Helpful Tips To Get The Most Out Of Selling Scrap Copper From An Old House

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Helpful Tips To Get The Most Out Of Selling Scrap Copper From An Old House

30 July 2015
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Articles


If you own a house that you are demolishing or renovating, you may be interested in taking the copper out of the house and selling it for fast cash. It's important to know that many states have enacted laws to try to reduce copper theft, which could cause you to wait longer than you expect to get the cash from selling your scrap metal. However, there may be a few ways around the waiting period. Here's what you need to know to get the most out of scrapping copper for cash.

Get the required permits

In most places, you need to get a permit for construction, demolition, and renovation projects. While you are in the building code authority office, ask them if they also issue scrap metal recycling permits. With this type of permit, you may be able to bypass the identification requirements and the waiting period.

It's important to know that each state has its own laws regarding selling scrap metal. In Georgia and Virginia, people who want to sell copper to scrap metal recycling centers are required to get permits from their local sheriff or police chief if they do not have a business license. Check with your local scrap metal recycling companies to see what you are legally required to provide for identification purposes.

Get a sole proprietor business license

Most of the people who sell to scrap metal recycling centers like Cherry City Metals are companies or contractors who work in the construction industry, particularly plumbers and electricians who encounter scrap copper and other metals on a daily basis. With their identities already established with business licenses, recycling centers typically do not place a hold on the cash they get from sales.

If you do not have a business license and you feel you may scrap metals on at least a semi-regular basis, you may want to consider getting a sole proprietor business license. That way, you won't have to jump through the hurdles of providing identification and waiting for the legal time frame to pass before you can get paid from your scrap metal sales.

Caution: without a permit and/or business license, you will likely have to provide the recycling center with a state-issued ID (such as your driver's license) and your vehicle tag number.

Call the recycling centers in your area

Before you start tearing out all the old copper wires, tubes, and pipes from the house, it's a good idea to call the recycling center to ask about what conditions they require the metal to be in. Ask the receptionist how to get the best prices and what types of things to avoid.

Depending on your state and the operating practices of your local scrap metal recyclers, you may not be legally permitted to dismantle copper from some appliances. For example, due to the explosion hazards and health risks of some refrigerants, it may be illegal to dismantle appliances that contain refrigerant.

Gather copper from the old house

Once you have all the documentation and instructions on what you can and cannot do, start going through the house to find and gather copper. Copper can be found in electrical wires, heating ducts, plumbing, appliances, and phone lines. If you are tearing out the walls, you may find speaking tubes which may be made of copper. And don't forget to look on the roof for copper. Some old houses have copper roofing and/or flashing.

You may get more money from the copper if you remove the coating from around the wires. However, doing so can be very time-consuming and not worth the effort, depending on what the receptionist told you when you asked about how to get the best prices.