I inspect many homes with a hot water hidden behind a panel or door in a closet. I recommend removing the panel or door so the home owner will occasionally be able to check the hot water heater for problems. If it is behind a secured panel or door, the homeowner is not able to check it as often as they should to prevent a significant problem. To all you contractors out there, please do not hide a hot water heater.
I am a full-time home inspector servicing all of South Carolina.