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Heated Towel Rails Frequently Asked Questions

Our Product FAQ section deals with questions about our products, installation types, rules and regulations, guidance and facts If you still have not found an answer to your query, please contact us either by phone or e-mail so that a member of our team can offer assistance.

Product FAQ - Technical Information & Installation Related Questions

Q1- What is a Towel Radiator / Heated Towel Rails?

Towel radiators / heated towel rails are a type of radiators that are designed to dry towels and wet garments, and used mainly, but not solely, in bathrooms.  Because they effectively combine aesthetic and functionality while providing heat, there has been a tendency in recent years to install them in other parts of the house, too.

Q2- Are Towel Radiators and Heated Towel Rails the same?

Yes, towel radiators and heated towel rails are two terms to describe essentially the product. In places such as the US, the term towel warmer is also widely used to refer to the same product.

Q3- What are towel radiators / heated towel rails made of?

Various materials, such as mild steel, stainless steel, aluminium, cast iron and brass, are used in manufacturing towel radiators. Each of these materials can be chosen to give a specific effect to the end product. For instance, mild steel offers physical flexibility to create variety of styles and designs at affordable prices, whereas the main purpose of using stainless steel and brass is to increase durability by preventing corrosion. To make an informed decision when selecting towel radiators / heated towel rails, it is important to understand the differences both in function and cost of these materials.

Q4- Are Chrome Towel Radiators / Heated Towel Rails made of chrome?

No, what makes radiators “chrome” is not what they are made of, but what they are plated or coated with. Chrome, white or anthracite radiators are usually made of steel and simply plated with chrome or coated with anthracite or white paint.

Q5- Can I replace my ordinary radiator with a towel radiator?

Yes, you can. From an instalment and pipe connections point of view, ordinary radiators can be replaced by towel radiators / heated towel rails, as all radiators essentially operate in the same way. Nevertheless the possibility of having to modify the existing piping, the differences in the heat output, and the corrosion factor, which is important for all types of central heating systems but more specifically for open systems, are important aspects to take into account when replacing ordinary radiators with towel radiators / heated towel rails.

Q6- What is the importance of the distance between pipe centres?

The distance between the centre points of pipe connections on towel radiators is important, because for smoother installation and less modification to the existing heating pipes, that distance must match the distance between centre points of the central heating pipes. However, if piping is to be re-done completely, then there is no need to seek matching pipe centres.

Q7- What is BTU?

BTU, short for British Thermal Unit, is a basic measure of thermal (heat) energy. In the case of towel radiators, BTU, alongside with Watts, is used to measure and determine heating needs of internal spaces, such as rooms, bathrooms and kitchens.  Technically speaking, one BTU is the amount of energy needed to heat one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit, measured at its heaviest point. In other words, if you placed 16 ounces of water at 59°F into a stovetop pan and turned on the gas burner, it would take one BTU to raise the temperature of the water to 60°F.  As more BTUs continue to flow from the gas flame, the water will eventually reach the boiling point of 212°F.

Conversion calculations: One BTU is approximately: 1054 - 1060 joules, 252 - 253 cal (calories, small), 0.252 - 0.253 kcal (kilo-calories), 778-782 ft · lbf (foot-pounds-force).

The BTU per hour (BTU/h) is the unit of power most commonly associated with the BTU. 1 watt is approximately 3.412 BTU/h, and 1000 BTU/h is approximately 293 W.

Q8- How do I know how much heat I need?

To find out your heat requirement, please use our BTU Calculator

Q9- How can I use a towel radiator?

Towel radiators / heated towel rails can be used;

a- As connected to the central heating system only,
b- As electric-only, with an electric element and without any connection to a central heating system, or
c- As dual-fuel, both with an electric element and connection to the central heating system simultaneously.

Further information about the instalment procedures for each usage; please visit Pictures & Drawings of Possible Towel Radiator Connections.

Q10- What parts are needed for central heating connection only?

