How to Use This Site and other Helpful Tips
How to Use This Site:
We have 2 sections on this site. One for Water Heaters, and one for HVAC related equipment (Furnaces, Boilers, Air Conditioners, & Heat Pumps). Each section lists brand names alphabetically. Clicking on the specific brand name will take you to that specific page where one or more examples of serial number styles will be listed on an information slide image.
This site provides examples of manufacturer serial number styles. These are ONLY examples! YOUR actual serial number will differ from the provided examples! Your actual serial number can be compared to similar styles represented on our site to help you determine the date of manufacture. In other words, the included examples are intended to help you decipher the actual number off your HVAC or Water Heater data tag and will not be an identical match number for number, letter for letter. These examples are listed in slide images on the appropriate pages. Many brand pages will have MULTIPLE STYLES listed. Please be sure to scroll through ALL style examples provided to find one that most closely resembles your actual serial number.
I Don't See Any Images on the Page.
If you do not see the images of example styles and example data plates on any page, it is likely your web browser or antivirus software security settings are blocking or preventing them from appearing, or the page did not load correctly. Try refreshing the page or modifying your system/browser settings. Many brand pages will have MULTIPLE STYLES listed. Please be sure to scroll through ALL style examples to find one that most closely resembles your actual serial number.
Where is the Data Tag/Plate Located?
Data tags/plates will be found in a VARIETY of locations on the unit and will vary by manufacturer. In other words, they can be located ANYWHERE and on ANY part of the unit. Locations on the outside of the case or housing, below the name plate, inside service access covers, on the back side of a service access cover, etc. are most common. We cannot feasibly indicate precisely where the data tag will be located on every unit for every brand. IF you require assistance locating the data tag or its information provided, PLEASE CONSULT WITH A LOCAL CONTRACTOR or INSPECTOR. Many manufacturers are now separately including the date of manufacture stamp on newer units as part of the data plate information, or will explicitly indicate where in the serial number that the manufacture date is represented. Please be sure to look for these indications on the data tag when recording the model and serial numbers... It may save you a LOT of time!
Listed Serial Style Examples Don't Resemble My Serial Number...
We have included all serial number style examples for any particular brand that we are currently aware of. We continue to update this site with new information as it becomes available. Over the years many brands have consolidated or merged with other manufacturers... some multiple times over. As well, many brands are manufactured by one or more other companies at various periods of their existence. As such, the serial coding style may resemble that of another brand name who actually manufactured the unit. We have tried to indicate known parent companies on our information slides, but it is difficult to stay abreast of industry or corporate changes, consolidations, and mergers. Many of our pages have a "History" information slide included that may assist with your research. We recommend researching serial number styles of other related brands or the "manufactured by..." name indicated on the data tag if your style has not been represented in our examples on the actual brand page. If you have researched thoroughly and discover we don't have your style listed, chances are GREAT that we DON'T have any information to assist you with. But if you have the full brand name, serial number AND model number, we may be able to find the approximate year of manufacture through our personal research. We don't make ANY promises or guarantees that we can assist you, but you can submit a help request through our website. This of course requires time and effort on our part beyond the wealth of information we have already freely provided on this site. As such, a small fee for our personal research time into your query is required. We also recommend clear photos of the full data plate and unit itself be available if necessary or requested.
Using the ANSI or CSA standards-
Most manufacturers today are required to include the manufacture compliance standard on the data tag. For the U.S. the compliance standard is typically from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). For Canada, a common standard compliance is through the Canada Standards Association Group (CSA). Many times both standards are listed. Regardless, the specific standard will normally be listed on the data tag/plate and followed by the YEAR of the last revision (often the year is placed in parenthesis or follows the hyphen after the specific standard number). As these standards are revised or renewed approximately every 4 to 6 years, one can reasonably estimate the year of manufacture within 4-6 years from (after) the standards date.
For Example... A Bradford White brand water heater (as do many other brands) will often list both the ANSI and CSA compliance standards on the data plate as such: ANSI Z21.10.1b-2006 * CSA 4.1b-2006
For ANSI, "Z21.10.1b" is the specific ANSI standard the water heater complies with. The numbers following the standard "-2006" are the year of the standard revision.
