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Can someone explain towel rails to me?

(26 Posts)
noseynoonoo Mon 31-Dec-12 23:55:35

Currently designing new family bathroom so mainly used by children but also my parents when they visit.

Looking to get a towel rail but I don't 'get' how they work. I can't see how you put several towels on them at the same time. Presumably some towels fall over the lower hung ones so how do they dry? Is there a knack or do they only work for small thin towels. Also, I guess they are blocking the heat so you need a radiator too to heat the room?

Any tips gratefully received.

BluelightsAndSirens Mon 31-Dec-12 23:58:06

Happy new year to you and your expectant towel rail, we have always had them and never give them any thought. Towels all dry and bathroom warm enough


Ponders Tue 01-Jan-13 00:02:30

we've got just a small radiator, with a wider heater rail that projects a bit at the top (iyswim)

when completely covered with towels there is not a lot of heat in the room, but they dry very quickly & then can be shoved to one side - or folded & put back on pile slattern

Ponders Tue 01-Jan-13 00:04:00

same principle as this, but much less elegant

MrsMargoLeadbetter Tue 01-Jan-13 00:05:46

We opted for a vertical towel rail (like a ladder, on amazon) with a normal radiator "underneath" for cheapness and the towels dry fine. It has 4 'rungs' and we spread the towels out after use to speed up drying. Would imagine that they'd dry even better on a towel rail radiator.


noseynoonoo Tue 01-Jan-13 00:09:37

So if they work, how do you get a large chunky towel through the small gaps - do you have to fold them several times and squeeze them through? I have one in the ensuite and just use it to dry my hair towel - the gaps aren't wide enough for a decent sized towel.

Ponders Tue 01-Jan-13 00:19:54

my kind stands well clear of the wall & the top rail is forward of the radiator itself - it will hold 3 bath sheets folded in half lengthways (it's a lot bigger than the one I linked to, top rail is 970mm wide)

you'd probably get more useful heat for the room from one of the ladder type, but I think mine's easier to use for drying towels!

OwlCatMouse Tue 01-Jan-13 00:20:16

It's the first few mins of a new year and you're pondering towels.

I hate NYE as much as the next person, but really?

OwlCatMouse Tue 01-Jan-13 00:21:22

(and yes, I realise the irony of being on MN first thing in the new year... but towels???)

Get a life.

(and get enough towel rails so you have one for each towel)

Springforward Tue 01-Jan-13 00:21:28

We've just got one, it's tall and looks a bit like a ladder. It stands quite proud of the wall and so i can get two chunky bath towels onto it without any bother. Have been looking at a little one for the downstairs loo, think that would only be good for a hand towel though, so fine in loo but not in bathroom I guess.

FishfingersAreOK Tue 01-Jan-13 00:21:42 Get ones with intermittent big gaps like this - you put your towels over the big gaps...simples grin

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 01-Jan-13 01:08:50

If you are anal retentive like me you start to fold your towels in a very particular way so they all line up on the heated towel railwink.

PigletJohn Tue 01-Jan-13 07:56:34

The reference to needing a radiator as well is quite true. Towel rails give out relatively little heat and a layer of towels will block it in. The tall ladder rails are particularly prone to heating the ceiling.

BTW if you have a hot water cylinder, the towel rail can be plumbed to warm up when the cylinder is reheated after you run the bath. Be sure to fit a TRV to prevent it getting needlessly hot in midsummer.

noseynoonoo Tue 01-Jan-13 15:19:51

Thanks everyone for your thoughts.

I was thinking of getting an electric one so we weren't reliant on the central heating for it although I have noticed you can get ones that are both electric and CH based - would this be better?

I'm also thinking that we'll need a radiator too because the room is about 6 metres squared. There's a big window (abut 140cm wide) so thought we'd put the radiator under that.

Lonecat I fear I may be 'particular' in the way the towels line up!

PigletJohn Tue 01-Jan-13 15:46:23

if you haven't got a hot water cylinder, you can get an electric insert, like a little immersion heater, to go in the bottom rung of the towel rail.

if you are buying a bathroom radiator, look at a long, low one and see if it will fit - it will give a better spread of heat.

Avuncular Tue 01-Jan-13 15:47:01

Been there, done the Physics. (Tee shirt is still drying on the radiator !)

Radiators do just what it says on the tin: 'radiate' heat (invisibly) but also (if you give them the chance) 'convect' warm air up the wall, across the ceiling then down the other side as it cools, and they also heat the towels by conduction. But if the towels are actually on the rail they warm up but don't have much chance to evaporate off if they're damp or wet.

If you've got CH, then prob best to put the bathroom towel rail(s) on the HW circuit so they heat up all year and most of the day. Shouldn't then have a need to have an electrical element in the radiator as well.

We now have a smaller house but in the days of 6 bedrooms, 4 DCs, we tried to use racks dangling over the radiators. This captures both radiated and convected heat, and gives towels etc a chance to 'air' as well. In a bathroom of course, there is less room for additional hanging space.

Your cheapest option might even be to install a normal CH radiator (on the HW circuit) then put a drying rack / 'clothes horse' on/near it.

noseynoonoo Tue 01-Jan-13 16:41:32

We do currently have a radiator and racks over which does dry the towels well but the room is cold.

Have just found this online:

We could then get a low slung radiator for under the window.

noseynoonoo Tue 01-Jan-13 16:41:46

PigletJohn Tue 01-Jan-13 17:17:13

that looks like a good one, made of chromed brass (a lot are chromed steel and go rusty)

It will give out very little heat (rated at 230Watts), so you certainly need a radiator as well.

Have you got a hot water cylinder?

noseynoonoo Tue 01-Jan-13 17:25:50

Yes we do - replaced it last year.

PigletJohn Tue 01-Jan-13 17:28:38

in that case, you can have the towel rail plumbed to be heated while the cylinder is being heated. This will typically be during and after the time you are running your bath, which IMO is the best time.

A modern boiler will heat a modern cylinder in 20 minutes, so it will not be hot all the time.

Your bathroom radiator should be plumbed to the CH like all the other radiators and will run at the same times as they do.

OrangeLily Tue 01-Jan-13 17:39:26

We've had heated towel rails in a previous house but here we have just installed a row of big hooks spaced out a long a wall, near a radiator.

Works better to dry the towels and you don't have to move them as they dry.

Don't get the snugly warm towels the same way but we found only one bit of a big towel warms anyway.

Cheaper to run the normal radiator anyway.

noddyholder Tue 01-Jan-13 17:40:07

I never fit them in renovations just not as good as radiators

noddyholder Tue 01-Jan-13 17:43:35

Low bench column radiators are great

arasca Wed 02-Jan-13 16:28:32

all the towel rails has different bar configuration depends on the manufacture and the size of the towel rail, the bars are 5 space 6 bars space and so on where you can hang the towels in to those space, you can get more info on companyblue blog

you can also add some hooks if you need to hang more towels which you can also find on the fallowing links

hope that helps

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