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WATER HEATER Model Numbers and Age
Every water heater comes with a Rating Plate. This plate contains important information about the water heater and for the safety of the homeowner. Most of the information listed will be used by a licensed technician. However, some of the information provided is important to the homeowner such as, the serial number, which shows the manufactured date - commonly the first four numbers (mmyy); the model number; the Input BTU (gas models only); gallon capacity; and wattage elements (electric models only).
Below are a few samples of different manufacturing companies’ Rating Plates to help you to better understand how to decode your water heater’s age.
Gas Rheem Water Heater:
The model number is 21VR75; the serial number is RHHG0898GO1213 - this makes the manufactured date December 1991; it is a 75 gallon tank, the Input BTUH (per hour) is 75,500; and it is a Natural Gas only tank. Many of the other numbers seen are for the technicians when installing or repairing the water heater.
AO Smith Water Heater:
These Rating Plates can be a little more difficult to read. In these models, the manufactured date is listed year then month. It can be a bit confusing because two letters will precede the year, next a dash, then the month, followed by an additional eight numbers. The serial number is MC01-004…. This reads 1991 and July.
American Water Heater:
These Rating Plates will list the year first (yy) and then the week (XX) of that year rather than the month of the year. The second – enlarged plate reads: 1998 and 17th week.
Bradford White Water Heater:
This Rating Plate will make finding the age of your water heater a little more difficult. It requires you to already know the coding system used. This brand uses letters to note the year (first letter) and then the month (second letter). This system requires that you already be familiar with the coding used. The following is a breakdown of the decoding format. Using the format below – we can know that the water heater was manufactured in July 2007.
Year Decoder: G = 1990; H = 1991; J = 1992; K = 1993; L= 1994; M= 1995; N= 1996; P= 1997; S= 1998; T= 1999; W= 2000; X= 2001; Y= 2002; Z=2003; A= 2004; B=2005; C=2006; D=2007
Month Decoder: A= JAN; B=FEB; C=MAR; D= APR; E=MAY; F= JUNE; G=JULY; H= AUG; J= SEPT; K=OCT; L= NOV; M= DEC.
Note: For the Bradford White water heater the maximum wattage is 4000, which means the tank was built to operate in a “non-simultaneous” mode (only one element will energize at a time (standard for residential water heaters)). Also, it was tested for 300 PSI, but is approved to operate with the maximum PSI water pressure of 150. This is a Federal Standard.