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Heated towel rails

(20 Posts)
MissPollyPops Sat 29-Apr-17 12:43:29

Hoping you guys can educate me on heated towel rails. I've never had one before. But I'm getting my bathroom done up soon, and planning on changing the old radiator to a heated towel rail.
I was planning in just having it plumbed into the central heating but I'm now wondering if it's worth making it dual fuel? Just incase? Is there any reason not to? Does it somehow make it worse or more expensive to run on central heating, even if I never use the electric option?

wowfudge Sat 29-Apr-17 12:50:52

They are not as good at heating as radiators - clue's in the name - so get one with sufficient output. Once you've covered it in towels, it won't be giving out much heat.

BIL fitted one in their bathroom to replace the radiator. Six months later he added a radiator as it wasn't warm enough in there.

Littlefish Sat 29-Apr-17 12:53:58

We have both a radiator and a heated towel rail. We started with a radiator, but it's a cold room and the towels always feel sightly damp. We couldn't put them on the radiator as they took all the heat.

We now have an electric towel rail, on a timer, above the radiator. Now the room is warm, and the towels are too. A perfect solution!

HemiDemiSemiquaver Sat 29-Apr-17 12:58:59

My new build flat has a heated towel rail. It's only plumbed into central heating, and it's a very energy efficient place, so the heating is rarely on. The towel radiator is basically useless other than as a towel rail - they're never warm, and you also can't use it to dry clothes on (well, any more than hanging them anywhere else - they just air dry). It would be much nicer to have a dual fuel option, because there are times - even if the flat is warm - that I'd quite like a heated towel, or want to dry out something damp in faster time than just air drying.

I'm even considering seeing whether I can add a dual fuel option at a later date, but I don't know how expensive the work might be.

PoshPenny Sat 29-Apr-17 13:16:11

Ours is just on the central heating, and we are happy with it. Our plumber did advise though to go for a bigger output one as once the towels are on it it's "baffled". I think was the term he used. Its worked really well, the bathroom is small with a flat roof and 2 outside walls. It used to be freezing in there but now is very comfortable. We upgraded the kitchen radiator to one of these towel rail ones and we've also been very pleased with that - somewhere to dry wet coats quickly now.

wonkylegs Sat 29-Apr-17 13:16:35

As a way to heat a room they are generally rubbish, so if it's your only heat source go for an oversized one.
Look at the heat output BTUs / Watts of the radiator. You can calculate the size you need for your room on the Plumb Nation website (heating calculator)
We don't have a towel radiator in either of our bathrooms. We have regular radiators and towel racks and towels dry well in both rooms and the room is warm enough. We replaced a towel radiator in one room because it never dried towels or heated the room adequately.

RatOnnaStick Sat 29-Apr-17 13:37:12

I love ours though it's the biggest we could fit on the wall and it's both plumbed into the central heating and electric. I just switch it on 20 minutes before a bath or shower if the CH isn't on.

chickpeaburger Sat 29-Apr-17 14:03:48

I don't know what you call our set up but it works for us.

We have a small shower room with a heated towel rail connected to the gas central heating but it also comes on when the hot water is switched on.

That means that in the summer when the heating is switched off we can have the shower room radiator on when we like.

Our water is only one for 30 mins in morning, 15 mins mid morning and 15 mins pm but it does mean that we have dry towels and a nicely warm shower room. I think it's quite good to keep that room warm to dry it out.

BackforGood Sat 29-Apr-17 14:07:59

I've gone for both radiator and towel rail too.
Partly because we have quite a big room and the towel rail wouldn't heat it, but mainly because all the months we don't have the heating on, we can put the towel rail on, on a timer for an hour or two, so you have lovely warm dry towels without having to put the central heating on.
Will depend on space of course.

ChunkyHare Sat 29-Apr-17 14:13:23

We installed them last year, they are oversized and give out a lot of heat.

We installed them as dual fuel, we have not used this function yet as the towels dry on them just from the central heating.

We only have 2 bath sheets on each though, one is in the en-suite the other is in the bathroom.

