How Can I Tell the Age of My Water Heater?

Knowing the water heater age helps you decide if it is time for a replacement. You can also take preventive actions to add a few more years to the unit’s lifespan. This article is a quick guide to help you figure out the age of water heaters for most common brands.

A good water heaters will last between 15 and 20 years. Even though water heaters can last longer than the average lifespan, a smart homeowner won’t wait until there are problems with an old unit before replacing it.

How to Read Water Heater Serial Number?

When your water heater breaks, it can be hard for many homeowners to figure out if it is still under warranty. It’s not easy to tell the water heater’s age just by looking at your water heater. Most manufacturers of water heaters put the year of production in the serial number.

That’s right; you can figure out how old is your water heater by reading the serial number.

The water heater serial number can tell a lot of things, like the month and day it was manufactured, where it was made, what kind of unit it is, and more. Since deciphering the serial number isn’t always straightforward, we came up with the handy guide below to help you decode your water heater’s serial number.

First, look on the side of your unit for a data plate with the serial number. Most of the time, this data plate is located around any warning labels and the energy guide.

Each manufacturer uses a different format, so you need to decode the serial number on your water heater to find the year of the manufacture.

Bradford White Water Heater Serial Number

The Bradford White water heater serial number is the most difficult to read. They use a specific alphanumeric code to figure out the age of a water heater in the serial number.

They began using it in 1984 with the letter A. So, you can expect a water heater made in 1985 to start with the letter B in the serial number.

#JC16433183
J = 2012
C = March
16433183 = Sequantial Number

The first letter of the serial number tells you what year it was manufactured, and the second letter tells you the month. The remainder of the serial is a sequential number.

Bradford White uses letters for 20-year cycles. The company did not use the letters I, O, Q, R, U, and V in their serial number.

1st DigitYear1st DigitYear
A1984/2004L1994/2014
B1985/2005M1995/2015
C1986/2006N1996/2016
D1987/2007P1997/2017
E1988/2008S1998/2018
F1989/2009T1999/2019
G1990/2010W2000/2020
H1991/2011X2001/2021
J1992/2012Y2002/2022
K1993/2013Z2003/2023

Production Month:

  • A = January
  • B = February
  • C = March
  • D = April
  • E = May
  • F = June
  • G = July
  • H = August
  • J = September
  • K = October
  • L = November
  • M = December

Rheem and Ruud Water Heater Serial Number

There are different styles of Rheem or Ruud water heater serial numbers. As a rule of thumb, the first 4-digits number represents the year and/or the month of manufacture.

  • 1009D1234 = October 2009 (1st & 2nd numbers indicate the month, 3rd & 4th numbers indicate the year of manufacture)
  • 15.05-000012 = May 2015 (1st and 2nd numbers of the serial number indicate the year of manufacture)

AO Smith Water Heater Serial Number

The age of the AO Smith water heater is coded in the 1st 4-digits of the serial number. The 1st & 2nd numbers represent the year, and the 3rd & 4th numbers represent the week of manufacture.

  • 0820A012345 = this unit is produced in 2008

Determine the Age of Water Heater in Easy Way

Determine the Age of Water Heater in Easy Way

Determining the water heater’s age is as easy as looking at the unit’s serial number and deciphering it. There is one easy way to do it. Look for the ANSI label – this should include the installation date. Unfortunately, not all water heater brands listed the manufacture label.

If you can’t figure out how old your water heater is, feel free to get in touch with us. We will gladly help you determine your water heater’s age based on its brand and model.

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About Mas Broto

Have been in the heating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry for over 20 years. He is person that will grow and thrive to learn more about the HVAC industry throughout his career. Mas Broto is also a blogger, who's dedicated to bringing you the best knowledge to get ahead in the game of life.