Inspection Training

Customer Complaint Training – Water Heater Age

CUSTOMER COMPLAINT – The client called a couple of days after the inspection confused about the age of the water heater. In the report we had stated that the water heater was 8 years old and within its expected lifespan. The client had also received a buildfax report that had contradicted this statement and stated the water heater was 20 years old. This caused the client to call in to speak to the inspector to gain clarification on the age of the water heater before the inspection objection deadline.


PROCEDURE – When determining the age of the water heater the inspector needs to first make sure to take a very clear picture of the label so it can be read within the report. In most cases, the age of the water heater will be determined by the serial number. The inspector will have to look up the serial number on to determine the accurate age of the water heater. If it is more than 10 years old it should be called out as a Repair/Replace comment since most water heaters have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years. When determining the age on make sure you are checking the correct make/model of the water heater and you are using the right code to read the serial number.


RESOLUTION – In this case, the inspector confused the letter “D” with the number “0” due to a label that had some wear. So after the inspector looked up the age of the water heater it was determined that it was manufactured in 2009 because they read the first two digits of the water heater as “0” instead of “D9”. After the client called for clarification the picture was blown up on the computer and the mistake was found. The first letter represented the month and the next two letters represented the age. The first three digits read “D97” which meant that the water heater was manufactured in 1997, so it was 20 years old. This was conveyed to the client and they were appreciative for the clarification. If this wasn’t caught by the client this could have been a major issue if it was discovered after the clients took possession of the home and it could have resulted in having to purchase a new water heater for the clients. Luckily, in this situation everything was resolved with all parties.