Montgomery Ward water heater

I found a Montgomery Ward water heater in today’s inspection. Anyone have a clue to the age? :roll:

Heavy Duty 1000 Energy Saver
Model SRM 33833, S/N SNN 1087A15930
40 gallon, 40,000 btu, natural gas


October 1987.

from the serial number! I was thinking alphabet and code numbers, etc. Too simple ! Thanks, I know it’s been a while since Monkey Wards closed the doors, could not place it, tho.

Wards was a distributor, not a manufacturer. So sometimes you can find the name of the manufacturer and decode the manufacturer date. Ditto with Sears.

The bad thing about those two is that if they only signed one-year contracts to be the distributor for the manufacturer, you could have ten different manufacturers in a ten-year period. Back in the late '70s when inflation was, oh, around 50%, I think, everyone was searching for the lowest-cost manufacturer so they wouldn’t have to raise their own price on the stuff they carried. It was crazy. One would go into Sears expecting to my a good Kenmore dishwasher only to find out that they switched to KitchenAid.

If it says Montgomery Ward on the label…it is probably way beyond its’ expected useful life. I would just recommend to your client to have it replaced. …it will make a nice addition to the Smithsonian…:slight_smile:

I know this subject has been touched on before, and Russel agrees with me. I don’t just recommend replacement because something is old. They made appliances to LAST way back when. The water heater in my house is from 1976, and is still going strong. I’m certainly not going to replace it just because it’s 30 years old. I’m willing to bet that it will outlast some new ones.
My experience has been that the seller won’t replace it if it’s working, and the buyer doesn’t want to buy a new one when they’re spending all their money on down payment, points,appraisals, inspections, etc.

What I do tell them is the appliance is not as efficient as a new one, and will cost more to operate. Since most of the Realtors around here recommend the buyer get a home warranty, that gives them some peace of mind if the water heater or other appliance goes out.

Excellent post, Joseph. Only Ms Margarita and Dr Cuervo could have said it better. :margarit:

I came across this post attempting to confirm a Montgomery Ward water heater’s date, and must put in my $.02.

I hear you guys loud and clear, Joseph and Russell. In a recent inspection I saw a Rheem water heater that had a strange, rounded design and tank configuration … manufactured in **1963! **

Still going strong … as was the furnace, which was put in at the same time. They did have the well yellowed water heater manintenance instructions out in plain view, and I bet the folks who lived there followed them religiously.

About a year ago, another house I inspected had a water heater with rounded, aquamarine trim. Yup. Aquamarine. 1964. With newspaper clippings on water heater maintenance from the 70s taped onto it.

I’ve yet to encounter a 1950s - 1960s Luxaire furnace that had CO in the supply air, and I come across them often in Detroit. One of them, a very advanced high-efficiency unit from about 1965, had a heat exchanger that looked virtually *new, *viewed from the bonnet.

I will write in my report something like this, Although the water heater (enter age etc here) was functioning as intended on the day of inspection it may be near the end of it’s life expectancy and should be evaluated by a qualified/licenced technician. Replacement may be required due to age or energy efficiency. What do you think, any comments?

Why should it be evaluated if there are no problems?

Can one really “require” replacement due to age or energy efficiency? I’ve never heard of that. However, I think one could educate one’s Clients about the advantages of a newer water heater, especially the tankless ones.


To recommend having someone pay to look at an appliance just because it is old is not something I would do. I think most sellers wouldn’t pay to have that done, and for the buyer to spend X number of dollars, only to have someone say “it works just fine” would risk an angry buyer.
If it was functioning properly, I would do what Russel suggested and educate them on the positives of a new model

I add this so the buyer is aware of the fact that everything has a life expectancy, most water heaters in NE will not last more then 15-20 years, due to many factors such as cold damp basements, hard well water ETC. I will add this as a recommendation just as I add a notation that the furnace needs to be cleaned yearly and at the same time the oil tank should be inspected, which also has a life expectancy of 15-20years.
Comments please.

Maybe I should write it up as future evaluation may be needed??? Can Joe Ferry can advise on this as verbage is important in a grey area such as this.

I provide my Clients with four things:

1 - condition of the water heater - does it work or does it not?
2 - age of the water heater
3 - a special brochure titled, “How long will that last?”
4 - education about the benefits of upgrading

Now they can make up their own minds.

Thanks RR that’s helpful info.

Although I don’t recommend replacement of anything unless it needs it, because part of our job is to educate our clients I add this when the water heater is old.

“The water heater in the home is past the age of its intended life span. The unit was functioning normally during the inspection. No leaks were found at any of the visible plumbing connections, or on the water heater itself. Because of the age of the unit, the need for repairs or replacement of the unit is possible at any time. You should budget for replacement of the unit.”

Water heaters in my area last an average of 10 to 12 years. I haven’t done a house that had one older than 18.

Ill trade ya for this one of unknown origin and age


Hey, Kenneth.

That is a Republican water heater.
Although it looks old, I believe it was manufactured in 2000, sometime after November 7.

I regularly see them here up to 30 years old, and have seen a few that were 35-40. Can’t say much for their efficiency, but they were still working.

Is the Florida water really that bad? :mrgreen: