Replacing your old radiator with a heated towel rail is an effective way to inject a stunning element of style into your bathroom while retaining a great level of functionality at the same time. With a wide choice of options on offer, from sleek modern examples to period inspired classic designs, there’s something to suit all tastes. Say goodbye to those nasty moments when you step out of a warm shower only to be greeted by a freezing cold towel, as installing one of these items will ensure your towels are kept nice and toasty.

But how difficult are they to fit if you’re into your DIY? Well, they can be a bit challenging if you’re a complete novice at this kind of thing; however our step by step guide should enable you to tackle this job yourself so pull up a chair, get comfy and we’ll talk you through all you need to know.

The installation process

Step One: Draining the hot water

The first thing you need to do is make sure all the hot water has been drained from your heating system to avoid any nasty surprises when you come to remove the old radiator. To do this you need to locate and turn off your boiler and also ensure the water supply is cut off from the expansion tank. Run a garden hose from the drain cock and allow the water to drain out the other end into a bucket or an outside drain. Finally, simply undo the bleed valve located on the radiator and drain the item itself (it’s a good idea to place some towels or old rags around the bottom of the radiator at this point to soak up any possible leakage).

Step two: Removing the existing radiator

Once it’s drained, it’s time to get rid of that shoddy old radiator. Take care here as it can be surprisingly easy to damage tiles if you rush things. Discover exactly how to remove the item prior to doing so as this will avoid any potential mishaps. Remove the old fittings using a good quality wrench. Once loose, begin to lift the radiator away from its connecting pipes, freeing it completely from the wall.

Put the old radiator where it won’t get in the way and then cap off the exposed feed and return pipes as this will prevent any contaminants from finding their way into the internals which could cause issues further down the line.

Step Three: Assembling the new towel rail

Take the new towel rail out of its packaging but leave the protective outer coating on while installing to avoid risking any unsightly scratches appearing. Locate the blanking nuts and screw them into the holes which are at the top of the rail. Once this is complete, do the exact same thing with the bleed screws. The radiator valves should then be screwed onto the tails of the rail before proceeding to the next stage (it’s a good idea to wrap the tails with PFTE tape beforehand).

Step Four: Positioning the towel rail

Offer the towel rail up to the wall and check that clearance is good. Remember that it shouldn’t be too near to doors or fittings. Also make sure that it clears your skirting boards as well (the bottom of the rail should sit flush to the top of the board). You can adjust how high you want the rail to sit at this stage, marking with a pencil (don’t forget to use a spirit level!) exactly where it will be fitted to the wall for guidance. Mark out the position for the feed and return pipes before connecting the valves to them. With this done you should now finalise the position of the rail on the brackets to get a perfectly straight fit.

Step Five: Connecting the towel rail

You’re nearly there! All that’s left to do now are some final tweaks. With the rail connected, the fixings should be covered with clip on caps. The item should be secured to the wall at this point using the brackets provided. Close the drain cock, and reverse your initial draining process by allowing water back into the central heating system. Adjust the valves to fill the towel rail, remembering to bleed it for optimum performance. Check that there are no leaks, then sit back, get the kettle on and enjoy your new heated towel rail!

If you would like a stunning, practical look to your bathroom, take a look at our wide array of heated towel rails and discover something that will provide that perfect finishing touch.

* Please be aware that although you may wish to install this particular item yourself, it may be a smarter idea to call professionals if you aren’t overly confident in your own abilities as this will prevent any potential disasters!

Rob, Victorian Plumbing