Can You Scrap Extension Cords

electric cord scrap
Can you scrap extension cords? Yes, you sure can scrap extension cords but you should also know one other thing before you do.

The gauge or thickness of the wire determines how thick the outer sheathing on the extension cord will be.

Why should you be concerned? Electrical extension cords as well as other power cables contain what I like to call invisible weight.

This is just a way to say that what you see is not what you get. Sure, the copper and some times aluminum that is inside of extension cords is valuable.

The outer sheathing on the copper wire adds a lot of weight to the end product which is the extension cord. Many scrappers learn this the hard way.

Your scale may say that you have 300 pounds of scrap copper wire. However, if your electrical wire scrap still has the outer plastic sheathing on the wire you have far less copper than you think.

Electrical wire manufacturers put the sheathing on their wires to stop energy leaks. Thicker copper electrical cords often have sheathing on them that is twice as thick as the wire itself.

Why? Thick copper electrical wire can handle more power. When high amounts of power are sent through electrical wires, they heat up more. By adding thicker sheathing to the wires, manufacturers are able to keep the wires cool to the touch.

Sheathing that is too thin can cause your extension cord or any electrical wire to be very hot when touched. This can also cause an electrical fire.

Cheap extension cords are very tempting, especially during Christmas time. If you are the type of person that plugs more items into an extension cord than it originally allows, you should not do this especially with low grade electrical cords or any extension cord.

If the extension cord has 3 spots to plug items into it, then you should only plug 3 items into the cord.

easily strip copper wire
Removing Copper Wire Sheathing

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to do this is by carefully using a razor or sharp knife to cut away the scrap wire’s sheathing.

A pair of wire strippers can also be used. The main drawback to using handheld wire strippers is that they do not always work so well when you have to strip long pieces of scrap wire.

The best method that regular people like me and you can use is a wire stripping machine. They range in price from good enough to get the job done to you’d better get a second job.

Wire stripping machines do exactly what you imagine. They turn an 8 hour task into a 20 minute task. You basically set the machine to the thickness of the wire that you want to strip.

Feed the sheathing coated wire into one side of the wire stripping machine. Out of the other side of the machine comes clean, bare copper scrap wire.

There are not that many companies that make wire stripping machines. Therefore, your best bet at finding one is online. Just be sure that you read more than 1 review before you buy your wire stripping machine.

Can you scrap extension cords that still have sheathing on them? You can. Wouldn’t you like to know how much you are going to get for your scrap copper wire, without the guessing game? Save up some money and put it toward a wire stripping machine or make your own.