Most homes have water heaters safely tucked in the basement, hidden from the eyes of neighbors and guests. However, repurposing or renovating the basement can reveal the ugly truth. In this case, relocating the appliance to another room might be a viable solution.
Homeowners must learn how to hide a water heater, lest it detracts from the room’s aesthetics. Great news! We have four ways to make a water heater as inconspicuous as possible while adding value to your home.
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Ways to Hide a Hot Water Heater
Water heaters are essential equipment in modern homes, especially for families in colder regions. Sadly, most water heaters are bulky and unsightly, detracting from a room’s elegance.
We searched for the most effective ways to hide a hot water heater to help maintain your home’s aesthetics, improve its value, and help you continue enjoying hot water.
Hiding Methods Comparison
Water heater hiding methods vary in durability and application. For example, although screens are the most straightforward to use, they tend to have low to moderate durability.
They might also be less suited for kitchens. Meanwhile, closets and cabinets entail hard work but offer exceptional durability. On that note, you can only place them in “more permanent” locations.
|Room Divider or Screen
|Low to moderate
|Unfinished basements and storage areas in garages
|Unfinished basements only
|Finished basements and kitchens
|Finished basements, bedroom, garage workspaces, kitchens, and other rooms
|Finished basements, garage workspaces, and kitchens
|Unfinished basements and garage storage areas
Of these methods, closets are probably the most complex and best constructed by professionals. There are building code requirements for them, such as a gasketed, self-closing door for bedroom/bathroom closets and outdoor combustion openings.
Is it OK to enclose a water heater?
Yes, you can build a cabinet around a hot water heater or install a ready-made freestanding enclosure for the device. However, we recommend verifying your water heater brand’s clearance requirements to ensure efficient heat dissipation and servicing.
How much clearance do you need around a water heater?
Gas water heaters require at least 24 inches of space between the unit and any adjacent surface fronting the device to allow for efficient and safe servicing. You can observe at least a couple of inches of space at the back and sides to ensure water heater safety.
Electric water heaters have brand-specific space requirements. For example, Westinghouse recommends a minimum service clearance of six inches on the top and sides and two feet in front for its Premium electric water heaters. Hence, we suggest considering these specifications when making a DIY water heater cover.
Moreover, the National Electrical Code has minimum clearances for electrical equipment. For instance, the NEC requires electrical equipment (i.e., water heaters) to have a six-foot minimum headroom and a three-foot front clearance.
Meanwhile, Questar recommends a minimum clearance of four inches (front) and six inches (vent pipe) for its gas water heaters.
It will be in your best interest to check the brand-specific water heater’s clearance requirements before making a cabinet or enclosure for the water heater outside or inside the home.
How to hide a water heater might be the last thing on your mind as an owner. However, it pays to conceal these water appliances from plain sight to maintain the home’s aesthetics, if not add to it.
Your choices range from a simple room divider to a more complex water heater cabinet. It is vital to pick one that hides the water heater and adds value to the home without undermining its water-heating capabilities.
As the founder of Usawaterquality, I have been working to deliver quality advice on utilizing water components for numerous households. Here, we believe that water quality is the most critical part of health care, so the investment and attention for the water system will never go to waste.