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Options for Bathroom Radiators and Heaters

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 19 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Bathroom Radiators Heated Towel Rails

Walking into a cold bathroom can be a real shock, particularly first thing in the morning. Fortunately bathroom heating options are more numerous these days and it's no longer a choice between radiators or the glowing red electric heater that never seemed to do much anyway. And even if you are tied to having a radiator in the bathroom, there are lots of funky contemporary designs so it doesn’t have to be a boring affair.

There are essentially four different options for bathroom heating:

  • Bathroom radiators (with or without towel rails)
  • Hot air fan heaters
  • Radiant convector heaters
  • Underfloor heating (fluid-filled or electric)

Bathroom Radiators

Let's look at radiators first. For many people they are really the only option as the whole house has gas central heating and so you your choice is radiators in every room. Some bathroom radiators come with heated towel rails integrated into them so that towels can be warm and dry for you too.

Some massive heated towel rails, sometimes known as 'towel radiators', are just stacks of rings or rails so that you can put lots of towels on them but, glamorous as they are, they are not as efficient at heating the bathroom. This means that unless you have the space for a very large and tall one, you will have to have a normal bathroom radiator as well.

There are also now vertical bathroom radiator designs on the market which allow you to have a much larger heat output in the bathroom without increasing the amount of lateral wall space given over to it. At the sharp edge of contemporary design there are completely flat radiators which have mirrors, lighting and even LED clocks and calendars on them. For a price, of course.

Other Forms of Bathroom Heating

Moving away from radiators there are a number of options for those who don’t have gas central heating. The good news is that none of them take up precious wall space but the bad news is that none of them are as efficient at warming a room up and you can't dry towels on them. Unless, of course, you opt for electric radiators, but more on those in a moment.

Wall mounted electric bathroom heaters are either warm air fan heaters or convector heaters, the contemporary version of the dangerous looking red glowing bar heater. These are perfectly good at heating the bathroom but the fan heaters can be noisy and both types use a lot of electricity. They both have a further downside in that the bathroom quickly cools down again once they are turned off.

But back to those electric bathroom radiators that were mentioned earlier. If you are prepared to lose the wall space you can install these instead of wall mounted bathroom heaters. They are fluid filled and have thermostats, some have 7-day timers too. So you can set it to come on a warm your bathroom up before you stumble into it of a morning.

Underfloor Heating for Bathrooms

Underfloor heating has come on a great deal recently and is now much more a mainstream product. It's great in a bathroom as it makes the floor warm underfoot, which feels really luxurious There are two variations, the first is fluid filled, essentially a big flat radiators under your floor.

This is tricky to install just for a bathroom as it has to be linked into a different system at your boiler as it runs at a different temperature. This is a lot of work and is probably only worthwhile if you are installing underfloor heating throughout the house.

The second type, probably more relevant for a bathroom, is electric underfloor heating. This can be either a coil or a mat which is laid under the flooring and linked into the electricity supply. They can be fitted with a simple on/off control with a thermostat or a programmable control like a central heating control system. Care needs to be taken when selecting a system like this as not all floor types are compatible and some coils or mats need to have a concrete screed laid over them.

Treat Yourself

One thing is for sure: people are no longer starved of choice and a warm bathroom should now be within reach of most people. If you aren't able to change the heating in your bathroom, you could opt for a little bit of luxury in the form of a heated bathroom mirror. It won’t do much in the way of heating the bathroom but it will make sure you never have to stare helplessly at a misted up mirror again.

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