Central Heating Towel Rails

Guide to Central Heating Towel Rails

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


1. What Heat Output do I need from my Central Heating Towel Rail?

View Geyser's highly advanced HEAT LOSS CALCULATOR using the very latest user interface
To adequately heat your bathroom, assuming the towel rail is the only heat source, our basic recommendation for a typical bathroom is 341 BTUs per square metre of floor space - but use the chart for a more accurate calculation.


2. Do Heated Towel Rails give out Less Heat than Radiators?

If a radiator is listed as 6000 BTUs and a heated towel rail is listed as 6000 BTUs.. the heat output given is the exactly same. We offer lots of lare towel rails up to 1800mm high so we have towel rails just as large as the radiators we offer which are perfect for both heating the bathroom and storing lots of towels.
Heated Towel Rail vs Radiator for Heat Output
However there are a few small things you need to bear in mind when comparing:

A. How Many Towels You Plan to Store - If you load up your heated towel rail with lots of towels, these will absorb the heat before it reaches your room (unlike a radiator), so be mindful to go for a slightly higher heat output towel rail. If plan to store lots of towels on there we suggest 5%-15% higher BTUs.

B. Consider Freeing up the Heat Surface - We sell Towel Rings for Towel Rails and Towel Bars for Radiators which allow you to store your towels in front of the towel rail or radiator instead of directly over it. This will allow the heat to transfer more freely into the room, should this is be only heat source in the bathroom. Click here to view all Towel Rings and Towel Bar Accessories.


3. What are the ADVANTAGES of a Central Heating Towel Rail over the other 2 Types (Electric / Dual Fuel)?
  • A. The cheapest option to purchase as all you are buying is an empty rail and a set of valves. The other 2 types will be supplied with electric heating elements, so the initial outlay is more expensive.
  • B. Central heating towel rails can be controlled by the main thermostat on the system, so there is only one location to control the heat across your entire home.
  • C. These have the option of being fitted with their own thermostatic valves, to give you control of the individual rail whilst still being part of the overall system.
  • D. If you have already made the investment in a central heating system and there is pipework is running into your bathroom, it makes sense to install a central heating towel rail (or a dual fuel towel rail) to capitalise on the investment already made.
4. What are the DISADVANTAGES of a Central Heating Towel Rail over the other 2 Types (Electric / Dual Fuel)?
  • A. Drawback to central heating towel rails they can only be used when the central heating is on, which is mostly during the winter. Therefore to warm towels in the summer months you need to turn the whole system on and close the valves on every radiator, except the heated towel rail, to use this in isolation. With both of the other 2 types of heated towel rail (electric and dual fuel) you can switch the towel rail on in isolation without having the whole system on.
  • B. Can work out to be the more expensive to run, as in the morning you may want warm towels to have a shower and then leave for the day, but you'll need to switch the whole system on. With an electric or dual fuel towel rail you can fit a pre programmable on/off timer to set just the heated towel rail to come on and then go off again in the morning (even just during the weekdays).
  • C. If a central heating towel rail ever develops a fault (leak etc) it often requires the whole system to be bled to remove and replace it, whereas electric towel rails can be replaced much more easily.
  • D. If you don't have central heating pipework running into your bathroom (ie a new downstairs toilet or a new en suite) it can be expensive to have the pipework installed. In these cases it may sometimes be cheaper and more economical to install an electric towel rail.


5.What Aspects of a Heated Towel Rail determine the heat output?

Firstly: Tube diameter is directly linked to the heat output, as the larger the tubes, the higher the holding capacity of the towel rail and the greater the heat output. For the basic ladder rails (chrome straight, chrome curved, white straight and white curved) the three most common sizes available are 19mm, 22mm and more rarely 25mm. Many of the budget end ladder rails are manufactured with 19mm tubes. All of the ladder rails from Geyser are manufactured with 22mm tubes which look more substantial and provide better heat output.

For the remaining heated towel rails we offer the tube diameter varies across different models. If you are looking for the highest heat output you can find, we suggest looking for the largest 'exhaust pipe' style tubes you can see, as these will emit the most heat bar for bar.

Central Heating Towel Rails - Bigger Bars Better Heat Output

Secondly: Colour choice affects the heat output of a heated towel rail. Any sparkling chrome towel rail will give out slightly less heat output compared with a like for like model in a white, black or a brushed chrome finish. This is because the chrome plating will act as a form of insulation, thus allowing the towel rail to retain more heat internally (just like tin foil wrapped around a joint in the oven). However a painted finish like white or black will permeate the heat much better.

