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DIY hydronic towel warmers

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Posted by Alan on February 10, 2007, 7:24 am
I've seen hydronic towel warmers, but they are terribly expensive.
So, I'm considering buying some brass or copper tubing and soldering
my own.  I want to solder an interesting towel bar pattern of tubes
that can be connected to my hydronic floor system, either as a
separate zone, or perhaps at the tail end of the zone where the
bathroom is located.  The towel bar would serve both to dry towels and
provide extra ambient warm in the room when it's used.

Has anyone done this? Or, maybe some can anticipate mechanical
features that I would want to have on the unit to make it safe and

Also, can I get a local chrome plating place to dip in the copper or
brass tubing?

Posted by samuel chamberlain on February 10, 2007, 4:07 pm
Alan wrote:

hi alan
I have seen this done , the one I sew did not have any finish coting
just bear copper .
I have never bothered with a towel rail before , we just use a ch
(hydronic) convector rad . you could just add a rail above , to hang
towels on .
a side note : ready made ch (hydronic) towel rails are normally cheaper
in powder cote colours than in chrome plate .
wait for more answers , some one on the ng may of made one .
samuel .

Posted by Alan on February 10, 2007, 4:59 pm
 Thanks for the reply Samuel.  I was thinking about simply using
oversized copper pipe, because that easy to sweat, but then my
bathroom is all in Chrome now.  So, I figure that maybe it's better to
see if I can solder brass pipe and get is chrome plated.  I'm not sure
what you mean by "ch convector".  Are you referring to those Myson
room radiators?  Most of those seem to be made of steel, and I don't
like steel in my hydronic system.  Although the new zone to be added
for the bath and bedroom will run off a heat exchanger in a "closed
loop", I still will conform to the standards of the "open system"
established several years ago for the living room.  That is, I'll use
all brass, coppper, and pex parts and materials that can't ever
corrode.  I'll wait to see what others may say too.


Posted by samuel chamberlain on February 10, 2007, 6:03 pm
 Alan wrote:

yes I should have made it clearer sorry , I mean pressed steel rads .
samuel .

Posted by Alan on February 11, 2007, 8:15 am
 The more I think about it, a potable water supply might be best for a
towel warmer.  There are a couple of options I have in mind:  1) a
diversion from the hot water line leading to the shower and bath
faucets, so that if the shower or taps are turned on, hot water flows
first through the towel warmer on it's way to the shower or tap.  If
the lines are kept short enough, the loss of heat should be minimal
since both shower and tap hot water is always a mixture of hot and
cold water anyway.  2) a diversion at the end of the recirculation
line by the bathroom.  In my house, I have a recirculation pump that
pushes the hot water from the hot water heater in succession past a
guest 1/2 bath, kitchen, full guest bath, and finally the master bath
prior to returning to the hot water heater intake.  The pump for this
is activated when the return line temperature drops below 80F, if ai
recall right.  If I cut the return line after the master bath, and
divert the water line through the towel warmer prior to returning to
the tank. the recirculation pump would keep the towel warmer going
much of the day.  The first option is ideal for being coupled with
actual use of the shower or bathroom faucet, while the second option
is ideal for keeping the towel warmer consistently warm all day.  The
first option is less energy wasteful, particularly during summer when
towel warming really isn't so important, but the delay in waiting for
hot water at the shower could be a nuisance..  The second option would
be more ideal in winter for warming the bathroom in general and for
keeping the towel warmer hot more often during the day, but could be
nuisance for the wasted heat in the bathroom on warm summer days.  The
3rd option is to include it as part of the hydronic floor heating
system loop to be installed under tha bathroom, but then the towel
warmer would be only used during cold weather.  I could make a
dedicated zone for the towel warmers of the master and guest bath, I
suppose, that could be manually or clock controlled, but this could
also be a terrific waste of heat, particularly in summer, as the
dedicated lines from the water heater would be relatively long.  Any
more ideas?


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