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Do Microwaves Have Copper in Them? (Quick Answers)

We all know that you can find copper inside any electrical or heating unit, and microwave is both. For what it’s worth, you may be hoping to scrap off a microwave for a few dollars’ incomes.

Well, that’s not such a bad idea because a microwave does have a lot of copper inside them!

Copper in microwaves

Microwaves have copper in them and the metal is primarily present in the transformer of the appliance. Other than that, the different coils, capacitors, and magnetron all contain copper that can be scraped for 2.5 dollars a pound.  The transformer and magnetron core comprises most copper.

We all have a microwave oven at home that has become old enough to be discarded. Before throwing it away, think of a way to reuse the parts and plugs of the appliance, and what better way to get yourself all the metal, namely copper, out of it.

Scraping a microwave is a good idea, especially when it is completely disassembled. That is because the microwave transformer is the one component that makes up for the most amount of copper.

The transformer of the microwave alone can produce from 10 dollars to about 75 dollars’ worth of copper, depending on the size and design of the transformer, as well as the microwave.

Other than the microwave, the capacitors, the motor, cooling fans, and even the heavy-duty wires, all have copper in them. In addition to that, copper is present in the main coil and relay coil of the appliance.

You would also find a small amount of copper in the motors of the fan and fuse. Since copper is the only most valuable metal present in the microwave, it is best to take out the metal before sending it to the scrap yard.

The magnetron inside the microwave, other than the transformer, is another part that contains larger amounts of red metal. The magnetron is responsible for generating microwaves, using the copper core and a magnet.

Is there any copper in a microwave?

Copper is mostly the only valuable metal that can be found inside a microwave if someone decides to scrap it down. There are several components inside a microwave that is made up of copper.

The primary source of copper, however, inside a microwave is the transformer. The transformer is made up of copper because of the metal’s superior conductivity, in both thermal and electrical terms.

Other than that, what makes copper a great choice for a transformer is its withstanding capabilities against a short circuit.

You can also find copper in other wirings, fans, capacitors, and mainly the microwave generating component, magnetron

How much copper is in a microwave transformer?

In a microwave, you can expect to find the most amount of copper in a transformer. Because of the several different types of coil, core, and wirings, a transformer may have enough copper that could be sold off at about 15 to 75 dollars in total.

However, the more powerful the microwave, the bigger will be the transformer. In smaller transformers, you can expect about a few grams worth of coppers.

6 reasons why microwaves have copper

Many metals could be used inside a microwave oven, yet the red metal

remains the most scraped-out metal from an old microwave. Here are a few good reasons why microwaves have copper in them.

Good conductor of heat and electricity:

copper is one of the most used metals when it comes to being used in heating elements and electrical appliances including a microwave.

All thanks to its superior ability to conduct thermally, as well as electrically. Its high conductivity translates to a more efficient and faster microwave oven that wastes no time getting to work.

Excellent short circuit withstands ability:

Copper in microdata is primarily used in the transformer of the appliance.

When the transformer is made with more copper, there is little to no chance of a short circuit, saving the microwave from several troubles such as broken insulation and distorted coils.

Quite ductile, malleable yet hard:

When there are wires inside and around an appliance, they must be flexible, easy to work with, and yet sturdy enough to be durable.

Copper wires offer just that due to their excellent ductile and malleable properties.

Better energy performance:

Due to better conductivity, copper used in microwaves makes the appliance a lot more energy efficient, hence decreasing the overall longevity cost of using the microwave.

Durable and Reliable:

Copper is used in microwaves because it is a valuable metal that gives the make of an appliance the reliability and durability required.

Compared to other metals like aluminum, copper does not go through metal fatigue quickly. This is also because the metal is corrosion resistant. Other than that, copper is noninflammable and impermeable.

Can be recycled:

Last but not the least, copper is used in microwaves to make sure that the metal scraped from the appliance can be recycled.

How much do you get for scrapping copper in the microwave?

Scraping a microwave wouldn’t turn you into a millionaire, but you can surely earn a few good dollars scrapping the copper of the microwave. Generally, in a scrap yard, you can expect to sell copper at a rate of 2.5 dollars in one pound.

If you have one of the newer models, you may expect to find more copper inside the appliance, as compared to the older models. The older, or cheaper models of microwaves used more iron or aluminum than copper.

Although scrapping copper from a microwave would only get you about 4 to 12 dollars, it could be worth a lot more if the microwave is disassembled before it is scraped.

Once a microwave is taken apart, you would be able to scrap the magnetron and transformer of the microwave, both of which comprises larger amounts of copper.

The magnetron or transformer alone can yield up to 10 to 75 dollars’ worth of copper. When a microwave is scrapped after disassembling, you may earn yourself more than 100 dollars.

How do you remove copper from a microwave?

Removing copper from a microwave is not as hard as you might have imagined. Here are the essential steps you’d need to take to remove copper from a microwave:

  • Firstly, you would need all the required tools to remove copper from a microwave. This includes the pliers, cutters for wires, alligator clips, and a screwdriver.
  • Next, you need to remove the back cover of the microwave by taking off the screws. Following that, discharge the capacitor using alligator clips.
  • Dismantling the rear panel, now remove wires. You may use a magnet to separate certain metals.
  • At this stage, it would become easier to take out bigger parts such as motherboards.
  • Now pull the wires from the transformer and reach for the power supply block where you’d find copper the most. Remove the transformer to take it closer.
  • Now use a metal file to file it down till you see the red metal color. If there is a steep casing, you would need a hammer to break through it.
  • Take it down to the scrap yard to get the rest of the appliance scrapped.

What appliance has the most copper in it?

You might be thinking, if a microwave oven has so much copper in them, there must be other home appliances that may have even more copper in form of spares, plugs, and components.

The good news is, you’re right. Copper is present everywhere, including all that we use every day to make our lives easier. One of the most common sources of copper is the wires around you and larger appliances have more copper in them.

Whether it is a tv screen or your computer monitor, these can produce copper scraps in abundance. Other than that, larger appliances like your refrigerator and washing machine are also full of copper inside them.

For instance, in a refractor with a small component, you may find about a pound of copper. When you have a bigger compressor to a larger capacity fridge, you may be able to scrape out about 2.5 to 3 pounds of copper.

Moreover, audio appliances like speakers and communication appliances also have copper in them. It is possible to scrap copper out of telephones, fax machines, extension cords printers, and other electronic devices like heaters and toasters.

  • Microwave oven
  • Heater
  • Washing machine
  • Refrigerator
  • Computers and laptops
  • Telephone
  • Fax machine
  • Printer
  • Air conditioners

Final Thoughts

The transformer inside the microwave is mainly made up of copper and can be scraped to yield up to 75 dollars’ worth of copper. smaller components like the wires and main coils also have copper, along with the magnetic device called a magnetron.  Copper is conductive, reliable, and rust resistant.