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Bathroom Radiator Towel Rail too hot?

Discussion in 'Plumbing and Central Heating' started by buckaroo, 22 Jan 2020.

  1. buckaroo

    buckaroo

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    Location:
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    We have a Bathroom Radiator Towel Rail that gets scalding hot, but cannot see the best way to turn it down?

    There are two twisty knobs either side at the bottom, and worked out that the left hand one, (clockwise) seems to turn off the water going to the radiator, as the noise stops, but even doing this, it still seems to get hot?

    Do i need to turn it fully off (if indeed thats the case with that valve?) and then turn on in increments, as there is no guide to see what setting it's set to?

    I don't know the procedure with these kind of towel warmers?

    (see photo) - thank you!

    IMG-5258.jpg
     
  2. stem

    stem

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    They are difficult to regulate. Basically the water entering them comes directly from the boiler so the towel rail will get as hot as the water leaving the boiler.

    They can be adjusted by reducing the flow with the manual valve to a 'gnats whisker' above nothing which will only allow a tiny amount of water to flow through the towel warmer, meaning that heat will be lost faster than it can be replenished, but it's fiddly and time consuming to achieve and once set, can change as the flow will fluctuate especially if you have thermostatic radiator valves changing the flow through the rest of the heating system. I closed mine completely and then just cracked it open as little as I could.

    I have two towel warmers, one like yours without a TRV which I regulate as above with some success, and the other in a larger bathroom, fitted with a TRV which does cool down as the room warms up. There is also another radiator with a TRV in the same room which I set slightly lower so that it goes off before the towel warmer does, and the towel warmer just stays nicely warm to maintain the temperature in the bathroom.

    As they are towel warmers (not 'towel radiators' as they are sometimes incorrectly termed) they are designed just to warn towels draped over them, and not to heat the room in which they are located. To prevent heat loss they have a sliver / chrome finish which reduces greatly the heat that they 'radiate' and as their heat loss is greatly reduced and they can stay hot for a long time after being switched off.
     
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  4. buckaroo

    buckaroo

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    Thank you stem, so you think i am right in just turning the left hand side regulator (as in my photo) all the way down, and then trying to open it up, as you say, to a 'gnats whisker' as it is soo sensitive!

    We just didn't know with it being so hot, that it was dangerous, if we touched it by mistake, and secondly, whether it was costing us a lot in heating with our bills?
     
  5. stem

    stem

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    It doesn't really matter which end that you regulate, the valve at either will restrict the flow of water through it. Usually there is one end with a manual valve that can be used to turn the radiator off completely by hand, and another called the lockshield that has a cover fitted that doesn't allow it to be adjusted or closed inadvertently. This is generally used to balance the system.

    I doubt it will make any difference to your heating bills, unless it was overheating the room. Towel warmers don't loose heat to the room in any great quantity, about one third that of a normal radiator of the same size and even less when covered with fluffy insulating towels.

    My towel warmer is above one end of the bath and I know what you mean about it being so hot. After removing a towel to use it on a couple of occasions I inadvertantly reversed into the exposed towel rail and.... ahem, burned a rather sensitive area :eek:

    Some older heating systems without a 'by-pass' need to have one radiator that remains open and doesn't have a TRV fitted to ensure a minimum flow of water is maintained through the boiler at all times. Generally it's the one in the room where the room thermostat is located, but if you find this is the only one, there are TRV's on all of the other radiators and you don't have a by-pass, then you might have to leave it be.

    If you are able to heat your home satisfactorily with a lower temperature set on the boiler, that will reduce the surface temperature of the towel rail and if you have a condensing boiler may that may improve its efficiency slightly.
     
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