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Everything You Need To Know About Heated Towel Rails

Everything You Need To Know About Heated Towel Rails

Toasty towels at the tip of your fingers

Have you been considering heated towel rails for your next bathroom renovation? We absolutely love these little beauties (especially in the cooler months) and our friends at Thermogroup have put together a complete guide to help you choose the right solution for your bathroom.

Toasty towels at the tip of your fingers

Have you been considering heated towel rails for your next bathroom renovation? We absolutely love these little beauties (especially in the cooler months) and our friends at Thermogroup have put together a complete guide to help you choose the right solution for your bathroom.


Electric, Liquid Filled & Hydronic Rails

Ever asked how do heated towel rails work? Well with a range of different heated towel options, there's also a range of different ways they work.

Read on for the various heated towel rails we offer, along with how they work!

Electric Towel Rails

  • Heated towel rails are designed to run on the lowest wattage possible without compromising comfort - generally 35 degrees.
  • Towels insulate the rail and absorb the heat, meaning that beneath the towel the temperature rises to between 50 - 55 degrees.
  • Electric Towel Rails connect directly to the existing electricity circuit
  • There is no need to worry about plumbing or filling the rails
  • They heat up quickly, getting warm in about 5 minutes and reaching optimum temperature in approximately 30 minutes.
  • Runnings costs are minimal - Thermostatic dry element rails cost as little as 1 cent per hour to run.
  • Try a heated towel rail with timer to improve efficiency & cost effectiveness.

Electric Towel Rails

  • Heated towel rails are designed to run on the lowest wattage possible without compromising comfort - generally 35 degrees.
  • Towels insulate the rail and absorb the heat, meaning that beneath the towel the temperature rises to between 50 - 55 degrees.
  • Electric Towel Rails connect directly to the existing electricity circuit
  • There is no need to worry about plumbing or filling the rails
  • They heat up quickly, getting warm in about 5 minutes and reaching optimum temperature in approximately 30 minutes.
  • Runnings costs are minimal - Thermostatic dry element rails cost as little as 1 cent per hour to run.
  • Try a heated towel rail with timer to improve efficiency & cost effectiveness
  • Hydronic Rails are not only designed to heat your towels but will also add warmth to the room.
  • They are connected to a hydronic heating system in the house which heats the rail by pumping hot water through it.
  • Boilers are required to heat these rails and is therefore usually only viable if hydronic heating is used throughout the rest of the home.
  • The heat up time is dependent on if the boiler is already running and the water is hot.
  • Hydronic towel rails heat up to 55 degrees.

Hydronic Towel Rails

Hyrondic Towel Rails

  • Hydronic Rails are not only designed to heat your towels but will also add warmth to the room.
  • They are connected to a hydronic heating system in the house which heats the rail by pumping hot water through it.
  • Boilers are required to heat these rails and is therefore usually only viable if hydronic heating is used throughout the rest of the home.
  • The heat up time is dependent on if the boiler is already running and the water is hot.
  • Hydronic towel rails heat up to 55 degrees.
  • Hydronic Rails are not only designed to heat your towels but will also add warmth to the room.
  • They are connected to a hydronic heating system in the house which heats the rail by pumping hot water through it.
  • Boilers are required to heat these rails and is therefore usually only viable if hydronic heating is used throughout the rest of the home.
  • The heat up time is dependent on if the boiler is already running and the water is hot.
  • Hydronic towel rails heat up to 55 degrees.

Hyrondic Towel Rails

Liquid Filled Towel Rails

  • Liquid Filled Rails use an electric element to heat the liquid inside.
  • The rails are supplied pre-filled with anti-corrosion fluid and sealed, ready to plug into a power point or to be hardwired to a switch.
  • They take close to an hour to reach optimum temperature.
  • Liquid Filled rails heat up to 55 degrees & act as an additional heat source in the room.
  • As the rail is heating the water not the air, covering the rail with a towel will not cause the rail to get any hotter.

