Bradford White uses a 20-letter code for the year of manufacture of their water heaters. The first letter of the serial number is the one to use. The letters I, O, Q, R, U and V are excluded. Because the letter code recycles every 20 years “A,” for example, can be 1964, 1984, 2004. You have to use your own judgement of the condition of the water heater to determine which year is correct. Knowing when the house was built is also helpful.
A = 1964, 1984, 2004 B = 1965, 1985, 2005 C = 1966, 1986, 2006
D = 1967, 1987, 2007 E = 1968, 1988, 2008 F = 1969, 1989, 2009
G = 1970, 1990, 2010 H = 1971, 1991, 2011 J = 1972, 1992, 2012
K = 1973, 1993, 2013 L = 1974, 1994, 2014 M = 1975, 1995, 2015
N = 1976, 1996, 2016 P = 1977, 1997, 2017 S = 1978, 1998, 1998
T = 1979, 1999, 2019 W = 1980, 2000, 2020 X = 1981, 2001, 2021
Y = 1982, 2002 Z = 1983, 2003
The data plate for the Bradford White water heater shown below has a first letter of “Y” and, because we knew that the house was built in 2002, the other choice of 1982 was ruled out and we determined that it was the original water heater installed in the home.
To determine the age of another manufacturer/brand of water heater, go to How do I determine the age of my water heater?
To find the age of other home components, go to How can I find out the age of a roof? and How do I determine the age of an electrical panel? and How do I determine the age of my air conditioner? For life expectancies, visit What is the average life expectancy of the components of a house?
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Here’s links to a collection of more blog posts about WATER HEATERS:
• Are water heaters required to be raised off the floor?
• Can a Temperature and Pressure Relief (TPR or T&P) valve be mounted to discharge horizontally?
• Where are gas water heaters not allowed to be installed?
• Is the minimum size water heater inlet pipe 1/2" or 3/4" according to the building code?
• Can you use a light switch for a water heater disconnect?
• How can I tell if a water heater is HUD-approved for mobile/manufactured homes?
• Can you wire a 240-volt water heater with 120 volts?
• Is it alright to have a shut-off valve on both the hot and cold water pipes at a water heater?
• What is the minimum clearance to doors and windows for an outdoor tankless gas water heater?
• What is required clearance for access and working space in front of an electric water heater?
• Why is the water heater older than the house?
• Does a water heater need a shut-off valve?
• Why should a tankless water heater have an isolator/service valve kit installed?
• When was a gas water heater first required to be elevated 18 inches above a garage floor?
• Can the temperature and pressure relief (TPR) valve discharge pipe for a mobile/manufactured home water heater terminate under the home?
• What is the purpose of a thermostatic mixing valve above a water heater?
• Does a tankless gas water heater still work with no electricity during a power outage?
• Why do water heaters have a sacrificial anode?
• What is the difference between a manufactured/mobile home water heater and a regular water heater?
• Does a tankless water heater require a pressure relief valve?
• When is a water heater drain pan required?
• Why is there water in my water heater drain pan?
• What does it mean when a water heater Temperature/Pressure Relief (TPR) discharge pipe is "trapped"?
• Can I leave a gas water heater in place when remodeling a garage into a family room or bedroom?
• Where do I find the water heater in a mobile home?
• Does a tankless water heater in an attic require a drain pan?
• Does an electric water heater require a disconnect?
• Is a catch pan and drain piping required for a replacement water heater?
• What is the difference between a single element and dual element electric water heater?
• What is an FVIR water heater?
• What is a heat pump water heater?
• What is a dielectric union?
• What's that powdery crust on the pipe connections at the water heater?
• What are the most common installation mistakes with water heater replacement?
• Why is my water heater making strange (rumbling, gurgling, knocking or banging) noises?
• What can I do to make my water heater last longer?
• How can I determine the age of a water heater if the serial number is missing or decoding it is impossible?
• How does a hydronic heating system work?
• What is the difference between a regular water heater and a direct vent water heater?
• What is the difference between a regular water heater and a power vent water heater?
• What is backdrafting at a gas water heater?
• How do I determine if a water heater is gas or electric?
• What does it mean when a gas appliance (water heater, furnace, or range) has been "red tagged"?
• What's the valve with the flip-up handle on the water heater for?
• Why is an older water heater an insurance problem?
Visit our WATER HEATERS page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.