Fitting Heated Towel Rails

Summary: Fitting or installing a heated towel rail or radiator in the bathroom. Find out how to fit electric or centrally heated towel rails and make a feature out of your bathroom heating.

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Warning: To complete electrical works you must comply with Electrical Regulations - Click here for more information.

Central Heated Towel Rails

Fitting or installing towel rails can be a DIY job but please take very good care of all the plumbing connections you need to make. Fitting towel rails is usually done in the bathroom and they are usually installed instead of, or to replace a radiator. Towel rails today are exciting and excellent ranges of traditional, contemporary and funky designs are available. To fit a towel rail you will need to drain down your central heating system so see our projects section for help with this.

Towel Rail

Domestic towel rail

Towel rails

Towel rails

Towel Rail

Towel rail

The easiest way to replace a radiator with a towel rail is to find a towel rail which is the same size as the radiator. If the valves of the two are the same distance apart, the job is much easier. If not however; you will need to add or reduce your pipework. These days towel rails hang on the wall for the most part, and as such the supply pipes either need to come through the wall to meet the valve, or if your pipework is in the floor feeding your old radiator, you may want to extend it up the wall to meet the valves. This is not a neat option but it can be a great deal easier if you are not confident with your plumbing skills. The pipework can be shaped, using bends and elbows, above floor level to meet the valves, but for a better job you may need to take up a section of the floor to move the pipework into a "tidier" position.

Firstly mark the exact position on the wall where you want the towel rail and then mark the position of the valves in relation to this. This is obviously where you will need to get the pipes to, and you need to make the decision whether you are going to simply come up from the floor, or dismantle some wall to get a neater job. Compression fittings are easier to use for the novice plumber and if you are going to chase the pipes into the wall you need to sleeve them in a bigger pipes before filling the chase to stop any contact between mortar, plaster and pipes. Always put some tape, or a stop end, over the end of the pipe to stop anything getting in until you are ready to connect up. It is acceptable to use flexible "Speedfit" plumbing in central heating systems now.

Towel Rail

Towel rail

Towel Rail

Towel rail

Check the fitting instructions of your particular rail. The rail will need to be firmly in position before you connect up so double check your measurements! Make the required connections and re-set the central heating system.

Electric Only Heated Towel Rails

If, however, you do not have a radiator in your bathroom but you would still like a towel radiator, electric towel radiators are now available for purchase. They look identical in appearance to those supplied by your central heating system but unlike central heating fed rails they are filled with various fluids that include in some cases oil, but more commonly thermal transfer fluid. This fluid is then heated via an electric thermostatic heating element.

The elements available on the market today are extremely user friendly and efficient and allow the user to accuratly control the temerature of the rail.

Unfortunately, the installation of this type of rail is not a DIY job due to Part P regulations and will need to be connected up by a qualified electrician due to the fact that the bathroom is considered a special location. For more information visit our Part P project

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