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Bathroom Makeover: Fitting a Towel Radiator

Fitting a Towel Radiator

A couple of months ago, we began renovating Grant's parents bathroom. It was a loooong arduous five days and we ended completing at just 70%, leaving a few jobs left to finish off. You can read about the renovation here, here, here and here. One of the jobs we had left to finish, was to fit the new towel radiator!

I knew Grant's mum had wanted one of these, so I searched far and wide to bring her one within budget. I ended up buying one from eBay for just £30. It was brand new, unopened and originally purchased from Bath Store with a whopping £150 price tag. So I was feeling pretty darn successful with this purchase.. What a bargain!

As you probably know, we've never owned a house that has had central heating. So slightly strangely, we don't know much about radiators; how they work or how to change and replace them, quite simply because we've never needed to. So this task took quite a bit of researching. We had to check what kind of heating system they had and then how to drain radiators according to that system. I actually (for once!) had absolutely nothing to do with the research of this. I'm usually the one that spends hours researching how-tos, only to then spend hours trying to re-explain everything to Grant. Well, not this time!

As a reminder, here's what the previous radiator looked like:

Removing an Old Radiator

Draining the System

First things first, we made sure the heating system was completely off. We then had to carefully drain the system so that when it came to removing the radiator, we wouldn't have water pouring everywhere. As none of their radiators have draining taps to attach a hose to, we simply loosened a valve and had to use many many buckets to do the job instead.

Draining a Radiator

Once drained, we could remove that ugly radiator! Be gone, radiator!

Wall Behind Radiator

Altering the Pipes

Since towel radiators are rarely the same width as normal radiators, usually the pipework has to be altered as well. The new towel radiator is much smaller in width than the radiator, so we shortened the pipework accordingly. We used compression fittings for quickness. You can see the new elbow on the right where the pipe has been shortened. We also removed the old valves completely as these were far too ugly for use with our new towel radiator.

New Pipework

More Tiling

The next job was one I'm beginning to hate(!!!). Tiling. More tiling. Does it ever end?! Apparently not. So yep, up went more metro tiles to fit in with the rest of the lower wall tiling around the room.

Tiling with Metro Tiles

White Metro Tiles

Attaching the Radiator

Since the wall is tiled, we had to drill through the tiles to attach the radiator to the wall. We purchased a new, thicker diamond tile drill bit for the job. Top tip for drilling through tile: apply masking tape over the tile where you need to drill through. This will stop the drill slipping against the smooth tiles.

Drilling through Tiles

A few holes later, we could attach the new radiator to the wall! We attached the new valves to the bottom of the radiator first, and then secured the pipes onto these. And here is the finished result:

New Towel Radiator

How to Fit a Towel Radiator

New Fitted Towel Radiator

Another job ticked off... Well, almost. You might have noticed the rough corners of the tiling and the wall that needs a quick touch up... Oh and not to mention the pipework that needs boxing in. But all in all, the main task at hand is complete and I'm feeling pretty relieved to have another job ticked off the to-do list.

I should also mention that when it came to switching the central heating back on - it took about an entire day to re-heat! I don't know if this is normal, but we were getting somewhat worried that we'd broke the entire system somehow. We were manically bleeding every radiator in the house and researching possible pressure problems.. but alas, we gave up for the day and several hours later we got a message from Grant's parents saying it had finally just heated up. Not sure what that's about. One thing we did realise from their central heating is that almost NONE of their radiator valves work. To open a valve only releases major leaks. Some appeared to have even been GLUED shut. Total DIY-Bodge-Job!

I think it was worth the hassle in the end though - the new radiator looks awesome (totally wish we had heating so I could have one of these!) and I'm pretty certain they're going to be loving their nice warm fluffy towels, especially in the coming winter months!

Do you have a towel radiator? Any problems fitting yours?


  1. The most effortless approach to fit your new towel radiator is to supplant a radiator of the same width.All things considered there's no compelling reason to drain your system, or to take up your flooring and skirting boards.Simply turn off your heating,then segregate your old radiator by shutting off the valves on either side before expelling it from the wall.@Betty Allen.

  2. The easiest way to fit your new towel radiator is to replace a radiator of the same width. In that case there's no need to drain your system, or to take up your flooring and skirting boards. Simply turn off your heating, then isolate your old radiator by shutting off the valves on either side before removing it from the wall.Your new towel radiator will be connected to the existing pipework. But if you want to run chrome pipes to match a new chrome radiator, or your new radiator is a different width from the old one, you'll need to drain your system and make alterations to the pipework. This means you'll be able to choose from a much wider range of replacement radiators - and the job isn't too difficult to do with modern plumbing fittings, which are very easy to work with and need no heating or soldering. Make sure you drain the system before you begin, and remove your flooring and skirting as necessary to get to your pipework.


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