You have to install a new electrical system, and the old cables are still in the corrugated tubing.They are so damaged, that they cannot be used again. You decide to remove them. But how should you do that? It is not that simple to pull them out, as they could break due to too much tension. However, if the cables are resistant, you can always try to pull them out smoothly without breaking them.
The best way to do it, is through a special tool, called the pilot. It is a very long and adjustable plastic probe, that can easily pass through the corrugated. On the top of it, there is a small hook where you will hang the old cables you have to remove.
Another method, which, however, is much more invasive than the previous one, is to discover the tracks where the corrugated were installed and open them. You will then be able to pull them out very easily. This method should be used only in those cases, where the pilot probe cannot be used or when you don’t have time to strip the wires.
There are two types of electrical cables: those that have a single copper strand (Class 1), and those that are made of many small strands (Class 5). Since they are very robust and aren’t divided into many small wires when completely peeled, the best cables and the easiest to clean, are those made of a single element conductor.
Regarding their weight, these two types of cables are more or less the same. In old electrical systems, it might be possible for you to find insulated cables systems with several copper strands, but if you are lucky enough to work in an old apartment, that has never undergone reconstruction works, you will certainly find Class 1 conductor cables. Another important feature is the thickness of cables. In fact, there are bigger cables that contain a greater amount of copper, such as those that are mainly used in construction sites, for powering bigger machines. A part from this kind of cables, there are also the normal ones, that must carry a fair amount of electrical energy and that don’t fuse due to an excessive load.
Once you have pulled out the cables from the corrugated tubing of the building where you are working, what you need to do is to strip them, until you have entirely cleaned them, and reached the strands. You have to strip them, because the majority of recycling centers, won’t accept them, if they are still unstripped. However, they will accept without any problems, cleaned copper strands. A sharp cutter to strip the wires will be the only tool required to clean them up. Also a sharp flat-bladed knife can be used for this process.
Alternatively, if you do not have enough time to strip the wires by hand, special machines are sold on the market, that entirely remove and clean the wires.
These represent the main and less dangerous methods, with which you can clean the copper from the outer rubber. The same procedure can also be applied to insulated copper tubes, which have to be sold without any outer cover.
Once you have cleaned your copper, you need to look for a scrap metal recycling plant that will take your metal. Normally, these kind of plants are located in the industrial areas of your cities, and very often, they promote their businesses with big advertising campaigns, to attract their customers. You will definitely find a scrap metal recycling plant in your city, keen to buy your copper. If you have the possibility of melting your copper, you can always try to sell the ingots to foundries or iron and steel companies, that might be interested in buying your products. Normally, scrap metal recycling plants are very big and have a lot of storing place, so you shouldn’t be finding many people queuing before being served. A part from copper, you can also sell other kind of metals, such as brass, aluminum and lead. Moreover, there should be a specific storage place for the most common metals, such as iron and other irons. Of course, you will need to sell a decent amount of copper to make this operation rentable. Otherwise, you will only get a few euros that won’t even be enough to cover your transportation costs.
How is the weight of the metal calculated? There are two different methods to find out how much copper you are selling to the scrap metal recycling plant. The first, consists in an initial weighing of the entire vehicle with the metal inside. After the weighing, you will need to unload everything and weigh the vehicle again. Now, if you calculate the weight difference, you will know how much copper you have sold. This method is used primarily when the weight of the load is very large and cannot be weighed on conventional scales, so you won’t need to use smaller scales for calculating the mass. The second method is simpler and more straightforward: in fact, you will have to unload your copper, load it on an appropriate scale, which will show the total weight. This method can be used, if the total weight does not exceed the maximum tolerable limit of the scale. These are the ways you can weigh your metal, depending on how much you have to weigh.
But how much does it cost this precious metal? The average price is 5,5 €/ kg, although recently the price has diminished sharply. Obviously you will find better or lower rates, depending on the scrap center you might choose. That is why we advise to accumulate a large amount of copper before selling it. So you can get a decent gain out of it, in a single trip. The minimum threshold that must be accumulated to sell cooper, is about ten kilos, so you can get quite good money out of it. The future of the red gold market is still very uncertain, and therefore you cannot make any predictions about its price trend per kilo but, if we take into consideration this last period, we can expect a price drop.
In the end, recover and resell old copper is a real art and profession. Obviously, the amount of copper must be enough for you to earn a decent amount of money. You also need to keep up with fluctuations in copper prices, which can change dramatically in a very short time, so that you can earn as much as possible by selling a certain load of metal. Selling copper to scrap metal recycling plants is like speculating on the stock market.