Frequently Asked Questions

How does an electric towel rail work?

All of our electric towel rails are pre filled with a water-based solution containing a mix of central heating preservatives. Benefits of water-based thermal transfer fluid is that if ever needed it can be easily topped up with water and it is a more environmentally friendly method. To prevent damage during its journey your towel rail element will be packed separately in your box. UK law requires that connection to the main electrical supply be carried out by a certified electrician. Our range of electric elements have an IPX4 rating and therefore can only be installed in Zone 2 and outwards.n


What's the difference between chrome and stainless steel towel rails?

Chrome plating is the technique of electroplating a thin layer of chromium onto a metal or plastic surface.  Chrome is effective in decorating a metal surface to a mirror like finish but one of it major disadvantages is a low cathode efficiency which results in poor throwing power and uneven heat spots.  The underlying metal is also often mild and subject to corrosion and rusting over time.

Stainless steel has a much higher content of chromium within the metal itself and because of this it does not easily stain, corrode or rust with water as is the case with ordinary steel.  Stainless steel has a much better conduction capacity which means that it will remain warmer for longer and has an even distribution of heat throughout.  All of this means that your Rhinorail will last for longer but also cost less to run over the long term.

How does a heated towel rail work?

Hydronic (Standard) heated towel rails are simply plumbed into your central heating system and work by being heated up as hot water is circulated through them.  This is exactly how standard water circulating radiators operate in your home.

Electric towel rails are fitted with an electric element and filled with a water inhibiting fluid.  The element heats up the fluid and the towel rail is heated by a process known as convection.  As the fluid is heated it moves upwards displacing colder fluid and so the process continues until there is an even distribution of heat throughout.

Should I choose the hydronic or electric version?

This will come down to personal choice as there is no major advantage of one type over the other.  If you already have a bathroom radiator then you might find that the ease with which a water circulation towel rail can be plumbed in more appealing.  If this is not the case then you may opt for an electric version with the added benefit of being able to operate independently of the central heating system.

What does dual fuel mean?

A dual fuel towel warmer is one which has been adapted for use on both the central heating system and the main electrical supply.  This conversion is done by the insertion of a dual fuel kit (comprising an element and a t-piece connector) into the towel rail and allows for the towel rail to be heated in the summer without having the central heating switched on.

What is a free standing towel rail?

A free standing towel rail is supported by feet and does not need to be fixed to an upright surface or plumbed into the central heating system.  Our Amber range is fitted with an electric element and can be connected to the main electric supply via a standard cord and plug.

Will a heated towel rail heat the whole bathroom?

Although not originally designed for this purpose, it has become the preferred choice. By using our BTU Calculator  you will be able to determine which towel rail you will need to achieve this and in some cases more than one will be required. 

Do you sell electric-only towel rails?

All of our towel rails can easily be converted into electric-only units. For an additional cost we are able to do the conversion for you.  Please contact us if this is required and we will be happy to assist.

Are heated towel rails safe?

Yes, our heated towel rails are safe and comply with International Safety Standard IEC 60355-1.  For electric or dual fuel conversions, CE approved elements should be fitted to our towel warmers which contain a thermal fuse for added protection. Our Electric elements have a  IPX4 rating and therefore can only be installed in Zone 2 and outwards.

What is IP zoning, especially for bathrooms?

To illustrate the IP zoning regulations, we have divided the bathroom into areas or “zones“, which are classified using the numbers 0, 1, 2 – see the illustration below.

