Dates aren’t the easiest to remember, and when you’re a home owner there are so many. There’s the date the bills are due, the trash collection, routine maintenance to schedule and now we expect you to know the date your water heater was put into service?

It’s important to know the age of your water heater because if it is more than 10 years old it can be susceptible to more problems. The more problems a water heater has, the more chances it has to fail and potentially cause damage to your home.

There is no sure way of saying how long a water heater will last—it all depends on the quality of the product, minerals/chemicals in the water, maintenance frequency and usage. The typical life expectancy is 10-15 years.

“According to the manufacturer, the life expectancy of a hot water tank is eight to 10 years,” says Dan Odyl, Plumbing Manager for Blind & Sons. “Knowing the age will give the homeowner an idea on when to start thinking of replacement or at least to start keeping an eye on it.”

Each make of water heater indicates their date of manufacture a little differently, so it’s imperative that you know the make of your water heater. To do this, you must first locate the manufacturer’s label on the unit, which can typically be found by any warning labels and/or the Energy Guide. If there is no installation date noted on the label, find the serial number. This is where it gets tricky because each manufacturer uses different formats. The serial number usually indicates the year and month of the manufacture of the water heater.

Blind & Sons sells Bradford White standard water heaters and Rinnai tankless water heaters, so that’s what we’ll look at below.

Bradford White water heater serial numberBradford White
Serial Number: JH6511396

The first letter of the serial number indicates the year of manufacture, while the second letter is the month. The important thing to remember with this is that each letter is on a 20-year loop, so if you have a home that is more than 20 years old, you might want to look more into the history of your water heater.

The first letter (J) – Year of manufacture (2012)
The second letter (H) – Month of manufacture (August)

The chart provided by Bradford White will help you determine the year and month of your water heater.

Rinnai
Serial Number: BL. CA-051306 

The first letter of the serial number indicates the year of manufacture, while the second letter is the month. Rinnai began using this style of serial number in 2009, so if you see a serial number starting with two letters, this will be the type to use.
Rinnai tankless water heater serial number
The first letter (B) – Year of manufacture (2010)
The second letter (L) – Month of manufacture (December)

Serial Number: 04. 03-10251

Rinnai used this serial number style prior to 2009. The first two digits indicate the year, the third and fourth digits indicate the month.

The first two digits (04) – Year of manufacture (2004)
The third and fourth digits (03) – Month of manufacture (March)

This chart will help you determine the age of you Rinnai Tankless Water Heater.

As with anything plumbing related, if you have any questions, contact the expert plumbers at Blind & Sons today.