Installing a heated towel rail

Heated towel rails are a popular feature of bathrooms. They not only provide heat for the room, but they are perfect for warming up a towel so you can enjoy it after a shower or bath (I’m quite partial to throwing a robe over mine). While professionals are always available to help you install your towel rails, DIY enthusiasts can absolutely tackle this themselves.

In our quick guide, we’ll cover the steps needed when you want to install a new heated towel rail. As with every major purchase for the home, it starts with getting things right from the get-go.

Choosing the right model

Before we dive into the actual set up, it helps to take some time on the choice of rail and your options. After all, you don’t want to find out that you chose the wrong size at the last minute!

Take some measurements of the area you want to place the towel rail in so you know how much space you have available, and double-check that your pipe centres are just right. Using heating calculators also helps, as it ensures you have the right heat output for your room. You can find plenty of these calculators online. All you need is the room dimensions and a few bits of information about the room (windows and such) to get started.

Apart from the size, the style and finish will be up to your preferences. Towel rails with a chrome finish are a popular and classic choice that will work in any bathroom, but you can make a bolder choice with a black towel rail or copper one.

Installing your towel rail

Before doing any work, you’ll need to ensure that the water is turned off during the time you need to replace or install the towel rail and that you’ve bled the system. If you’re using an electric heated towel rail, you shouldn’t need to turn the power off, unless you’re opting to wire in the wall instead of using a plug socket.

Suppose you are replacing an existing towel rail with one of the same size. In that case, the process will be a lot easier since you most likely won’t have to remove the brackets on the wall – and if you do, they will already be marked for you to place new brackets.

If this is a new installation, you will need to measure where the brackets should be placed and make marks on the wall. You can do this by marking the corners of where the towel rail will be placed and working from the height to determine where the hole should be placed. Make sure the marks are levelled properly. It’s a simple mistake that could see you hanging a wonky rail.

Carefully drill the holes and proceed to attach the brackets or wall mountings to the wall. You can place the heated towel rail and connect it to the pipework at this point (unless you’re using an electric towel rail), and when you’re happy with the position, secure it with retaining screws and tighten up the nuts that connect the valves. (It helps to have someone to help you at this stage!)

Finish the installation by fitting the valve on the towel rail and open the bleed valve so the system fills with water (again, if you’re using an electric heater, that won’t be necessary). With your heating off, you need to balance the rail before it is on to help avoid trapping air.

Make sure all joints are airtight, and you can switch the heating system back on. You may need to bleed the system once more to ensure air hasn’t been trapped during the switch. It may seem like a small nuisance, but it’s one of those things that could cause a bigger problem down the line.

Installing a heated towel rail can seem like a big job, but with some preparation, it’s something that you can do yourself. I hope you’ve found this quick guide useful. You can always find other guides on the website, so don’t hesitate to check them out.