Find Age of Heater

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2nd Maintenance Tip: How Old is My Water Heater?

If you are like 90% of our customers, a leaking or non-functional water heater is what prompts you to search for a replacement. Customers ask us all the time “how could I have known that this water heater was about to go?” Actually the answer is there if you know where to look. One thing (aside from water pouring all over your home) allows you to easily know when the time has come to replace that water heater: the age of the water heater.
Remember that it is not a matter of “if” a tank style water heater will leak, it’s a matter of “when.” A tank heater that is installed in the living room or bedroom closet, over carpet, on third floors, etc should get replaced at the 6-8 year mark, whether or not it is showing signs of aging. Conversely, when a water heater is installed in the garage or otherwise in a location where leakage will cause minimal damage, then it can be kept in use for 10-12 years. Although water heaters can and do last longer than the average life span, a wise homeowner won’t wait for trouble before replacing an aging heater.
Manufacturers include a model and serial number on every water heater they make. This data is found on the “Rating Plate.” When you call for service or to arrange for a replacement heater, our Customer Service Agent will need to know what you have now so that a comparative replacement can be arranged. To find the date of manufacture, you simply need to know what format each manufacturer uses. Although there are variations, the first few digits of the serial number will usually denote the date of manufacture. Find your manufacturer below to decode the age of your water heater:f


RHEEM / RUUD / GE water heaters use the MONTH then YEAR format. In our picture below, you will note that the first 4 numbers of the serial number are “0902”, which indicates September (9th month) of 2002.


BRADFORD WHITE requires you to use their “decoder” information to determine the age. They use a 20-year letter designation rotation for the year of manufacture. The first letter in the serial number represents the year of manufacture, and the second letter indicates the month. Note that heaters manufactured 20 years apart with have the same first year designation (i.e., A = 1984 and 2004).
Year designation
A=1984 or 2004, B = 1985 or 2005, C = 1986 or 2006, D = 1987 or 2007, E = 1988 or 2008, F = 1989 or 2009, G = 1990 or 2010, H = 1991 or 2011, J = 1992 or 2012, K = 1993 or 2013, L = 1994 or 2014, M = 1995 or 2015, N = 1996 or 2016, P = 1997 or 2017, S = 1998 or 2018, T = 1999 or 2019, W = 2000 or 2020, X = 2001 or 2021, Y = 2002 or 2022, Z = 2003 or 2023.
Month designation:
A = JAN, B = FEB, C = MAR, D = APR, E = MAY, F = JUNE, G = JULY, H = AUG, J = SEPT, K = OCT, L = NOV, M = DEC.

In the picture below, you can see that this Bradford White water heater was manufactured in March of 2006.


American Water Heater Company markets their line under several names, including Craft Master, Whirlpool, etc. They use a “YEAR / WEEK” format. The first two digits are the year, the second two are for the week of the year. Our picture here shows that this heater was made in the 45th week of 2005.

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