Liquid Filled Towel Rails

  • Liquid Filled Rails use an electric element to heat the liquid inside.
  • The rails are supplied pre-filled with anti-corrosion fluid and sealed, ready to plug into a power point or to be hardwired to a switch.
  • They take close to an hour to reach optimum temperature.
  • Liquid Filled rails heat up to 55 degrees & act as an additional heat source in the room.
  • As the rail is heating the water not the air, covering the rail with a towel will not cause the rail to get any hotter.
Heated Towel Rails

Installation

When installing Heated Towel Rails there are a number of important aspects to consider.

Below are the installation steps we suggest following:

  1.  Ensure the towel rail is being installed in the correct zone in the bathroom.
  2. Allow for suitable mounting fixtures before the wall is sheeted - some towel rails have mandatory or optional wall mounting kits which have to be installed before the wall is sheeted.
  3. Check if your towel rail requires an in wall mounting system & if so follow the instructions set out but the manufacturer.
  4. Ensure you have power at the rail location or that a draw wire is supplied to accommodate the wiring. The most common scenario is to run a draw wire into the roof to a connection point or to a timer or switch location where the towel rail will be connected to power.
  5. Once the wall is complete install all the legs on the towel rail & then hold the rail level against the wall - this is to determine where to position the holes - before circling around the legs to mark the wall.
  6. The towel rail can then be mounted by any capable person using the mounting method supplied by the supplier.
  7. From here the electrical connection must be completed by a qualified electrician in accordance with relevant electrical regulations, unless you are plugging it into a power point (however this is not an option with all rails).

Further Installation Tips:

  • It is always recommended that the electrical connection is made where it can be accessed at a later date if required.
  • Ensue the wiring is going to the correct leg on the towel rail unless your rail comes with universal wiring which allows connection at any leg.
  • Do not attempt to drill the holes before you have the towel rail as most suppliers have a manufacturing tolerance, meaning your holes may be in the wrong location.
Heated Towel Rails Installation

Where Can Towel Rails Be Installed?

A range of towel rails are available to allow full flexibility with your bathroom design.

12 Volt Towel Rails

  • These rails are safe for use in wet areas due to the low voltage.
  • 12V rails can be installed in Zone 1 of the diagram to the right.
  • The transformer needs to be installed outside Zone 1 such as the ceiling or wall cavity & no further than two metres from the rail.
  • It must also be well ventilated/located behind a switch plate or timer for easy access

A range of towel rails are available to allow full flexibility with your bathroom design.

12 Volt Towel Rails

  • These rails are safe for use in wet areas due to the low voltage.
  • 12V rails can be installed in Zone 1 of the diagram below.
  • The transformer needs to be installed outside Zone 1 such as the ceiling or wall cavity & no further than two metres from the rail.
  • It must also be well ventilated/located behind a switch plate or timer for easy access

240 Volt Towel Rails

  • Freestanding & ladder rails that are 240 Volts are safe for use in Zone 2 and the outside zones.
  • Some ranges (excluding the 12V range) have the option of exposed wiring for easy mounting in existing bathrooms - meaning no wiring is required in the wall or roof cavity.
  • It is always recommended to consult an electrician for advise & for up to date regulations.
  • A 240V rail and 12V rail will put out the same amount of heat if they have the same wattage.

240 Volt Towel Rails

  • Freestanding & ladder rails that are 240 Volts are safe for use in Zone 2 and the outside zones.
  • Some ranges (excluding the 12V range) have the option of exposed wiring for easy mounting in existing bathrooms - meaning no wiring is required in the wall or roof cavity.
  • It is always recommended to consult an electrician for advise & for up to date regulations.
  • A 240V rail and 12V rail will put out the same amount of heat if they have the same wattage.

Wiring

In addition to the information regarding the towel rail installation it is important to check the wiring details of the towel rail and ensure you comply with all safety regulations.

