Electric towel warmers... are they electricity hogs?

staceyneilOctober 21, 2009

I'm vaguely considering adding a hardwired, wall-mounted electric towel warmer to our bathroom rebuild. I don't really have the budget for it ($175 or so?) but am toying with the idea anyway.

I saw on Amazon reviews that someone said their electricity bill went up $40 a month because of a towel warmer. Whoa!!! If that's true, it certainly doesn't seem worth it!! We're already installing electric radiant floor heat and I'm nervous about the added monthly cost of THAT....

Any input appreciated!

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alabamanicole

They are roughly equivalent in energy usage to leaving a light on all the time. Why not hook it up to a timer instead of having it always on?

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 5:26PM
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gbsim1

We don't have hard wired, but a plug in, it's the large double Vauxhall Warmrails and it definitely does add some heat to the room when it's on. We've got ours on a timer to run for about 4-5 hours (enough to dry the towels and have them warm in the AM). Leaving it on all the time would be adding to much heat most of the time for us where we run the AC 9 months of the year and I'd never remember to turn it on and off with the switch.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 5:56PM
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weedyacres

We've got a Warmrails Kensington, and we have it on a timer to come on for a few hours in the morning and evening. No noticeable impact on the electricity bill.

And the warm towels are a great indulgence.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 9:34PM
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chris8796

Our warm rails model uses about 40 watts/hr, which would be just under a kwh per day. That would cost me about 10 cents a day when left on continously. When I have a heating demand in the house I leave it on 24/7. In the summer, its on a timer for about 6 hrs a day. We like it as a towel dryer as much as the towel warmer aspect. It makes it easy to reuse the same towel, so you reduce your laundry. They are also great for drying winter and swimming clothes. Ours is a rack format instead of a shelf.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2009 at 2:34PM
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bill_vincent

Ours isn't hardwired. It's freestanding, and plugs in, and I've noticed no appreciable jump at all. We simply turn it on when we're about to jump in the shower, and shut it off when we're done.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2009 at 3:01PM
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staceyneil

Thanks!!

Bill V.: did you get my emails?

Stacey

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 10:54AM
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sweeby

Bill - How well does your warm the towels? And what brand is it?

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 11:35AM
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lilleth

I'm interested in what plug in brands people have as well. We have towel racks already installed on the wall where I would have space for a towel warmer, but I could probably put something under it. Alternately, maybe I could put a space heater. What I wish is that I had a floor vent under the racks. In our smaller bathroom, the towel racks are over a forced air floor vent, and the towels are always dry in there.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 11:50AM
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bill_vincent

Stacey-- Yes, and I answered. :-)

Sweeby-- not sure on the brand. We got it at BB&B, and it does a great job. Turn it on, put the towel on it, and by the time I'm done with my shower, it's nice and warm.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 12:11PM
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bill_g_web

Towel warmers power use ranges from about 40 to 150 watts. Assume a 75 watt warmer, it'll use 75 watt-hours of power in an hour. Electricilty prices are normally given in Kilowatt hours, so let's convert the watt-hours to kw-hours: .075 kw-h.

Assuming you run it for 5 hours per day and an electricity rate of $.12/kwh, (average for the US), you pay:
.075kwh * 5 hours * 30 days-in-a-month * .12 $/hour = $1.36 per month. If you run it all day and night, it's $6.48 / month.

If your warmer doesn't give a watt rating but has an amp rating instead, multipy the amp rating by 120 to get the watt rating.

Look at your electrical bill to see what the rates are. Once you go over your baseline, power prices may rise significantly, even doubling, so any change you see may depend on how much power you're using without the new towel warmer.

Bill

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 4:49PM
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kudzu9

One other thing to take comfort in is that the towel warmer's energy is not entirely "lost" either, at least in winter. I'm all for energy conservation -- in fact, I earned my living in that area for a number of years -- but it's important to keep a perspective on what is going on. Think of the towel warmer as another heating source, like a space heater. The energy it gives off goes to heat the interior space, and will reduce the amount of energy that needs to be provided by your furnace. Now it's not a particularly efficient provider of heat, because it's localized, but it will result in less of an energy bill increase than you would think if you look at its enrgy consumption in isolation. A broader way to think about it is that if you didn't have lights, tv's, refrigerators, etc. operating in your house, the amount of energy the furnace would have to provide in the winter would increase. On the other hand, if you live in an area where you have to run air conditioning in the summer, then the effect is reversed: all those appliances cause the energy bill to increase. However, if you are just using your towel warmer intermittently, and don't use it when the weather is warm, your additional costs will likely be in the noise level.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 7:29PM
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mongoct

The real energy users are the Runtal Omnipanels, but they are designed to act as room heaters too.

Depending on the size, roughly 400-700 watts giving off 1500-2500BTUH.

Very nice panels, but they'll make the electric meter spin.

For comparison, radiant floor heat offers about 30BTU/H per sq ft of floor.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 10:34PM
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neesie

If you're getting the radiant floor heat, why not skip the towel warmer and just spread the towel on the floor before you take your shower? I would think it would be warm by the time you needed it.....for free.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 11:40PM
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bill_vincent

Hey-- are you the same Neesie from JB's forum?

    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 12:53AM
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