How to install a hardwired electric towel warmer in your bathroom to improve comfort and add value to your home.
Installing a towel warmer in your bathroom is an easy do it yourself project that adds value to your home and is an efficient source of heat for the bathroom. Towel warmers add a level of sophistication and luxury to the bathroom décor by providing warm towels and heating the bathroom in colder months. They are made of solid brass or steel and come in a number of finishes such as chrome, brass, nickel, metallic or stainless steel to match the existing plumbing fixtures or cabinet hardware.
Most hardwired towel warmers are supplied with 120 volts and need to be turned on about three hours prior to use depending on the number of towels hanging on the rack and the model. The average cost to operate this type of towel warmer is about fifteen cents per day and this may be lower if a programmable timer is installed with the towel warmer.
Towel Warmer Timer (Source: Warmly Yours)
Before you decide on a towel warmer, make sure that there is a one or two year warranty and that the appliance is UL or CSA listed.
Tools and Materials
Drill and bits; if drilling through tile
Drywall saw; if adding a programmable timer
Steel fish tape for running wire through wall
12-2 wiring, connected to GFCI circuit
Allen Wrench; usually included with Towel Warmer
Flexible metal conduit, when installing a timer
Verify the dimensions of the towel warmer and the space available before starting the project.
For hardwired models, an electrical box must be securely attached to a stud and the circuit must be fed from a GFCI protected circuit. You may be able to a wire from an existing GFCI receptacle in the bathroom to the new electrical box for the connection. This may involve cutting away drywall to drill through the studs and running the wire.
CAUTION: Always make sure that the power is shut off at the circuit breaker before making any electrical connections or working inside electrical boxes.
Also most manufacturers recommend that one side of the towel warmer be attached to a stud.
1. Attach the legs to the towel warming rack. Measure the distance between the legs and transfer these measurements to the wall. One of the legs will have electrical wires for the heating element running through the leg which must line up with the electrical box.
2. Use the 4-foot level to verify that the locations for the brackets are plumb. Install the brackets to the wall. If installing the brackets to a tile wall; drill holes through the tile with a masonry drill bit. Use drywall anchors or toggle bolts for the side of the towel warmer not attached to the stud.
3. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for the electrical connections. You may need to temporarily set the towel warmer rack on one of the brackets to make the electrical connection. Attach the cover plate on the electrical junction box.
Wiring Diagram – When installing a timer for the towel warmer the wire must be run through a metal conduit or use armored cable.
Making the connections
Cover plate diagram
4. Set the towel warmer onto the brackets and secure the legs in position by tightening the set screws using an Allen wrench.
If you are not confident with making the electrical connections or running the wiring from an existing circuit, hire a licensed electricain to perform the work for you.