If you're looking for quick cash or if you're in the midst of renovating, you can make some easy money by collecting and scrapping copper wires. There are plenty of scrap metal buyers out there that will give you a good deal on what you would otherwise have tossed out, and you'd be surprised at just how much copper wire or appliances can be found in your home. In fact, the average home contains approximately 400 pounds of copper that is used for electrical wiring, piping, and appliances. If you've gotten your hands on a good amount of copper wires, you'll have to strip the wires from their insulation before selling them to scrap metal buyers. Here are 3 tips that will help you get started with stripping copper wires.

Never Burn the Wire

There's a misconception out there that you can burn the insulation off of copper wires rather than stripping them manually. While this is true and doable, you should never attempt it. If you burn the insulation off, it releases toxic chemicals and fumes into the environment. These toxic chemicals and fumes can also be harmful to your body if they are inhaled, and, unfortunately, they tend to linger around.

In addition to releasing toxins into the environment, any attempts to burn the insulation off of the wires will leave residue behind. This residue will downgrade the value of your copper at the scrap yards. In fact, some scrap metal buyers will not accept any copper wires that have a substantial amount of residue clinging onto their surfaces.

Use Heat to Your Advantage

Although you should never burn the wire, you should still consider using heat to your advantage in order to soften up the insulation. This will make stripping the insulation off of the copper wires a much easier and simpler task. The insulation will also be a lot easier to work with, so that there will be less of a struggle to get the task done. If you're attempting to strip copper wires on a hot sunny day, use the sun to your advantage. Let the copper wires sit in the sun for sometime until they've warmed up. You should feel the insulation become a bit more pliable. Although effective, it's important that you keep a watchful eye over the copper wires, as the sun can actually heat up the insulation to the point where it too will leave residue on the copper.

If the sun isn't around, consider warming up the copper wires in an oven on low heat. You can even place the copper wires on the surface of a black box to get the insulation to warm up.

Have Several Razors and Handheld Tools on Hand

If you want to get the job done quickly and cheaply, invest in several razors and handheld tools. A wire stripper can be relatively expensive, and if you're just beginning to scrap copper wires, the wire stripper might be too costly at first. A razor or a similar handheld tool will usually do the trick. You want to make sure that the blade is sharpened at all times, so that it can cut through the insulation easily and quickly. If you don't have time to sharpen the blade often, invest in several razors and handheld tools at a time.

It's important to make sure that you strip the copper in a direction away from you in order to avoid getting cut. In addition, wear a pair of thick safety gloves.


There are plenty of copper wires lying around your home that can be sold to scrap metal buyers like Big Daddy Scrap. In the event that you can't find any around, visit some garage sales in your area. You'd be surprised at what other people consider to be trash and are throwing out. In fact, some people even throw out appliances and other items that contain a significant amount of copper wiring in them.