Heated towel rails are an increasingly popular heating solution in modern bathrooms. Their duel-functionality makes them more energy efficient and greener than regular radiators, resulting in lower energy costs if used correctly. As with any other home installation, they may require maintenance, with the most common complaint coming when they have not been properly fastened to the wall and have come loose. Though it is most common it is by no means guaranteed, but it is useful to understand how to fix your heated towel rail should such an issue arise.
Naturally there is a cost to repairing a towel rail, and every effort should be made to assess this cost before undertaking the repair. As the towel rail is plumbed in to the heating supply, it will need to be disconnected from the system before repairs can take place. This requires the skilled work of a plumber, with his associated cost. If your heated towel rail is going to be expensive to fix (or is beyond repair) it may be more economical to replace it. We’ve heard good things about the rails on offer here – http://www.smrbathrooms.co.uk/acatalog/Heated_Towel_Rails.html. They seem to have a good range to pick from.
Disconnect the towel rail
However, if your towel rail is repairable and it is cost-effective to do so the first step is to drain it and disconnect it from your heating system. As we have mentioned, this work needs the attention of a plumber, as any mistakes here could be more costly than any repair or replacement. Having removed the rail, you now have room in your bathroom to work safely.
Remove drywall section
The most common cause of a towel rail coming loose is a lack of real support. You would not build a house without foundations and neither should you attempt to complete a wall installation without the proper support. Small anchors or rawl plugs in a drywall is often not secure enough for a heated towel rail, so the best tactic to employ is to install wooden fixings attached to your drywall partition to which you can attach your towel rail.
Using a pad saw, and taking great care to ensure there are no electrics or pipes behind the area that you are cutting, cut out a piece of the drywall that is large enough to cover the area in which you need to work. This area is determined by the height and width of your towel rail wall fixings, but you also need to allow room for the vertical studs inside the partition to which you will attach your new timber supports, and exposing these completely will allow you enough room to reattach your section of drywall. Removing the drywall in one piece will make it more likely that it can be replaced back in position; otherwise you may have to install a new drywall section.
Install wall support
Measure the gap between the wall studs at the height of your towel rail fixings and cut two pieces of timber that correspond to these measurements. Attach these using screws or nails at a 45 degree angle to the vertical studs. These supports need to be solid enough to withstand the weight of the towel rail and any towels that may be hung from it.
Replace drywall section
If you did not manage to remove the drywall section in one piece you will need to fit a new one, but if it is achievable then screw in your section of drywall back in position. Apply tape to hide the joints – fibreglass mesh joint tape is best – sand it to be flush with the rest of the wall and repaint to match your existing colour scheme.
Your heated towel rail is now repaired and ready for your plumber to reconnect it to your heating system and you can sleep safely in the knowledge that you have a securely supported heating solution.