A Quick Guide to Dual Fuel Heated Towel Rails

A chrome towel rail with a thermostat
2 October 2023 3361 view(s) 3 min read
A Quick Guide to Dual Fuel Heated Towel Rails

Dual fuel heated towel rails are a great idea for bathrooms that remain a little chilly throughout the year.  They are part of a central heating system but can also be switched over to use electricity and work independently from the main system.  This means that if you still want to warm your towels in the summer, you don’t have to turn your entire central heating system on to do so.

Buying a Dual Fuel Towel Rail

A wide range of towel rails can be converted to dual fuel by using a dual fuel kit.  

To select the right dual fuel kit for a towel rail:

Choose a Valve.
All towel rails require valves, as they control the amount of hot water that enters and leaves the towel rail, regulating the heat that the towel rail can generate. Alongside a pair of standard valves, for dual fuel installations, a T Piece is also required. This allows both an element and a valve to be fitted to the same connection on a towel rail. Alternatively, there are Dual Fuel TRV valves available, which incorporate a TRV, Lockshield and an integrated T Piece to accommodate the element, for a neater finish.

Choose an element

Radiator heating elements slot into the towel rail and heat it using mains electricity. It is important to select the correct size element, as if it is too small it won’t provide enough heat, too large and there is a risk it could burn out.

As guidance, the following chart shows the towel rail output in watts and the corresponding recommended size of the element.

Towel Rail Output Range in Watts Electric Elements
165 - 255 200w
260 - 375 300w
380 - 530 400w
535 - 735 600w
740 - 920 800w
920 - 1100 1000w

 

If you are unsure of the wattage of the towel rail but know the BTU, the wattage can be calculated by dividing the BTU by 3.41.

 

Installing a Dual Fuel Towel Rail

Dual fuel towel rails are fitted just like standard ones. They need to be plumbed in and hung on the wall. The only difference is that you’ll also need a fused spur near the entry valve.  A certified electrician may need to do this and have the work signed off for Building Regulations.  In fact, the installation of any electric dual fuel towel rail should ideally be left to a professional, as there are a number of regulations in place that cover working with water and electricity in close proximity.

Using a Dual Fuel Towel Rail

Dual fuel towel rails are designed to run as part of a central heating system or from mains electric, they can’t do both at the same time.

To run a dual fuel towel rail as part of the central heating system:

  1. Ensure the heating element is turned off
  2. Check the bleed valve/air vent is closed tight
  3. Turn the inlet and outlet valves on

To run a dual fuel towel rail from mains electric:

  1. Ensure the inlet and outlet valves are completely off, isolating the towel rail from the central heating system.
  2. To avoid pressure building up in the towel rail, slightly loosen the air vent.
  3. Only then turn the heating element on

Dual fuel towel rails offer a household the most economical way of heating a room in both the winter and summer months.  For our range of dual fuel towel rails, see here.

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