Electric Towel Rails

Guide to Electric Towel Rails 

Note: We have three different technical guides all related to heated towel rails:

Electric Towel Rails are idea for bathrooms without central heating pipework running into them. They don't use a lot of electricity to run and give you the double functionality of a heat source for the bathroom along with a place to store and dry your towels.


1. What is the Correct Wattage of Electric Towel Rail needed for my bathroom? 


View Geyser's highly advanced HEAT LOSS CALCULATOR using the very latest user interface, which calculates requirements for both electric and central heating systems.

Our basic recommendation for an electric towel rail in a typical bathroom is 100 watts per square metre of floor space.


2. What is the difference between Single Heat and Variable Heat Electric Towel Rails?

We offer two types of Electric Towel Rail as follows... 

Electric Towel Rails - Single Heat vs Variable Heat

  Single Heat Electric Towel Rails

  • The cheaper option of the two.
  • Easy to use, simply operates from the switch on your fused spur (normally the switch is located outside the bathroom, as switches are not permitted in UK bathrooms).
  • No direct control of the temperature, as a single heat electric towel rail will regulate at a fixed internal heat of approximately 65 degrees (note: this doesn't mean the surface temperature of the electric towel rail will be exactly 65 degrees but close to).
  • Some customers have retro fitted our additional Temperature Control Plate to their single heat electric towel rail because they found the surface temperature too hot for them (think about the position of your electric towel rail and how close it may be to bare skin).
  • Towel rails with exterior finishes in chrome, brushed stainless and black come with a matching chrome coloured heating element (as pictured above) with a matching grey flex. The white rails come with a matching white coloured heating element with a matching white flex

  Variable Heat Electric Towel Rails

  • The more expensive option of the two.
  • Use the '+' and '-' buttons to choose the desired internal temperature between 20 and 70 degrees, across 5 settings, each in increments of 10 degrees. 
  • LEDs will flash to denote element is working up (or down) to your chosen temperature and then the LEDs will turn static once that temperature is achieved.
  • Features a "2hr Countdown Boost" function whereby if pressed when off will boost up to full temp for 2 hours and back off after 2 hours; if pressed when on will boost up to full temp for 2 hours and back to previous on setting after 2 hours.
    Features an internal thermostat (located on the probe of the element inside the electric towel rail) which registers 
    the internal temperature of the solution. Once the required temperature is achieved the element regulates at +/- 2 degrees (by switching on and off) to maintain the temperature.
  • This is the safer option if you have children as you can easily turn down the temperature of the rail making it much cooler to the touch.
  • As we offer 4 different colours of variable heat heating element (as pictured above) we match all towel rail colours to the same colour heating element (ie white with white etc). 


3. Can I connect an Electric Towel Rail myself and are there any important things I need to know about fitting one?


Many people like to attempt their own DIY nowadays and you may be thinking about installing your own electric towel rail. Our advice is that, unless you know exactly what you're doing that you seek professional help from a fully qualified electrician. An incorrectly fitted appliance can be lethal, especially in a bathroom where there is lots of moisture. Your chosen heating element will be supplied loose in the box (so that you have the choice of fitting this to the left or right hand side of the electric towel rail), but more importantly, this puts the onus on the electrician to ensure that it has been inserted, earthed and connected properly to ensure it is safe in your home.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: When installing an electric towel rail it is imperative that on first use the electric towel rail is FULLY COMMISSIONED FOR THERMAL EXPANSION. This involves creating the correct internal vacuum of solution (as per the comprehensive 2 page fitting instructions supplied with every electric towel rail purchased from Geyser). If this isn't done the electric towel rail can potentially blow one of the blank plugs out, then hot water can spray out and potentially scald a member of the household. This is due to the fact it is a sealed, closed unit (unlike a towel rail connected to a central heating system), therefore when the heating solution inside heats up it will expand. If the internal vacuum isn't correct there is nowhere for the expanded liquid to escape, so this will then force the blank plugs out of the rail and it will blow (sometimes even right off the wall).


Your electric towel rail runs on the same voltage as most household electrical appliances. It will be connected to fused spur, with a separate on / off switch located outside the bathroom. Fused spurs are well known to electricians and connection is no problem. Our electric towel rails are all perfectly safe for use in a bathroom environment (see question 5 below for more info on how and why).


