Latest Heated Towel Rails
THE LATEST There’s plenty to consider when choosing the right heated towel radiator for your bathroom; here’s what you need to know…
A selection of the hottest new products available
Choosing a heated towel radiator for your bathroom will depend primarily on what purpose you are asking it to fulfil. Will it be the sole heating source in the room, or is it a complement to another system, like underfloor heating, in addition to heating your towels on a cold day?
As such, you’ll need to consider the size of your room and estimate how much heat will need to be outputted to sufficiently heat the room. The output is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUS), with one BTU the amount of energy needed to heat one pound of water by 1°F. The BTU you’ll require depends on the size of your room and the number of windows, but also on how many towels will be on the rail — as these will absorb some of the heat. Victoria Plum recommends 400 BTUS/M2 for a bathroom with one outside wall and one small window, but it’s important to get this right (helpfully there are numerous BTU calculators online); too low and the rail won’t be performing adequately, and too high and you’ll be throwing open the window and expending unnecessary energy (and cash).
Heated towel radiators can either run off the central heating, electricity or be dual fuel. Models that run off your central heating will function like any radiator in your property — heated water will flow through the bars of the rail and emit heat. You may have some individual control over the heat, but it is fundamentally tied to the entire heating system. This means that if you want to use the rail during the summer, you may need to close the valves on your radiators to avoid heating rooms unnecessarily.
An electric model has a heated element which is powered by your home’s mains electricity. It runs independently from the rest of your heating system, so won’t put any further demand on your boiler. This also means that you can use it during the summer without having to fire up the entire heating system.
A dual fuel model offers the best of both worlds: it’s plumbed into your heating system, but also contains an electric element – a switch or valve determines which fuel source is used – offering greater versatility throughout the year.
It is often possible to install a T-piece and heating element to a towel rail which will allow you to isolate the rail from the heating system and switch between electric and heat from the boiler. H