They may be at the very heart of our home, but there’s no denying it, boilers are not the best looking home accessory.
Many people might have boiler cupboards to keep them out of sight, but for a lot of homeowners boilers are front and center in their kitchens or utility rooms and can be quite the eyesore.
You may think there’s not much you can do about it – but there is!
We’re here to help you make the most of your boiler – whether you hide it, cover it or make it look fancy (and we’ll let you know how to do this all safely and within regulation), so here’s everything you need to know…
Why hide a boiler?
It’s worth noting that it’s not all about looks – a recent survey conducted by npower revealed that having an unsightly boiler can reduce the value of your home by up to £5,000. So if you’re thinking of selling at some point, you should really consider the ways you could hide your boiler or at least improve the view.
In addition, if you have an older boiler you can save money if you replace it with a modern one before you hide it. New boilers are up to 95% efficient and if you’re looking to sell, a new boiler can boost the value of your home by as much as £8,000.
But for now, let’s look at ways we can keep this vital (but not so handsome) house guest hidden.
It’s estimated that choosing not to hide your boiler could knock around £5,000 off the value of your house.
So it’s well worth your time.
The best way to hide a boiler
There are lots of ways to hide or improve the look of your boiler (as we will discover), but by far the easiest way to do this, is to fit a cupboard around the boiler – known as ‘boxing in’.
This could be a kitchen cupboard designed to blend in with the room, or a utility unit that also provides bonus storage space. Either way it keeps it hidden but easily accessible for engineers.
Hold on, don’t boilers need ventilation? Let’s pause here for a brief safety chat
Yes, boiler ventilation is something you need to consider when thinking about hiding a boiler.
The amount of space a boiler needs completely depends on its age. Modern boilers are less of a concern, as they get all the air they need for ventilation from the flue pipe (these are known as condensing boilers). Older boilers however, need plenty of room, as it’s the air around them that keeps them ventilated.
To keep things safe there are standard regulations for a boiler cupboard that you should follow:
- Access is key The cupboard door must open to allow access for services and repairs.
- Mind the gaps The following measurements must apply:
- 300mm gap between the top of the boiler and the cupboard;
- 100mm gap between the bottom of boiler and the cupboard; and
- A gap no less than 700mm between the front of the boiler and the door.
These regulations apply no matter where you store the boiler or what you chose to hide it with. Always follow manufacturers instructions before hiding a boiler to ensure you are using the safest method for your model.
To find about more about ventilation, check out this handy run down on boiler ventilation from Boiler Guide
More ways to hide a boiler
Back to the fun stuff.. Now we know why and how to safely hide a boiler, let’s get into the many ways you can make it happen (and keep people guessing.. Where do they keep their boiler?!)
Our top five techniques:
1. Bespoke boiler cupboard
A cupboard is the most popular choice, because it’s fairly easy to do and it’s adaptable to the style of your choice.
If your boiler lives in the kitchen, you could match the cupboard to the other units. Using the same materials, colours or handles will help it to seamlessly blend into the background.
Alternatively, if you have a good amount of space around your boiler, or it’s in a different room, you could build a much larger unit and create a fully fitted utility cupboard with additional shelving and storage (let’s face it, you can’t beat bonus storage)
2. Chalkboard (or whiteboard)
Whatever your preference, you could use the door of a new cupboard as a messaging/doodling/to-do list area, by adding some chalkboard paint or sticking up a white board. Super helpful if you need shopping reminders or just want to leave notes (or chores) for the rest of the household. A handy (and hide-y) solution.
3. Behind a curtain
By far the cheapest and most straightforward solution – cover it with a curtain
If you have the right set up (e.g. walls either side) a simple spring-loaded curtain rod can be put up and you can hang a fabric that you enjoy looking at, or some material which matches the rest of the room.
It’s easily removed for access and can be cleaned as well, so it’s a win-win.
4. Hiding boiler pipes
Aside from the boiler itself, there are usually pipes on show coming from beneath the unit. These can perhaps be the worst part to look at… but there are a few things you can do to hide these.
Pipework casing is something you can buy specifically for this job and will cover up any pipe work neatly. They can cost between £30 – £60 and can fit both underneath or above the boiler to give it the look of a full fitted unit (which makes it much smarter in appearance for very little effort). They are also quick and easy to remove and ensure good ventilation.
You may also consider painting the pipes, but take extra care with this as you will need the right type of heat and moisture resistant paint.
Painting any part of your boiler is not recommended unless you are sure you have the correct paint and don’t venture anywhere near the internal elements. This can damage the boiler and become a safety risk.
5. Move It
Have you thought about moving your boiler? Modern boilers can usually be hidden in airing cupboards, bathrooms or spare bedrooms. It can cost between £300 and £2,800, depending on how far you want to move it, but if the boiler is an awkward place to cover or disguise this could be the best option.
If you’re looking to replace your boiler however, that’s the perfect time to consider a move to a better spot.
Comparing quotes is the best way to make sure you get the best deal on moving a boiler. You can do that quickly and simply using this online form using Boiler Guide. They will help you obtain 3 quotes from local engineers for your specific job.
No matter what you choose to do – always ensure you keep easy access to the boiler so engineers can get to it for servicing or breakdown issues
Alternative picks: They don’t make our top 5, but they’re worth a mention…
A lot of places recommend painting your boiler and although this is an option, this is not something that is recommended.
Whilst you can remove the cover and get creative – it’s not the best idea to get paint anywhere near your internal boiler components, as it can lead to safety issues, faults and it may even void your warranty.
If you do decide to go for it, take care to pick heat and moisture resistant paints. Ask your local DIY store for guidance on boiler safe paints, or you can even find some companies who will paint them for you!
Perhaps the most unique idea we’ve come across though, is using the inside of a boiler cupboard door to store spices. Yes, some creative folk are using this ‘spare space’ to fit spice racks. You can also attach these racks to the outer side of pipework cases as a useful bit of extra storage. Both are great disguise ideas if you have a boiler in the kitchen.
What about outdoor boilers? Ah yes! We’ve not forgotten about those.…
How to keep an outdoor boiler out of sight
Not all boilers live indoors, in fact most oil boilers will be installed outside in the garden. They can be a bit of an unwanted guest amongst the hydrangeas, but thankfully, there’s a simple way to disguise outdoor boilers.
Fencing or trellis is a great solution to this problem. It can be built around the boiler, painted to your liking and can even have plants attached or surrounding it. The only thing to remember, is to leave some form of access for engineers.
It just goes to show that there really are many ways to get the most out of this area of your home.