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How to Determine the Age of Appliances 

Knowing the age of your major appliances is important, whether you are budgeting for your current home or considering purchasing a new home. Not everyone understands why knowing the age of your appliances is important, but the truth is that we depend on our appliances to function properly and run smoothly. When major appliances break down or no longer work effectively, a large amount of stress and frustration can result. This comes in addition to the financial burden of replacing major (and often expensive) appliances when you aren’t expecting to.  

Asking the Previous Homeowner 

The best time to establish the age and installation dates of major appliances is at some point during the process of buying a new home. Sometimes this information is available on a property disclosure statement or through the seller’s real estate agent. In most cases, the homeowner will have a general idea of when the appliance has been purchased or replaced.  

The Age of the Home 

Another great way to try and establish the age of major appliances in a home is to look at the age of the house itself. If the house is fairly new (under 10-20 years old) it’s quite likely that the appliances were original to the house the year it was constructed. You can also look at years that renovations occurred, as often major appliances are replaced during those times.  

Instruction Manuals 

Sometimes, the previous owner will leave behind a collection of instruction manuals for the appliances that exist in the home. The majority of owner’s manuals will have a date noted on either the front or back page, commonly next to the publication number of the manual. If that can’t be found, there might be some helpful information that may help narrow down when the appliances were manufactured.  

Serial Number 

If all of the above efforts fail, you can try to identify the age of the appliances with the serial number. It is important to note that the serial will provide a lot more information than the model number. The serial number can be the most accurate way to find out the age of a major appliance, but it can also be the most time-consuming. Since the 1970s, each manufacturer has had its own coding system that includes the date of manufacture in the serial number of every appliance they make. There are many resources available online that can help you to decode the serial number of your appliance.  


If you are considering buying a new home with existing major appliances, finding out their age is important. This allows you to identify whether they need to be replaced, repaired, or will last for several more years. While using an aging or imperfect fridge is one thing, (as long as it functions properly) heavier appliances such as water heaters, furnaces or boilers might be a different story. Having appliances such as these fail without notice can be not only inconvenient and stressful, but in some cases, it can be dangerous as well. Above all, identifying the age of your appliances can help inform whether they need to be serviced, repaired, or completely replaced.  

An experienced and licensed home inspector can be a great resource when it comes to determining the age and condition of your major appliances as well. Not only is a home inspector an expert when it comes to these things, but they will also be able to provide valuable information about maintenance, replacement options, and what to expect down the road as your appliances continue to age. At Building Insights, we take great pride in providing the highest quality service and experience, whatever your home inspection needs might be. Contact us today to book your home inspection or receive a free quote!  


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