Electric Towel Rails Connects to Switched Fused Spur

4. Are there any limitations as to where an electric towel rail in a bathroom can be fitted?

Yes and the guidelines regarding this are detailed in the IEE wiring regulations 2008 which we have detailed as follows:

Firstly, an electrical appliance fitted in a bathroom must have an appropriate IP rating (Ingress Protection) which is a measure of the protection against water infiltration. All Geyser electric towel rails are IP54 rated or higher which means they all have the correct IP rating (more info on IP Ratings in question 5 below).

Secondly, there are certain areas in the bathroom where the electric towel rail should not be installed. The diagram below, splits the bathroom into 4 different Zones and explains which zones you can and cannot install into.

IEE Wiring Regulations for an Electric Towel Rail

Ultimately, it is your decision as where to install your electric towel rail, but we advise you follow these guides to reduce the risk of electrocuting yourself or your family. In the images above you can see the electric towel rail on the right has been installed above the bath and this could be a potential risk if someone slipped in the bath, grabbed hold of this rail and pulled it off the wall. If you are a landlord we strongly advise you follow these guidelines as otherwise if your tenants electrocute themselves, they could sue you for not adhering to the Wiring Legislation. In your own home it's your own risk, so the decision lies with you.

5. What is IP Rating of the Elements supplied with Geyser Electric Towel Rails?

IP Rating is an international classification system for the sealing effectiveness of enclosures of electrical equipment against the intrusion into the equipment of foreign bodies (i.e. tools, dust, fingers) and moisture. This classification system utilises the letters "IP" ("Ingress Protection") followed by two or three digits. All of electric towel rails from Geyser are supplied with elements which are either IP54 or IP 55 rated.

  • The first digit of the IP code indicates the degree that persons are protected against contact with moving parts.
    • Our first digit is 5 - which means - Protection from dust that would interfere with the operation of the equipment.
  • The second digit indicates the degree of protection of the equipment inside the enclosure against the harmful entry of various forms of moisture.
    • Our second digit is 4 or 5 - which means - Protection from splashed water, so safe against typical water splashes in a bathroom.

6. How long is the cable supplied with the Electric Towel Rails?

The Single Heat electric towel rails are supplied with a 1.2 metre length cable. The Variable Heat electric towel rails are supplied with a slightly longer 1.5m metre length cable. Both can simply be cut down to size as required for your bathroom. Should you need to extend these, you will need to ask your electrician to do this. It will need to be extended and not replaced, as you cannot open the element to put a new longer cable on it.

7. What type of Heating Solution is used in Geyser Electric Towel Rails?

Modern techniques mean we can now use a water based heating solution. Traditionally an oil based solution was used, but increased environmental concerns, rising costs of oil and the fact it was very messy if it ever leaked, have led to the perfect water substitute being adopted. Due to the volume of electric towel rails we sell, we have invested in a dedicated "Electric Prep Station" which dispenses the required amount of heating solution into the electric towel rail using pressurised hand levers. An overhead water tank contains the pre mixed solutions, which is made up from the following Glycol Compound Solutions:

1. FERNOX Rust Inhibitor... which eliminates lime scale build up and contains anti-corrosive properties.

2. FERNOX Boiler Noise Silencer... which promotes a quieter operation when the heating solution starts to bubble inside.

Many of the budget electric towel rail suppliers only use water to save on cost, so ensure the relevant additives are being used when making comparisons between our products and other suppliers.


Electric Towel Rail Preparation Facilities

8. What are the exact contents of an electric towel rail?

Our electric towel rails are supplied complete with the following contents:

1. The Rail

  • 95% filled with heating solution and sealed, this allows for expansion of the solution once hot
  • pre fitted with 3x blank plugs and 1 x bleed valve, each with PTFE tape fitted around the thread to form a water tight seal
  • supplied with the relevant number of fixing brackets to mount the product onto the wall

2. Your Chosen Heating Element (single heat or variable heat)

  • supplied loose in the box, so that you have the option of fitting this to the left or right hand side of the towel rail (depending where your fused spur is located, space limitations in your bathroom etc)

3. Detailed Fitting Instructions

  • we supply comprehensive A4 double sided fitting instructions to guide your electrician through installing the electric towel rail note: these are normally found in the packaging with the element

9. How long do the heating elements last and what is the Guarantee on them?

Your element will last for many years, but just like the element in your kettle this depends on how much you use it. Heavy sustained daily usage will shorten the lifetime of element. Normally they will simply stop working and you will know it has reached the end of its life. They are easy to replace. The heating elements are all guaranteed for 2 years. Note: The product itself (ie the towel rail) will have its own separate guarantee which is normally 5 to 25 years (see the respective product page under "Tech Data" heading for details of this). Should your element develop any kind of fault within the first two years we shall simply request it back from you to verify the fault and supply you with a brand new one.


