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More Blog Posts on Similar Subjects:

  1. Should I upgrade to a tankless water heater?

  2. How much does it cost to replace the water heater?

  3. Why do water heaters have a sacrificial anode?

  4. How old is that water heater?

  5. Should I wrap the water heater with an insulation blanket?

  6. Do I have to get a larger septic tank when I build a home addition?

  7. What’s the powdery crust on the pipe connections at the water heater?

  8. Do you check the plumbing under the floor slab?

  9. This home has galvanized water pipe. Is that a problem?

  10. How do I determine if a water heater is gas or electric?

  11. What’s the flip-up handle on the water heater for?

  12. Are there water lines in my attic or under the floor slab?

  13. How come the water has a rotten-egg smell in some empty houses?

  14. My well water test came back positive for bacteria. What should I do?

  15. Do you test the well water?

  16. How can I tell what type of plumbing pipe I have?

  17. What is a grinder pump?

  18. What is that little tank on top of the water heater for?

  19. What is the average lifespan of a water heater?

  20. Why are rubber washing machine hoses a safety risk?

  21. What is a dielectric union?

  22. What is a heat pump water heater?

  23. What is the average life expectancy of copper pipe?

  24. Why can’t PVC pipe be used for water pipe inside a house?

  25. What is an auto vent, air admittance valve, or check vent?

  26. Why is a European-style bottle trap not approved by the plumbing codes in the U.S.?

  27. What is the average life expectancy of CPVC pipe?

  28. What is an FVIR water heater?

  29. What are the requirements for installing a gas appliance connector?

  30. What is the loose wire sticking out of the ground under the gas meter for?

  31. How can I locate my septic tank?

  32. Why is a backflow preventer required on lawn sprinkler systems?

  33. What are the right words for talking about a house plumbing system?

  34. Should I seal the washing machine drain hose to the standpipe?

  35. What is a sediment trap or dirt leg?

  36. What is the minimum and maximum slope of the trap arm of a plumbing drain?

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• At the other extreme are Bradford-White and Lochinvar water heaters. You need your secret decoder ring to figure them out. The year of manufacture is indicated by the first letter of the serial number, using the full alphabet except for I, O, Q, R, U and V. It’s 20-year cycle starting in 1964 so, for example, “A” can mean it was made in 1964, 1984, or 2004. The general condition of the water will help you to figure out which year it is and, also, looking for the date of the ANSI standard on the yellow EnergyGuide sticker will give you the clue that it was manufactured after that date.
A - 1964, 1984, 2004
B - 1965, 1985, 2005

C - 1966, 1986, 2006

D - 1967, 1987, 2007

E - 1968, 1988, 2008

F - 1969, 2989, 2009

G - 1970, 1990, 2010

H - 1971, 1991, 2011

J - 1972, 1992, 2012

K - 1973, 1993, 2013

L - 1974, 1994, 2014

M - 1975, 1995

N - 1976, 1996

P - 1977, 1997

S - 1978, 1998

T - 1979, 1999

V - 1980, 2000

X - 1981, 2001

Y - 1982, 2002

Z - 1983, 2003

• Rheem and Ruud water heaters tell the story in the first four numbers of the serial. First 2-digits is the month, second 2-digits is the year.

  1. And, finally, A.O. Smith and State Industries use the first letter in the serial number to indicate the month of manufacture (A thru M, excluding I), and the following two numbers are the year.

  2. For a more complete listing of water heater brands and how to figure out their year of manufacture, download this pdf:

Water Heater Decoder.pdf


While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
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