What is a rating plate, you may ask? A rating plate is placed on an appliance and it provides important information about the appliance such as when it was manufactured, energy usage and even when it was installed. Since we are a water heater company, we will discuss water heater rating plates.

The rating plate for a water heater is typically located in the front of the water heater in the middle-to-upper section. Though it is called a rating plate, it is often just a large sticker but some older models might feature a metallic decal with the same information. Either way, it is not difficult to locate and provides plenty of useful information about your water heater.

An example of a rating plate.

As you can see from the above photo, there is a lot of information on the rating plate. When it comes to water heaters, the most pertinent information can be found in the model and serial numbers. The serial number contains the year the water heater was manufactured and the model number will tell you the size i.e. how many gallons the water heater holds.

Why is this important? Well, in general it is always good to know as much about the state of your appliances as you can. It is much better to know that your water heater was manufactured in 1992 and could go out any day. More importantly, if you ever need to call the manufacturer for any reason, they will always ask for the model and serial number. So even if you don’t know what they mean, you should at least know where to find them.

On another note, if you are calling a plumber or water heater company, they may ask for the model and serial number to be able to tell some important information about the water heater before they even get there. At Water Heaters Only, we always ask for that information. That way we know what size water heater we need to bring with us in case the current water heater needs to be replaced. Not only that, knowing the age of the water heater can help us better determine what repair options may be available. A water heater that is very old is not likely to be repaired and we can at least inform you over the phone if that is the case.

To read the model and serial number and understand them, you will likely need to consult the manufacturer’s website as each company uses a different coding system. Most serial numbers contain the age of the water heater in the first four or five digits; however, some use a letter system and some have the first two letters represent the year of manufacture while others have the first two represent the month it was made. Even more frustrating, some manufacturers don’t even use the same system for their own water heaters. This means that the serial numbers on one water heater don’t necessarily read the same as the serial numbers on another one that may be considerably older or newer. So, just check out the manufacturer’s website to be sure you are reading those numbers correctly. Of course, you can always call a plumbing or water heater company that you trust and they can always help you out if necessary.