IP Zones and IP Rating in the bathroom

IP zoning:

  • Zone 0 – Inside the bath or shower. Any fittings used here must be SELV (Separated Extra Low Voltage – max. 12Volts) and have a minimum rating of IPX7 (IP67) (protected against immersion in water – total immersion proof);
  • Zone 1 – Above the bath or shower to a height if 2.25m. Recommended IP rating: IP65. In this zone, if there is likelihood of water jets being used for cleaning purposes, a minimum of IPX5 is required. Also, subject to IP rating, SELV or 240V luminaires may be used in this zone; ff the fitting is 240 volts, a 30mA residual current device (RCD) must also be used to protect the circuit in this zone.
  • Zone 2 – The area stretching to 0.6m outside the bath or shower and above the bath or shower if over 2.25m. An IP rating of at least IPX4 (IP44) is required. In this zone, if there is likelihood of water jets being used for cleaning purposes, a minimum of IPX5 is required. Also, subject to IP rating, SELV or 240V luminaires may be used in this zone. In addition, it is a good practice to also consider the area around a wash basin (within a 60cm radius of any tap) as Zone 2.
  • Outside the zones – anywhere outside zones 0, 1, and 2. Where water jets are not to be used for cleaning purposes, the general rules of BS7671 apply. Here, there is no requirement for any lighting solutions to be protected against particles or solid objects, e.g. IPX4 – no IP rating required.

IP ratings explained (IP = Ingress Protection)

  1. The first digit – protection against ingress of foreign bodies, like: tools, dust, fingers, etc.
  2. The second digit – protection against ingress of liquids. Ex. IP44 offers protection against solid objects greater than 1 mm and water sprayed from all directions.

The first digit – protection from foreign bodies

  • 0 – no protection from foreign bodies;
  • 1 – protected against solid objects greater than 50mm(e.g. accidental touch by hands);
  • 2 – protected against solid objects up to 12mm(e.g. fingers);
  • 3 – protected against solid objects greater than 2.5mm(e.g. tools and wires);
  • 4 – protected against solid objects greater than 1mm(e.g. small tools and wires);
  • 5 – protected against dust, limited ingress(e.g. no harmful deposit);
  • 6 – totally protected against dust.

The second digit – protection from liquids

  • 0 – no protection from liquids;
  • 1 – protection against vertically falling drops of water(e.g. condensation);
  • 2 – protection against direct sprays of water up to 15 degrees from vertical;
  • 3 – protection against direct sprays of water up to 60 degrees from vertical;
  • 4 – protection against water sprayed from all directions – limited ingress permitted;
  • 5 – protected against low pressure jets of water from all directions – limited ingress permitted;
  • 6 – protected against high pressure jets of water (use on ship deck) – limited ingress permitted;
  • 7 – protected against the effects of immersion between 15cm and 1m;
  • 8 – protected against long periods of immersion under pressure.

Although there are numerous combinations of IP ratings, the most common ones are: IP67, IP65, IP44, IP20. 

Our freestanding units are electrical appliances and should not be connected to a power socket in the bathroom unless it is situated at least 3 metres from the bath and shower in accordance with Part P of the Building Regulations.  As with all electrical appliances these should be kept away from all sources of water at all times

Our freestanding units are best suited for use in a bedroom and can also be used for drying clothes.

Can heated towel rails run 24/7?

All of our heated towel warmers are designed to run continuously for optimal power consumption and efficiency.  A built-in thermostat means that the towel rail will not need to draw on the power supply continuously but only when the outside bathroom temperature requires power to be drawn.  As we use stainless steel in the manufacture of all of our products, the towel warmers remain warmer for longer due to the higher conduction capacity of the steel and optimal efficiency is achieved.

Where can I buy a Rhinorail heated towel rail?

Our entire range of towels can be purchased from

Can I install the heated towel rail myself?

You can install our towel rails yourself however the law requires that connection of an electric heated towel rail to the main electric supply be carried out by  a certified electrician.

If you are installing one of our towel rails into your current heating system this can also be done yourself however we do recommend the assistance of a certified plumber particularly if you are replacing a bathroom radiator for a towel warmer with different dimensions.

What type of valves do I need?

The type of valves required to connect a heated towel rail onto your central heating system will depend on the pipe work in your bathroom. All Rhinorails heated towel rails have underneath connections so:

  • If the pipe work in you bathroom comes up from the floor you will need a set of straight valves and,
  • If the pipe work in your bathroom comes from out of the wall you will require a set of angled valves.
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