Kitchen Renovation: Moving the water heater

Today is cabinet install day! I’m so giddy! But first, the water heater. Sorry to be behind here, but there was no time for blogging during demo! Not the most thrilling topic, but it is a key element in our kitchen plan (and there’s not much to see yet, so, patience). Previously, our water heater was located in this closet that opened into our living room.


The pantry is on the opposite side, and the fridge is in the alcove behind the shelf. Here’s our floor plan for reference.


Water heaters do give off some heat, so our coconut oil was always melted, chocolate was soft, and our potatoes sprouted and rotted too quickly. So much for the pantry being a cool, dry place.


When we started planning our kitchen, we had two different options.

Option 1: Leave the fridge/pantry/water heater as is, and modify the drawer next to the fridge so it doesn’t hit the fridge (you can read about that here). With custom cabinets that meant a shorter drawer. If we went with Kraft Maid it meant either a smaller drawer/cabinet base and then about a 6 inch filler piece next to the wall (talk about wasted space!), or no drawer and let the cabinet still bump the fridge. Sad.


Option 2: Move the water heater somewhere in the master bathroom/closet, rip out the pantry and move the fridge to the end of that area, and put a built-in cabinet pantry where the fridge was. This was only an option if we went with custom cabinets because Kraft Maid’s pantry cabinets are $$$.


After much hemming and hawing (and maybe some tears…gosh Andrew, stop crying so much!) we finally settled on option 2. Then we actually had to decide on a future layout for our master bathroom/closet (which clearly hasn’t been renovated yet). We had to nail this down now so we knew where to put the water heater. As if planning a kitchen wasn’t enough stress…


We spoke to an electrician about switching to an electric water heater (they aren’t too expensive, and we thought moving it might be easier than a gas line). But turns out our electrical panel is straight up FULL. Upgrading to a new one would be multiple thousands of dollars, and very likely more if the electrician had to bring things up to code (code has changed a bit since our house was built!) So…no thank you.

We didn’t want to mess with moving the gas lines ourselves (house blowing up = bad), so we got quotes from 3 different plumbers ranging from $900 up to $2300, and naturally, went with the cheapest. We scheduled it weeks in advance to be done the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. But when Andrew asked if he was licensed and bonded the week before, he stopped responding. So, I guess that’s a no? Hm… Monday comes (as in the day before he’s supposed to show up) and he’s still not responding. We sucked it up and called one of the others who was twice as expensive, but licensed and bonded (WOO!) and miraculously able to come the very next day to do the work! So, $1800 later, and our water heater is now here.


In our bathroom. Woo. But this room is next on the list, and then that sucker will be enclosed in a closet! For now, though, it’s just a little creepy to stare at this as I brush my teeth.


The very next day we started our demo and for about a week, used the previous water heater closet as the entrance to our kitchen since the doorway was covered in plastic.


While it ended up being a bit more than we expected, we’re pretty convinced it’s the right choice and is going to increase the functionality of our kitchen. Our living room might be a bit quieter without the water heater noise, I’ll get a small broom closet so I don’t have to wrestle it out from the side of the washer, the fridge will be moved further away from the stove creating a better working triangle, and we’ll get a much deeper pantry cabinet. Win, win, win…win.

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