The home inspection went well and you closed on your “new to you” home. After the movers dropped off your belongings and you have started unpacking, you realize there is no booklet for your Bradford White water heater. How do you know the age of the Bradford White water heater and when do you need to replace it? Let’s take a look.
Water Heater Label and Age of Appliance
Many water heater brands are under one manufacturer. For instance, Bradford White is the manufacturer of Bradford White and JetGlas water heaters. The age of this brand of water heater is difficult to figure out as it is not on the label. It actually takes some decoding. Let’s look at an example of a label below from a Bradford White water heater:
The label above is from a Bradford White Water Heater. Since the date is not printed on the label, we need to look at the serial number. The first two digits are the letters ME. Bradford White uses a specific code to figure out the age of a water heater using the chart below.
Bradford White Water Heater Age Chart
Looking at the table above, M is the 1st digit and represents 1995/2015. The 2nd digit is E and it represents the month of May. Bradford uses letters for 20-year letter cycles. Some labels will have the ANSI date and if it does not, let’s see how to figure it out.
- Let’s say it is the year 2020. Using the information above, does the condition of the water heater look like it is closer to 2015 or 1995?
- What is the age of the home or structure this water heater is in? A 2018 home with a water heater in good condition, probably has a manufacture date of 2015. Compare this to if it looks very old and rusty, it could be 1995 and you will need to think about a replacement.
- Third, the inspection tags or service tags will also determine the age of the water heater.
Life of a Water Heater
A properly maintained traditional water heater lasts about 8 – 12 years. However, sometime around 10 years you may see leaking or other issues so keep an eye out for signs that it is near the end of its life. Consequently, if you see tinted hot water coming out or water pooling next to it, call a professional and find out if there is time left before a replacement is needed. Finding these issues early can extend the life of the water heater.
There is no doubt that many factors will determine the years of the life of a water heater. Taking care and maintenance of the unit will almost always extend life. If your unit is making odd sounds or doesn’t seem right, find out if it is under warranty. If not, contact a professional for help. When all is said and done, you can catch an issue early and often you can save money.
Do you have questions about your water heater or the age? Leave us a reply below and we can help!