A towel radiator is a luxurious addition to your bathroom. You can choose from lots of designs, from simple ladders in white or chrome to stylish designer models, both of which are effective in providing heat in your home and warmer your towels. You can fit them in the same way as a standard radiator.
Tools & materials required
The easiest way to fit your new towel radiator is to replace a radiator of the same width. In that case there's no need to drain your system, or to take up your flooring and skirting boards. Simply turn off your heating, then isolate your old radiator by shutting off the valves on either side before removing it from the wall.
Your new towel radiator will be connected to the existing pipework. But if you want to run chrome pipes to match a new chrome radiator, or your new radiator is a different width from the old one, you'll need to drain your system and make alterations to the pipework.
This means you'll be able to choose from a much wider range of replacement radiators - and the job isn't too difficult to do with modern plumbing fittings, which are very easy to work with and need no heating or soldering. Make sure you drain the system before you begin, and remove your flooring and skirting as necessary to get to your pipework.
How to mount a new towel radiator
You'll need to take off your old radiator and brackets and fill the fixing holes before you can put your new towel radiator up. Make sure that the wall and new fixings are strong enough to hold the weight of the towel radiator when it's filled with water. And remember to leave at least 20cm between the bottom rail and the floor.
- adjustable spanner
- long spirit level
- pipe and cable detector
- power drill with masonry or ceramic tile bits
- pipe wrench or water pump pliers
- adjustable spanner
- mini pipe cutter
- masking tape
- PTFE tape
- towel radiator with brackets and fixings
- pair of radiator valves
- 15mm copper or chrome plated copper pipe
- 2 telescopic extending radiator tails
- compression elbow joint
How to connect a towel radiator to the pipework
For the best result, if you're fitting a chrome towel radiator, use a chrome-plated copper pipe to match. You can snap a chrome-effect pipe cover over the section of visible pipe which you're not replacing. Telescopic extending radiator tails will make it easier to get a precise fit.
Top tip - Upgrade your pipes
You can give your old radiator pipes an instant makeover with chrome-effect plastic pipe covers. Simply cut them to length and snap them into place.
Top tip - Upgrade your valve
Even if you're not replacing the valve, you can often unscrew the old valve head and replace it with a new one.
Start by fitting telescopic extending tails to the towel radiator inlet and outlet. You might find it easier to do this if you take the radiator off of the wall.
Fit a compression elbow joint to the telescopic extending tail on the radiator inlet. Then cut a length of pipe to run from the new elbow to the existing radiator valve. Remember to apply PTFE tape to the threads of compression fittings.
Unscrew the old valve head and replace it with the new one, then remount your radiator. Use a suitable compression fitting to attach the radiator outlet to the pipework on the other side - you should only fully tighten the joints when all the pipework is in place and fits correctly. Then, holding each fitting steady with a pipe wrench or water pump pliers, tighten the compression nuts using an adjustable spanner. Make sure you don't over-tighten them, though.
How to run new pipework to a towel radiator
If you're planning to run new pipework to your radiator, you'll need to drain your system and expose the pipes. Make sure all your new pipe fittings are below ground level. When you've connected each side of your radiator, turn on your water and heating, and check it's working with no leaks before you replace your flooring and skirting.
Wrap PFTE tape around the threads of the radiator valve compression joint and attach it to your radiator (you might find it easier to take it off the wall to do this). Then remount the radiator.
Use a mini pipe cutter to cut through the hot water supply pipe. Then clean the cut end with wire wool.
Attach a push-fit straight coupler. Then measure and cut a short length of pipe to extend the supply pipe as far as the inlet of your new radiator.
Measure and cut a section of chrome-plated pipe to run from the radiator inlet down to the supply pipe.
Connect the horizontal and vertical sections of the new inlet pipe, using a compression elbow joint. Remember to put some PTFE tape on the threads. Repeat the process to connect your radiator to the pipework on the other side.