How to Hide Your Ugly Water Heater

Compliments are always so nice, right? They can totally change everything. I mean you’re going along having the worst day ever and someone tells you that they think you are having a good hair day and suddenly the world is right again. “Who, me? My hair? *flips it around shoulders* Why…thank you! It is great hair, isn’t it?”

So, let me ask you something. Has anyone ever complimented your hot water heater?

No? Really? I wonder why? Is it possibly because it’s maybe just a little bit slightly kind of possibly…um….UGLY?
Don’t be offended, you really can’t help it. It’s just the nature of the beast…water heaters are just not pretty appliances. I don’t have a pretty one, you don’t have a pretty one. No one has a “pretty” water heater. It’s just not a thing. (Although, the tankless ones are much more attractive than the large ones with tanks…they just cost a lot more. And, hello, my middle name is cheap. Well, not really. It’s Beth. But it might as well be cheap.)

Despite their atrocious appearance, we do have to take a minute to appreciate what a water heater does. I mean…it heats our water. That’s kind of a big deal.
Our water heaters serve an important purpose. We can’t just toss them because they are ugly. But we CAN cover them up. And guess what? IT’S AN EASY FIX!
I can’t tell you exact measurements on this, because it will all be based on your own personal application. You will have to take in to consideration the space you have around your heater, and the size of your heater.
Find all the building details in the blog post below!
That’s much better than looking in and seeing ugly pipes and warning labels all over a big metal tank, right?
PS if you like what you see here, be sure to check out my whole laundry room remodel 🙂 It’s seriously one of my favorite rooms in the house now!
So what are you waiting for?! Get to building–you have a water heater to hide!
More details on the build can be found at the link below.

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 6 questions
  • Robin
    on Jul 31, 2016

    Gas water heaters are not supposed to have anything within 3 feet of the heater...the flame could ignite it, so I am assuming this is for an electric water heater ONLY?

    • MahtaMouse
      on Apr 19, 2020

      That's an electric water heater and I also boxed mine in. In fact, when I had my house insulated years ago (gov grant); they also wrapped that old WH in a big thick ugly insulated "blanket" (it looked like wall insulation).

  • Rita.gindi
    on Jul 31, 2016

    Great idea, thanks! I also love those doors, can you go into details? Where, how much and materials? Are the inserts glass? Thanks!!

  • Phyllis Darling
    on Sep 26, 2016

    What if the water heater is Gas heated --can it be enclosed?

    • MahtaMouse
      on Apr 21, 2020

      Missy Burch I sincerely doubt there's any kind of safety issue if electric. Why else would the county have wrapped my old WH in an insulated blanket... esp since it and the following two have never gotten hot. I've also had several people out over the years... plumbers, WH installation & service guys, even an inspector came out... and not a single one has ever commented on or had an issue with my box. The only thing anyone has ever said to me was, "Here's the shut off valve" and what to do in the event it ever leaks AND then installed a water leak alarm... after I told him a WH some years ago had sprung a leak and my lovely husband just looked at the ankle deep water and said "You deal with it" and went to work, leaving me with an ever deepening pond that finally burst thru a wall.

      Now gas is a different matter. I don't have gas anywhere in my house and never will... it scares the hell out of me. My father on the other hand DOES have a gas WH and it's in a little closet on the outside the house with a louvered door.... I presume so if it did spring a leak it would run outside as opposed to all over his hardwood floors. As for the louvered door... ventilation due to gas? If so, then why would his gas heater be housed inside a little "broom closet" sized closet in the the hall with a regular tight fitting door?

      If you have any concerns about boxing yours in, I'd first determine gas or elec and then call your gas or elec company to ask about it. My guess... if elec... is the main concern they might raise is if you spring a leak. My solution is a good water leak alarm and make the box removable rather than try and make it permanent/screwed into the wall.

Join the conversation

2 of 37 comments
  • Easton Memmott
    on Jul 25, 2018

    Thank you for helping me understand how I can hide my water heater. I was concerned about how noticeable my water heater will be in my new apartment. I didn't know that it can be so simple. I will be sure to use these tips; they will really make my apartment look so much better.

  • MahtaMouse
    on Apr 19, 2020

    I love what you did here! My husband boxed ours in years ago, but he just used pieces of scrap press board and boy is it ugly! I love that you added molding to yours... it's so much nicer looking than mine! Now I'll have to add molding to my WH box to smarten it up as well, lol... thanks for the great idea :)

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