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Towel Warmer Information and Education

An in depth look at towel warmers to help you purchase the best-fit model for your needs and budget

Do you want to know everything about towel warmers?

Towel Warmer Information and Education Many homeowners today share the opinion that a towel warmer not only adds value but style, elegance and warmth to any room in the home. No longer confined to the bathroom, towel warmers are gaining popularity in kitchens, bedrooms, mudrooms and basements for added heat and to reduce moisture, humidity and mildew. The question is no longer whether or not they should add a towel warmer to their bathrooms, but rather which towel warmer to choose. Over the last 50 years, designers and engineers have continually advanced the towel warmer technology to what we see today. The modern homeowner has an abundance of design, finish and installation options to choose from. This towel warmer buying guide is aimed to help you become more informed on your choices and give you a better opportunity to order the correct towel warmer for your application, décor and budget.

When choosing a towel warmer, the following options should be taken into account:
  • Which will fit my budget? Economical or designer model?
  • Which would I prefer? Electric or hydronic?
  • What are the benefits of choosing hardwired or plug-in installation?
  • Which will suit my needs better? Freestanding or wall mounted?
  • Should I choose simple, sleek lines or a more eccentric, artistic design?
  • What kind of finish will complement my existing décor?
  • Should I choose a unit with or without a timer?

While many of these questions are largely decided based on personal opinion, we hope to provide you with enough information to be able to make an informed decision on which towel warmer best suits your needs.
 

Price Range:
Before shopping for a towel warmer, knowing what your budget is will be one of the most helpful deciding factors.
Towel Warmer Information and Education Today's market allows for a wide range of prices. Whether seeking a moderately priced unit or absolute sophistication, towel warmers are available for nearly any budget. As with all luxury bathroom amenities, towel warmers can vary in price depending on the towel warmer's style, size and installation type - just to name the most obvious. As we will discuss further in this article, there are many ways to install a towel warmer, as well as potential budget considerations for units that require professional installation. Many manufacturers offer a budget-friendly line of towel warmers that are available for under $300, as well as offering impressive, first-class towel warmers that can exceed $4,000. Browsing with your budget in mind is the first step in choosing a towel warmer that will best suit your needs.
 
Two Main Types - Electric and Hydronic:
There are two main types of towel warmers; electric and hydronic. Both are very energy efficient and in the following section we will explain the differences between the two types.
Towel Warmer Information and Education Electric towel warmers typically have very low energy consumption rates - many consume the same power as a standard light bulb (60 Watts). These models contain one of two types of low wattage elements: some use a dry element, while others use an element to heat mineral oil within the unit. Electric towel warmers are available as either hardwired or plug-in. Hardwired units will need to be integrated into the building's electrical system, while plug-in models simply plug in like any other appliance. Both types of electric towel warmers may be operated with an on/off switch or with a timer. Some of the larger electric units can provide enough heat to warm a room, though electric units are typically used in conjunction with another heat source to heat a room.
Towel Warmer Information and Education Hydronic towel warmers simply utilize your hot water plumbing to produce heat by running the hot water through the towel warmer. This can be done one of two ways: by connecting to your home's hot water heater (open system) or to a specific hydronic heating system (closed system). In most cases the hydronic towel warmer is going to be the most efficient method (energy savings-wise) but can also be the most difficult for installation unless the installation is part of a complete remodel or new construction.
Today's towel warmers also incorporate many safety features such as thermostats and automatic shut off capabilities that make safety a non-issue when making your choice.
Another point to consider is ease of installation. By far the easiest and most DIY-friendly are the plug-in models. Most use a standard 120V plug and can be plugged into an outlet just like any other household appliance. Freestanding plug-in models are portable and easily moved and used in different rooms as needed. Imagine this luxury at your next vacation rental! While the installation of any towel warmer is usually simple, there are many possible variables in plumbing and electrical configurations. For this reason, proper installation of hardwired electric and either type of hydronic towel warmer often require a licensed electrician or plumber to maintain the manufacturer's warranty.
 
Mounting and Installation:
One major consideration you will want to think about is how the towel warmer will be mounted. The three main types are: wall mounted, floor mounted, and free-standing.

Amba Curved Wall Mount Towel Warmer
Wall mount
Myson Floor Mount Towel Warmer EB25-1
Floor Mount
Myson Free Standing Towel Warmer
Free-standing

Wall mounted towel warmers are fantastic in areas with limited floor space as well as taking the place of more conventional towel bars. These are available in both hydronic and electric with the added choice of plug-in or hardwired.
All hydronic towel warmers are either wall or floor mounted as they must be connected into the existing hot water plumbing or radiant heating systems.
When choosing between a wall or floor mounted unit, consider the placement on the wall. If you have a bathroom wall design that includes an element like wainscoting, or the bottom half of the wall is tiled while the top half is flat; you will need to determine if you would prefer to have the unit placed above the tile line, on the floor in front of the wall or, perhaps find a unit that can be made level on uneven walls.
On the other hand, a free-standing towel warmer provides great flexibility for placement and use. Also, installation is a breeze as even the most novice DIY-ers could tackle this one! All free-standing towel warmers are electric and most use a standard household outlet plug to operate.
 
