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DIY towel warmer?

Posted by blindstar (My Page) on
Tue, Feb 27, 07 at 17:51

I would like to include a towel warmer/supplemental radiator in our walk in shower (construction starting this spring). The primary source of heat will be in floor radiant, however, my DW really does not like a cold shower and she wants a doorless and curbless shower. I was planning to supplement the heat with a heat/fan/light combo but a got the idea for towel rack/radiator from the bath forum. I looked at commercial products and experienced sticker shock. Is there any more to these things than a pipe labyrinth plumbed into the hydronic heating plant?

If you assume that I have the skills and equipment necessary to weld stainless is these any reason that I cant fab up a design she likes and plumb into our heating system? The master bath shares a wall with my mechanical room. It would be easy to add a zone for the towel rack so that it comes up to temp for our morning showers.

I realize that I will not save money if I count my time, and even if I only count the materials and supplies I might not save that much. However, I like doing this kind of stuff. Plus I can design the rack to fit my space.

The question is am I missing something or is it as simple as it looks?

Thanks.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: DIY towel warmer?

Just get an oven heating element and install it vertically coming up from the floor.


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RE: DIY towel warmer?

If you have hot water heating, which I know nothing about, to me at least it sounds feasible, although you'd be spending a bit of money and a lot of time bending and welding stainless to the point where it doesn't look crappy....but why not?

On the other hand, I thought heated towel rails were usually electric. Your idea sounds novel to me. One downside might be it might get TOO hot....? Would it overwork your boiler? I assume boilers heat themselves when the water they circulate cools to a certain point, with this arrangement, perhaps there's a risk (especially since it's next to your plant room) it'd make the boiler kick in too often....?


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RE: DIY towel warmer?

Careful, blacknumber...someone might take you seriously :-D


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RE: DIY towel warmer?

I once had a customer ask for parts for a unit made in Europe. At the time America did not do heated towel racks. If you touch the piping you have a risk of burning yourself. The piping was chromed mallable iron with cute decorative fittings. The rack was several bars high. This rack is going to act as a radiator into the room, once the towel is dry. I would imagine that you would need to regulate the water flow to keep the unit from frying the cloth. The unit I saw had a bad control, and this was what the customer was looking for. At this time the only place you would find a towel heater was in a hotel. Houston was a far place in a distant Galaxy for this in 1974.


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RE: DIY towel warmer?

I was thinking about using a check valve and forced circulation so it would only be heated for an hour or two each morning. Also a second mixing valve to give me water temp hotter than the radiant floor but lower than boiler temp.

Thanks for the comments.


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RE: DIY towel warmer?

I have the old cast oron rads in my house I just use my bathroom rad as a towel warmer. my rad is right near the claw foot tub and shower of course this only works in the fall winter and early spring when the heating is on but thats when I mostly want a warmed towel. I do have setback thermostat which brings the heat up in the morning so the rads are hot when I am showering. for me its like I have a free towel warmer. maybe you can find and old iron radator that has some nice details, sand and repaint so it looks good then work it in to the room. use that to drape your towels over like I do.


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RE: DIY towel warmer?

I like Mike's idea. But, a European style panel radiator would also work.


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RE: DIY towel warmer?

Thanks kframe19 but I think it depends on the look he is going for. if he wants an older look my idea would be great I think. If he is looking for a more modern look then a panel towel rad would be better like you added. I think panel rads are nice looking and take up less floor space but look more modern which is not in character with my house. I am adding a link that shows what kframe is talkiing about. not sure of price but I bet its cheaper than the euro brands like Myson.

Here is a link that might be useful: Burnham panel Rads


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RE: DIY towel warmer?

Thanks for the radiator ideas. I probably should go that way, however what I was asking about what I need to consider if I intend to fabricate my own "radiator" out of stainless tubing. Fabricating it myself allows me to practice producing liquid tight welds in stainless. It also allows me to do an interesting design that fits the space.

Thanks for taking the time to reply.

--markM


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RE: DIY towel warmer?

good luck with whatever you decide to do. Even if you do make your own you may want to look at the specs of ready built one, pay attention to the fittings and how they connect to the heating system so that you can make yours the same that way it connects up with out any extra fittings that could leak later. also try to copy the the wall mounting systems too.


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RE: DIY towel warmer?

The only potential problem with attaching a stainless steel radiator to the existing heating system could be the potential for galvanic corrosion caused by the two separate metals.

Most newer hot water heating systems are copper piped, while older ones tended to use cast iron piping.

If you do this check with a plumbing supply warehouse to make sure that you don't need special fittings to militage the potential problem.


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RE: DIY towel warmer?

I wonder if this towel rack ever materiaized.
Running one off a hot water line puts one at the mercy of the thermostat controlling that zone.
I too have considered a heated towel rack. My version would have used heated fluid ported through a Mielie dishwasher water heater element: runs on 120 VAC and has rubber tube connections. I'd have just used 3/4" copper pipe painted in some nice enamel color in a pretty wood frame. But then I stumbled across this
http://www.homedit.com/electrically-heated-towel-rack/
for $80
Hard to beat a wall mountable plug in unit for that cheap


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RE: DIY towel warmer?

Better have it plugged into a properly installed GFIC socket!

Is this thing UL or CSA approved?

You may be in for something other than a shockingly low price...


SR


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Ummh?

Rated Voltage: 220-240V @ 50 Hz


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