Central Heating Towel Rails - White vs Chrome Finish


6. What is the Difference between BTUs and Watts - the Two Scales used for listing heat output?

BTUS: Plumbers will often specify the heat output for central heating installations in BTUS and this figure will normally be in up in the 1000s. BTU stands for British Thermal Units and is a basic measure of thermal energy, where 1 BTU is the amount of energy needed to heat 1 pound of water to 1 degree fahrenheit. The figures are so high when specifying BTUS for heated towel rails as they are heating enough pounds of water to warm your whole bathroom.

Watts: Sometimes plumbers will also specify heat output in watts or kilowatts (equal to 1000 Watts). 1 watts of heat output is equal to 3.41 BTUS, so watts will always be the lower figure of the two scales. More often watts are used for specifying electric radiators & electric towel rails.

7. What Does Delta T60 mean and how does this affect the Heat Output listed on my chosen Heated Towel Rail?

Geyser list all heat output figures in Delta T60. Delta is a formula determining the way the heat output was tested in the lab. There are three different types: Delta T50, Delta T60 and Delta T70. Most British plumbers will specify heat output in accordance with Delta T60, which is why we give all heat outputs in T60, so it corresponds with the plumbers specifications. The European standard is Delta T50.

Here is a diagram to better explain this concept to you:When comparing one supplier to another you need to ensure products are being compared using the same Delta formula as it may falsely make one heated towel rail look like it is giving out more heat than another. All reputable suppliers will list the Delta measurement they are using to help you make honest comparison.

Central Heating Towel Rails - Delta Differences

If you wish to convert our Delta T60 ratings, to give you a true indication as to heat output when comparing with other suppliers in different formats, use these formulas: 

  • T70 = T60 multiplied by 1.33         T70 = T50 multiplied by  1.4
  •  T50 = T60 divided by  1.264          T50 = T70 divided by  1.4
  •  T60 = T50 multpilied by  1.264          T60 = T70 divided by  1.33

To explain the background behind the concept of Delta in more detail; All heat outputs have been obtained from controlled laboratory tests, using a standard installation criteria. From 1st July 1997 all radiators manufactured in Europe need to conform to the European standard BS EN442. Under this standard it is necessary to test radiators with a flow (inward) water temperature of 75 C and a return (outward) temperature of 65 C, in a test room with a consistent air temperature of 20 C. At a 75 C flow water temperature, and a 65 C return water temperature the mean average water temperature (MWT) is 70C. If we minus the room temperature of 20 C, we are left with a temperature differential of 50 C or a Delta T of 50.

8. Where in the Bathroom should I install my Heated Towel Rail?

Ideally, your Heated Towel Rail should be placed on the coldest wall of your bathroom. The outside wall with the window on it is often the best one. If this is not possible, try to fix it on one of the external walls of the room. This will ensure a good repetition of the heat throughout the room, which will gain in efficiency

9. What does Bar Pattern mean and does this affect the performance of the Towel Rail?

The bar pattern is the number and layout of the bars. When comparing matching products from different suppliers which appear to have the same dimensions (height x width), be mindful to check (or count) the bar pattern (as clearly listed on all of our heated towel rails). A manufacturer can greatly cut costs by reducing the tube quantity and inserting more gaps than required.

10. What Tests do the Rails undergo to ensure Quality?

All of our heated towel rails undergo a pressure test, where they are filled with pressurised air and submerged into a bath of water, so any leaks will be identified through bubbles coming up through the bath. All of our appointed manufacturing plants around the world are required to undergo these tests, meaning leaks are kept to an absolute minimum. Little details can be the most important. You may not immediately notice the quality of welding on a heated towel rail, but welding should be neat and smooth. Rough welding indicates a lack of care and is likely to lead to a pin hole leak soon after the installation.

11. I'm not keen on the fact you can see the bleed and blank plugs on top of the Towel Rail?

All towel rails will have a standard bleed valve and blank plug located on top of them - left and right. Due to customer feedback, we have introduced new cover caps which can be placed over the top of the bleed/blank to make less noticeable. Click here to see the Small Radiator Part Accessories section.

Central Heating Towel Rails - Cover Caps



12. How Chrome Plating varies across suppliers and How Deep is Geyser Chrome Plating?

If you are looking for a chrome rail, then the chrome plating will be the most noticeable feature of your heated towel rail. Chrome plating is an expensive process and represents a large percentage of the manufacturing cost, hence why chrome rails are more expensive than white or black. To ensure the highest quality is maintained the plating line at our manufacturing plant uses a motion system rather than a conventional air system. This ensures better surface quality and a greater resistance to corrosion in every area, including the welded joints.

The chrome plating density on the Geyser Chrome Straight & Chrome Curved ladder rails is 50.3 microns. This is compiled as follows: Matt Nickel 5 microns; Acidic Copper 25 microns; Bright Nickel 20 microns; Chromium 0.3 microns.

Additionally, all the chrome ladder rails we sell have been salt tested, to ensure the have the highest resistance to rusting and corrosion. This salt testing is to ASTM B117 compliancy.


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