Except for some designer towel radiators, which may have their connection points on the side of the radiator, the great majority of both standard and designer type towel radiators / heated towel rails have their connection points at the bottom end of the two vertical bars, facing the floor.


When pipes are coming up the floor, a pair of straight radiator valves, and when pipes are coming out of the wall a pair of either angled or corner valves are required. To find out more about the valves, please see Q12.

Q11- How are towel radiators / heated towel rails connected to central heating systems?

We strongly recommend that you use the services of qualified and certified professionals to do the installation work.

While the exact method of installation may vary from product to product, we can briefly explain how, in general, towel radiators / heated towel rails are installed. Firstly, piping must be put in place in accordance with the distance between pipe centres of the radiator, taking into account the type of connection chosen (central heating only or dual fuel). Secondly, relevant types of valves and electric elements, if any, are used to complete the water connection. Finally, once brackets supplied with radiators are used to fix them onto walls and air vent/blanking plug is placed into its designated location, the installation job may be deemed complete, except for testing for leaks or flimsy fixings.

Q12- Which valves do I need?

There are various types of valves that are designed to be used with different types of towel radiators and pipe connections. We strongly recommend that you visit connection types to determine what kinds of valves are needed for your particular situation.

Q13- Which parts do I need for Electric only towel radiators / heated towel rails?

If the product code of the towel radiator / heated towel rail you would like to purchase begins with "EL, ELT or ELS", it is either pre-filled or a dry unit. Those are by design for electric only use. Therefore, you do not need anything else except for a spur socket on the wall.

However, if you want to purchase any other towel radiator / heated towel rail, which by design connects to central heating, and convert it into electric-only use, you will need the following parts:

- Towel Radiator / Heated Towel Rails of your choice
- A matching electric element
- A blanking plug

Electric element is inserted into the bottom end of one of the two vertical bars, and the other bottom entry is sealed with a blanking plug. More information can be found on our Electric Only Use Towel Rails page.

Please note that we STRONGLY recommend you use the services of a qualified electrician to install your electric element/ electric towel rails.

Q14- How can I choose the correct electric element for my towel radiator / heated towel rails?

Generally speaking, the heat output figures stated in watts for the towel radiator / heated towel rails you are interested in can be taken as a guide for the strength of the electric element you need.  For instance, if the towel radiator in question produces 378 watts heat output when connected to the central heating, either a 300 or 400 watt electric element will the suitable choice.

Q15 - What is dual fuel towel radiator / heated towel rails?

A dual fuel towel radiator / heated towel rails is one that is simultaneously connected to central heating and electric supply. The main purpose of having dual fuel towel radiator / heated towel rails is to use it off the central heating in winter, and as electric-only in summer. For further information about dual-fuel connections, installation methods and required parts, please visit our Dual Fuel Towel Radiators page.

Q16- Which parts do I need for dual-fuel connection?

Please refer to our towel radiator connection illustrations page to see dual fuel connection options and relevant parts needed for them.

Q17- What are bathroom zones?

Using electrical equipments in bathrooms may pose various safety risks, therefore the IEE Wiring Regulations are in place to minimise these risks by dividing bathrooms into zones and determining which electrical equipments can be used in which bathroom zones. While all certified electricians are expected to know these zones, the following list and illustrations can be used as guidance only for non-professionals. Please note that we recommend that all customers use the services of a certified electrician to install their electric towel radiator & electric heated towel rails.

Zone 0 The interior of a bath tub or shower cubicle which can hold water and is likely to be affected by splashes.

Zone 1The area directly above Zone 0, which is vertically limited to 2250mm up from the bottom of the bath tub.

Zone 2 The area beyond Zones 0 and 1, which stretches 600mm horizontally and up to 2250mm vertically. Zone 2 also includes any windows with a sill next to the bath.

Zone 3 The area beyond Zone 2 which extends 2400mm horizontally and up to 2250mm vertically.