traditional towel radiator guide

Traditional Towel Radiator Guide

When it comes to heating a bathroom or warming your towels, sometimes, a modern and contemporary towel rail won’t match your decor - you’ll need a traditional towel radiator.

Traditional towel radiators are an authentic-looking way of providing warmth to your bathroom - they preceded contemporary heated rail. They combine classic styling with modern technology and will look stunning in any traditionally-styled bathroom.

But what are traditional towel radiators? How do they work? Can they heat an entire bathroom? These are all important questions, so Plumbworld is here to help and explain everything there is about traditional towel radiators and what they can do for your home.

Read on to find out more about traditional towel radiators…

Why is bathroom heating important?

why is bathroom heating important?

The bathroom is one of the most unique rooms in your home, and as such, it has different requirements for keeping warm. Similar to a kitchen, there is a high amount of heat and humidity, but it is much damper and smaller than other spaces. These factors come together and result in specific heating needs.

As a result, homeowners may need to purchase a completely different heater just for their bathroom, which can be heated through their central heating or electricity supply. The choice of bathroom heaters, however, can be overwhelming.

Read more: A Guide to Bathroom Heating

You cannot let your bathroom get too cold, as this will attract damp - which thrives in humid environments. Damp can lead to a build-up of mould in your bathroom, particularly on the walls or tiles, if not ventilated or heated properly. Bathroom heating, however, is only part of the answer to preventing mould forming. Heat retention and efficiency also mean that you will cut down your energy use, saving money.

What is a traditional towel radiator?

what is a traditional towel radiator?

There is a belief that heated towel rails are all modern and contemporary-looking, this isn’t true as you can buy traditional radiators.

These models are based on Victorian and Edwardian designs that combine a steel construction with chrome finish alongside a white enamel radiator. The bonus is, of course, toasty warm towels when you finally step out of the shower or bath. These are ideal purchases if your bathroom is traditionally or country-styled.

Traditional towel radiators can be floor or wall-mounted. The floor-mounted models will include white ceramic column radiators to add to the elegance of this heater. These columns help to create that perfect authentic period feel and a two-in-one heating solution.

While traditional towel rails may have a period look about them, the technology is anything but. These models have a superb BTU output - more on that later - which will create a cosy and inviting atmosphere in the bathroom, and provide warm, dry towels throughout the year.

Is a traditional towel radiator as good as a standard radiator?

can I replace a radiator with a towel radiator?

A traditional towel radiator is an ideal solution for a bathroom, especially one that is designed with period decor in mind. Not only do they provide just as much heat as a regular radiator, they also allow you to keep your towels warm and dry.

A traditional towel radiator requires less wall space than a standard radiator, they can also help you save on space by combining your radiator and towel rail into one item. This is especially true if you choose a wall-mounted option.

Most UK bathrooms are small, so while the room itself can be fairly cold you shouldn’t go over the top when it comes to heating. Small spaces can heat up quickly - particularly if there are fewer windows. A heated towel rail can heat an entire bathroom as long as it’s the right size.

Read more: Guide to Buying Heated Towel Rails For Your Bathroom

Traditional towel radiators come in a range of sizes with varying BTU outputs, so you can ensure you get just as much heat as you would from a regular radiator.

What is a BTU rating?

The BTU (British Thermal Unit) rating measures how much heat a radiator will produce. This is important when buying a radiator for your bathroom, particularly when considering its size. Larger bathrooms will require a heater with a higher BTU rating so that its output will cover the entire space. They may even require more than one heat source.

How do I calculate my bathroom BTU?

how do I calculate my bathroom BTU?

To calculate your BTU, you’ll need specific details, such as room measurements, to find out how many or the size of radiators you will need.

Getting the right heat output from your new radiator can be important as you want to generate enough heat to be warm but not go over the top and ruin your efficiency. 

To calculate the BTU of your bathroom, you’ll need the width, height and length of your bathroom in metres and then make a note of each of these measurements. Then, measure the area of the window. You can do this by multiplying the height by the width.

Now, you should now have four separate measurements. Take the width, height and length figures and multiply these together. Then, use this resulting figure and multiply it by the window area. The total you should have is the BTU for your bathroom.

Can I fit a traditional towel radiator myself?

can I fit a towel radiator myself?

If you are competent at DIY and have the required tools, then replacing your radiators with a traditional towel radiator could be something you can tackle yourself.

Most of us, however, will need to get the professionals in to do the job. There will also be restrictions on where in the bathroom you can locate the towel radiator, as not all rails can be used within a certain distance from water. If you already have a radiator, it’s easier to replace it.

How to fit a traditional towel radiator

how to fit a towel radiator

For the purposes of ease, this step-by-step guide will focus on replacing an old radiator or heated towel rail with a new traditional towel radiator. This means you’ll be using existing pipework.

What you’ll need

  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Spirit level
  • Adjustable spanner
  • Pipe and cable detector
  • Power drill with masonry or ceramic tile bits
  • Screwdriver
  • Pipe wrench or waterpump pliers
  • Pipe cutter
  • PTFE tape

The Process

fitting a towel radiator
  1. First, turn your heating and water supply off.
  2. Take your old radiator or heated rail off the wall and fill the fixing holes before you can put your new towel radiator up.
  3. Then, fit telescopic extending tails to the towel radiator inlet and outlet. This may be easier to do before putting the towel radiator on the wall.
  4. Fit a compression elbow joint to the telescopic extending tail on the radiator inlet.
  5. Cut the pipe to a length that runs from the new elbow joint to the existing radiator valve.
  6. Now, apply PTFE tape to the threads of the compression fittings.
  7. Replace the old valve head by unscrewing it and attach the towel radiator to the pipework in the wall. Tighten all joints to ensure it doesn’t move out of place.
  8. You should only fully tighten the joints when all the pipework is in place and fits properly as stated in your instructions.
  9. Turn your heating and water back on, and test the towel radiator.

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Don’t forget to check out the rest of our blog for more bathroom advice…

Smart Thermostat Guide | Designer Radiator Buying Guide | Radiator Covers Buying & Fitting Guide