"Hot" Water Heaters?

I inspected an older duplex yesterday that had been flipped. Both sides of the duplex had brand new gas water heaters that had had the data plates carefully removed. Is there a legitimate reason for doing this or is it an attempt to hide any traceability because they were stolen?

With those identifiction labels deliberately removed then those water heater appear “hot” to me. Not much you can do to change that but you can inform your clients that without those data plates there is no warrenty, would be curious if their insurance companies would also waive coverage because of that as well.

No label could also mean it was reported as defective, and the label (with the data and S/N) was returned to the manufacturer.


They just painted the old ones and printed off new labels…that’s some fantastic flipper craftiness right there.

Weird. I doubt being stolen has anything to do with it. Most people don’t know the SN of their appliances. I wonder if they were recalled, or are not being used in accordance with their listing.

Are they selling them or going to rent them. I’ve heard of some landlords remove this stuff to keep in a log book off site so that he doesn’t have to drive all the way over there to figure out the model type or make of the water heaters and so that he has them for his personal records. Having inspected a few “rental properties” in the rougher sections of town, I’ve had landlords tell me that people just don’t care and end up damaging that stuff to the point at which you can no longer read it, and even had one tell me they took the plates off of every appliance in the home and were trying to sell them to shady contractors.

I’ve seen this before but with AC condensers, the data plate serial number cut off.
I always suspect they’re “Hot”.

Same here. Always suspect. Report your observations.

Probably recalled, flood damaged, failed QC or were obtained through a non-authorized reseller. Worthy of noting in the report. Unlikely that there is any warranty coverage. A call to the manufacturer should shed some light.

Thanks for the input, everyone. Very much appreciated.

In this case, my client already owns the property. She just spent a large sum on “upgrades” and had me inspect it because she lives out of state and isn’t able to see the the finished product first-hand.

Most of the work the contractors have done is abysmal so it is no surprise that they used black market water heaters.

I alerted her to the fact that something is fishy about them and they are probably either stolen or factory rejects and probably carry no warranty. I advised her to obtain receipts or other proof that they were obtained through legitimate channels.

Believe it or not, this is minor compared to some of the other shady and incompetent things I saw at this property. If I were her, I would be contacting a lawyer ASAP.

Would you expect anything less for a flip? :smiley:

I inspect flips all the time and a lot of them are nicely done with only minor issues.