If you can stand the heat, step into the bathroomOctober 30, 2018
Given that the housing market has been subdued in 2018, many homeowners are seeking ways to improve their properties rather than move, with the bathroom frequently being one of the first areas to be modified. Here, Alex Bradley, Operations Manager at MHS Radiators, looks at how radiators and heated towel rails can be utilised to inject bathrooms with a shot of contemporary, modern styling.
The days of the bathroom simply being a functional space are long gone, especially since the evolution of luxury products such as remote controlled walk-in showers and wet rooms! Consequently, more and more homeowners are looking for the latest designer radiators and heated towel rails to feature in their bathrooms. Indeed, many radiator manufacturers now offer an array of visually stunning products specifically designed not to break the bank, resulting in a huge variety of inexpensive yet incredibly effective products, suitable for any bathroom.
Heated towel rails act as both a towel hanger and a radiator, which has led to them being fitted in many modern bathrooms due to their space saving credentials. Towel rails heat up quickly and maintain their warmth, providing a drying facility for towels, as well as helping heat the rest of the room.
It’s important to remember that towel rails are a great asset when updating a bathroom. While underfloor heating may cross people’s minds, it can be a difficult system to retrofit – and nobody wants to have their floors pulled up to install pipework or electric matting, especially when there are more cost-effective means of room heating on the market!
The design of heated towel rails has evolved over the years, from simple, ladder styles to chrome and stainless steel designs, available in various shapes and sizes. Our own Oval towel rail, for example, has a contemporary polished stainless steel styling, combining form and function with a high output. To ensure longevity, towel rails should be welded neatly and smoothly, while any surface coatings or chroming should be relatively blemish free and of the highest quality to prevent rust occurring. These two ‘tests’ are an excellent way to compare the quality of one product against another.
A key decision that needs to be made when selecting a towel rail is whether it will be used as the primary source of heat for the bathroom, or if it is to complement another emitter. This usually depends on the size of the bathroom itself and how much wall space is available. However, whatever model is chosen, it should be proportional to the room size to provide the desired heating requirements.
It may sound obvious, but towel rails are actually designed and manufactured to allow for different sizes of towel, so it’s worth bearing this in mind when completing a bathroom refurb. If the product is to warm the entire bathroom, a rail with larger diameter tubes is recommended, as these produce more heat output than rails with smaller tube diameters. The tube count is also important, as there needs to be enough to generate sufficient heat; however, some manufacturers reduce the number and diameter of the tubes to enable them to cut costs, which can have a major impact on performance of the rail.
The size of a room will also dictate how much heat is required. If space is not an issue, owners of larger properties can opt to have a heated towel rail and a radiator.
Another crucial factor is the materials encompassed in the construction of a radiator. Aluminium radiators, for instance, have grown in popularity over the years, due to their high outputs, low water content and efficient heat transfer into a room. Incidentally, this also makes them particularly suitable for low temperature heating systems, including those connected to heat pumps. Plus, the recyclability of the material means it is both practical and eco-friendly.
Alternatively, for more traditional styled interiors, cast iron radiators are an excellent proposition. They deliver an aesthetic that can’t be matched by any modern alternative, when it comes to outputs, perform very well. Of course, the important aspect to consider here is the weight of the radiators, as they are significantly heavier than steel counterparts. Consequently, it’s worth checking the supporting timbers for larger models.
Finally, in summer months, it’s worth considering a towel rail that is available as a dual fuel version. This can be useful when the central heating is switched off during the summer months – where an integral electric element can still warm towels without making the bathroom temperature too tropical!
Homeowners are always looking to improve and enhance their bathrooms. Indeed, a well-designed, stylish bathroom adds value to a home – improving the chances of selling the property in future by making it stand out from the competition.
Towel rails and radiators are going to remain key features for any bathroom for many years to come. So, whatever shapes and sizes are used, they are the most practical and robust products for ensuring bathrooms remain warm and comforting, while creating a stylish and elegant environment.
First published in HPM magazine July 2018