Style and Size:
There really is a towel warmer to go with every bathroom décor! The list of styles is extensive, ranging from contemporary, classic, artistic or traditional to antique-style, all of which will have their own variables. For instance, choose from curved or straight rails or maybe arched or straight tops. The possibilities are endless!
Myson Guitar Towel Warmer When choosing such an eye catching addition for your home, what is most essential is to choose one that emulates your own personal style and expression. Equally important to your towel warmer's design is the finish. While some manufacturers may choose to stick to the more common polished brass or chrome finishes, towel warmers are available in an array of designer finishes such as oil-rubbed bronze, antique gold, satin nickel and more. If adding a towel warmer to a bathroom with existing fixtures, you may want to choose one that best complements the current style and finish of your other bathroom hardware.
Wesaunard Towel Warmer Other options that may also affect your decisions are, for example, some towel warmers can include a shelf for storage and/or extra heating or a robe hook. While there are so many choices and options available, consider your own personal use of the warmer as some of the extra features may not be necessary for your particular lifestyle. Eliminating the unnecessary features may also affect the cost of the unit.
Along with style, size should also be considered. If you have ample space in your bathroom, you may consider the fact that the more surface area the towel covers, the faster the towels are warmed and dried. If you are looking to not only warm or dry your towels but also heat your room, you may consider purchasing a larger unit as these would naturally give off more heat. Or, perhaps you only have a limited space to utilize for your warmer. In this case a small unit may be perfect for your room. Additionally, a single person or a couple may only require a small towel warmer as their use would be significantly less than that of a family with multiple towels and accessories used each day.
 
Timers and Switches:
Consider having a timer installed with the unit so that you can limit the on/off times.
Towel Warmer Timer Switch Installing a timer with your towel warmer allows the user to personalize their usage. For example, you can set the timer to turn on before your bath/shower so your towel is warm and ready for you when you get out. Or, if your towel warmer is installed in a vacation home, you can set the timer to turn off during the week.

Some manufacturers offer built-in timers or switches directly on the unit, while other brands simply offer this as a separate option. Some have concern that if a switch or timer fails, it would be much easier to replace an external switch than to send in a complete unit for repair. However, towel warmers have a very low failure rate since there are no moving parts.
With all of these wonderful options available, you are sure to find a towel warmer that fits into your lifestyle with ease, dependability and elegance. What more could you ask for?
 
Getting the most out of your towel warmer:
In order to get the most warmth out of your towel warmer, many users have found layering a towel to be the best method. For the most part, towels are made of loose fibers. A single layer will allow the heat to pass through the towel, not providing you with the desired warm towel effect. If you want your towel to dry quickly, try spreading out your towel evenly in a single layer. If you simply want your towel kept warm for your next use, layering the towel usually works best. Try experimenting with how many layers you fold your towel into. Either way, the most efficient way to warm or dry your towel is to drape the towel over the top rail so that it will hang evenly on either side. If the towel is left hanging below the bottom rail, the portion not in contact with the warmer will not be heated.
If your bathroom is very drafty or air-conditioned, you may find the top layer of the towel may be slightly cooler then the inside layers. This is because the cool air in the room pulls the heat from the outer layer of the towel. To remedy this you may try placing an additional towel on top of the towel you want warmest. This will provide an insulating effect and the towels beneath will be wonderfully warm.
Towel warmers are very energy efficient and the most efficient way to use them is to leave them on continuously. This is because the energy used to initially heat the unit is significantly more than is needed to keep the unit warm once heated. However, if you prefer to turn them off when not in use, you will generally need to allow ample time for the warmth to build up in the fibers of the towel. While the heating times vary between models, when not used continually, most electric models will need about 15-30 minutes for the towel warmer to warm up and an additional 35-45 minutes for the heat to radiate through the layers of towel. Since hydronic towel warmers use already heated water as the heat source, the wait time will be significantly less than an electric unit.

Need-to-Know Tips:

It is important to have work done by a professional installer, electrician or plumber when it comes to the more complicated applications. Also look into acquiring any necessary permits as required by local government and obtain them before starting your project. Find out if you need to have your work inspected by contacting your local Code authorities. Electrical products have the potential danger of fire and must be installed according to the manufacturer's specification. If questions arise before, during or after installation, do not hesitate to contact the manufacturer directly as they will be able to answer most, if not all, of your questions.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. "How long will it take for my towel to dry?"
A. Different circumstances will effect how quickly your towel is dried, such as how wet the towel is. If the towel is wet, as opposed to just damp, then the towel will take longer to dry. Also if the temperature in the room is cool then this may also effect the drying time. Spreading the towel out in an even, single layer, will allow for optimal drying.

Q. "Are towel warmers safe around children?"
A. Never allow children to play on or with the Towel Warmer. Close supervision is necessary when using any electrical/heated appliance near children. Some towel warmers may be hot to the touch, however it should not scald or cause permanent damage if it comes into contact with skin for up to 4 seconds. In general, towel warmers are designed to operate at the maximum safe temperature (usually between 100°-150°), so that they give the best possible towel drying and warming performance without being a potential hazard. Hydronic towel warmers use the same temperature that the water in the heating system does, which places the temperature of the towel warmer entirely in the homeowner's control. Another option would be to install a timer or on/off switch to allow the user to have more control over when the unit is heated as an extra safety measure.

Q. "Can I use my towel warmer outside by the hot tub?"
A. Towel warmers are designed and UL / CUL listed for INDOOR USE ONLY. The use of a towel warmer outside will likely void the warranty and raise potential safety issues.

Q. "Besides warming my towels, what other uses are there for a towel warmer?"
A. Every day, people find new and creative ways to use towel warmers. Some examples are:

  • Drying Bathing Suits
  • Keeping bathrobes warm and fresh
  • Commercial use in hotel bathrooms
  • To dry delicate garments
  • Add luxury to your boat, cabin or yacht
  • To hang pressed clothes on
  • In the kitchen to keep kitchen cloths and oven mitts dry
  • In mudrooms for wet jackets, ski clothes, socks, etc.



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