Scrapping Basics: How to Scrap a Water Heater

If you’re going to get serious about scrapping, your best bet is to learn the ins and outs of how to break down and scrap specific types of appliances and other household, commercial and industrial goods. Today we are going to focus on how to scrap a gas water heater. Appliance recycling in Mashpee, Massachusetts doesn’t have to be difficult. All it takes is knowing what to expect from each type of appliance and what to do with it when you find it.

When it comes to gas water heaters, you are typically dealing with an item that would be classified as mixed metal scrap in Mashpee or maybe light iron, shred or tin if you were to recycle it as a whole. You wouldn’t get as much for your efforts at your local scrap metal recycling center if you were to just bring it in that way. Taking the time to look at the water heater, you will notice that there’s usually a bit of non-ferrous scrap metal that can be recovered and sold separately at a better price.

Getting Started
Go ahead and start by looking at the cap of the gas water heater. There should be one or two pipes sticking out of the unit. These pipes could very likely be made out of copper and could also include a brass connector. The best way to check is to use a magnet. If the magnet sticks to the pipe and connectors, then it is made out of a simple iron. However, if the magnet doesn’t stick, make sure to take those pipes off with a pipe wrench because they are non-ferrous scrap metal and will likely be worth more.

In most case the pipes will come off easily with a pipe wrench, but if they are corroded after years of use (and abuse), you might have to cut them off with a tool, such as a sawzall, or knock them off through repeated hits from a hammer. To make sure you get the best prices for copper pipe in Southeastern Massachusetts, go to a reliable scrap metal recycling center with years of experience in serving the surrounding community, such as Mid City Scrap in Westport.

Your next step is to use a pipe wrench and twist the valve that is sticking out of the gas water heater tank at the top of the unit. This valve is a mineral deposit stick and in many cases is made out of a non-ferrous scrap metal, such as copper. Check it with your magnet.

Make sure to check out the gas regulator at the base of the tank when appliance recycling in Mashpee. Gas regulators are made from a combination of mixed metal scrap, such as cast zinc or aluminum and brass. Some units will even have knobs that are made of brass as well. Again, check it with your magnet to be sure that it just made of iron or steel. You can usually remove the regulator quickly and easily just by hitting it with a sledge hammer until it comes loose.

To make sure you get the best prices for copper pipe in Southeastern Massachusetts, as well as competitive rates for gas regulators and other mixed metals, check with your local scrap metal recycling center for tips and recommendations on appliance recycling. You could get up to two to four times the price of shred steel rates for these specific items that come from appliance recycling in Mashpee, so its worth the effort to find out.

Electric Water Heater Recycling
While you won’t see an electric hot water heater as often as you will see a gas, it is good to know what to expect when you do come across one. Because an electric appliance doesn’t use gas it won’t have a gas regulator, so don’t waste your time looking for one. However, an electric hot water heater will have other types of heating elements that it pays to know about when looking for non-ferrous scrap metal to sell.

The heating elements in an electric hot water heater are typically made from a stainless steel or zinc plated copper sheath that surrounds a wire made from nichrome. You can find this heating element inside the water heater, which means you’ll need to disassemble part of the appliance near the access bays on the side of the unit.

If the unit isn’t in too bad of condition, as many homeowners are now switching from tank to tank-less water heaters to conserve energy, look for some other non-ferrous scrap metal items known as anodes. These parts are placed on the steel container to prevent it from becoming corroded. If the unit is in good condition, you can find the anodes, which are typically made from magnesium or aluminum. However, if there is a lot of corrosion present, it is usually not worth the time and effort to try and pull these out.

Tips for Appliance Recycling in Mashpee
In order to get the best prices for copper pipe in Southeastern Massachusetts and make the most of your appliance recycling efforts, it is in your best interest to run an honest scrapping operation. Avoid making common mistakes made by scrappers that are new to the business, such as forgetting to check fittings, recycling the whole water heater without removing non-ferrous parts and trying to get one over on the scrap yard. You want to focus on forging a positive relationship with your local scrap metal recycling center and take the time to learn all you can about appliance and scrap metal recycling so you can maximize your earning potential at the same time.