Determine the age of a refrigerator by going directly to the manufacturer's website or to third-party websites that collect such data, such as Appliance 411 or Appliance Aid. In either case, the user needs the model and serial number to determine the age.
The model and serial number plates are found in different places. Using the Kenmore side-by-side refrigerator as an example, they are often found on the top-left side or on the top front of the food compartment. They can also be on the left-bottom corner, under the base grill or under the food liner of the crisper pan. The Appliance Aid website has diagrams for various brands illustrating where to find the model and serial number.
Once the serial number is found, it is decoded using the manufacturer's chart to find the date. Using a Whirlpool number as an example, CR3949348, the first letter, "C," means it was made in Clyde, Ohio. The second letter, "R," notes the appliance was built in 2004. The third and fourth numbers, "39," mean that it was built in the 39th week of that year. The last five digits are the order number for that particular appliance.
It is more difficult to date antique appliances or even those dating back to the 1950s. For the latter, the best option is to go to the manufacturer. Antique appliances often have to be dated by a specialist.