Age of Gibson (Unitary) AC unit 2 letters beginning serial #

I inspected a Unitary Products (Gibson) AC unit with a faded data tag with the serial # that appeared to read: JR001443245X, though it’s hard to make out, even if the data tag pic is enhanced as much as I could push it (on my phone, not here on the computer, where I currently have only the digital camera backup and personal reference pics).

Building Intelligence Center implies the first digit is a latter and the first 2 numbers are the year, or it is the same as Nordyne, for which it says the 4th and 5th digits are the year. Those would correspond to either 2000 or 2001, which are consistent with its appearance and the manufacture date of a number of the other other HVAC units in the commercial building. Not much of a practical difference, but I’m curious as to which.

Here’s what the unit looked like:

Can you post the data tag pic?

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If the data plate is so worn that you can no longer make out the serial number, that is a good indication that the machine has been out in the weather for a long time. You also noticed that the condition of the equipment is consistent with about 20 years of age. Without locking down an exact date of manufacture, you can still convery that apparent age and condition to your customer and set expectations for replacement in the near future.

“The estimated useful life for most heat pumps and air conditioning condensing units is 10-15 years. This unit appeared to be at or beyond this age and/or its useful lifespan and may need replacing or significant repairs at any time. I recommend budgeting for a replacement in the near future.”


Please send us the data tag so we can see what you saw.

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What Bert said. Don’t spend a lot of time on it!


The 3rd slot is probably an ‘O’ not a zero. It is a 2001 in my opinion.


I occasionally will run into one that has an illegible data tag also, many times I can take a picture and blow it up to read the numbers, but that doesn’t always work, when that happens I put the age as “unable to verify” and move on.

And as Bert mentioned, if the data tag is worn out this is a good indication the unit is older and I many times will add a similar note to what Bert posted above.

Found this one a few weeks ago that I was able to barely read after enhancing the picture.


A little trick in the field. Get some dirt on your finger tip and run it across the raised letters, it will highlight the print.


Model: 561CJ048-G
Serial: 1305E14067
Manufacturer Date: 13th week of 2005
Shipping Date: 2005-04-05

Edit: You can check warranty info at the following link, for Bryant, Carrier, Payne.


spit and rub… … …


I was finally able to pull the pics out of the report and onto my computer. Didn’t like that I practically had to lean over the edge of the roof to get the pic. Here are the original and an enhanced zoom. The third character could be a B, but it still looks like a 0 (zero). Usually an O is more rounded, and they often don’t use it.
20230315 (38) phone data tag
20230315 (38) phone enh tc

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A tip when attempting to rub dirt, spit, or whatever on the letters is to check an area of the tag that has no significant data first, because sometimes it will rub off entirely.

Appreciate the replies,everyone. On the report I said it was consistent with a manufacture date of 2001, near the end of if functional life expectancy.

You have got to be kidding! :flushed:

You risk your life, your family, your future income, all to do what?!

  1. Enter any area or perform any procedure that may damage the property or its
    components or be dangerous to or adversely affect the health or safety of the
    home inspector or other person

(a) Home inspectors are not required to report on:

  1. Life expectancy of any component or system

I have never had that happen with the embossed letters. Rub smarter, not harder :smile:

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Often, if you shine your flashlight from an angle you can get the number enhanced. Sometimes taking the photo from an angle, generally from the side, will give it to you.

It’s hard to clearly pick out the serial # on this one. It was manufactured in the 2000s, since China switched from putting “Made in China” on products to “Made in PRC” in the early 2000s, as seen on the data tag in the upper right corner.



Inspected a duplex today.

Tried the rub test on the first one - fail. Didn’t even try on the second one. Both units were older Rheems.

These pics went in the report.

Unable to determine age, unit appears to be older and nearing the end of it’s useful life.


Under that hinged flap/access panel on most of those Rheem units you’ll find a few components with the date on them. 2 easy to remove fasteners will open it up.


Thanks Dom!!
I didn’t know that.

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No cause for alarm, I was being a bit facetious, and am ultra-careful about roofs. It wasn’t dangerous at all, just stuck my arm out while lying down, and the pic was good enough to show the data tag wasn’t very readable. Mainly posted out of curiosity.

I know we’re not required to report on functional life expectancies, but I do as a service to my clients, very pointedly disclaim all warranties for such info on the agreement and intro of the report, and it’s not bitten my on the tail yet in over 18 years of doing this. One of many ways I go the extra yard.