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Mr. Rooter employee inspecting a water heater.

Why Should I Know My Water Heater’s Age?

Water heaters are an essential part of our daily lives. But as we’ve come to expect warm water will flow from our faucets and shower heads, it’s easy to forget that every water heater will eventually need to be replaced.

In order to be prepared for future repairs or replacement, homeowners need to know the age of their water heater tank. Most plumbers will say the typical lifespan of a water heater ranges from 10 to 15 years, depending on a few different factors:

  • Usage – a family of five is going to wear down a water heater a lot faster than an older couple living by themselves.
  • Maintenance – homeowners can have their tank inspected annually to make sure it gets the proper repairs for any minor issues.
  • Quality – it’s going to be a smart investment to spend the money on a quality water heater that includes a longer warranty.

As water heaters reach the end of their typical lifespan, these are some important signs to keep an eye out for:

  • Lack of hot water being supplied
  • Taking longer for water to heat up
  • Corrosion on connections to the tank
  • Any leaks or dripping from the tank
  • Any rust, black streaks or char marks on the outside

As soon as these problems begin to appear, it will be beneficial to start planning for a replacement – that way there are no surprises when it’s time to buy a new one.

For homeowners who aren’t sure how old their water heater is, the first step is to go look at the “Rating Plate” on your water heater. Once you find the name of brand, follow the steps below based on what brand you have:

Bradford White




AO Smith

AO Smith lists the month and year in their serial number. In the example below, the year comes first (GB91 means 1991.), and the first two numbers after the dash represent the month (07 or July).

water heater serial number information

If you’re unable to find the age of your water heater and have questions about water heaters or any other plumbing needs, call your local Mr. Rooter Plumbing – 503-610-4183.