How to Identify Aluminum Wiring—And What to Do About It [Video]

How to Identify Aluminum Wiring—And What to Do About It [Video]

1 min read
Andrew Cushman

Andrew Cushman’s No. 1 business objective is to provide solid passive income opportunities to accredited investors through the acquisition, management, and disposition of multifamily properties.

After graduating from college with a degree in Chemical Engineering, Andrew worked for a large food company for seven years in a variety of supervisory positions. During that time, Andrew (joined by his wife in 2004) experimented with a variety of businesses in hopes of making the jump from W-2 employee to entrepreneur.

In 2007, Andrew discovered house flipping and left his corporate position to start a business in real estate investment. Beginning with single family properties in the depths of the Great Recession, he completed 27 single family flips (purchase, rehab, sell) in and around Orange and L.A. counties—all of which were very profitable.

In 2011, Andrew transitioned to the acquisition and repositioning of multifamily properties, acquiring a mostly vacant 92-unit property on the other side of the country as his first deal. That first property was eventually sold for several times its original purchase price, and Andrew now acquires B-class, value-add properties throughout the southeast United States. In total, Andrew and his team have acquired and repositioned 1,796 multifamily units to date.

In the recent years, he has lent his expertise on a number of notable podcasts, including the BiggerPockets Podcast, Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever with Joe Fairless, EO Fire, Real Estate Rockstars, Apartment Building Investing with Michael Blank, and many more. Andrew has also contributed niche, high-level multifamily informational content to the BiggerPockets Blog and community.

Outside of the business world, Andrew is actively involved in the GoBundance mastermind, which provides accountability for growth and epic living. Andrew has been a certified alpine ski instructor and when not working in real estate, enjoys surfing, backcountry skiing, and trying to not be outwitted by his 7- and 4-year-old boys.

Andrew attended Texas A&M, where he earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering.


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Aluminum wiring… AHHHHHHH!!!

You’ve heard of it. You’re afraid of it. But what is it, again? And how do you know if your property has it? If it does, does that mean your deal will figuratively and literally go down in flames?

Why is it Important to Watch Out for Aluminum Wiring?

Like a lot of things we collectively regret, aluminum wiring became popular in the mid-1960s. The price of copper had gone through the roof, and aluminum was seen as an affordable alternative.  However, after years of widespread use, aluminum wiring was found to be less flexible than copper, prone to denting and crimping, and more easily oxidized. These qualities made aluminum wiring develop hotspots that led to fires—generally not a good thing! So, even though by the mid-70s better aluminum alloys had been developed, its reputation was so bad that pretty much everyone switched back to copper once the prices came back down.

Related: The Free, Award-Winning App That Takes the Pain Out of Home Maintenance & Repair

Aluminum wiring won’t necessarily kill a deal or keep you from ever getting insurance, but it’s important that you identify it in your property so that you can properly mitigate it. But how do you do that? What exactly does it look like? What are acceptable uses for aluminum wiring today?

Watch the video for a look inside the electrical panels of two real apartment units—one with copper wiring and one with the dreaded aluminum wiring. Learn to identify the two types of wiring and what you should do about the aluminum wiring should it turn up in your property.

Have you dealt with aluminum wiring in your rentals?

Let me know your experiences with a comment.