What controls for a duel fuel towel rail?

20 Nov 2021
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Yorkshire, England
United Kingdom
Hello all, I want to remotely control/automate a duel-fuel towel rail/rad and I don't like those controlls you find attached to the end of some elements like the pic attached (too much getting down on your hands and knees, after you've gone to get your glasses kind of thing).

My assumption of how duel fuel rads work is this if it's cold and the central heating is on, and your timer for the heating element says 'it's time to come on now and warm the towels', the element won't come on as the rad is already hot. Correct?

My second assumption is that I could have a simple stat on the rad itself, that goes back to a switch outside the bathroom in an easily accessible place, next to the light switch for example. and a box on there that is programmable. Providing my first assumption is correct I would really just need a timer, nothing fancy. Come on for 2 hours in the morning and evening for example.

I know you can get 'smart' remotes like this one ............. but it seems overkill and I don't want something with batteries in either.


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15 Jun 2021
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United Kingdom

First assumption - correct :)
Edit: as long as the water temperature is hotter than the set point of the thermostatic element.

Second assumption - not quite so simple, although my assumptions may be wrong!

If you take, for example, a wall mounted room thermostat for an electic heater; the 'stat would be measuring the temperature of the room, and could maintain a set temperature by turning the mains supply to the radiator off and on - simple!

However, the thermostat of the towel rail is measuring the temperature of the rail itself - hence the controls you have found sticking out of the bottom of the rails.
Locating a controller elsewhere wouldn't be as simple as just using a mains cable, control and sense circuits may also be necessary.

I believe the simplist solution could be to have an appropriate wattage element for your rail, or an element with a manual thermostat such as:


And then use a programmable timer, located in a convenient location, to turn it on and off as required, such as:


...or have an electronically controlled thermostatic element, but again, just turn it off and on with a timer!

I hope that makes sense! :)

Edit: ...and as long as any electrical work conforms to bathroom zoning rules etc. ! ;)

...And here is an example of the simplist solution in practice (from another users post!) :)
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27 Jan 2008
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Llanfair Caereinion, Nr Welshpool
United Kingdom
Inkbird Temp Controller ICT 308 would work,
as the temperature sensor can be put where you want it. But I would have thought it needs a little more. It will depend on you have fitted, what we want as said is if the programmer is switched on the towel rail needs to be off, other wise the electric heater will try heating the circulating central heating water.

With a modulating boiler the water should hardly ever go cold, the boiler turns up/down not on off, so set at 22°C on the inlet pipe it should not switch on if the central heating is on. But that means either a modulating thermostat on the boiler, or controlled by the TRV's. If boiler controlled by an on/off thermostat the pipes will get too cool and the thermostat will turn it one between the on/off cycles.

Personally I would use manual control, if boiler on turn off the electric.

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