How To Hide a Hot Water Heater (Safe & Practical Ideas)

I have been asked several times what the best way to hide a hot water heater is. There are many options to consider so I have compiled some information on the best and most common ways to do this. This has helped me narrow down my choice for hiding my own water heater.

The best way to hide a water heater is to utilize a cabinet, closet, or curtains to provide a way to aesthetically store your water heater. You can also consider placing your water heater outside in an area that is out of sight to save space in your home. The best method will ultimately come down to personal preference.

The rest of this guide will focus on the different methods you can consider for hiding your hot water heater. This will be useful when brainstorming creative and unique ways to house and hide your water heater in your home.

Best Ways To Hide Your Water Heater

Is It Ok To Enclose A Water Heater?

As long as the proper precautions are taken, it is perfectly fine to enclose a water heater once you have installed it. Keep in mind that any water heater you wish to enclose will still need to be accessed to operate the controls and perform routine maintenance.

This means that you will need to enclose your water heater in a way that still allows easy access. Another thing to consider is the clearance needed by the water heater to work properly and any state codes that dictate safe water heater installation in your area.

This brings us to our next point, whether or not you should have your water heater inside or outside of your home. This will be covered in the section below.

Is It Better To Have A Water Heater Inside Or Outside?

It is only better to install your water heater outside if you have purchased a water heater specifically designed for outdoor use. Water heaters that are intended for use indoors will not function properly outside.

Having a water heater placed outside has several advantages. These include saving you the trouble of having to vent the water heater through the roof of your home. An outdoor water heater is also a great option for those who wish to save space in their home.

No matter where you choose to install your water heater, there are some key storage factors that you should consider beforehand.

The Keys Of Water Heater Storage

Detailed below are some of the key things you should consider when installing and storing your water heater.


If your water heater is in a place in your home that receives a lot of traffic, it is important that you attempt to make your water heater blend in so it isn’t noticeable. A water heater is not the most aesthetic appliance to have set up in a room, so it is important to consider ways to help it blend with the rest of the room.


The cost of the storage and hiding method you are considering is another important factor. Cheaper alternatives like curtains will be a much more affordable storage option than cabinets or other built-in hideaways.

Safety Durability

Depending on the location of your water heater, you will need to ensure the storage method is durable so that it can handle any issues that may arise during its lifetime. A curtain may be appropriate for hiding a water heater in a basement but something more significant may be more efficient for use in a busier area like the kitchen.


The location of your water heater will also play a key role in determining the best storage or hiding method. If your water heater is placed outside, you may consider building a small awning to keep it from being directly exposed to the elements.

If your water heater is in an area that has a lot of traffic in your home, you may wish to invest in a more efficient and aesthetically pleasing storage method. This will help keep your water heating from intruding on the decorative appeal of the rest of your room.


Finally, you should consider the plumbing setup in your home. The location and specifications of your plumbing setup will determine the different storage options that you have available to you. You will need to ensure that any storage method that you are considering will fit with your plumbing plan.

Now that you are aware of some of the factors to consider when choosing a storage method, you can examine some ideas for hiding your water heater inside your home.

Hiding Your Water Heater Inside

Detailed below are some ideas for hiding your water heater inside your home in a way that is aesthetically pleasing and practical.

Add A Closet

If you have the space available, you can hire a contractor to install a closet to store your water heater in. This will allow you to keep the water heater out of direct sight while still allowing easy access when necessary.

Adding a closet to store your water heater will also increase the overall value of your home. For these reasons, adding a closet to hide your water heater is one of the best options to consider.

Create A Hot Water Cover Or Cabinet

Another popular method of hiding a water heater is to install a cover or cabinet to house it. This is a much easier and less permanent solution than adding a whole closet and is a much cheaper option as well.

Hang Curtains

The most cost-efficient option you can consider is simply hanging curtains in the area the water heater is placed. If you are considering this option, you should choose curtains that will accent the room well and take away focus from the water heater.

Use A Room Divider Or Screen

A simple screen or room divider with the right design can help tie a room together while also hiding an unsightly water heater. This is a good option for those with a water heater in a place that receives a lot of traffic in the home.

