If you want to give your bathroom an instant update, look no further than a dual fuel towel rail. To the untrained eye these might just look like normal heated towel rails, but they signify someone who knows what they’re doing when it comes to their bathroom. Read on to find out why and how you should be investing in one of these bathroom heating essentials.
What Even is a Dual Fuel Towel Rail?
To put it simply, a dual fuel towel rail is a heated towel rail which is connected to both your central heating and mains electricity. Whilst central heating towel rails heat up when the central heating is on (and so while the rest of the house is heated too), dual fuel towel rails are connected via electricity too. This makes them extremely efficient, as they can run both alongside and independently of your central heating, making them perfect during the summer months when you want a warm bathroom to heat your towels.
Why Should I Buy One?
Whilst the prospect of a warm, fluffy towel all year-round to greet you at the end of your shower is enough for us to invest in a dual fuel life, others might need a little more persuading. Aside from the added luxury of a warm bathroom, there are a number of reasons why a dual fuel radiator should be top of your wish-list.
No matter what the season, a warm towel from your bathroom radiator is a luxury that’s bound to improve your day. Heating a centrally heated towel rail independent of the rest of your home would involve turning off every radiator in your house other than the bathroom, and running the central heating. Nobody has time for that, and it’s also not very efficient. Dual fuel towel rails allow you to heat your bathroom using the central heating in the winter, and using electricity in the summer months.
Energy Saving & Cost-Effective
Because of this flexibility, dual fuel towel rails are much more cost effective than either a centrally heated radiator, or a towel rail heated solely by electricity. They give you the option to use the most energy-efficient power source whatever the season. Combine your dual fuel with a thermostat and you can be even more smug about your energy-saving bathroom. In the warmer months, you’ll only need to heat your bathroom for a short amount of time - perhaps just in time for your morning shower. Dual fuel towel rails offer you this flexibility without doubling your heating bill or turning the rest of your house into a sauna!
Why Not Just an Electric Towel Rail?
Whilst electric towel rails will allow you to heat your towels or warm your bathroom independent of the central heating, they are less efficient to use throughout the year. Whilst they are perfect for the summer, they aren’t nearly as cost-efficient as a dual fuel radiator, a towel rail which gives you the best of both worlds - a centrally heated and electric radiator packed into one neat dual fuel kit.
How Do You Buy a Dual Fuel Towel Rail?
The first step when it comes to purchasing a dual fuel is to use a BTU (or British Thermal Unit) calculator to work out how much heat output you’ll need to warm your bathroom comfortably. This will be affected by the size of your room, types of window and ceiling/wall insulation – all of which are taken into consideration. It’s extremely easy to do this online and essential if you want your radiator to heat your bathroom to a comfortable temperature.
Next step is to choose any standard, non-electric towel rail. These are readily available and can be purchased in a huge array of styles and designs to suit virtually any bathroom.
After choosing any standard, non-electric towel rail, the next step is to figure out what heating element you'll need for that size radiator. To figure this out, divide your chosen towel rails' output in Watts by 1.81 and keep that number in mind. Then, browse through our dual fuel heating elements and select one that is suitable by rounding up. For example, if your required output is 247W then a 300W heating element will suit you perfectly. You’ll also need a pair of radiator valves and a T-piece to slot into your radiator to heat it via electricity.
How to Install a Dual Fuel Towel Rail
As much as we love to think of ourselves as DIY kings and queens, when it comes to dual fuel towel rails, you will probably need to get in a professional. Whilst there a huge variety of installation guides online, we would urge you not to go it alone and instead get the help of someone who knows what they’re doing. If you do decide to tackle the task 'in-house', there are a few essential things to consider first:
- Positioning - all bathrooms are split into 'Bathroom Zones' that identify where electrical products are suitable to be fitted. It's important to make sure that your lovely new dual fuel towel rail is installed a safe distance away from water outlets such as your bathtub or shower.
- IP (Ingress Protection) Rating - an international standard that defines the amount of sealing effectiveness for any electrical product. All bathroom towel rails should have a suitable IP rating for safe operation.
- Replacing an old radiator - if you're wanting to rejuvenate your bathroom with an upgraded towel rail, make sure to take note of where the pipes currently are as this is will be the most practical and easy way to switch things up.
How Do You Use a Dual Fuel Towel Rail?
A dual fuel towel rail is extremely simple to use. It works the same way as your standard central heating radiator, but with an extra switch, making it easy to swap between central heating and element heating.
To activate the central heating mode, turn the input valve anti-clockwise as far as it will go. This will allow hot water to flow into the radiator, meaning that when your central heating is on, so is your dual fuel radiator. This is the perfect setting to use in winter, when you want your bathroom to be warm alongside the other rooms in the house.
To run the radiator independently of the central heating, turn the input valve clockwise as far as it will go. This will stop hot water from flowing into the radiator, you can then switch on the electric element and have a warm bathroom independent of the rest of the house.
Duel Fuel Heating Summary
We hope this post has shown that dual fuel radiators do a lot more than heat your bathroom towels! They can also save you money and add an element of luxury to your bathroom, that you might not get to experience otherwise!
- Dual fuel towel rails are heated to both the central heating and mains electric
- It's quick and simple to switch between inputs
- They are efficient and cost-effective
- Electric elements can either be a set temperature or variable
- Get a professional out to help you install your dual fuel radiator
- Enjoy warm, fluffy towels straight from the radiator, year-round, while saving money at the same time!