I've decided to take on an unconventional home wiring project - using copper pennies to wire my entire house! As crazy as it sounds, wiring a home with copper pennies can actually work and save on electricity costs. Here's my comprehensive guide on how to wire a house with pennies.
Gathering the Pennies
The first step is gathering enough pennies to wire the entire home. This will require a lot of pennies - around 500,000 for a 2,000 square foot home. Here are some tips for penny procurement:
- Check with banks to buy rolls of pennies at face value. Get as many as you can this way first, as it's the cheapest option.
- Ask friends/family to save their pennies. Offer a small amount in exchange for their stashes.
- Check Coinstar machines for rejected pennies. If a penny is too worn for Coinstar, it's still usable for wiring.
- Search eBay/Craigslist for large penny lots. Pay attention to shipping costs.
- Consider placing a penny drive posting on community boards. Offer pickup for large amounts.
I managed to gather 432,000 pennies through bank rolls, friends, and some Craigslist deals. It took time, but being patient and utilizing all procurement methods allowed me to amass enough pennies for my 1,800 square foot home.
Preparing and Connecting the Pennies
Now that I've gathered the necessary amount of pennies, it's time to prepare them for wiring.
While pennies are naturally copper-coated, they still need cleaning before wiring to remove dirt, oil, and residue. Here are my cleaning methods:
- Vinegar soak - Soak pennies in a vinegar/salt solution overnight. This helps loosen and dissolve gunk.
- Manual scrub - Gently scrub each penny with a soft cloth or brush. Don't damage the penny surface.
- Rinse and dry - Rinse each penny thoroughly with water and allow to fully dry before wiring.
Cleaning the pennies takes a while, but it's an essential step to maximize electrical connectivity.
To conduct electricity effectively, the pennies need to make solid connections. I use the following fusing methods:
- Heat fusing - Heat overlapping pennies with a jewelry torch to fuse them together. Wear gloves when handling heated pennies.
- Soldering - Apply a solder compound between overlapping edges to fuse. Requires a soldering iron and safety equipment.
- Adhesives - Use conductive glue/epoxy designed for electronics to bind pennies. Let dry fully before handling.
Fusing each connection point takes concentration, but is worth it for the penny circuit to function properly.
Wiring the Home
Time to put those pennies to use! Here are the steps I took to wire my home room-by-room:
Main electrical panel
The main electrical panel routes power from the utility line throughout the home via circuit breakers. I hired an electrician to install a 200 amp, 24 circuit panel appropriate for a home my size.
I installed copper penny junction boxes throughout the home. These allow connections from the main lines to be distributed within each room. It's key to have enough boxes so voltage doesn't drop over long penny runs.
Runs and connections
From the main panel and junction boxes, I created copper penny runs through walls and ceilings to wiring endpoints. For safety, I encased runs in metal conduit. At lamps, switches, and outlets, I carefully connected incoming pennies to fixture copper.
Grounding is essential for appliance functionality and electrical safety. I used an uncoated braided copper grounding wire connected to a buried copper plumbing ground stake. The ground wire connects to all outlets, switches, and junction points.
It was a time-consuming process, but methodically installing the pennies allowed me to completely wire my home. Since finishing, all lights, outlets, and appliances run properly off of my copper penny electrical system!
Benefits of Using Pennies
Wiring with pennies may sound unorthodox, but it offers some cool benefits:
- Cost savings - Pennies are much cheaper than buying copper wiring. My project cost less than $5,000 rather than the $15,000+ professional wiring would cost.
- Pure copper - Solid copper has great conductive properties for top-notch electrical flow. Pennies minted pre-1982 are nearly 100% copper.
- Cool factor - It's an original idea that resulted in an unconventional copper paradise! I enjoy telling the penny wiring story.
While it took effort and time, I'm pleased with my decision to wire my home using thousands of copper pennies. It's a one-of-a-kind electrical system that saves money and adds character to my house.
If exploring copper penny wiring yourself, keep these tips in mind:
- Budget significant time for penny gathering and cleaning/prep.
- Follow all electrical codes and safety practices, and hire a pro if needed.
- Use proper fusing and grounding techniques for functionality and safety.
- Install ample junction boxes for voltage regulation over long runs.
- Methodically wire room-by-room, connecting endpoints properly.
- Enjoy your unique, budget-friendly copper penny wired home!
Let me know if you have any other questions about wiring your home using pennies. I'm happy to share details from my experience to help your penny wiring project succeed!