If you've moved into a new place with existing appliances, chances are you'll want to check and see how old the appliances are. Good appliances can last for years, and it's possible to figure out how old many of the known brand name appliances are — to a point. How do you know how old your GE refrigerator is? Fortunately, there is an easy way to tell.
Standard Serial Numbers
Most major appliance makers use a model or serial number coding system to mark the appliance with the year it was made. These codes usually use the numbers and letters to designate the month and year of production as a part of the serial number.
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Since there are only so many available letters in the alphabet, most companies use a rotating system. For example, GE rotates its letters about every 12 years. So, if you have a general idea of the decade your refrigerator is from, you can use the serial number to determine exactly what month or year.
GE Refrigerator Date Code
These codes aren't meant to be a secret — it just helps to keep the serial number simple. Representative serial number systems exist for a lot of modern appliances, from the kitchen to the water heater in the basement. You can usually search for a company's serial number explanation page online in order to figure out how to decode it.
With a GE refrigerator, the first step is finding the serial number tag or label. This should be on an inside wall of the refrigerator but could also be on the door. There will be a few numbers on this label. It should have the serial number and model number and may include additional information with regards to the codes and standards the appliance meets. Make sure you find the serial number, not the model number; it will begin with two letters, followed by six numbers.
The first letter identifies the month, as indicated by this GE chart that explains GE refrigerator models by year. The second letter indicates the year. So, a serial number starting with DF would tell you that your refrigerator was made in the month of February (D) and in the year 2015, 2003 or 1991. GE does identify production years all the way back to 1944, but since the chances of a refrigerator model from that era is increasingly rare, you can probably focus on the first two or three years mentioned by the code.
Looking at the Appliance
From there, you just need a little understanding of your model, since the GE refrigerator model number decoder doesn't quite provide exact years. Refrigerators from 2015 will be more sleek, will likely have water and ice supplies and may be experimenting with smart technology.
On the other hand, a 2003 refrigerator is likely to be smaller and won't have any of the fancy technology that can come in some of today's models. A refrigerator from 1991 should be very recognizably dated. Your landlord or the real estate agent you worked with should have enough information about remodels and projects to help you determine when the unit was made.
A good quality refrigerator can last for about 15 years before problems may need to be addressed. Even if it turns out your model is from 2003, if it's still in working condition, there may not be much need to replace it. Once you know the age of your refrigerator, you can start planning financially to upgrade it or start saving for when the appliance starts failing.