Towel warmers are a relatively recent innovation for homeowners. They came on the scene in Europe some twenty years ago. Eventually they became a popular accessory for homes in America. Towel warmers come in a variety of styles and configurations. You can get plug-in towel warmers, hard-wired electric ones, and hydronic towel warmers that utilize hot water from your domestic hot water heating system or your hot water heat system. Oil-filled towel warmers are also available.
Installing plug-in towel warmers
- These units can be hung on the wall or stand unsupported on their own. If you choose the wall-hung plug-in towel warmer, follow these simple instructions.
- Locate your towel warmer on the wall of your choice.
- Make sure it is within reach of a GFI wall outlet. If you do not have a GFI outlet, you must have one installed or install it yourself. Most plug-in warmers have at least a 7 foot cord.
- Try to locate your warmer such that at least two of the supports go into wall studs. You can find these with a stud locator or by the location of windows, which have a stud on either side. Wall outlets also usually have a stud located on one side or the other.
- Mark the location of your support anchors. Verify that your anchor locations are level or your towel warmer will be crooked on the wall.
- Drill holes for the anchors. If your anchors will not go into studs, you will have to use hollow wall anchors. The best choice of hollow wall anchor for this purpose is a toggle bolt.
- Install the anchor supports.
- Hang the towel warmer and plug it in.
Installing hard wired electric towel warmers
- These units install in essentially the same way as plug-in warmers with the following exceptions.
- Make sure that you have an electrical junction box in the wall where you want to hang your towel warmer. Most likely, you will have to install one yourself or hire an electrician to install one for you.
- The electrical outlet on the towel warmer will connect directly to the cover of the junction box so this will, in turn, determine the location of the towel warmer anchor supports.
- Ideally, the towel warmer will be on a dedicated circuit because it will be on all the time. Towel warmers use less electricity than a light bulb so the electrical demand on the circuit is usually light.
Installing hydronic towel warmers
- Hydronic towel warmers take the place of a hot water radiator in a bathroom, kitchen, laundryroom, or anywhere you will want to use a warm, dry towel.
- Remove the cover from the existing radiator to gain access to the supply and return lines.
- Turn off the hot water heat system, including the boiler and circulating pump.
- Drain all the water out of the supply and return lines but not from the boiler itself.
- Cut the supply and return lines under the floor. You can gain access to them from the crawlspace or the basement, otherwise, you will have to cut an access hole through the floor of your bathroom.
- Reroute the hot water lines to match the inlet and outlet of your towel warmer in its predetermined location.
- Locate the anchor support locations on the wall.
- Install the anchor supports.
- Hang the towel warmer on the wall.
- Connect the hot water supply and return lines up to their proper respective ports on the bottom of the towel warmer.
- Make sure you install balance cocks or shutoff valves and unions on the hot water lines to the towel warmer.
- Refill and bleed your hot water heat system.
- Turn on your hot water heat boiler and circulating pump.
In general, towel warmers are set at the factory for the proper temperature.
Some of the more expensive units come with thermostats and on/off switches so you can set your own temperature and turn the unit on and off as desired.
You can use towel warmers in certain locations as another heat source, too.
Regularly clean the towel warmer or collected dirt and dust can discolor the towel warmer surface and ruin your towels, as well. You can clean your towel warmer with warm water and a mild detergent. Wipe it dry afterwards.
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