Heated towel rails are a modern trend that work wonders in a bathroom, both in terms of design and application. They look sleek, smart and make excellent use of often limited space, and benefit the environment by reducing the number of washing cycles required for wet towels, while also ensuring that every bathroom experience is a pleasurable one.
However, connecting and fitting heated towel rails to a central heating system is a more involved task than many avid DIY fans may at first think.
There are a number of considerations to be made when installing such a heated towel rail at home, and, if replacing an existing rail or radiator rather than fitting a new rail in a brand new space, care should be taken to drain down the radiator system and removing the old radiator first, turning off the water before commencing any work.
Choose a rail
The first real point to consider is the design of rail in relation to the intended installation space, particularly the position of the existing central heating pipes. There are a great variety of heated towel rails, each of which will work well in a specific space and for a specific purpose. There are many different styles of heated towel rail to choose from, to see what we mean check this site.
Assemble your tools
After making a selection, be sure to have the right tools to hand. These include: a hammer action drill driver with masonry bit, a hammer, a Philips screwdriver, an adjustable spanner, a pair of grips, a tape measure, raw plugs and screws, a pencil, a spirit level, PTFE tape, radiator valves that fit your chosen rail and relevant Allen key for the valves.
Assemble the towel rail
Using the adjustable spanner fit the two nuts (blanking nut and bleeding nut) in to the top section of the towel rail, taking care to ensure the bleeding hole on the bleeding nut is facing the outside of the rail.
Thread PTFE tape around the threads on the radiator valves, then fit the valves at the bottom end of the rail, tightening using the Allen key (if appropriate – some varieties of radiator valves do not require an Allen key).
Fit holding brackets in place
The position of the existing radiator pipes is the start point for all further installation of a new heated towel rail. Using the spirit level and tape measure, find the mid-point between the two pipes and draw a vertical line on the wall from this mid point to the top of where the rail will fit on the wall. Do the same at the top to find and mark-off the points corresponding to the top bracket positions on the towel rail.
Drill through these points, only switching to hammer-action mode following drilling through the outer tile and reaching masonry (when drilling into masonry. It is important to check the material being drilled into and adjust drilling style accordingly). Place the raw plugs in these holes, ensuring they are not above the surface of the tile (use a hammer and nail or screw to push them in to the masonry if necessary).
Place the screws through the relevant hole in the bracket and use the Philips screwdriver to screw them in. Part the retaining bracket to reveal the groove in which the radiator will sit, and place the bracket back on the wall. Replace the locking screw back into the hole on the underside of this retaining bracket now fixed to the wall. The wall-mounted brackets are locked in place.
Place the towel rail in the brackets
Take the locking nuts off the bottom of the towel rail and place them on the heating pipes protruding from the wall or floor. Place the towel rail on to the top brackets that we have just fitted in the step above. Place the front of the connection brackets onto the front side of the towel rail and screw in. This will keep the rail in place. Place the bottom brackets on to the pipes and screw in the locking nuts, tightening as necessary.
Place bottom brackets
The location of the bottom brackets can only be marked once the towel rail is being held in place by the top brackets, so using the pencil mark off their position and then remove the towel rail. Utilise the same procedure to fit the bottom brackets as when fitting the top brackets.
Connect the radiator valves to the pipes
Place PTFE tape around the thread on the connection valves to ensure the seal is watertight and tighten the locking nuts using the adjustable spanner, ensuring they are at full lock. Having followed the procedures outlined above and measured all distances and areas correctly should mean that there will not be any need to reposition any pipes.
With the heated towel rail now in place and the water supply resumed, opening the radiator valves at the bottom of the rail will commence filling. Remember to bleed the rail using the bleeding nut at the top to ensure that all air is expelled and to ensure the rail will work correctly. If using a combi-boiler, re-pressurise the system as necessary.