How To Hide A Hot Water Heater With A DIY Screen

To install a water heater with a DIY screen, follow the steps listed below:

1. Gather the necessary supplies including nails, a hammer, staples, and a staple gun.

2. Purchase furring strips, a fabric of your choice, two hinges, and some spray paint.

3. Measure the size that each screen will need to be and cut the furring strips based on those measurements.

4. After cutting to the proper measurements, spray paint them with the color of your choice.

5. After allowing the paint to dry, nail the shorter furring strips to the back of the lengthier ones to create identical frames.

6. After building the identical frames, use a staple gun to staple your chosen fabric to the back of both frames.

7. Attach each frame with the hinges you have purchased to complete the DIY screen.

The next section will provide more details on the different closet hiding methods available.

Comparing Closet Hiding Methods

The table below features comparisons between the different closet hiding methods you can consider for your water heater.

MethodDurabilityBest Room ChoiceWorst Room Choice
CabinetHighBasement, Garage, KitchenUnfinished Basement, Storage-Only Garage
ClosetHighBasement, Bedroom, Garage, KitchenStorage-Only Garage
CurtainLowUnfinished BasementBasement, Kitchen
ScreenModerateUnfinished Basement, GarageKitchen

There are a few other storage options to consider that are less common but equally as effective. These methods will be detailed in the section below.

Outdoor Or Other Options

Detailed below are several other options you can consider for storing your water heater.

Place The Heater Outdoors In An Enclosure

One common storage method that people use is housing their heater outdoors in some sort of enclosure. This will keep the space inside your home free and the enclosure will ensure that the water heater is safe from constant exposure to the elements.  

Have The Heater Built Into The Walls

If you can plan enough in advance, having your water heater built into the walls of your house is another aesthetically pleasing and accessible option. This will keep the floor space of your home clear and still allow you easy access to your water heater.

Consider An Outdoor Tankless Water Heater

An outdoor tankless water heater is another good option for those who wish to have a powerful water heater that doesn’t take up much space.  Outdoor tankless water heaters are compact and heat water more efficiently than most standard electric and gas water heaters.

When it comes to installing your water heater and storing it, you may be wondering if you should elevate it or not. This will be covered in the next section.

Does My Water Heater Need To Be Elevated?

It is advised that you elevate your water heater at least a few inches off the ground during installation. This will ensure that all safety precautions are being overseen and that your installation is within the state-mandated standard.

That being said, more modern water heaters come pre-elevated and will not require any extra elevation during installation. If you are not sure, you should elevate it some just to be safe. Not elevating your water heater enough during storage and installation can be a fire hazard.

To avoid potential serious fire damage or other water heater issues, it is important to understand the proper surrounding for your water heater. This will be covered in detail below.

Can I Put Other Stuff Around My Hot Water Heater?

You should keep the area around your water heater as clear as possible to ensure you can get to it quickly in case of an emergency. There are also certain items that you should never store near your hot water heater. These include anything flammable or combustible under pressure.

Because of the heat generated by your water heater, there is a high chance for more flammable items to catch fire if stored too close. You should carefully choose the items that you choose to place in proximity to your water heater.

How Much Clearance Do You Need Around A Water Heater?

The recommended clearance levels for your water heater are at least one-inch on the left and right sides, one to two inches on the backside, and four inches at the front. These recommendations will help ensure that your water heater has the clearance needed to work properly.

If you are unable to provide the proper clearance levels for your water heater, you should consider installing it in a different area. This will cut down on the risk of fire and ensure that your water heater functions the way that it is intended.

Cost Of Moving A Water Heater?

If you have an existing water heater that you wish to move to a different area of your home, you can expect to pay between $1000 to $1450. This includes the cost of moving any gas or water lines and the labor associated with moving and reinstalling the water heater.

Call A Professional

If you are unsure of the best storage method for your water heater, you should consider contacting a professional to help you pick an option that is right for your home. A professional will be able to install your water heater storage more precisely and much easier than you would be able to yourself.  


There are many ways to hide a water heater and even expansion tanks, most of which offer a more aesthetically pleasing storage method. These methods include utilizing closets, curtains, or cabinets to house the water heater and keep it from being the focus of the room.

No matter what storage method you consider for hiding your water heater, it is important that you consider hiring a professional to install your new water heater storage. This will ensure that the water heater meets all of the required specifications for a safe install.

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