HomeBLOGAir ConditionersHow Much Copper Is In an Air Conditioner Compressor?

How Much Copper Is In an Air Conditioner Compressor?

An air conditioning unit comprises several metallic components like aluminum and steel. However, some people are more interested in the amount of copper in the AC compressor because they have the highest scrap or salvage value.

But how much copper is in a single air conditioning unit?

A typical AC can give you about four to five pounds of copper when you take it out of an 80-pound compressor.

However, there’s more to this information than what meets the eye. And if you’re looking for further facts about the subject matter, then continue reading below and learn more about the copper content of an AC compressor.

Is There Copper In The Air Conditioner Condenser?

Along with steel and aluminum, copper is also an important component of an air conditioning compressor because of its high tolerance for extreme heat. Copper has a higher heat exchange coefficient, making them a better heat conductor than aluminum.

Also, copper has a superior anti-corrosive property to aluminum. And once you have turned off your air conditioner, humidity inside the unit increases, which exposes its mechanism to air and water.

And continuous contact of the pipes and other metallic components with the elements leads to oxidation that causes the buildup of rust.

Copper is highly reliable against corrosion and oxidation, and it has a longer lifespan. Thus, many prominent AC manufacturers prefer to use them over other metals. It makes their units durable, and they can withstand high temperatures.

However, the only disadvantage of copper is that it increases the manufacturing cost, which explains the high price of many air conditioning units.

How Much Copper In An Air Conditioner Compressor?

Copper In An Air Conditioner Compressor

Air conditioners are mostly made of non-ferrous metals such as copper and aluminum. And once you have taken out the 80-pound compressor of the AC unit, you will find a #2 copper that weighs about four to five pounds.

If you’re looking to scrap the copper in your air conditioning, you can expect to receive an amount of $2.77 per pound from your local junkyard. So that’s a total of $11.08 to $13.85.

The amount indicated is just a rough estimate, but ultimately, the salvage value of the copper will depend on the size and weight.

However, you can triple your earnings by scraping the other metals and materials in addition to copper. You are looking at an average salvage value of $45.

But if you don’t take the broken AC unit apart and sell them entirely, it could go up to at least $1,218 depending on the model, size, weight, and degree of damage.

What Is Copper In the Air Conditioner?

Copper tube

Copper tube is an essential component in the cooling system of refrigerators and air conditioners. This tube connects the main cooling system of the unit to its outlet, and then it regulates the cold air from escaping the room.

In other terms, the compressor consists of two primary components—the inlet and outlet connection.

The inlet is the suction system of the unit. It creates pressure that sucks the Freon (a non–combustible gas) from the compressor and discharges it through the outlet.

As you can see, the copper tube continuously interacts with both water and high temperature when using the AC unit. Ordinary metals can cause them to weaken and fall apart, while copper can withstand them and last for many years.

What is the Small Copper Line From an Air Conditioner?

The small and long copper line you see after you take apart the AC compressor is called the copper tube/pipes. As mentioned, it is the component of the unit that connects the inlet from the outlet.

The other term for the small copper line is a liquid line. It transports the gas to the evaporators and releases and expands it as cold air.

What Are the Two Copper Line On an Air Conditioner?

The copper tube is highly insulated, which carries the evaporated gas of the Freon to the outlets. The component is also distinguished into two main categories: the large and small copper lines.

The smaller copper line, also referred to as the liquid line, transports cold gas. On the other hand, the larger copper line, also referred to as the vapor line or return line, carries warm gas on the other end of the AC unit.

With this being said—the front end of the air conditioner releases the cool air, while the larger copper line discharges the warm air you feel on its back end.

People Also Ask

How Do I Get the Copper Out of My AC Compressor?

You have to bear in mind that you will still need the support of a professional if you’re thinking of taking apart the AC compressor yourself. A licensed HVAC professional needs to handle freon and any other oils and grease in the compressors.

Afterward, remove the covers of the compressor. And using a cable cutter, you can now disconnect the copper lines from the compressor’s core.

How Much Are Scrap Compressors Worth?

The #2 copper line of the compressor has an expected value of $2.77 per pound. Thus, you would earn about $11.08 to $13.85 for a single compressor. But if you’re planning to scrap the entire compressor, you should make about $45.

How Do You Scrap An AC Compressor?

First and foremost, you have to gather the following materials before you dismantle the AC compressor—

  • Screwdrivers
  • Cable cutter
  • Wrench
  • Power drill
  • Gloves and goggles

And then, follow the instructions below—

  • Contact an HVAC professional to remove the chemicals inside the AC unit as a whole
  • Cut the copper lines
  • Remove the steels connecting the entire frame
  • Cut the tubes
  • Dismantle the radiators and motors
  • Remove the power supply
  • Clean up your area
  • And then, collect and organize your materials


The copper line of the AC compressor has the highest scrap value compared to other metals and components of the unit. But if you’re thinking of earning high profits from your old and damaged AC, you might as well sell them.

But if you’re keen on selling just the copper, you have to keep in mind the difficulties of the task.

Taking apart an air conditioning compressor seems to be an easy task to do. But unfortunately, it is not simple as it looks to be. And it requires a lot of patience and help from professionals due to the complex mechanism of the unit.

However, it can be done at home if you have the proper materials and knowledge to dismantle the unit.

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