Towel radiator questions.

24 Sep 2004
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United Kingdom
To the wife's delight I'm finally about to start 'doing up' the bathroom. It hasn't been touched the 35yrs the house has been built and is looking a little jaded to say the least.

Eventually it will be a wetroom and we've decided to fit one of those fancy towel radiator things. My question is how do I go about choosing one. I don't mean in terms of its output but in terms of quality. There are so many to choose from, what materials/construction type should I be looking for? Am I ok with a £60 job from Screwfix or should I be looking at a branded item costing twice that?

Also, does anyone have any advice on the best way to plumb it in? The bathroom will have a heated floor (electric) and I'm wondering if I should add the towel rad to the CH system along with an electric element and thermostat on a timer for summer or plumb the towel rad so that its on when there is demand for HW thus giving warmed towels in the summer.

Sorry for all the questions but I want to do it right so I don't have to do it for another 35yrs!!
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I wouldn't get a £60 job from screwfix. Most plumb merchants and places like Bath Store sell decent ones at decent price - assuming you don't want any thing too fancy.

I would plumb it into the hot water primary; if you don't want it on in summer you can always turn it off but then if you do . . .

As an aside regarding your electric under floor heating. This will need its own supply from the consumer unit with a seperate RCD.
The cheapest is usually not the best.
Avoid anything with plastic brackets and those that have the bleeding screw directly in the rad.
Towel rad should be installed the same as any other rad; fed and controlled by the heating pipes and a trv on the flow.
Old fashioned way of feeding rads in the bathroom from the cylinder is not compliant with part L of building regs and hence technically speaking illegal.
Old fashioned way of feeding rads in the bathroom from the cylinder is not compliant with part L of building regs and hence technically speaking illegal.

Didn't realise that. Could you ref where in part L it says this? Thanks :)

Do you mean the "All dwellings should have a seperate hot water heating zone in addition to space heating zones" bit?
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Yes, that bit and some more ill-fated elaborate attempts to create all-encompassing definitions.

As with most things in building regs, there is no specific paragraph that says you must not pipe a rad from the heating circuit. Though you may be right technically speaking, joe public has very little common sense and tends either not to listen or not to understand. In the long run it will up the bill, and reduce the performance when you mix dhw and ch.

Personally, I think the whole part L is a lot of nonsense that has more holes in than Swiss cheese. Another example of politically correct red tape that serves no other practical purpose than to create 1000 jobs for civics (looks good on the stats, labour got another 1000 off the dole) and collect millions in tax.
True, trying to get Hevacomp to give you Part L "pass" is a fecking nightmare too.

Re connecting a towel rail to the primaries, didn't know this was now frowned upon. Can't really see the problem as surely it's just adding a small amount of duty onto the DHW primary circuit?

I wouldn't bother with a TRV either as you rarely adjust the temperature of your bathroom, you just want warm towels and not to freeze whilst you're on the throne.

As for the selection of a towel rail, the design of it plays a huge part, i.e. do you want a contempory style one or an everyday ladder-style? If the latter then why not look at the cheaper end as it's all made from the same stuff!
I think I'll continue to put towel rails (one or maybe two) on the DHW if that's what someone wants. As you say it is not specific, like alot of these things, and as long as the rest of the central heating is installed with proper control etc I don't see a problem. It is "guidance" after all :D It could, possibly, be argued that it is a more efficient use of the DHW only duty cycle! ;)
Exactly, you'd only have to use an electric element if you piped it to the CH circuit to get it working in summer.
Thanks for the replies, they are greatly appreciated.

I will avoid plastic brackets and rubbish bleed screw arrangements.

bengasman, thanks for the info regarding current regs. I didn't know that! I have chosen to add the towel rail to the CH circuit and add a thermostatic element and timeswitch for use in the summer months.
I suspect that you may struggle to find one WITHOUT plastic brackets!!

Every one that I have ever fitted seems to have poxy multi sided plastic adjusting pieces !! :evil:
I bought a small Towel Radiator for about £90 from B&Q with plastic brackets. All went fine, except the fnishing trims just won't go over the nuts on the bottom bracket, apart from the it looks great.

It specifically states in the instructions you MUST NOT connect it to the DHW it must be installed as part of the Central Heating System. I have no idea why it says this or the implications if you install it as part of the DHW zone.

Also if you are replacing an old traditional radiator, then the heat output of towel radiator is no where near as much. So to get the same heat output you will need a considerably larger Towel radiator.

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