Installing a new heated towel rails can seem daunting, but with a little common sense and technical know-how, it can often be done without the need to consult a plumber!
Selecting the right heated towel rail
To ensure you choose the a heated towel rails whose dimensions (or at least the relative positions of the water pipes) match as closely as possible with your existing pipework, as this reduces the likelihood of additional plumbing work being needed, and the ensuing re-tiling.
A lot of manufacturers (such as Aquaheat and Heatwise) have “standard” sized towel rails, whose piping arrangements are roughly analogous. So, the best way is to select a towel rail whose dimensions match your current one as closely as possible.
Another factor to consider is the heat output. The last thing anyone wants is a heated towel rails which either lacks the output to keep your bathroom warm, or is so hot that your bathroom may feel unpleasantly tropical! The output of heated towel railss is measured in BTU’s, or British Thermal Units. Many DIY websites include a BTU calculator, and the only technical information you’ll need are the dimensions of the room.
Replacing your heated towel rail
The first thing you need to do is drain your central heating system completely to prevent serious leaks.
Unscrew the pipes attached to the towel rail, bearing in mind that you should have a bucket nearby in case the central heating system still has residual water left.
Once your old rail is removed, remove any dirt and debris from the pipe ends, as this will be forced through your new towel rail and will damage it. Install your new heated towel rails as per the specific instructions included in the box, being sure to use the recommended number of screws (heated towel railss can be heavy, especially when full of water).
When connecting the pipes together, be sure to check that they’re fully tightened. Applying PTFE tape (plumbers tape) to the screw-threads first will give a watertight seal – PTFE tape is commonly available from DIY shops or most supermarkets.
Once the towel rail has been installed & connected to the water supply, refill the central heating system with water, making sure you keep a careful eye on your new towel rail, as this is when any leaks will become apparent – it may be safer to have someone near the stopcock to disconnect the water if you detect a water leak!
Having fitted your heated towel rail and refilled the central heating system, you’ll need to bleed the towel rail like a radiator, as some air will have become trapped during installation.