10. What are the Running Costs of an electric towel rail?

The exact running costs of your electric towel rail will vary taking into account different factors such as the time of year and the insulation of your bathroom. Here is a chart we have created to give you a guide as to the costs of running one:

Estimated Running Costs of an Electric Towel Rail 

11. What Accessories can I Purchase for an Electric Towel Rail?

Here at Geyser we offer many accessories for electric towel rails including:

  • Pre Programmable Digital Timers
  • Temperature Control Plates
  • Element Housing Units
  • Cover Caps

Click Here to go to the "Heating Elements and Related Parts Accessories Page" to see the latest accessories on offer.

12. How do Geyser Calculate the Heat Output Figures Listed Against each of your Electric Towel Rails?

The heat output listed on each of our electric towel rails is determined by the wattage of the element it is supplied with. We list the heat output in Watts which is the most common scale for electric towel rails. We also list the output in BTUs (British Thermal Units) (more common for central heating installations). For example a 400 watt element would also be listed as 1364 BTUS (as BTUs = Watts x 3.41, so 400 watts x 3.41 = 1364 BTUs).

As the heat output listed is governed by the element supplied, for this reason you may see different dimensions of electric towel rails listed with the same heat output. For Example: If you had two electric towel rails, say 1150h x 350w and 1150h x 450w, both might be supplied with a 400watt element so both would have the same heat outputs listed even though one rail is bigger. Thinking about this in a physics sense the larger rail at 1150x450 rail is going to give out slightly more heat into the room as it has a larger surface area with which to do this, however it is still consuming 400 watts of electric and therefore the output in watts is still 400 for both size rails.

13. How do Geyser decide which wattage of element is supplied with each size of Electric Towel Rail?

The wattage of the element supplied with each electric towel rail is determined by various factors. We have a set range of different wattage elements we stock and therefore every towel rail will be assigned one of those elements. You can rest assured if you buy an electric towel rail from Geyser, all the work involved in choosing the appropriate heating element to supply it with, has been accurately calculated and the electric towel rail will have been tested at our in house testing facilities to ensure it has the right surface temperature and heat output.

Some of the Factors taken into account are:

1. the volumetric capacity of the electric towel rail (how much heating solution it holds)

2. the overall size of the towel rail (height vs width)

3. the type of material it has been manufactured in (as some materials conduct heat faster than others - ie white conducts better than chrome).

14. I Want to Replace the element in my existing Electric Towel Rail - which wattage should I buy?

Firstly, look on the back (or side) of your existing element, as the wattage will be listed on there and this way you can replace with like for like.

Secondly, we have provided this list of all the different wattage elements we sell and the corresponding dimensions of electric towel rails we suggest those elements are suitable for. Note: This is purely a rough guide and there is flexibility either way on the wattage. Note: This list is based on the height dimensions of portrait orientation rails, so it the rail you are buying is wider than it is tall, use the width measurement of your rail for the figures below:


Single Heat Elements (all wattages available in chrome & white)

150 watts:   0mm high   >   700mm high

200 watts:  701mm high   >   800mm hgh

300 watts: 801mm high   >   900mm high

400 watts: 901mm high   >   1100mm high

500 watts: 1101mm high  >   1200mm high

600 watts: 1201mm high  >   1301mm high

700 watts: 1301mm high  >   1500mm high

900 watts:  1501mm high   >   1800mm high

Variable Heat Elements (all wattages available in chrome, matt grey, black and white)

300 watts: 0mm high  >   900mm high

600 watts: 901mm high   >   1500mm high

800 watts: 1501mm high   >   1700mm high

1000 watts:  1701mm high   >   1800mm high

Thirdly, you could find a similar sized electric towel rail to yours that we sell here on our website and see what element we provide with that rail (as wattages won't always follow this guide for unusual size rails).


Copyright © 2003 - 2016 geyser.co.uk. All rights reserved