Warm towels or a warm room?
Stelrad Radiators is probably best known for producing excellent quality steel panel radiators and less so for its growing and impressive range of towel rails and bathroom radiators.
There’s a key question for installers or specifiers to ask when looking for a towel rail – what has the customer asked for? And what do they expect from the radiator you install in the bathroom? It’s important that installers and specifiers decide before choosing the towel warmer for a particular job, what they want the towel warmer to do.
The clue is in the name. Do they want the towel warmer simply to warm towels or do they want a decorative radiator that heats the bathroom or shower room as well as the towels! Too many customers have been disappointed to find their exciting and expensive new bathroom is a little too much like a refrigerator once they get out of a nice warm bath or shower!
The UK towel rail sector is just one of the diverse and highly competitive segments within the UK radiator market, with towel warmers of all shapes and sizes available for every possible type of installation.
The towel rail marketplace has become established over the past ten years or so, and it’s quite normal these days, to find towel warmers in most homes and in most new build properties and in virtually all self build homes. In 2011, approximately 1 million towel rails were sold in the UK.
The UK towel rail market is split between the basic products sold in huge numbers through DIY outlets - representing around 70% of the total market volume - and the more upmarket offerings, which is a segment that’s growing as people look to replace inadequate towel rails they inherit when they move, or as they recognise the value of having a towel rail that genuinely heats the room as well as the inch or two of space occupied by the towels!
Intense competition for the 70% slice of the market has driven down the price of basic products as both domestic and overseas manufacturers, most notably from Turkey and China, fight tooth and nail for the high potential volumes at that end of the marketplace. These models tend to be quite basic and similar in design as befits product ranges that are highly price sensitive. There are good value products available at this end of the market so long as you appreciate what you are buying and don’t have unrealistic expectations.
More upmarket products, often manufactured in Italy, offer much more innovative designs and on the whole, far higher quality finishes. Sadly the towel rail marketplace is a bit like real life – you get what you pay for.
However, it’s worth being aware that despite the appeal and mass attraction in the UK of chrome plated towel warmers, all chrome plated towel rails are disadvantaged compared to products with painted finishes when considering the heat they put out. It’s just a simple fact of life. The plating process compromises the efficiency of the radiator and also has quite a negative environmental impact. Plating is quite a difficult process to master and, as a result, plated rails can also be prone to corrosion from moisture ingress between the steel tube and its supposedly protective layer of plating. This is why it is worth paying a little more for a towel rail product from a known and reputable manufacturer.
But whether chrome plated or painted, when fitting a towel warmer, it is important to ensure it is correctly sized to avoid having warm towels but a cold bathroom. It is vital to estimate what heat output is needed to heat a room effectively and to choose a towel rail/radiator capable of delivering this. This will inevitably mean specifying and fitting a much larger radiator than you would for a conventional steel panel type radiator. Taller vertical models, such as Stelrad’s Esprit, can help deliver satisfactory levels of heat and ensure that your customers are not hurling themselves at the warm towels as they exit the shower to keep the cold air in the bathroom at bay!
The Stelrad range offers a combination of stunning creative design coupled with engineering excellence – you can be sure that a Stelrad towel rail will keep its good looks and they come with a five year warranty apart from electric elements that have a one year warranty. As you would expect from Stelrad these exceptional radiators come in a range of sizes allowing you to size the requirement to ensure you specify the right model for the room in question. Check out the sensational Optia, the Esprit, the Excel, the Arc, the Concord, the Wave and the Ellipse – available in different sizes and outputs and many in a range of colours too.
|Published by kbnewsonline.co.uk
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Contact: Robbie Christie