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Over the past few years I've remodeled several rooms in my house and, in the process, upgraded most of the electrical wiring. Several circuits had 15 amp wiring (14 gauge) and I upgraded most of them to 20 amp (12 gauge). So, to make a long story, a have what seems like miles of used 14 gauge 2 and 3 conductor copper wiring stored in the garage. I'm assuming the local scrap yard will buy this but what I'm wondering is if they pay more if the wire stripped of the sheathing and insulation. And, if so, how much more? Is it worth it to at least remove all of the sheathing? Insulation too? What's the going rate for used copper these days?
 

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Master Electrician
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1,453 Posts
Call your local scrap yard for current prices. FYI..they can change every day. 2 weeks ago my local yard was giving $1.30/lb for wire with insulation still on it. I think that day clean copper was almost $3/lb.
 

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" Euro " electrician
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I get about 5€ per KG on clean copper however with dirty one they will knock the price down a bit and also there is couple diffrent catgory of size so check with your local salvage or scrap metal yard to see what they come up.

Just be aware that with very large batch of scrap copper they will ask for your permite de conductuor { Driver Licesne } and they will give you a cheque not cash if over X number of pounds or KG so that the other thing you have to watch out for that.

I have to show my PdC { driver license } each time I show up with pretty good batch of scrap copper even other scrap metals which I dealt with it.

Merci,
Marc
 

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Where I live, there was a high amount of copper and aluminum theft from abandoned and foreclosed properties, as well as from new construction sites. There now is a law which requires a building or demolition permit be presented at the time building materials are sold for scrap. One local scrap yard "forgot" to get this information and was shut down. This has basically eliminated the theft of small quantities of aluminum and copper since there is no way a person with a shopping cart of copper pipes and aluminum siding can sell his materials locally.

The requirement for a building or demolition permit greatly reduces the chances that a home-owner who has stockpiled used copper or aluminum for years being able to sell these items without trucking everything from the area, and often with increasing gas costs, it become unaffordable, so everything goes to the dump (where it isn't recycled) or into the city recycling program, where at least it gets recycled, but the city gets to keep the money for scrapping.

Unfortunately, there now is a new, more organized house stripping group who come in with legitimate looking remodeling trucks and strip out houses. They sometimes go so far as putting advertising signs "Home repair by Acme Home Inprovements" or whatever in the yard, mowing the grass, planting a few flowers (which are stolen overnight from a nearby garden center), paint a few windows and the front door, trim trees, and make other obvious "improvements" which nearby neighbors see as legitamate looking improvements. Of course, the neighbors assume that someone is finally taking an interest in the abandoned property, and don't ask any questions. Meanwhile, every shread of siding is taken from the sides and back of the home, and every piece of copper wiring and piping is also stollen. After spending 4-6 hours, the work crew takes off, never to return. Eventually neighbors get suspicious when days or weeks go by with no further "improvements" and when the police are finally summoned, the theives are long gone, often selling the "scrap" materials out-of-state.
 
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