What are the things you want people to notice most when they first look around your home? The period features. Impressive stone fireplace. Original wooden flooring.
It probably isn’t your boiler.
Even though a lot of modern boilers are much smaller and sleeker than their predecessors, you’d probably prefer it to be out of sight.
If you are fed up looking at an unsightly boiler and decided it was time to get a new boiler installed in a more attractive spot, then this guide is for you. We will look at some clever and creative ideas for covering it up or hiding it from view. Not only that, but we will also look at the best spots in your home to install a new boiler if you are thinking of replacing your old one.
Clever ideas to cover your boiler
A survey conducted in 2018 by energy supplier Npower, revealed that having a boiler on display is likely to put potential buyers off buying a house and that more than half of those surveyed would try and knock £5,000 off the asking price. Even spending a fraction of that amount on covering your boiler will benefit you in the long run if you come to sell your property.
What to consider before you start
Before we jump straight in, there are a couple of things you need to consider about covering your boiler. If you want to hide your boiler in a cupboard or build shelving around it, you must make sure you follow the safety regulations.
A boiler must be accessible at all times for maintenance and servicing. It can’t be blocked or obstructed, and if placed in a cupboard, it must have a door that can be opened.
It also needs sufficient ventilation. Each manufacturer and model will have different guidelines so it is important you check the user manual to see what applies. This will tell you what size of the gap you need between the top, bottom and sides of the boiler and the space it is housed in. Also, the area shouldn’t be sealed as the boiler requires air to circulate.
Now that we’ve covered the safety aspect, let’s take off our sensible hat and look at some fun and creative options to cover your boiler.
Hide it in a kitchen cabinet
If your combi boiler is installed in your kitchen, then housing it in a kitchen cabinet is an easy and cheap solution to hiding it away. Match it to the same design as your current cabinets so it blends in and looks like it has always been a part of your kitchen.
Build a bespoke kitchen cupboard
Hiding your boiler away in a kitchen cabinet is fine if your boiler is only small but what about a boiler that takes up a lot of wall space and has visible pipework on show?
In this case, you could have a bespoke cupboard built to house the boiler and any pipes that run to and from the unit. Get it made to fit the exact size of the space and in whatever style you want – from industrial chic to rustic farmhouse.
Cover it with a chalkboard or noticeboard
Fitting your boiler in a kitchen cabinet is a great way of hiding it from plain sight but there isn’t much else you can do with that space. How about attaching a chalkboard or notice board to the front of the cabinet to turn it into an interactive part of the house. Pin reminders on it, use it for your weekly shopping list or write down the children’s homework tasks.
Create a utility cupboard
If your boiler is located in the hallway then why not hide it away in a utility cupboard that can also double up as a handy spot to store shoes, coats, bags and household appliances.
Design it for whatever purpose you need. Create one big space for storage or fit lots of individual shelves. The beauty of the latter is that you can maintain access to all of the parts of the boiler that need to be accessible to you but hide all of the pipes with other shelves and compartments.
An airing cupboard is traditionally used to house a hot water cylinder for system and regular boilers. The cupboard is kept warm from the heat generated by the cylinder, so you’ll often find airing cupboards have plenty of shelves for drying damp bedding, towels and laundry.
If you are replacing a system or regular boiler with a combi boiler, an airing cupboard is a sensible spot to put it as it will be hidden from view.
You should however consult with a Gas Safe engineer as to whether it is a safe place for it to be located. A combi boiler will need to vent gases through the flue and will need to be connected to an external wall to do this.
Create a sliding partition
This one might take a bit more planning and expense but could provide an elegant solution to your problem. If you don’t have a separate utility room – but do have sufficient space in your kitchen – you could box in your boiler and other domestic appliances, such as your washing machine and tumble dryer, with a sliding partition. Whenever you don’t need to use them just slide the barrier across and hide them from view.
Use a curtain
A similar premise to the above, but an easier and more affordable solution. Simply fix a curtain rail to the wall or alcove your boiler is located and hey presto. Out of sight, out of mind. You don’t even have to use any permanent fittings if you use a telescopic curtain pole.
Build a bookcase
Your bookcase can be as simple or as elegant as you like. Assemble it yourself or hire a carpenter to build a bespoke unit that perfectly fits the space. Build the bookcase around the boiler, or even create your very only secret panel. House the boiler in a cupboard but fix bookshelves to the front of the panel – it will look just like part of your library!
Why not simply hide your boiler in plain sight? If you don’t have sufficient space to install a cupboard, then you could try painting your boiler. Paint it the same colour as your wall to blend in with the rest of the room, or create a clever design so it looks like a wooden panel or brick wall.
