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Replacing bathroom radiator with heated towel rail

14 replies 91.9K views
geri1965_2geri1965_2 Forumite
8.7K posts

Can anyone tell me what's involved to replace a bathroom radiator with a heated towel rail - would the system need to be drained down completely or can the radiator be isolated and removed and replace with the towel rail?

I was also wondering how much it might cost for someone to do the work (labour only) assuming it is too difficult for me to do myself?

Many thanks.


  • latecomerlatecomer Forumite
    4.3K posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Unless you get a towel rail thats the same width as your existing radiator then you are going to need to alter the plumbing. What kind of valves do you have at the moment?
  • I don't know what they are called - they are small white plastic, not thermostatic.

    I was thinking of getting one the same width anyway, as my bathroom is quite small and the space it's going into is restricted.
  • latecomerlatecomer Forumite
    4.3K posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    If its the same width then it shouldn't be a big job. Provided you can shut off the valves then you shouldn't need to drain the system. Simply shut the valves off, drain the radiator and after making sure the valve connections are clea, fit the towel rail.
  • andrew-bandrew-b Forumite
    2.4K posts
    Part of the Furniture
    Not necessarily as simple... valves can be straight or angled.

    For a standard radiator the valves usually connect into the sides at left & right. If the pipework runs along at skirting level and then bends upto the valve (or if the pipes comes straight up out the floor) the radiator would have angled valves.

    For a standard ladder-type towel rail the valves connect into the bottom at either side. Therefore if you have pipes running along at skirting level and bending upto angled valves for the old radiator you would need to substitute the valves for straight valves which requires a drain down - plus also the towel rail would need to be slightly wider.

  • sparky883sparky883 Forumite
    309 posts
    We replaced a radiator in our bathroom with a heated towel rail,Against the advise of our plumbers merchant (said it would be cold) and 3 months later we swapped it back again!!
    OH THE JOYS OF BEING SELF-EMPLOYED!! Can Travel,Will Work For Free!
  • roddydogsroddydogs Forumite
    6.9K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    They dont give out much BTU, a towel rail should be as well as a radiator, not instead of.
  • latecomerlatecomer Forumite
    4.3K posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Very good point. I almost bought one from Screwfix while on offer until I realised it was only 160W. that wouldn't keep our cupboard warm nevermind the bathroom!
  • So can anyone guess why they're called 'towel rails' then:p
  • lisal0ulisal0u Forumite
    406 posts

    We have put a towel radiator into our tiny bathroom and our plumber has informed us it will not be good enough to heat the room! I checked that the BTU output would be enough for the room size but apparently towel radiators are not regulated like radiators are. So they can say it will have an output of say 1400 BTU's but that will only happen if your boiler is heating water to 90 degrees :eek:

    We have had to put underfloor heating in to make sure it will be warm enough!

    Maybe worth having a word with a plumber before you buy anything!
  • Hmmm, good point. I didn't think about any potential loss of heat.
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