Different types of wiring options:

      • Some rails will come with a fixed lead out of the towel rail leg - for plugging into a power point
      • More advanced towel rails come with a connection clip that allows you to wire in the lead prior to installation - the wiring is simply connected by unscrewing a plug & screwing the lead on as shown in the below diagram.
Heated Towel Rails Wiring

Wire connection points:

      • Some rails will have a fixed connection point for wiring which can't be changed - ensure you check it suits your bathroom layout
      • Other rails will have universal wiring, allowing the connection to be located at either the top or bottom of either side

Other important things to note:

      • 12V rails need a suitable transformer
      • With multiple single 12V rails the total wattage must not exceed that of the transformer you are using
      • The transformer must not be more than two meters away from the rail & must be in an accessible spot - such as behind a switch plate or in the roof with adequate ventilation.
      • If you'd like the freedom of moving your heated towel rail then make your heated towel rails freestanding - these rails only need to be plugged into a power point and can be moved from room to room.

Controlling Your Rail

Most heated towel rails are safe to be left running continuously, however generally it is preferable to have the ability to control when your heated towel rail is on, thus saving you energy.

The majority of the range available on the market don’t have a switch on the unit but can simply be wired to a standard switch.

Alternatively, the rail can be wired to a timer that can be programmed to automatically turn on and off to suit your lifestyle, thus ensuring the towel rail is warm when you require it to be.


Stainless Steel vs Chrome

When it comes to buying a heated towel rail, you may find yourself faced with a lot of choices: different sizes, shapes and styles, as well as a choice between chrome and stainless steel.

While a stainless steel and chrome heated towel rail are similar in appearance, they each have their own unique differences.

Stainless Steel

  • Stainless Steel is the coming together of two (sometimes three) parties, involving steel, chromium and nickel.
  • It may not be a 100% stain-proof, it is relatively easy to keep clean.
  • It is resistant to corrosion, tarnish and scratches - the perfect solution for an area where moisture is generally present.
  • Stainless steel is extremely hygienic with no known health risks.

Stainless Steel

  • Stainless Steel is the coming together of two (sometimes three) parties, involving steel, chromium and nickel.
  • It may not be a 100% stain-proof, it is relatively easy to keep clean.
  • It is resistant to corrosion, tarnish and scratches - the perfect solution for an area where moisture is generally present.
  • Stainless steel is extremely hygienic with no known health risks.

Chrome

  • Chrome  generally refers to a chromium overlay or plating.
  • The lustrous, hard, steel grey metallic material is electroplated onto the outside of a plastic or metal product.
  • Chromium plating looks great when used decoratively as a thin corrosion free veneer to bathroom accessories.
  • Although this material strengthens the object which it covers, over time, the material can scratch exposing the product below to possible rust.

Chrome

  • Chrome  generally refers to a chromium overlay or plating.
  • The lustrous, hard, steel grey metallic material is electroplated onto the outside of a plastic or metal product.
  • Chromium plating looks great when used decoratively as a thin corrosion free veneer to bathroom accessories.
  • Although this material strengthens the object which it covers, over time, the material can scratch exposing the product below to possible rust.

What are IP Ratings?

  • Electrical fixtures in bathrooms are certified using an IP (Ingress Protection) rating.
  • This rating uses 2 numbers and refers to the level of protection against the ingress of foreign bodies (1st number) and protection against the ingress of liquids (2nd number).
  • The higher the second number is the greater protection the item has from water ingress.
  • Many heated towel rails have an IP55 Protection Rating, making them safe for use in bathrooms.

So are heated towel rails worth it?

If you’re looking for a little extra comfort during the winter and a space saving storage option for your towels, then heated towel rails are definitely worth it!

With a range of colours available, these rails are also a great way to tie a space together. For example if you have black tapware and accessories throughout your bathroom, then turning your heated towel rails black will finish the space off perfectly!

Not to mention heated towel rails will keep the dampness out of your shower mats and towels all year round.

For any further questions, reach out to our friendly Customer Service team.

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