If you scrap often, chances are you’ve come across some aluminum wire. Wire is one of the best ways to get the most value for each load of scrap you bring into the yard, because it’s easy to work with and it’s easy to find a lot of it at once.

As much as you hear about copper wire, aluminum wire doesn’t seem to get as much attention. While many of the basic principles are the same as far as scrapping it goes, it’s worth noting the differences to ensure you get the most for your scrap!

What Is Aluminum Wire?

Aluminum wire is electrical wire made from aluminum. It’s become more and more popular in recent years because it runs a bit cheaper than copper wire. Although it’s not quite as conductive as copper, it’s also attractive to electricians and builders because it can be a bit easier to work with. That’s because of its greater flexibility as well as its lower pricetag.

Just like copper, steel, and any other kind of wire, aluminum wire has advantages and disadvantages both for the electricians who install it in the first place and for scrappers who get it when it comes time to recycle. That’s why it’s important to know how to identify aluminum wire and get the most for it at your local yard. 

How to Get the Most Out of Your Aluminum Wire

One of the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to aluminum wire is that it is not copper wire. Aluminum is priced completely differently from copper. Unfortunately, aluminum usually doesn’t pack quite as much value per pound, but a good length of wire can still be well worth the effort.

Knowing the differences is important so that you’re sure to separate your aluminum wire from your copper when you go to the yard. Remember, keeping your scrap separated is one of the best ways to ensure you get the most bang for your buck when it comes time to take the trip to the scrap yard.

You should also test the wire with a magnet to ensure it isn’t steel wire. Also, keep in mind that many aluminum wires will have a steel cable running through their center. This is because aluminum wire isn’t as strong and is a good deal more flexible, so the steel helps it maintain its tension.

Taking the time to break down the aluminum wire and separate the steel cable from the rest is definitely worth the effort it takes. You can then choose to go farther and strip the wire of insulation if you have the right tools to do so and enough weight to make it worth the effort, or you can take it straight to the yard and sell it for the usual insulated aluminum wire price.