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How to Hide a Water Heater: 10 Different Ideas

Hate the room your hot water heater is in? Consider using a cover or enclosure.

Do you have a water heater that stands out too much, and you’d like to hide it? Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to conceal a water heater if you follow some pretty simple safety guidelines. You can reinvent the space to be more usable by hiding or covering it.

Read on to learn how to hide a water heater and what safety precautions to follow.

Key Takeaways

  • Choose an enclosure or cover: Options include cabinets, curtains, screens, or room dividers, but ensure no materials touch the heater.
  • Follow safety precautions: Keep pilot light access, draft diverter, and air intake clear for gas water heaters, and avoid flammable materials near the heater.
  • Consider alternative solutions: Built-in wall heaters or tankless water heaters can minimize the need for hiding a traditional water heater.
  • Ensure durability and accessibility: Use durable, moisture-resistant materials for enclosures, and ensure the heater and pipes are easily accessible for repairs or replacements.

Can You Enclose a Water Heater?

Covering and protecting water heaters, especially if they are housed in the garage, is a common practice for many homeowners. But it’s important to keep some safety tips in mind.

  • When it comes to gas water heaters, never cover up the top section. Make sure the pilot light access, draft diverter, and air intake are always clear.
  • Don’t allow any dust, paper, or flammable materials in the heater’s enclosure.
  • Don’t place items that are prone to water damage near the heater.
  • Avoid blocking any air intakes or exhaust vents.
  • Install shut-off valves to automatically turn off gas flow in case of earthquakes or floods.

How To Hide a Water Heater

Once you know the safety implication of making a heater enclosure, take a look at these ways to hide a water heater using more or less obvious methods.

Water Heater Cover Ideas

This route is best if you rent a space or simply don’t want to build anything too permanent.


Adding curtains is probably one of the easiest and cheapest ways to hide a water heater. In most cases, all you do is drill a couple of holes and install a bar from which you can hang the water heater.

If you live in a rental and you’re not allowed to drill holes, use extendable pressure poles to hold the curtains in place.

Decorative Wooden Door

There are different ways in which you can install a wooden door to cover the water heater.

In this example, the wooden enclosure is a sort of an improvised trap door that offers access to the hidden heater. For this method to be efficient, you need to have support for the door, such as the two side walls you see in the photo.

DIY Screen

If you have a little time on your hands, you can always make a screen to surround the water heater. Folding screens are also available online if you’re not willing to spend time on this. The best part of this idea is that you can play around with different screen designs and carvings.

90-Degree Curtain

You have to get creative with hiding the water heater because you don’t always have two side walls to serve as support.

Thankfully, you can install 90-degree bars and hang a curtain to conceal the heater. This is another one of those water heater cover ideas that are quick, easy, and cheap to install.

Water Heater Enclosures

Go with one of these methods if you own your home and want something that will last.

Enclosure Made of Closet Doors

Did you redo the cabinet or dresser and have some closet doors that currently serve no purpose? You can use them to make an enclosure for your water heater.

Due to their nature, closet doors can be opened and closed with ease, granting access to the water heater whenever needed.

Fake Cabinet

Moving on to more elegant ways to conceal a water heater. The idea here is to install fake cabinet doors to make it seem like there is some actual kitchen or hallway furniture there.

The best part of this idea is that you can completely hide the boiler while making the decor match the rest of the room. If your water heater is in the kitchen, this is the best method to hide it.

Fixed Box

There are many benefits to opting for a fixed box. Since it’s a sturdier structure, you can attach hooks and supports to hang other objects.

This is even more useful if you have your water tank in the bathroom or in a laundry room. However, this setup is more expensive compared to installing a folding screen, for instance.

Wooden Box

Another potential solution for concealing a water heater is a wooden box.

This won’t work in just about any setup, but it could work nicely in a rustic room or when matched with the hardwood floors or furniture. Depending on the quality of the wood used, this project can be super cheap or very expensive.

Functional Cabinet

If you want something a little more practical, you can always go with a functional cabinet.

This piece of furniture grants you more storage space while also concealing the water heater. It’s a great solution for small homes, where one could use all the extra storage space they can get.

Built Into a Desk Area

If you have a water heater on the balcony and you’ve been dreaming of turning that space into a desk, nothing is stopping you.

As you can see here, it’s easy to conceal a water heater with an indoor cabinet or a wooden enclosure. This allows you to build a custom-made desk setup around that occupied area.

Alternatives to Hiding a Water Heater

Hiding the water heater is one option, but it’s not the only one you have at your disposal.

Built Into the Walls

Most hotels and commercial buildings have water heaters built into the walls. The plumbing is connected straight to the faucets, but you can expect noise coming from the walls.

The problem here is that if the heater breaks, leaks, and needs repairs, your wall is pretty much compromised.

Tankless Water Heaters

This is another option worth considering. You can opt for an outdoor tankless water heater that uses gas burners for instant water heating. This provides hot water on demand but it’s only efficient if you have a small space.

What to Consider When Hiding a Water Heater

Nobody wants to have a water heater in plain sight, but we have to consider a few things before concealing the heater.

Safety Measures

Check to see that the enclosure is safe for the water heater. No sharp corners or edges should be present, as these can be dangerous in the workplace. In addition, if the enclosure is going to be outside, it should be weatherproofed.

The materials used to build the enclosure should not come into contact with the water heater and should allow for easy access to service it. The heater must have enough clearance on both sides to function properly.


For those of you opting for a custom enclosure, keep in mind that it’s important to have the pipes accessible in case repairs or replacements are needed.


Depending on the exact enclosure of your choice, you need to make sure it’s made from durable materials. For instance, if you’re going to use wood as a primary material, make sure it’s moisture-resistant.


Can You Put Things on Top of a Water Heater?

If you don’t block any important vents and put things that are resistant to the conditions around the water heater (like potential excessive moisture or heat), then you can put things on top of the water heater.

Can a Water Heater Cause a Fire?

A water heater has the potential to create a fire. Proper maintenance and safety practices can significantly reduce the likelihood of a fire occurring. Store combustible items or liquids away from a gas water heater to avoid a fire.

What is the Proper Way to Vent a Gas Water Heater?

You need to make sure that the venting system is upward sloping or vertical to allow the hot exhaust to rise through the vents. Having a venting system that works is critical for your home’s safety.

In the End

Learning how to hide a water heater is one part of the process, but you have to keep in mind that there are safety measures to follow as well.

Allow clearance around the heater, don’t block the vents, and make sure the heater is still accessible in case it needs any repairs.

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About the Author

Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author and Award-Winning Interior Designer. Using her years of hands-on experience, she now writes about design and DIY. She currently resides on the rocky East Coast of Canada with her family and slobbery bulldog.