How to Determine the Age of Your Water Heater

water heaterWater heaters, like any other kind of appliance, do have a limited lifespan. Depending on the kind of model you have and its fuel source, you might have one that could last you as few as eight years or as long as 20. Standard electric water heaters will generally last 10 to 15 years and will most likely have a six-year warranty, which tends to be the industry standard.

If you aren’t certain when your unit was installed (perhaps because it was installed before you moved into your home), it’s important to know how to determine the age of the water heater so you can get a sense of how long it has left before you need to think about replacement.

Here are a few of the strategies you can use to check the age of an old water heater in Duluth, MN.

Look at the label

There should be a manufacturer’s label somewhere on your water heater. Hopefully this will have the installation date listed on it, in which case your search is complete.

However, if the label is missing or the installation date is not listed on the label, you’ll need to take some extra steps to determine how old your unit is.

Find the serial number

The format of the serial number will vary based on the manufacturer of the appliance. The installation date might be included in that serial number. This means if you are to determine the age of the equipment, you’ll need both the serial number and the manufacturer name.

For example, Bradford White serial numbers aren’t particularly straightforward. There will be two letters followed by a series of seemingly random numbers. The first letter is indicative of the year of manufacture, and the second letter is the month of manufacture. For the month, A is January, and you proceed on to M for December.

For years, the letter could refer to one of two years. A, for example, is 1984 or 2004.

For example, if you have a serial number on a Bradford White water heater that starts with the letters “AE,” that means the water heater was manufactured in May of either 1984 or 2004. Hopefully you should be able to tell rather easily if it is a 15-year-old or 35-year-old piece of equipment!

Rheem and Ruud appliances make it a little easier. The serial codes for those appliances will start with four numbers, indicating the month and year of manufacture, followed by a letter and several more numbers. So, for example, a serial number that begins with 1012 would mean the equipment was manufactured in October 2012.

There are a variety of websites available online that make it easy for you to input the serial number and manufacturer of your equipment so you can easily determine when the equipment was manufactured.