For CSA, "4.1b" is the specific CSA standard the water heater complies with. The numbers following the standard "-2006" are the year of the standard revision.
In both instances, this particular water heater cannot be any older than 2006 or year of the standard revision, and likely is not any newer than 2010-2012 (4-6 years from the standard revision year).
What if the data plate/tag is missing or illegible?
If the data tag is missing, cannot be located, or portions of it are illegible, it typically becomes a "best guess" scenario. Sometimes the range of years a particular model was manufactured can be determined through the model number if it is available. This requires further research through industry specific publications such as Preston's Reference Guide, Carson-Dunlop Technical Reference Guide, Industry manuals which may no longer be in publication, and/or research through the particular company technical help/customer services or website (if available and if the company still exists).
If both the model and serial number are not legible or cannot be located, one may be able to determine approximate date of manufacture from internal components such as blower motors, circuit boards, gas valves, compressor, etc. Sometimes these may have a date stamp or tag indicating their date of manufacture which should closely match the overall date of manufacture... but may simply reflect the date that certain component was replaced.
Documents (if available) such as bills of sale, owners manuals, and service records may also help determine approximate year of manufacture or year of installation. The age of some very old systems often may only be determined through original company records such as bills of sale, purchase order numbers, etc. With luck and if the company is still in business, one may be able to contact the company directly for assistance.
If all else fails, one may need to make a "best guess" based on the condition and appearance of the unit. Sometimes muted or drab colors of the unit such as light blues, greens, and browns can help determine an era of manufacture as these were common colors used during the 1950's into the late 70's and early 80's... but this is not a reliable method of determining age. Regardless, if the unit appears aged, neglected, or in disrepair, it likely is and may be a good candidate for upgrade to a more efficient unit design of current manufacture.
I Have the Model and Serial Number, but Don't Know the Manufacturer or Brand Name.
If you can't find the manufacturer or brand name plate, try looking on the data tag again for this information. If it simply cannot be located, try an internet search with the full model number (or just the first few characters of the model number). This often returns results revealing the manufacturer or related brands that offer the particular model.
What Size is My Air Conditioner?
This information is often incorporated into the model number. While not always the case, typically the rule of thumb is to look for two consecutive numbers within the model number that are divisible by 6. Dividing this number by 12 will provide an approximate tonnage size of the air conditioner or heat pump.
For example... A Ruud air conditioner model number of UAMB-024JAZ indicates this unit is a 2 ton capacity.
In this example (UAMB -024JAZ), 24 is the first number divisible by 6. Dividing 24 by 12 equals 2 or 2 tons.
Similarly, a model number of UAMB-036JAZ indicates the capacity is 3 tons (36 divided by 12).
A sample model number of UAMB-030JAZ would indicate the capacity is 2.5 tons (30 divided by 12).
Sample model numbers of UAMB-048JAZ or UAMB-060JAZ would indicate 4 and 5 ton capacity respectively.
Again while common, this isn't always the case or the most accurate method. Additionally, some manufactures will include several more numbers in the actual model identification, proving difficult to determine which set of numbers actually indicates the size or capacity. Each manufacturer will have a unique and proprietary numbering system for model and serial identification. If you need assistance determining or confirming the capacity of your HVAC equipment or matching the capacity with the size of your home or commercial building, please consult with a LOCAL and experienced contractor, service provider, or the manufacturer directly! We will NOT assist you with this.
Where Can I Find more Information?
We have listed numerous HVAC manufacturers by brand with some known information, history, and available contact information. You can find this information listed alphabetically at our HVAC manufacturer info pages. Many manufacturer websites offer free downloads for user manuals, owner manuals, installation/parts manuals, and related diagrams listed by model number or type. We encourage you to research your needs further with the particular manufacturer by visiting their respective website or contacting them directly. If you need assistance with repairs, upgrades, service, sizing, or finding replacement parts, PLEASE contact a local repair provider, service contractor, or the manufacturer directly! While we appreciate the confidence, We CANNOT assist you with this.
I Have Documented Information to Add to Your Great Site!
Excellent!!! We appreciate all the help and assistance we can get to maintain an accurate site! Please contact us through our web form and include a brief note of what you have. We will reply and request any further information that you may have so we can update our site. You need not submit any payment for assisting us! (But donations are always appreciated!)