How to Remove Insulation from Copper Wire For Recycling

How to Remove Insulation from Copper Wire For Recycling

Recycling copper is a great way to make a little extra money with some material that you might already have sitting in your home or business, but you will most likely need to remove the insulation before you take it to a recycling center. Here is a quick glimpse at just a few of the quickest and most efficient ways to strip copper wires so that the scrap metal can be used.

Heating the Insulation

Older insulation sleeves tend to be relatively thin, and that means you might be able to loosen the material by heating it. One of the easiest ways to heat copper wire is to set it out in direct sunlight for a few hours until the insulation becomes loose. You also have the option of placing the copper wire in your oven at a relatively low temperature for a few minutes until the outer coating starts to become gummy.

Stripping Insulation By Hand

Using your hands to strip old wiring isn’t dangerous in most situations, but you should still be careful whenever you are dealing with any old building materials. If the copper is wrapped in cloth or paper insulation, then you must wear a respirator and gloves in case there happens to be toxic debris. Once your safety gear is on, you should be able to strip the wire by carefully cutting down one side with a razor blade.

Handheld Stripping Tool

Those who plan on doing quite a bit of copper recycling should consider investing in a handheld wire stripping tool. A handheld wire stripping tool is very easy to use, and it should save you quite a bit of time. They can also be purchased at most home improvement stores for a few dollars and typically last a lifetime with the proper maintenance.

Tabletop Wire Strippers

For those who are going to recycle hundreds of pounds of copper wiring, a tabletop wire stripping machine is going to be the most efficient option. Unlike handheld wire stripping tools, the tabletop devices are mounted to a work surface so that the wire can quickly be pulled through with a handheld lever. Some companies also sell electric wire strippers that will pull the wire through and strip away the insulation with the flick of a switch.

Stripping copper wire might seem like a tedious task, but that type of metal is worth quite a bit when it is taken to a reputable recycling company. After you carry out some renovations or update your electrical system, that spare metal could end up making you hundreds of dollars.

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