Heated towel rails and bathroom radiators have come into the bathroom market and made a big impact over the last few years. They’ve come so far in such a short space of time that it has almost become a bathroom necessity; especially to those that value style and functionality. The biggest benefit of installing a heated towel warmer or bathroom radiator is that it addresses 2 jobs in one item, heating your bathroom and drying towels. As we’ve made it a priority to keep our range at a low price, there is a huge saving to be had over buying a standard radiator and rail separately.
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One heated towel rail is pretty much the same as the next, right? Surely such a minor purchase for the bathroom doesn’t need long consideration and investigation of the various options? Well perhaps not, but if you start looking for one with the attitude that the only difference between the different types of heated towel rail is the price, the chances are that you will come out more confused when you went in. So let’s see if we can shed some light on everything you need to know about buying heated towel rails.
The first and most important decision is what fuel you are going to use to run your towel rail. There are two main types, and one is not “better” than the other; understanding how they work and what their limitations are will help you decide which is best for your home.
The first type is just like a radiator. The bars are filled with water, and the towel rail is plumbed into your central heating system just like every other radiator in the house. If you have your central heating on a timer, your towel rail will switch on and off at the same time as the heating. Most towel rails also have thermostatic valve controls which allow you to turn it up and down as required.
The second type of towel rail runs on electricity. It is entirely independent of your central heating system and can be an excellent choice for homes which are not centrally heated or where the boiler lacks the capacity to run another radiator. Electric heated towel rails can also be fitted with a timer which allows you to set them to switch on and off when you please. If you like warm towels in the summer when your primary heating system will be turned off, then this is a good choice.
Look at the costs for the two different types of radiators and investigate running costs, and make the decision based on what is most appropriate for your home.
If your home is centrally heated, you will probably have a radiator in the bathroom already. Unless your bathroom is enormous, there is no need to run both a towel rail and a radiator in the same room. Getting rid of the existing radiator while installing a new towel rail could save you money on plumber’s costs too, as, in most cases, the new unit can be put in the same place as the old radiator.
It’s worth nothing that an electric towel rail will not provide the same cost savings unless you are replacing an existing electric heater or towel rail, so take advice from an electrician or plumber as to the most sensible place to locate your new towel rail.
Most towel rails are rectangular in shape, with horizontal bars to hold the towels. There’s nothing wrong with this type of design, but if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that there are lots of more innovative and exciting designs on the market. Some will cost a bit more than the standard, but spending £300 on a heated towel rail rather than £70 on a basic one could guarantee you a truly individual look for your bathroom.
Look out for Victorian style designs for the bathroom of an older property, tall and narrow designs which can be squeezed into even the smallest shower room, or brightly coloured options rather than the standard silver. The pages of the glossy magazines and websites like Pinterest often provide inspiration for finding unique bathroom fixtures and fittings such as towel rails. The most common designs are ladder shapes, but event these come in curved or flat options and usually white, or Anthracite are available in addition to standard chrome. Stainless steel models are more expensive but will last a lifetime and add a touch of luxury to the bathroom.
If you are competent at DIY and have the required tools, then replacing a radiator with a water filled towel rail might be something you can tackle yourself. Make sure you know what the job entails, watch lots of videos online to show you step by step how to complete the job, and remember to switch the water supply off.
Most of us, however, will need to get the professionals in to do the job. You’ll need to get hold of a plumber if you are thinking of putting in a heated towel rail which will be attached to the central heating system. Plus an electrician for an electric towel rail. There will also be restrictions on where in the bathroom you can locate it, as not all rails can be used within a certain distance from water. Check the specifications of the towel rail you’re thinking of buying and get advice from an electrician if confused.