How Old Is This Central Air Conditioner?


My husband does most of our showings, so he gets asked, "How old is this air conditioner?" more than I do, which is a good thing. Until recently, I wasn't sure how to answer that question. Now I know that there is, indeed, a way to find out how old your system is. It may require a bit of sleuthing, but the answer is available.


How can I find the age of this central air conditioner?

Just a few steps will help you determine the age of the A/C compressor, which is the heart of the system, and the part that usually wears out after 15-25 years of use.


For some units the answer is easy to find.

On one of the sides, often the back side, you will find a metal plate or a sticker with the motherlode of technical details about the unit. Scan the plate for the words “manufacturer’s date” or the abbreviation MFR DATE. The date listed there is your answer. Wasn’t that easy?


Sometimes, finding the answer requires a bit of detective work.

When you check the metal plate or sticker, you may not find anything that lists a date of manufacture. If that’s the case, snap a photo of the nameplate. Use a search engine to help you find the answer. Type in the brand, the serial number, and the model of the unit. When you search you’ll be directed to a site that explains how to decipher the manufacture date.


Here’s a real-life example.

The photo at the top of this article shows the sticker on our HVAC unit. You’ll notice that the words “manufacture date” are missing. After doing a bit of research, I can tell you that our unit was built in Wichita in January of 2018. Here’s how I know.




The details are hidden in this information--“Coleman MODEL PCG6A300502X1A SERIAL W1A8486767”

I searched Google using the information in quotations marks. Then I chose this site: https://www.building-center.org/coleman-hvac-age/ According to the site, the serial number contains all of the manufacturer’s location and date details.


The W stands for Wichita

There are several different locations. W denotes the factory in Wichita, Kansas.


The 2nd and 4th spots in the serial number stand for the year.

In my serial number, those spots are filled with 1 and 8. My unit was made in 2018.


The letter between the digits in the year signifies the month of manufacture.

Coleman uses the letters A through N (omitting I and J) to stand for the months of the year. “A” stands for January in this scheme, so my unit was built in January.


Put all the pieces together and you know that the unit was built in Wichita, KS in January of 2018. I suspect that the weather was probably cold and snowy, but the sticker on the unit doesn’t provide a way for me to verify my suspicions.


The format of the information varies greatly between manufacturers.

Trane, Lennox and Carrier format the information differently. Some manufacturers--and this includes Coleman--have multiple formats for their own products. You’ll need to search for your specific unit in order to find the answer.


Really, though, it’s fairly easy to be able to answer the question, “How old is this central air conditioner?’” A few minutes of detective work will tell you--as long as the name plate or sticker is legible.