You need to consider wiring issues. So ours has a wire that goes into the wall and under the floor into the tank cupboard to connect to the fused timer then another wire has to come out of the fused timer and connect into the socket wiring (luckily for us just 1m away on the landing)

The en-suite was more difficult but it still feeds into the same wiring as the cable runs up the wall, through the loft and down into the tank cupboard.

We got our usual electrician to do this for us.

Can I recommend Geyser to you? It made the process of buying the extras so easy, one each radiator it gives you the option of adding in valves and a dual fuel pack but shows you pics and stops you having to work out how big the heating element has to be etc.

NotMeNoNo Sat 29-Apr-17 15:35:56

Towel radiators need to be large eg 60cm x 150cm. Suggest either plumb into hot water circuit (not exactly sure how but have seen it on mn) or add electric element wired Into a timer switch so they can be on all year round.

MissPollyPops Sat 29-Apr-17 20:37:34

The one I want is 1200 x 500mm and gives out 1644 btu.
I've tried different btu calculators online and one says I need 1550 and one said needed over 2000. Not sure which one to believe...

80sMum Sat 29-Apr-17 20:44:14

In my experience, they are exactly the same as a radiator, providing you get a bathroom radiator-type of towel rail with the recommended BTU output for the size of the room.

We have the central-heating version of this Poll bathroom radiator towel rail and I highly recommend it.

80sMum Sat 29-Apr-17 20:46:17

I particularly like the Poll radiator because it has a decent distance between the rails and the wall, so that you can actually hang towels on it. Some we looked at had tiny gaps, not big enough for a face flannel let alone a towel!

PigletJohn Sat 29-Apr-17 22:12:13

Have you got a hot-water cylinder close to this bathroom? This affects how it can be plumbed and when it might be heated.

If you buy a 1500W towel rail and wrap it in a thick insulating blanket, or in towels, it will not give out anywhere near as much heat as a 1500W radiator that is not wrapped up.

Consider having both a radiator and a towel rail, with TRVs on both of them to prevent overheating the room.

PigletJohn Sat 29-Apr-17 22:19:09


1644 btu is less than 500Watts. So not much. It might be adequate if you have a very small, well-insulated bathroom, and don't wrap it in towels.

100btu is about 30Watts. Except that because of the way radiators and towel rails are calculated, using ideal conditions and a particularly hot radiator in a particularly cold room, they tend to overstate the actual output.

If you currently have a radiator which you consider adequate, tell us its dimensions, and if it is double, single or finned, and I can estimate its nominal output.

NotMeNoNo Sat 29-Apr-17 23:13:51

I don't know, our radiator is the size I said and our ensuite is toasty warm. Our plumber said just get the biggest you can fit in the space. I did work out the btu's and that was the size needed for a fairly small room - and in white not chrome. Are you sure of your calculations?

PigletJohn Sun 30-Apr-17 00:00:12

I am completely sure that 100btu is about 30Watts. And 100,000btu is about 30kW

try any of the btu:Watts calculators.

I don't understand why the radiator manufacturers seem to be using a different conversion factor.

I work in kW, because I am not in the 1950's, so don't pay any attention to btu numbers.

Here's an example ordinary radiator 600mmx600mm It's a double and has a nominal output of 1073W which I'd consider suitable for a typical bathroom, with a TRV.

Here's an example towel rail 700mmx600mm similar, but a little bigger, with a nominal output of 242W, which is less than a quarter as much as the ordinary radiator

MissPollyPops Sun 30-Apr-17 10:26:33

PigletJohn, I don't have a hot water cylinder. I have a combi boiler...?
I don't have space for a radiator and a heated towel rail.
The radiator which is currently in the bathroom is probably bigger than the room needs. The room heats up quickly and the radiator is usually kept on the number 2 setting, so it's not up full. It's a single radiator and it's 100x60cm.

PigletJohn Sun 30-Apr-17 10:58:02

then it would have a nominal output of about 1kW, but less once the room is up to temp, controlled by the TRV. It will provide the most heat when the room is cold.

As you don't have a cylinder, you would need an electric element "dual fuel" for those times when the CH is off.

If you get a wide (rather than tall) heated rail, it will have more space for towels, and more chance that heat can escape to warm the room.

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