Water heaters are still not very interesting but here are some neat tips and information anyway.

Home Inspector with Perfection Inspection, Inc.

Finally I am getting around to posting part 4 of 4 of my fascinating series on water heaters.  Although not the sexiest component in our homes, hot water is a very important part of modern life.

Water heaters in general are reliable for around 10 years.  They can last much longer or they can start to fail after 5 or 6. (the oldest I have seen was a 68 year old electric water heater that was still cranking away!)  Among other issues with water heaters, the age is a good indicator of when the unit may start to fail or when you may need to replace the unit.


The thing I look at, when I am inspecting homes in Salem, Oregon and the water heater is the name plate:

The name plate will give most all of the information we need to determine the size and age of the unit.  Some times the age is very obvious and there will actually be a label that states when the unit was manufactured.  Most of the time you have to look in to the Serial Number. With most brands the year will be the second 2 numbers in the serial number.

Bradford White apparently insists on being difficult because they use a secrete spy code on their tanks and you need to bring your box-top decoder ring.

In this first picture you can see the location of the serial number:


This next picture shows the two letters that are significant for determining the date of manufacture of this particular water heater:


At this point we get out our secrete spy decoder ring (or try a Google internet search):
and we can see that this tank was produced in October of 2005.  Meaning it is a 4 1/2 year old tank.

At this point I am tired of talking about have concluded some brief ideas on what to look for when looking at these super stylish modern appliances.  You can check out my earlier posts here:  More water heater information


Jim Allhiser   President/Inspector
503.508.4321         jallhiser@perfectioninspectioninc.com

“Always on the cutting edge”

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Bob Haywood
McGraw Realtors - Owasso, OK

Jim, what a fun post!  I learned how to tell the age of these Bradford Whites!  Thank you so much!  I sure would have liked to see a picture of that old water tank you talked about!

Feb 11, 2010 11:17 PM #1
Kim Dove
Watson Realty Corp - Jacksonville, FL
Realtor - Jacksonville FL

Jim, what terrific information! We want to go tankless, is that only available in gas? We currently have an electric water heater that is about 8 years old.

Now that I have the secret decoder I am going to check the exact age :)

Feb 11, 2010 11:17 PM #2
Thomas and Karen Gamel, REALTOR® ABR®, ASP®, SRES®
Coldwell Banker - Fort Mitchell, KY
Your Neighborhood Experts

Got an extra decoder ring so I don't have to search the internet?

Feb 11, 2010 11:21 PM #3
Calvin Cowles
Cowles Home Inspection Services Inc. - Newnan, GA

Hey Jim,

STOP giving away our top secret professional information. You will make us look like normal human beings rather than the SUPER inspectors we really are! Isn't there a professional code that your are breaking?

Feb 11, 2010 11:24 PM #4
Jim Allhiser
Perfection Inspection, Inc. - Salem, OR
Salem, Oregon Home Inspector

Bob,  Your life is now complete thanks to me!

Kim,  That would be on any Bradford White water heater electric or gas.  The tankless units are getting better and better and if you do not have teenagers you will probably like it very much.

Thomas,  It is in the post buddy.

Feb 11, 2010 11:26 PM #5
Jim Allhiser
Perfection Inspection, Inc. - Salem, OR
Salem, Oregon Home Inspector

Calvin,  Oh geeze, I forgot about our code!   I will need to go to the temple and get my lashes!

Feb 11, 2010 11:27 PM #6
Glenn Roberts
Retired - Seattle, WA

You were absolutely right. 4 posts on water heaters may be a bit much, but it was an entertaining set and I appreciate the knowledge.

Feb 11, 2010 11:30 PM #7
Michael Delaware
North Sky Realty LLC - Battle Creek, MI

Jim, this is great information to know!  I learned a great deal from this!  Thanks.

Feb 11, 2010 11:33 PM #8
Tom Boos
Sine & Monaghan Realtors, Real Living - Grosse Pointe Farms, MI
Providing the very best of service to Sellers and

This is great information.  I have often been puzzled when my clients ask about the age of the water heater.  I feel like I've learned something valuable today.  Thanks.

Feb 12, 2010 12:29 AM #9
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Jim, as inspectors we have to have a whole box different decoder rings:)

Feb 12, 2010 01:51 AM #10
Trevor Elliott
RE/MAX Integrity - Salem, OR

Good Post. It hard to indentify age when you don't know what to look for. Thanks!

Feb 12, 2010 04:28 AM #11
Jim Allhiser
Perfection Inspection, Inc. - Salem, OR
Salem, Oregon Home Inspector

Glenn:  I could probably keep on posting about water heaters but I won't.....

Michael:  Thank you and my pleasure

Tom:  Me too some times!!

Charles:  True,  that is one of the things that makes our job so much fun!

Trevor: There will be a quiz later...

Feb 12, 2010 10:54 PM #12
Victoria Linton
First American Title Company of Oregon - Beaverton, OR

Hum, I happen to know you have at least one more post on hot water heaters Jim... But I guess I'm the only one in the world that doesn't know how to adjust the temperature on one. ;)

Feb 19, 2010 11:49 PM #13
Not a real person
San Diego, CA

I can't believe you posted on a public message board the information from your secret spy decoder ring. I hope yours quits working now! LOL

Come join the fun in ActiveRain's Guerrilla Marketing Team Contest.

Mar 03, 2010 08:25 PM #14
Reuben Saltzman
Structure Tech Home Inspections - Minneapolis, MN
Delivering the Unbiased Truth.

What the heck would be so difficult about them putting the date of manufacture on the water heater, just like several others do?  

Mar 09, 2010 09:10 PM #15
Connie Hall
All Brokers Real Estate - Portland, OR

That is a cool little fact that I never knew and now when a client asks how old a water heater is, I will actually have an answer for them. 


Mar 09, 2010 10:58 PM #16
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Jim Allhiser

Salem, Oregon Home Inspector
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