How to Install an Electric Towel Rail

As winter approaches, there’s no better feeling than getting out of a hot shower or bath and wrapping yourself up in a lovely warm towel. Now imagine that same scenario, but with a cold, damp towel. There is nothing more likely to vanish the feeling of cosiness faster than that. One of the best ways to make sure you always have lovely warm towels is by installing a heated, electric towel rail in your bathroom.

The tools you’re going to require to install your towel rail are…

  • Spirit levels
  • Rubber hammer
  • Grips or adjustable spanner
  • Tape measure
  • Cordless drill
  • Screwdrivers
  • A wire detector
  • The four brackets that come with the unit
  • Two blanking plugs and an air vent
  • Fixings
  • Drill bit
  • Inhibitor and water to mix it with
  • Funnel (to apply the inhibitor)
  • The towel rail and heating element itself

The particular towel rail we installed was heated by an electric element. If yours is the same, you will need to have power nearby. We used a fuse, already wired up and the element came with about a metre of cable, so the position of the towel rail had to be within 1 metre. 

To begin with, you will need to set up the rail itself. Both the top and bottom of the rail has two plastic bungs which will need to be taken out. 

Next, apply some PTFE tape to the threads and then tighten your blanking plugs and air vent. 

Start by hand and then use a spanner or a pair of grips to finish, approximately 3 quarters of a turn. 

Also remember, to apply some PTFE tape to the heating element as well.

The top half of the towel rail now has an air vent on the right hand side and the blanking plug on the left hand side. On the bottom of the towel rail, you can now start to connect your electric element, which will be connected to the main power supply. Screw the electric element in by hand and then once again take your grips or spanner and give it about half of a turn.

Before installing the fourth and final bung, you will need to mix your inhibitor and pour this in. Use about 1000 millilitres of water and 50 millilitres inhibitor. Give this a little stir up. Remember, different towel rails can be different sizes so the ratio of water and inhibitor may vary with different products. The recommended ratio is 90% water, 5% inhibitor and 5% air.

Once you have added your inhibitor, screw in the final blanking plug, firstly with your hands and then by about half a turn with your spanner or grips.

The next stage is to work out your measurements for screwing and fixing your brackets, in preparation for mounting the towel rail to the wall. Check your installation manual, which will refer to two brackets being placed on the second to top and bottom rail. The manual will suggest spacing the brackets about 50mm away from the sides and 250mm apart from each-other. This will balance out and hold the weight of the rail.

Loosen the jaws of the brackets and attach them to your rail. Then tighten them up with a screwdriver.

Once you have all 4 of these brackets in position, you can start to take your measurements. Start from side to side and then top to bottom, then transfer the measurements to your wall.

Before you start to drill into your tiles, always use a detector to make sure there aren’t any cable or pipes behind the wall.

Start the drill on an angle, press the tip into the surface and then bring the drill up 90 degrees.

Apply the plugs and tap this in with a rubber mallet, then use your spirit level and tape measure to find your other three drill points.

Screw the first bracket into the wall by hand and then with a screwdriver. For quicker results, use a cordless screwdriver. Do the same for the other 3 brackets.

Lift the rail into position and connect it to the 4 brackets, winding the screw in below the brackets to clamp them together and fix them firmly to the wall.

With regards to connecting to the mains, you can’t have a socket within a bathroom, you’re going to need a fuse. By law we are not allowed to give advice on how to connect to your mains, so unfortunately you may have to employ an electrician to do this for you if you’re not qualified to do so yourself.

For the full how to video, check out the YouTube link below and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more DIY tips! Click on the link below to purchase the towel rail from Bathroom Mountain.