap steel. This includes metal shelves, lamp bases, heaters, sinks, bathtubs, metal barrels, metal chairs, and wood stoves.
Steel and stainless steel are two different things. If you find really shiny steel, it could be stainless so put that in a separate pile and you'll get more money for it.
Other stuff you can recycle
Motors, alternators and batteries can all be sold at the scrapyard. So can large appliances. Sometimes, television sets, vcr's, computers and other broken electronics can also be sold, but I would recommend calling the scrapyard first.
Scrap tin prices are actually low, lower even than steel. But in the unlikely chance that you find some, it's worth it to throw it in with the rest. If the house has a wood stove, check if the pipes leading to the chimney are tin. Also see if the roof is tin, especially if you're scrapping a trailer. Sometimes, like the one in the picture, old barns will also be sided with tin roofing.
Watch out for
snakes and spiders
asbestos, especially in older houses
rotten wood, especially on stairs
live wires, always check first
Scrapping metal for money. Is it worth it?
How much can you make?
The amount of money you can make by selling scrap is limited only by you. If you're willing to go out and actively look for things to (legally) scrap, then you will stay busy and your scrap pile will grow. You also have to be willing to call the scrapyards around your city to compare prices. This will show you why those phone calls are so important.
On March 19 we called both our local scrapyards to check their prices and found out that Lowe Fur & Herb was paying 20 cents more per pound for scrap steel. So we brought in a small load and walked out with $244!
On April 1 we called both scrapyards again and found out Wilkes Steel was paying 30 cents more per pound for copper. So we brought in a large load and walked out with over $1200! By going to Wilkes Steel, we ended up with an extra $113.
Get Rewarded For Recycling!
Recyclebank.com is a website that rewards you for recycling. Earn points by telling them you recycle and earn even more points by learning how to go green. Then exchange your points for rewards like gift cards, magazine subscriptions, high $$ coupons and more.
Books About Scrapping Metal
© 2011 Othercatt