One thing to consider before you get started is the type of paint you need to use. Because the boiler gets hot, you will need to use paint that can withstand heat and moisture. Enamel paint will be perfect for this and can be purchased from a builder’s merchant or DIY store.
Powder coating is another option and will create a professional look – however, it’s best to have this done before the boiler is installed.
How to hide pipes?
If you’ve successfully hidden your boiler away in a cupboard, or camouflaged it by applying a coat of paint, you may still be annoyed at having to look at pipes spilling out from the base of the unit.
Don’t despair, we have some clever ideas about how to cover your pipework as well.
Much like painting a boiler, you can paint the pipework to blend in with the surroundings. Or why not make a statement and paint them a different colour to stand out? Just make sure the paint is resistant to high heat, otherwise, it is likely to crack and discolour.
Wrap in pipe covering
You can buy wooden and plastic pipe covering that can be cut to size and easily fastened and attached around the pipework with an adhesive solution. Voila. No more unsightly pipes on show.
Box them in
You can do this yourself or hire a joiner to do it for you. Pieces of wood can be cut to size and glued together around the pipes to completely hide them from view.
Cover with furniture
A bit of clever furniture placement might be all that you need. A freestanding vase, magazine rack or shelving unit are all elegant ways of hiding those annoying pipes.
Can I move my boiler?
If you have an old and inefficient boiler then you may be considering replacing it and changing its location in your house at the same time. There are lots of benefits to installing a new boiler, including improved efficiency, cheaper energy bills and the option of creating more space in your home. The biggest benefit of all is that it can actually add value to the price of your property. You might want to check these collections of boiler manuals in case you missed your old one.
So, if you have the option of moving your boiler, where is the best place to put it?
The answer to this depends on the type of boiler you have. If you have a system or regular boiler, then it’s unlikely you’ll be moving it as it will be positioned according to the placement of a hot water cylinder and cold water storage tank.
If, however, you have a combi boiler or are replacing your current system or regular boiler with a combi, there are lots of options.
The beauty of modern combi boilers is their relatively small size. Most can easily fit in a cupboard and a lot of them can be wall hung. This means you can position it almost anywhere in the house, as long as it is placed near an external wall for the flue to vent any gases. Safety regulations require the flue to be located at least 30 cm away from any windows or doors in order to safely release any gases produced. The flue should also not be at risk of becoming blocked, so don’t put it on a wall that has a lot of foliage growing up it.
Another thing to consider is that it will need to be somewhere accessible for maintenance work and servicing to be carried out.
Where to put my boiler?
The best place to put a boiler will depend on the layout of your house, but most people prefer it to be tucked away where they won’t notice it. For this reason, it’s best to avoid putting it in a bedroom, unless you have no other option. Although modern combi boilers are quiet, the noise of them firing up can still be loud enough to disturb a light sleeper.
If you have a utility room, this is a logical choice. You will likely already have your washing machine and tumble dryer in here, so there will already be electrics and plumbing to connect to. Just be mindful of causing any accidental damage to pipework or wires, especially if you also use your utility as a storage room.
A hall cupboard is a handy place for your boiler, as long as you are able to vent the flue outside. The boiler will be nicely tucked away, but somewhere you can still easily access it.
It makes a lot of sense to put your boiler in the loft, especially if you aren’t currently using it for anything. However, there are a few things to consider if you do this. You must ensure the loft is properly boarded out, has lighting installed and has a permanent loft ladder in place. You will also need to make sure the boiler is equipped with frost protection as the temperature can drop close to or below freezing in the winter months.
The kitchen is a popular choice for a lot of people to put their boiler, especially if it is a combi boiler. Their small size and ability to be wall-mounted means they can easily be concealed in a kitchen cabinet.
Much like putting a boiler in the loft, the garage is a good choice if you need to free up space inside your house. However, you will need to consider how cold it gets in the winter months as you may need to insulate all of the pipework and get a boiler with frost protection. If your garage is detached, you will also need to consider how the pipework can run into the main house.
How much does it cost to move a boiler?
The cost will depend on whether you are moving the same boiler or replacing your existing boiler with a new model. Changing from a system or regular boiler will take a lot more work as an engineer will need to remove the cold water storage tank and hot water cylinder as well as install a new boiler and pipework. Potentially this could cost between £1,000 – £2,000, not including the price of the boiler.
If you are simply moving your existing boiler to a new part of the house then it’s usually a much easier process. The cost will just depend on where the boiler is positioned and how much additional pipework needs to be installed. The further the boiler is being moved, the more materials and labour time required.
So, there you have it – lots of clever ideas for covering up your boiler. We hope we’ve given you some inspiration to try one of them out, and don’t be put off spending a bit of time and money on this activity. Taking some care and attention to spruce up your boiler’s surroundings, or relocating it to another part of the house, can not only improve the style of your property but can also help with its value.