how to hide a water heater in the garage
Tips & Tricks

How to Hide Water Heater in the Garage

Regardless of its essential role in the house, a water heater can be an eyesore.

You may feel the need to cover it or hide it. Consider these factors when selecting a hiding method:

  • The popularity of the room. You do not want your water heater to stick out. Choose a method that will make the water heater blend in with the room.
  • Durability. Consider using methods that do not require frequent changing.
  • Cost- consider the cost of the materials you have decided to use for your hiding method.

Below are a few ways you can use as methods of hiding your water heater and furnace.

Use curtains

Using a curtain as a divider is the simplest way to hide your water heater.

You need to take the measurements of your wall’s height to get the correct length and width of the curtain you will need.

It is important to add a few extra inches for clearance purposes so that your curtain does not come in contact with the heater.

You will also need to install rails along with the ceiling where the curtain will hang from.

Curtains are cheap and come in a variety of colors that you can choose from. Curtains are easy to change in case you get bored by the color you have chosen.

ProTip: Keep the curtains away from equipment benches like those with miter saws or lathes. Also, be careful not to block ventilation vents or air conditioning heaters.

Use screens

If you are looking for a sleek and decorative water heater cover, screens are the ideal solution.

You can use divider screens or tall standing shutters screens to hide a water heater.

Because screens are freestanding, moving them is easy.

Creating a screen to cover your water heater creates a wall that can be equipped with many opportunities for storage.

You can also paper your screen, paint it, or leave it in its initial appearance.

How to make a screen

Step 1: The first thing you need is to gather your supplies. You will need

  • Staples and a staple gun
  • A hammer and nails
  • Six furring strips measuring 1 x 2 x 8. Furring strips are simply pieces of wood.
  • Two hinges
  • Fabric of choice
  • White spray paint.

This project may cost you less than $20 if you choose a cheap fabric.

Step 2: After gathering all your supplies, you need to measure the height and width you require for each screen and then cut your furring strips accordingly.

Step 3: Once you are done cutting the furring strips, spray them with white paint.

Step 4: Once the paint is completely dry, you need to nail the shorter furring strips onto the back of the longer ones so that you create two identical frames.

Step 5: Once your frames are built, staple the fabric using a staple gun to the back of each frame.

Step 6: Use the hinges to attach the frames. Hinges are easier to remove when you need access to the water heater.

Ensure you leave enough space between your screen and the water heater for safety purposes.

Use enclosures

Cabinets and closets are water heater enclosure ideas. An enclosure is aesthetically pleasing, durable and is a more permanent way of hiding your water heater. You can add some


Cabinets are often entirely metal with a slightly industrial feel. However, wooden cabinets are also available.

Cabinets can either be freestanding or recessed. You can build a cabinet around your water heater.

Although using a cabinet to cover your water heater is not the cheapest option, it is a long-lasting choice. Add some insulation to the cabinet just as you would insulate your roof or your garage door.

How to make a cabinet

Step 1: Gather your supplies

  • Studs
  • Pocket screws
  • Staples and stapling gun
  • Hammer and nails
  • Luan
  • Paint

Step 2: Take measurements for your cabinet. Measurements will vary depending on the size of your water heater and the space size around the heater.

Step 3: Cut out four 1 x 4 studs for the cabinet legs. They should be longer than your water heater’s height.

Cut out another short four 1 x 4 studs. Measure them according to the width and depth of your desired cover. Then drill pocket holes in them.

Step 4: Attach the short legs to the longer legs using pocket screws to make two frames.

Step 5: Cut two pieces of luan (cheap plywood) to fit into the frame. Make them an inch longer and wider than the opening.

It would help if you had some overlap to nail or staple them on.

Staple the luan using a stapling gun or nail it onto the back of each frame.

You can substitute luan with fabric or wood.

Step 6: Drill pocket holes into the one-panel leg, and then use pocket screws to screw two panels together.

Step 7: Cut out another 1 x 4 stud for an extra leg. Cut a long and short one. The extra leg is for adding additional support to your frame. Screw it onto the frame using pocket screws. 

Step 8: Use planks or plywood for the top. Use screws or nails to hold it into place.

Step 9: Finish off by painting or staining.


Closets are a popular way of holding your water heater. Most apartments will come with an already fixed closet that will match all other closets in the house, making it not stand out.

The closet blends in well and works without drawing attention.

The main advantage of using a closet is that it is easy to build around your water heater, and it allows you to add doors to an enclosure that is already in place.

How to build a closet

Step 1: Gather all your supplies.

  • 2 x 4 studs
  • Drilling and screwing machine
  • Plywood
  • Shiplap cover
  • Hinges
  • Paint
  • Hook and eye closure
  • Hammer and nails 

Step 2: Begin by building a wall to divide the space and create the closet’s wall. Use 2 x 4 studs to make the frame. Screw it in the ceiling, and then drill it into the floor and bolt it. You can add a vertical stud at the middle of the frame for more stability and rigidity.

Step 3: You need to install plywood onto your framed wall for added support and to provide something to secure the shiplap on.

Step 4: Install the shiplap over the plywood and prep it for painting.

Step 5: Build the closet door using ½ inch piece of plywood. Do not make a heavy door.

Step 6: Add 2 x 4 wooden blocks on the left and right sides of the door to strengthen it.

Step 7: Use hinges to hold up the door. To achieve a seamless look, let your door overlap the shiplap wall edge slightly. This will allow you to add an extra piece of trim that will create a seamless look.

Step 8: Paint the closet door and trim and then install a hook and eye closure to shut the door securely.

Can you enclose an electric water heater

You can enclose an electric water heater but ensure you leave enough space between the water heater and the frame of your closure.

Also, ensure the floor where the water heater stands are dry. If there is a risk of the floor becoming damp or wet, consider elevating your water heater with bricks or any other rust-free material.

However, if you are unsure how to enclose your electric water heater, you can seek the help of a professional water heater expert to ensure the work is correctly and safely done.

Can you hide a gas water heater

Enclosing a gas water heater in a closet can be dangerous.

However, there are some rules that you need to follow if you choose to hide your water heater.

The first rule is clearance.

It is essential to research the brand and model of your unit to determine the clearance distance of flammable materials like wood and fabric. The same rule applies to other open flame equipment like propane grills or a gas-powered heater.

When the clearance distance is established, you can now decide on a hiding method that will work best for your space and will be safe.

It is advisable to use louvered door panels and use hinges to fasten them together.

Finish off your closure by painting and setting the doors on the floor in front of your water heater.

It would be best to avoid using curtains because they can be blown into the water heater if a window is left open.

If the curtain comes into contact with the fuel pipe located on top of the water heater, you face a significant fire risk.

The National gas codes require that you keep a 6-inches minimum clearance distance between the fuel line and any flammable materials.

You can also install a B vent to reduce the clearance distance.

A B vent is a metal pipe with a double thickness that allows only a 1-inch clearance space around the pipe.

However, a B vent is expensive and may also require the services of a water heater expert to install.

Also, ensure your heater has enough combustion air. The Gas code requires that there be one inch of free air space for every 1000 BTU fuel input being burned.

This means that you require a 40-inch free air area for combustion above the heater and near the floor.

This is why louvered doors are the ideal solution to hide your water heater.


No matter which method you choose to enclose your water heater safely, remember to install a drain pan that is appropriately sized.

This is because the water heater is no longer visible, and leaks may go unnoticed if they develop.