Believe it or not, most people (especially new home owners) have no idea where the hot water heater is in their home. Once you’ve located it, take a look at the label on it (a sticker approximately 3×2’ located on the side of your water heater). Find the serial number. Most manufacturers show the date of when the unit was made in the first four digits of the serial number. For example, lets say the serial number was 09934FR563 – we know it was made in September of 1993. Other manufacturers will list the week and then the year; for instance, 23934FR563. Here we know that the water heater was made on the 23rd week of 1993.
At South West Plumbing, we tell our clients that the average water heater lasts approximately 9 -11 years before it starts leaking; however, it’s not unheard of to see a water heater 20 years old. We highly recommend homeowners be proactive about replacing their water heater before it leaks to avoid the costly problems a leak can cause. For example, if you have a hot water heater in the attic or in a crawl space, you may not know your water heater is leaking until you notice secondary damage that it has caused or get an unusually high water bill in the mail.