BATHROOMS & SHOWERS ...Towel rail evolution continued

Alex Burgess, national sales manager at The Radiator Company, highlights how towel rail design and technology has evolved to offer more flexible options for the homeowner


riginating as a luxury item confined to the hotel world, heated towel rails have grown to become a regular feature in many domestic bathrooms, however there is more to these solutions than many may perceive. Design-led choices: Each and every bathroom will have a unique design with a different desired aesthetic from the end-user. While for many, the go-to solution is a plumbed chrome or white standard ladder towel rail, more design-led options are now available to elevate the look of the bathroom. More recent developments in engineering and materials have allowed leading manufacturers to

become more creative when it comes to design. For example, side loading towel rails provide a new and modern take on the traditional ladder rail but offer a more convenient loading solution as users can simply slide the towel onto the rail. Changes in materials to aluminium are not only more efficient in distributing heat but allow for more creative and modern designs. The ‘Step’ range from The Radiator Company is manufactured from aluminium and is described as offering a sleek modern touch to a bathroom.

Breaking completely from the traditional, panel solutions such as the ‘Relax Bagno’, are comprised of a single heating panel as a unique statement piece for modern bathrooms.

Plumbed, electric or why not both? Towel rails that are installed as part of the central heating system can render the towel rail impractical if it is to be used over the summer months when the central heating system is switched off. Designs have now advanced to offer more versatility for households to incorporate a towel rail that can be used year-round, without the need for a central heating supply. Dual fuel models offer the greatest flexibility for households to either use the plumbed central heating supply, or independent heating using an electric supply heating element. What’s more, smart devices can now be used to control heating elements via an app, with the introduction of Bluetooth controlled elements.

Electric self-contained towel rails now offer even wider possibilities for bathroom projects. These can be installed without the need for any new pipework and also offer an efficient level of control for customers. Thanks to these advances in heating source supply, even towel rails that have a more traditional aesthetic style, are available in electric or dual fuel, for a period look using modern heat sources.

Coordinating colours: Much like radiators, heated towel rails have come a long way in regard to colours and finishes and leading manufacturers are able to supply a wide range of finishes to meet the growing demand for more unique interior schemes. Towel rail colours can now be fully coordinated, even in dusky pinks, deep greens and dramatic blues, to offer a towel rail that seamlessly blends into the design of the entire bathroom or creates a unique statement.

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ohn Thompson, chief executive of the Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors (APHC) discusses the topic of tackling water waste.

According to UN-Water, the global water demand is expected to increase by more than 50% by 2040, primarily from manufacturing, electricity generation and households. If left untreated, wastewater from these activities has incredibly damaging effects. This is why water conservation is vital in the fight against both the world water crisis and global warming. Including a water management strategy as part of your business’s sustainability strategy can help protect from climate risks related to water, ensure water will be there for your business needs, help reduce your carbon footprint, and ensure a safe supply for your area.

It doesn’t just stop with businesses. Plumbing and heating companies can play a big role in improving water efficiency in the UK’s households. Tradespeople are the workforce who can get the right messages across to their customers because they work with the public on a daily basis. Waterwise has calculated the average family could save around £180 a year simply by washing up in a washing bowl or using a full load in the dishwasher rather than washing up under a running tap, and by cutting a minute off the length of a shower.

There is also the valid and credible opportunity for plumbers to promote some of the latest water saving products being introduced to the market. The consensus is that the demand for water saving is only going to grow which, in turn, presents a good revenue stream for refurbishment work. In order to fully capitalise on this opportunity, however, it is important to not only stock all of the latest water saving solutions but to have an extensive knowledge base, in order to advise and support homeowners on the most appropriate option for their specification. For example, taps with flow regulators, or shower heads that have multiple modes to give the option of water economy or full flow, are quick and reasonably-priced alternatives which will satisfy the vast majority of users. Simple and easy steps like changing habits and fitting more efficient products will have a drastic impact. With this in mind, it helps to give customers real world examples of just how much water and money they could save by addressing problems as soon as they arise, rather than several days down the road. Addressing the topic of saving money will also help build their trust in you as a qualified service provider who isn’t trying to rip them off. Providing them with such advice will help cement relationships in the long run. At the end pf the day, we all have a responsibility to use water wisely and consider the impact we have on the environment, and as an industry we need to help find solutions and make improvements in our everyday lives. Over the next few years, we’re expecting to see a time of unprecedented and significant change for the plumbing and heating industry with the introduction of more exacting standards relating to controlling water consumption in new build properties leading the way to potentially tighter controls on water consumption in existing buildings. So, it’s never been more important to be part of an employers’ trade association.

As the APHC is led by a board of directors fully comprised of industry practitioners from its member businesses, the organisation is fully focussed on feeding installer views into the Government and helping to shape policy, and in turn keeping members updated on the latest developments as they happen. It’s now more important than ever to engage with new developments and keep abreast of industry changes in order for your business to thrive.


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