HVAC equipment much older than the home

This past week, I inspected two houses where the HVAC equipment was much older than the house itself. In one case, the equipment was a 1996 A/C compressor (18K BTU) in a brand new home. (York A/C unit. SN: W0E5195159. Am I decoding it wrong?) The other 2 units were 2003 models.

I informed the buyer and advised him to carefully read the warrenty from the manufacturer. I advised the client to contact the builder to see if there was any remedy. Yes, I’ve seen HVAC equipment a year older than the home in many occassions. But 10 years? That seems a little out of line with expectations when buying a new home.

Anyone have any experience with this?

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I have only seen a year or two older Joe, it almost makes you wonder how old the equipment is at the builders house is?

I have seen some equipment lay in a warehouse as long as six years before being installed in a house…but it’s rather uncommon–it’s usually only a year or so… Ten years??? That’s not very likely…hmmmm…

That S# definitely reads 1996. Hmmmmmmmmm…

Like Brian says,

Oh…the SEER label was removed too.

I see this problem often. A few months after Hurricane Ivan I inspected a home that was listed as having a new air conditioner. The exterior compressor cabinet appeared to be in good shape but was not new. The unit was working properly but the model and serial numbers were removed. When I confronted the owner they informed me that a HVAC friend installed it in his off hours at a discounted rate. Mighty suspicious. :twisted:

I believe the new unit has been installed at one of the HVAC tech’s house and his older unit is now at the new house.

I have seen this on ocassion were the warehouse selling the unit, found it out back and gave the contractor a super bargain price just to get it out of the warehouse. But I’ll guaranty the home owner knew nothing about this.


Where are you finding the age for service equipment?

SN: W0E5195159.

The E means 1996.

See this link for how to decode: InterNACHI®️ Forum - InterNACHI®️ Forum - A community for home inspectors

Unit today are normally install the same season they are manufactured, sound like used units to me

I think that really depends on supply and demand. Some manufacturers run specials or have discounts, especially in new subdivisions, which result in high demand. When conditions change, there can certainly be leftover units in the warehouses which remain unsold for a few months, sometimes even a few years.

For example, York is not in high demand here, but I think they have a warehouse up in Los Angeles. It is rare that I find a York in a new house here that is less than a year old, or a replacement unit that the seller says he bought last week and had installed yesterday, yet the date of manufacture is June 2005. Sellers hate me when I note the date of manufacture, so I usually have to explain that the date of manufacture doesn’t affect the warranty period since that typically starts on the date of installation.

York recently changed their serial nomenclature, so the old cheat sheets will not work in decoding anything manufactured after the beginning of 2005.

In this case, the NEW serial decoding is used. The new decoding is MUCH easier than the old. I’ll use your case to explain.

First - letter - “W” - specifies CITY of manufacture. W - Witchita, Kansas

second - NUMBER - “0” - YES, that’s a zero, not a letter O. This tells you the THIRD digit of the year of manufacture.

Third - letter - “E” - specifies month of manufacture. E - May

Fourth - number - “5” - specifies fourth digit of year of manufacture.

The remaining numbers are just sequential numbers, and can be ignored.

So, what we’ve learned is this particular unit was manufactured sometime in May, 2005, (NOT 1996), in Witchita Kansas. I can also tell you the model # of the unit this serial number is attached to is H1RA018S06G, which is a 1.5 ton, 10 SEER York condensor.

Does this date make more sense for where it’s installed?

It certainly does sound more reasonable. I’m sure we all learned a lot from your post. Thanks.