How to Determine Age and Efficiency of Your Water Heater

Your water heater is an important appliance for your home comfort. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last forever. Therefore, it is important to know the installation date to anticipate potential problems, find out availability of replacement parts or determine if it’s time to replace the unit completely. Most water heaters have a sticker on them that displays the installation date but understanding the code is not always easy. Verifying the installation date will provide the age of your water heater unless the unit was pre-installed before it was installed. Knowing your water heaters age will help you make smart home-improvement decisions.

To determine the age of your water heater:

1. Locate the manufacturers label with the serial number on the side of your unit. This sticker is usually around any warning labels and the energy guide. Check to see if the installation date is noted on the sticker. If not, then write down your serial number as it often contains the details about that year the water heater was installed.

2. Examine the first four digits of the serial number as most major water heater suppliers use a coding system with these digits to record the installation date.

American Water Heater the first two digits represent the year of installation the second two digits represent the week.

A. O. Smith Corporation and State Industries use the second, third and fourth characters of the serial number to denote installation. The second letter, which is between the letters A and M (excluding the letter I) to denote the month (A being number 1 to M being 12). The third and fourth numbers represent the year.

Bradford-White and L ochinvar use the first two letters to determine the year, as part of a 20 year cycle, that the water heater was installed. The first cycle began in 1964 which represents the letter A. Each consequential letter represents the next year of the cycle. The following letters I, O, U, Q, and R were not used. The second letter represents the month. For example, if the first two characters are D F then the water heater was installed in June of 1967, 1987 or 2007. Knowing the year the home was built should help determine which of these dates is most likely on your unit.

Rheem uses the first two numbers to represent the month and the second two numbers to represent the year.

To determine the efficiency of the unit locate the energy factor (EF) of the water heater. The most efficient units will have a factor between .94 to .96.

If your water heater is 10 years or older you should consider replacing it before it fails and potentially could cause damage. Let us help you make an informed and energy wise decision about your water heater and family comfort. Stop sending your hard-earned money down the drain.

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