How to Scrap an Air Conditioner?

Posted by Brad Parsons, 01-13-2013
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One of the common mistakes that people make when they are disposing of their old or dysfunctional air conditioner is that they do not scrap the unit. The truth is that the air conditioning unit is quite valuable for scrap because a significant amount of copper can be retrieved from its cooling coils. So the next time you are throwing out an old air conditioner, remember that you can scrap it to earn extra money. Follow the steps below to scrap your air conditioner, and you will be sure to have profitable results.

The first step that you need to take in order to scrap an air conditioning unit is to remove the exterior so that you can get to the inside of the machine, which is where the actual treasure lies. A socket or a drill bit will be useful in removing the fasteners on the outside of the A/C unit. If you are scrapping a central A/C, simply cut off the condenser lines and pull the item out. Your basic objective is to strip down the machine so that you can get to the condensers, and it is up to you as to how you want to go about accomplishing this task.

Air conditioner compressors are very valuable, and they are worth taking apart. It is very easy to identify compressors because they are massive in size and usually take the form of black cylinders. Moreover, compressors are quite heavy, as they are responsible for weighing down the AC unit. The outer layer of the compressor is comprised of a thick steel plate, while the inside of the compressor houses a heavy duty motor. You will notice a surge of compressor oil when cutting open a sealed compressor. You must let all of the oil drain out before proceeding further; this will take only a couple of minutes.

When you are scrapping an air conditioning unit, you should also look for the scrap sealed units because these are valuable too. You can cut open these units with the help of an angle grinder. After that you can strip the wires from the A/C’s motor and sell the motor as-is to make some additional money.

An air conditioner also has a great deal of scrap copper lines which are worth a lot of money. Keep in mind that the copper tubes which do not have soldered joints are worth more money than the ones with soldered joints. You should prioritize the copper tubes that are sans-joints when you are scrapping the machine. You will need a bolt cutter to cut out the copper lines. If you don’t have this tool, you can substitute a pair of copper wire cutters. Also, keep a tray or pan handy because these copper lines can leak compressor oil as well. It will take some effort to disassemble the A/C unit, but there are many valuable pieces, so it is worth your time to scrap an air conditioner rather than just throwing it away.