Choosing to Go Dual Fuel: Is It Right for Me?
Updated: Oct 24, 2022
Some of our heated towel rails can be installed as dual fuel, meaning that the towel rail also comes with an electrical element. Using a simple kit provides a cost-effective way to heat the bathroom all year round – without having to run the whole central heating system at the same time.
You need a valve Valves control the amount of hot water that enters and leaves the towel rail - therefore controlling how hot the towel rail gets. For dual fuel installations, you’ll need a pair of standard valves and a T Piece – which enables both an element (see below) and a valve to be fitted to the same tapping on a towel rail. For a neater finish, you can also choose Dual Fuel TRV valves, which have a TRV, Lockshield and an integrated T-Piece combined.
You need an element Radiator heating elements slot into the towel rail and heat it using mains electricity.
The chart below shows the towel rail output in watts and the corresponding recommended element size. Choosing the correct size element is crucial, being too small means it won’t provide enough heat / too large and there is a risk it could burn out.
Towel Rail Output Range in Watts
165 - 255
260 - 375
380 - 530
535 - 735
740 - 920
920 - 1100
If you are unsure of the wattage of the towel rail but you know the BTU, the wattage can be calculated by dividing the BTU by 3.41.
You should really leave the installation of any electric dual fuel towel rail to a qualified tradesperson – as they need to have a good knowledge of the regulations that are in place around working with water and electricity in close proximity. Any electrical wiring in a bathroom also needs to be properly certified.
Switching Your Towel Rail Back and Forth
Any dual fuel towel rails can either run as part of a central heating system or from mains electric – but not from both at the same time.
Running as part of a central heating system:
Ensure the heating element is turned off
Turn the outlet valve fully on
Running from mains electric:
Ensure the inlet and outlet valves are completely off, isolating the towel rail from the central heating system.
To avoid pressure building up in the towel rail, slightly loosen either the return bleed valve or the bleed valve.
Only then turn the heating element on