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Frequently Asked Questions - Heated Towel Rails

Q: How large a towel rail do I need to heat my bathroom?

A: The towel rails have listed heat outputs in watts. BTUs can be calculated by multiplying the Watts by 3.412. Your plumber should be able to tell you what you need. When selecting a towel rail you should remember that it will serve two purposes, one, to heat a room and two, to warm towels. The primary job - warming and drying towels - will often use up a significant proportion of the heat output of the rail, and so it may not heat the room as fully as it might if it was unladen. For this reason if you have a particularly cold bathroom, you may wish to consider using another method to heat the bathroom, such as conventional radiators or underfloor heating, so that the towel rail is just for heating towels.

Another factor to bear in mind is that the chrome finishes on heated towel rails tend to retain heat - giving them a higher surface temperature. For a rail which is more efficient in heating the room, consider a white, mocha or anthracite finish.

Our SBH stainless steel heated towel rails are available in these finishes, to name but one range.

Q: What other benefits do stainless steel rails have?

A: Stainless steel rails can be used on open or direct systems (where the water flowing through the towel rail is the water which comes out of your taps) because, unlike a conventional steel rail, it does not need rust-inhibitors to be in the system it is used on.

Q: Electric towel rails. What are the advantages?

A: Our electric towel rails are supplied with an electric element fitted which will provide heat for the towel rail at approximately half the heat output published for use on the wet (central heating) system. This type of unit is ideal if independent control is required (ie: summer, when central heating is switched off or if there is only electric heating available).

Q: Can a heated towel rail be installed with the electrical connection at the top?

A: All electrically heated towel rails use an element to heat fluid within the rail, setting up a convection current around the rail. This means having the electrical heating element towards the bottom of the rail, so that as it heats the fluid around it, that fluid rises, starting circulation within the rail. Putting the element at the top of the rail could cause problems because the heated water would have nowhere to rise to, meaning that instead of heating the rail evenly, the corner with the element could overheat, while the rest of the rail remained cool. For this reason you should not electrify a rail with the element at the top. However, our electric kits are supplied with at least 1m of flex, meaning there is some scope to run the flex to your installation point - check with a qualified electrical installer regarding how and where your rail should be wired in.

Q: What does dual fuel mean?

A: A dual fuel installation runs on your wet system as a normal centrally heated rail would, but also has an electric element, so that during the summer months when the central heating system is off, the rail can be switched on. This system combines both wet system and electric application and allows the towel rail to be operated during the summer months when the central heating is switched off.

Before you first switch on your dual-fuel element we recommend;
bleeding the system,
bleeding the towel rail,
closing both valves, then opening the exit (return) valve a half-turn, to allow any pressure to escape when the element is on.

Q: What does 'Suitable for open circuits' mean?

A: The open circuit generally refers to the domestic hot water supply which comes through your taps. Brass & stainless steel towel rails can be fitted to the open circuit which will provide heat to the towel rail throughout the year. Should you wish to choose this method of heating, discuss this with your installer who will advise further. Dependant on your area water conditions you may require a special unit manufactured from DZR brass as aggressive water conditions can cause premature failure of your towel rail. Dezincification is not covered by your guarantee.

Q: Why do different towel rails have different guarantees?

A: Guarantees are down to the manufacturer of the item. As such you will find that some rails have different guarantee periods. You will find that standard steel rails often don't carry long guarantees like stainless steel ones.

Your guarantee has nothing to do with an item that is damaged in transit. In the unlikely event that the product is damaged in transit, we must be notified within 48 hours of delivery.

Q: Technical info?

A: We aim to show the details you'll need on our site - where line drawings of products are available, we try to display them as a large image, or in pdf form under the product.

If you have further questions, you can email our enquiries helpline - see our contacts page. We aim to reply with an answer within 1 working day. We generally do not offer carcassing information as we strongly suggest you take delivery of your goods prior to making any arrangements with your installer.

Please note: SMR will not be responsible for any installer's charges in the unlikely event of a problem with your delivery or goods.

Q: How do I order?

A: You can buy online (after passing your order details through our checkout, you can either pay online using Protx, our secure payment gateway, or contact us by phone or by fax with your card details or to arrange paying by cheque or bank transfer). Alternatively, you can call us to place your whole order by phone.

Q: What should I know about delivery?

A: See our Delivery details page.

Q: I have another question?

A: See our contacts page to send us an email with your question, or alternatively ask a question on the product page under the FAQ tab.

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