How to Fit a Towel Radiator

Written by kathryn roberts
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How to Fit a Towel Radiator
Instead of hanging towels on an ordinary rack, install a towel radiator to heat the towels while they hang. (striped towel 1 image by dana nicolescu from

A towel radiator allows you to warm towels for after you shower and also acts as a radiator because it is attached to the hot water heater. The best method is to replace an existing radiator with a new towel radiator. Fitting the towel radiator proves a difficult job. If you do not have experience fitting pipes, you should consider hiring a professional.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Garden hose
  • Wrench
  • Compression stop ends
  • Towel radiator and hardware kit
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Copper pipes
  • Capillary or compression fittings
  • 2 elbow joints
  • Pipe cutters

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  1. 1

    Drain the hot water from your heating system. Shut off the boiler and turn off the fuel supply. Allow the water in the system to cool for a few hours and then cut off the water supply at the expansion tank. Attach a garden hose to the drain cock and run the other end to where you want the water to drain. Undo the bleed valve on the existing radiator to allow air in and drain the radiator.

  2. 2

    Use a wrench to remove the fittings for the old radiator. Lift the radiator upwards away from the brackets. Cap off the "feed" and "return" pipes with compression stop ends. Slide the nut and then the olive onto the pipe end. Push the compression stop end all the way onto the pipe and tighten the nut with a wrench or spanner. Remove and discard the old radiator.

  3. 3

    Assemble your towel radiator. Leave the protective outer coating on the towel radiator until after installation to prevent scratches. Screw and tighten the blanking nuts into the top two holes on the radiator. Repeat with the bleed screws. Wrap the radiator tails 10 times with PFTE tape and screw into the two holes at the bottom of the radiator. Screw the radiator valves onto the radiator tails. Once the radiator is fitted, push the valve handles into the splined shafts on the valves.

  4. 4

    Most towel radiators attach to the wall and will require an adjustment to the pipes that ran to the old radiator because the feed and return lines attach in different places. Remove the skirting board and cut open your floor and subfloor to gain access to the floor void and pipes.

  5. 5

    Use a pencil to mark where you will install the radiator on the wall. Use a level to ensure accurate marks. The bottom of the radiator should be level with the skirting board. Mark the position for the new feed and return pipelines. Purchase pre-cut copper pipes from a hardware store or cut your own copper pipes to size to run from the existing pipes to the new line attachments.

  6. 6

    Cut out a section in the wall for the new pipework. Run the new pipes from the old pipework. Use capillary or compression fittings to attach the pipes. Add two elbow joints to allow the new feed and return pipes to go into the wall and exit higher up at the new connections.

  7. 7

    Replace the subfloor and the floor. If you retile the floor, allow time for the setting to dry before proceeding.

  8. 8

    Attach the towel radiator to the pipes. Hold the radiator valves to the pipes and mark the pipe. Cut the pipe to fit the valve. Fit a copper adaptor at the end of both the feed and return pipes. Screw the adaptors into the valves.

  9. 9

    Secure the radiator to the wall. Screw in the brackets that came with the radiator hardware at the places you previously marked and attach the radiator to the brackets. The exact installation equipment and method will vary with the specific towel radiator. Once secured to the wall, remove the protective coating from the radiator.

  10. 10

    Restore the water supply, refill the heating system and open the valves to the radiator. Open the bleed valves to bleed any air in the towel radiator. Check for leaks.

Tips and warnings

  • This is a complicated project. Consider hiring a professional if you are not comfortable with each step.

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