How Old is My Water Heater?

By May 15, 2021 Plumbing

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 55 seconds

Water Heater ID Tag

A neighbor of mine had me come over to fix a supply line that had failed on his ancient water heater. Apparently, I had told him a few years ago that the supply line was failing and he needed to fix it. To my shock, he reported that he uses some Flex Seal in an attempt to fix it and ended up having a small flood. The secret is hidden in the serial number. Each vendor has a unique dating system. Look up the make and model to determine how yours was dated. It is hidden on this ID plate. If you have trouble ask and I will find it for you.

I replaced the supply line with a flex copper line, in doing so noticed that one of the washers was missing on the old one. I also did some research on the age of his water heater and discovered that it was 20+ years old. When I told him, he got all giddy that he stretched the life out of it.

My motto is that if you have gotten 12 years out of one, that you have gotten your money’s worth and should be thankful while thinking about saving for a replacement.  What isn’t stated but needs to be understood, is that many things like Water Heaters were designed for functional obsolescence. There have been huge advances in insulation and energy consumption decreases.

What Side of the Fence are you on?

What can I say, If you are that kind of guy that needs to squeeze every ounce of value out of something, you run the risk of failure and being let down. I can think of all sorts of examples of this principle. Look at all the cars on the side of the road with an orange check on them. I believe that most have just run out of gas. Why run on empty, why ignore the warning light?

As I get older I understand justifications for the gambit of ways to handle the spectrum of decisions we need to make. Do you buy cheap stuff and understand that you will need to replace it often, or do you buy the best and hanging on to it forever. There are pros and cons and ramifications some more serious than others.

I know where I stand, do you?

I’m not sure if it is a generational thing. The rush to the bottom has something to do with it. If the thing is an “IT” then if you can get “IT” for less then that is the tendency. The problem is when metal parts are replaced with plastic and the two “ITs” are not the same thing. There is an imaginary belief that all things are commodities. They are not, be an informed consumer. Naugahyde ’nuff said.

No judgment, I just know where I fall in the spectrum. 90% of the time I am a (buy the best to the last) kind of guy. Other times I am a buy the cheapest kind of guy. Examples are all around from the grocery store where I go weekly to my bigger purchases like a vehicle.


Your comments are welcome. To ask questions or get more information about fixing stuff, click here to email me directly, or call 208-639-1808

I do these things during non-Levco time to be sure it doesn’t interfere with the Remodeling business. Repairing things and understanding homes is just another passion of mine.

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