There are two types of electric towel rails and we can simply group them as "DRY" and "WET".
DRY Electric Towel Rails
Dry electric towel rails are those where there is no water or any other liquid involved. These type electric towel rails have a silicon sealed wire inside the bars/tubes which heats the towel rail. Generally speaking these towel rails are the easiest to install. They are literally out of the box, onto the wall and wire into a fused power supply. However, their heat output is limited to maximum 100 or 150 watts and size & finishes available are quite limited compared to wet versions.
These are good enough to dry your towels and keep them warm but may not be good enough to heat the room. You should only consider this option if you have other source of heat in your bathroom or you are installing these in a small bathroom. A final note on these dry electric towel rails is that they do not have any built in thermostats which you can control the heat. Thus the surface temperature on these can get quite high and it is not recommended to use these type electric towel rails by those with delicate skin such as elderly or babies.
WET Electric Towel Rails
Wet electric towel rails on the other hand are those where a towel radiator originally designed to be plumbed into central heating are converted to electric use. Almost all towel radiators listed on our web site are compatible with this option. You may convert almost all radiators to an electric only use by simply adding an electric element and filling the radiator manually with water. Please note that Information below refers to WET electric towel rails.
How do I install an electric towel rail?
Our electric only towel rails are also wall mounted but are not connected to the central heating system. An electric element is inserted into the radiator through one of the entry points on the bottom. The second entry point on the bottom is then sealed off by a blanking plug. You will then need to fill the radiator with plain water using the third inlet/entry point on top of the radiator. You should also use inhibitors such as fernox together with water. Please remember not to fill the radiator to the top but to leave an inch or two gap for heated water to expand and move freely inside the radiator. Once the radiator is filled with water, get a trained electrician to complete the wiring and place the radiator onto the wall using the brackets supplied. You will then turn the heating element to full power and wait for the water to get as hot as possible allowing water to expand freely while the top inlet point is open. Only after the water is fully heated, you we will need to insert the air vent to the top inlet point and seal it using PTFE tape and a spanner. In other words, do not completely seal the radiator when the water is still cold or warming up. Sealing the top inlet point after the water is heated will mean that no pressure is built up during the first usage. More information can be found on our Electric Element Installation Guide - Electric Only & Dual Fuel
Which parts do I need for electric only towel radiators?
You will need the following parts for this option;
For more information, please refer to our Heated Towel Rail Usage & Connection Illustrations page.
Please note that all of the above applies when you wish to convert a plumbed in type of radiator to an electric use. If you have purchased Dry type electric towel rail with built-in element, then you do not need an element or blanking plug and you do not need to fill the radiator with water. Those ready type dry electric towel rails are literally out of the box, onto the wall and wired into a power source with no water or any other liquid involved.
Which electric element should I buy for my towel rail?
The choice of electric heating element depends on the size of the radiator and/or the type of use required from the radiator. The heat output figures in Watts, which are stated under the description of each product on our web site, may be referred to choose the right electric element for the right size radiator.
Tip!: A high wattage heating element does not mean you will get more heat out of the radiator. Regardless of the heat output of the electric element, you will still be limited the heat output of the towel radiator in question. A higher wattage electric element however will mean that the water inside the radiator will heat up quicker.
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