AO Smith water heater date

I am trying to date an A O Smith water heater. Data plate indicates 1986 but looks newer and house was built in 1988. Suggestions?

It probably sat in the distributors warehouse for a year or two before it rotated out into service. Or, it could have come from another house that used it for 2 years before it was installed into this house, for whatever reason.

Report what you see.

Looks like '86.
Likely N.O.S. when installed.


Sat in warehouse for two years…Jan 1986

January 1986

Common for a water heater to sit in a warehouse for a couple of years before being installed. Some larger plumbing companies will buy clearance units in bulk and store them until needed to take advantage of the discounts.

Thanks guys, it just doesn’t look very old. No signs of corrosion after 28 years!

Plus it’s an electric water heater. They tend to sit around in warehouses longer than gas water heaters do.

Mine has been in use since March, 1990. Looks pristine.

Must be a super-small house! Or was this just for the bathtub only?

When I worked for a major HVAC manufacturer, it was not uncommon for one of the less used size or models to linger in a warehouse a year or 2 after manufacture … Then we’d have a sale on stagnant models and some distributor would buy a truck load and they’d set in his warehouse another year … Then a dealer takes a bunch and it sets in his warehouse another year AND then 3-4 years after it came down the assembly line it shows up in a consumers house as a NEW installation.

Think about that when dating appliances, etc.

30 gallon electric is rare. If the house has any girls living in it, might as well not even have a water heater.

Maybe by todays standards, but not 30 years ago… common in two bedroom homes and apartments.

It’s the “electric” part that is very rare out here, ever since the Enron energy market manipulation fiasco of 2000. Pretty much everyone who had electric stoves, water heaters, and dryers converted to gas.