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Heated towel rail making bills higher?

(19 Posts)
wowfudge Thu 18-May-17 11:34:56

Since moving into our new house just over a year ago, our electricity bill has rocketed. Compared with our old house the only differences are more lightbulbs (all energy saving and we've fitted LED lighting in three rooms), an American style fridge freezer which is 14 years old and an electric towel rail in the attic bathroom. Our tumble drying habits haven't changed and we don't have every light on all the time.

The FF is likely to cost more to run than our old FF and under counter fridge cost in our last house, I realise. The towel rail doesn't have an on/off switch - definitely electric, you can see the cable and it is on constantly. Are these expensive to run?

The attic bathroom is part of a particularly economical set up whereby the only way to get hot water in there is to put an immersion heater on (separate cylinder from the hot water in the rest of the house). Needless to say, we only use the attic for guests. The immersion heater is switched off. There is also a Saniflo up there, but we hardly use the loo attached to it.

specialsubject Thu 18-May-17 12:01:16

It seems that towel rails use well under a kw , some as low as 200w. Even with the 30% rise in unit prices , that will be about 3p an hour on a 15p unit. Does add up though.

Can you find the power consumption info for the fridge?

Kokusai Thu 18-May-17 12:24:26

3p an hour is an extra £262 a year on electricity, which I think is quite a lot.

Is there really no way of turning it off?

OlennasWimple Thu 18-May-17 12:32:31

14 year old appliances consume much more power than modern ones, particularly when they are big FFs. I would look into this before trying to fit off switches to your towel rails

NannyR Thu 18-May-17 12:33:18

Are you sure there is no switch? Whenever I've lived somewhere with an electric towel rail I've been able to switch it off; the cable leads to a white box on the wall with a switch (could be on the wall outside the bathroom)

Cheesecake53 Thu 18-May-17 12:46:43

I had been looking for the switch for my towel rail for ages and found it recently. It was in the next room at the other side of the wall and just a little switch next to the electric sockets.

minipie Thu 18-May-17 13:59:32

Yes, we have an electric towel and the switch for it is on the other side of the wall from the towel rail (i.e. the rail is in the bathroom, the switch is on the landing outside) - keep looking there really should be a switch

specialsubject Thu 18-May-17 14:02:58

Good point - that £262 is two thirds of my total bill! Time to find the switch!

wowfudge Thu 18-May-17 14:08:31

Ha! For some reason my phone won't post my reply: I've tried three times.

Anyway, I strongly suspect the FF is the main culprit. Given the increased cost of the electricity, I think we could splash out on a new A+ rated one and break even!

There is definitely no switch for the towel rail unless it is behind the painted panelling or under the floorboards. There is a switched spur for the saniflo on the wall of the store room behind the ensuite, but nothing else. DP can investigate this weekend.

mando12345 Thu 18-May-17 14:30:30

I think it would be the towel rail, it is most expensive to heat not cool. I would get an electrician out if necessary to get an off switch.

specialsubject Thu 18-May-17 14:50:51

Mn is stuffed again and the mobile site doesn't allow posts, just hangs . let's hope their coders never get a job with driverless cars!

flyingkangaroos Thu 18-May-17 14:57:21

There must be a switch - for safety/maintenance. Ours is outside the bathroom. We have it on a timer for just the reasons you say - it's REALLY expensive to run. We just have it on for an hour or so around bath time, to dry the towels off.

donajimena Thu 18-May-17 14:57:31

Ive been stuck in legal until I switched to desktop

PigletJohn Thu 18-May-17 16:20:35

"There must be a switch - for safety/maintenance."

should be

Electric heaters are notoriously expensive to run, because energy from electricity currently costs about four times as much as energy from gas.

Any heater that runs 24x365 is wasteful.

I'd suggest a manually-operated press-button timer switch. Here are examples, you can click it to run for 15 minutes up to two hours.
www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Main_Index/Timers_Index/Immersion_Heater_Timers_2/index.html

You need a qualified electrician to fit it as it is in a bathroom (it must be a measured distance from any fixed bath or shower, but you might be able to have it outside the bathroom door) and it does not include a fuse, which must be provided separately.

I would guess that electricity savings will repay the cost fairly quickly.

If you are lucky enough to have a hot-water cylinder nearby, a plumber can install a radiator or rail that heats up when the cylinder is being reheated; typically during and after baths and showers.

wowfudge Thu 18-May-17 17:23:33

Thanks all. Another job for our lovely electrician - he's working through a long list for us.

NotDavidTennant Thu 18-May-17 17:32:53

To meet safety standards there has to be a switch, so either it has been installed by a cowboy or you've not looked hard enough.

wowfudge Thu 18-May-17 18:30:08

Or possibly regs have changed since it was installed over 20 years ago?

PigletJohn Thu 18-May-17 22:03:37

probably not, because unless it comes off a lighting circuit (improbable) it would need to be fused down. This would be the case since about 1948.

wowfudge Thu 18-May-17 22:55:13

Well whaddya know - the switch labelled Saniflo also works the towel rail. DP switched it off earlier and checked an hour later. We never made the connection it also worked the towel rail as it was marked up for ony the Saniflo and is quite a distance from rail.

The Saniflo needs to be on but the towel rail doesn't so that's stupid. We'll get a separate timer switch fitted and see whether the bill drops.

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