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Is It Worth Dismantling a Washer and Dryer for Scrap Metal?

Is It Worth Dismantling a Washer and Dryer for Scrap Metal?

When you are clearing out a house or dealing with a giant pile of junk, chances are that you will have a significant amount of scrap metal. In the past, I’ve gone online to find someone who would save us the hassle and haul it away. However, as inflation continues to rise, I’m always looking for new ways to generate income. Seeing ads from scrappers on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace proves I’m not the only one either. When my mom’s appliances gave out, it got me wondering, is it worth dismantling a washer and dryer for scrap metal? Or, should I save myself the time and the headache?

How Do You Dismantle a Washer and Dryer?

Is It Worth Dismantling a Washer and Dryer for Scrap Metal?

Nowadays, you can learn to do anything with online tutorial videos. A quick search on YouTube will give you many results with people who show you how to dismantle your appliances step by step. All you need is a drill, cutters, protective gear, and things you’ll find in a basic tool kit.

If you have never looked inside your appliance, it may be worth taking them apart simply to see how they work. However, in my experience, it’s much easier to take things apart than to put them back together. Therefore, be warned this advice is simply for breaking them down for scrap metal, not for repair and maintenance.

Separating While Dismantling Your Scrap Metal

Is It Worth Dismantling a Washer and Dryer for Scrap Metal?

Dismantling a washer and dryer for scrap metal will bring you more money than selling it whole. But the burning question is, how much more?

If you don’t disassemble the appliance yourself, you’ll get paid by the pound for the cheapest component (steel). However, you’ll want to separate the metals if they have aluminum, copper, or brass components as they bring a much higher price. Once again, the videos can help you identify what type of metals you have. You can also use a magnet or a grinder to determine if it’s steel vs. aluminum.

Separating the metals as you go will save you more time later on. Although, most seasoned scrappers will tell you that there are only a few valuable parts. Therefore, the fastest and most efficient way to earn money is to separate the motor, pump, gearbox, wires, and control panel from the rest of the machine.

Fluctuating Prices for Scrap Metal 

Is It Worth Dismantling a Washer and Dryer for Scrap Metal?

Another thing that you should be aware of is that scrap metal prices fluctuate daily. So, there are no set prices and the amount scrap yards are willing to pay per pound changes. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, scrap metal prices have been down. While copper usually sells between $3-4/lb, it was well below $2.50/lb. However, the markets are rebounding and prices have steadily increased since the beginning of 2023. Now, you can expect between $3.00 and $3.25/lb for copper wiring and tubing. Brass is back over $2.00/lb. And, steel prices have also risen to $180 – $200/ton, depending on the day and the scrap yard you’re dealing with. 

Based on this data, it is a great time to sell scrap metal, especially if you have been holding out for better prices.

Is It Worth Dismantling a Washer and Dryer for Scrap Metal?

Is It Worth Dismantling a Washer and Dryer for Scrap Metal?

If you’ve never done it before, dismantling a washer and dryer for scrap metal could be a valuable learning experience. But if you decide to disassemble them, prepare to spend a few hours stripping them and then hauling them to the scrap yard. However, you could save yourself some time if you decide to sell the appliance whole.

After calling a few local businesses, most told me they pay $0.09/lb if you go this route. Your average washer weighs about 170 lbs while dryers are around 124 lbs. If you do the math based on these figures, you’d get $15.30 for your washer and $11.16 for the dryer. On the other hand, if you disassemble them, you’d get significantly more for the aluminum, brass, and copper.

In all reality, it probably isn’t worth your time if you have a single washer and dryer. Including your time, fuel, and the cost to drive it to the salvage yard, you won’t make much of a profit. However, if it’s a newer model, you might get lucky selling it for parts online. 

Best Tips and Tricks

Is It Worth Dismantling a Washer and Dryer for Scrap Metal?

For those who are interested in dismantling appliances for scrap metal, here are a few tips to help you maximize your time and profit:

  • Go online to learn more. If you aren’t sure where to start, go online to find videos, websites, and other resources to learn how to disassemble and identify things. Not only will it help you earn more money, but it will also make you faster at dismantling appliances.
  • Start with the simplest tasks. Begin by taking off doors, covers, and other removable parts. In addition to reducing hazards, working from the outside in will also give you better access to the internal components.
  • Sort as you go. Don’t just toss everything into the heap; separate the metals as you go. Keep separate piles or buckets for each type of metal so you won’t have to sort them again later. This will save you time and make you more efficient.
  • Watch scrap prices. Scrap prices fluctuate daily. Although prices dropped post-pandemic, they have steadily risen since January 2023. Watching the markets can help you identify trends and days when you can maximize your haul.
  • Stay safe. Your safety should always be a top priority. Make sure the appliances are unplugged before you get to work. And, avoid taking things apart before you know what you’re working with and are aware of potential hazards. You should also wear protective gear (gloves, eyewear, long sleeves/pants, closed-toe shoes/steel-toe boots) when working with metal. 

While it may not be worth dismantling a single washer and dryer for scrap metal, many people have turned it into a profitable business. With scrap metal prices on the rise, it could be the right time to start. However, make sure you weigh the benefits and effort required against the potential payout.

Read More

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  • Need Money? Here Are 10 Ways to Turn Trash Into Cash

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Jenny Smedra

Jenny Smedra is an avid world traveler, ESL teacher, former archaeologist, and freelance writer. Choosing a life abroad had strengthened her commitment to finding ways to bring people together across language and cultural barriers. While most of her time is dedicated to either working with children, she also enjoys good friends, good food, and new adventures.

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