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Heated towel rails and safety in 2022

If you’re considering buying and installing a heated towel rail in 2022, should you think about your heated towel rail safety and the safety of your family before you do? While heated towel rails are no doubt luxurious, are you compromising safety by having one in your bathroom?

On the surface this may seem like a fair question. After all, heated towel rails are an electrical item and we all know that electricity and water shouldn’t mix. However, let’s allay any fears you may have from the start. The vast majority of towel rails are safe and we’ll explain why in this post.

Electricity and water doesn’t mix, however…

It’s true that electricity and water doesn’t mix, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have electrical items in your bathroom. And this includes a heated towel rail, whether it’s one that’s been hard-wired or one that plugs into a wall socket.

In terms of electrical safety, it could be argued that a hard-wired unit is more safe. That’s because it will need to be connected to your mains electricity by a licensed electrician. This conceals all leads and wires in the wall, which not just looks better, but is potentially safer.

However, plug-in heated towel rails are also very safe. The proviso is that they are installed in a safe place in your bathroom. For example, you should never install a plug-in rail inside your shower (not sure why anyone would, but it’s worth pointing out!) or directly above a bathtub. In fact, make sure yours is installed well away from water sources altogether.

Whether you are purchasing a heated towel rail for hard-wiring or for plugging in to an electrical socket, check its IP Rating before you purchase. IP stands for Ingress Protection and specifies that a product is protected against intrusions of solid and liquid particles. For example, IP44 is protected from solid particles that are over 1 millimetre and against water splashing from any angle. Perfect protection for a heated towel rail.

It’s also a good idea to ensure your towel rail complies with Australian Standards for electrical safety. 

gordon heated towel rails and safety in 2022

Can an electric heated towel rail catch fire?

Some people worry that an electric heated towel rail can catch fire, but again we can allay those fears. 

Providing you purchase a heated towel rail that complies with Australian Standards and you have your rail correctly installed by a licenced electrician (in the case of hard wired models) you’ll never have an issue with fire.

What about the towels? Can they catch fire? Again, the answer is definitely not. While the heat generated is enough to dry and warm towels, the total heat output is limited by the amount of power, which is generally around 200 Watts. This ensures the heated towel rail can never get hotter than its maximum temperature.

Can a heated towel rail burn?

Another common question regarding safety is whether a heated towel rail can burn. This is perhaps a reasonable concern, as these products are a heating appliance, just like a radiator, are therefore the surface does heat up. It’s also true that some heated towel rails can get quite hot to the touch.

Therefore, you should treat heated towel rails with caution. They won’t burn on immediate contact, however, if you held onto to a rail too long, for example, you could experience a minor contact burn. 

If you have particularly sensitive skin, it’s wise to purchase and install a heated towel rail that has a lower maximum operating temperature.

Gordon, safety guaranteed.

Here’s some good news. Purchase one of Eskimo’s revolutionary Gordon heated towel rails and you’re not only guaranteed of experiencing luxury. Your safety will be guaranteed to. Here’s why:

  • All Gordon’s have an IP44 rating.
  • They comply with Australian Standards electrical safety AS/NZS 60334.2.43:2005.
  • They are hardwired.
  • The Gordon has been designed, engineered and manufactured in the United Kingdom to exacting standards.
  • Our heated towel rail is designed to operate at a constant 43 degrees Celsius, which is a very low surface temperature compared to many of our competitor’s models. The temperature does rise slightly when the unit is covered, to reduce drying time and maximise efficiency, but returns to the lower temperature very quickly once a towel or bath mat is removed.
  • Gordon’s relatively low temperature means that your precious fabrics are also safe and will not scorch or burn. You can even use them to dry clothing, although discretion should be used with particularly delicate items.
gordon, safety guaranteed

You can find out more about our impressive, safe Gordon heated towel rail here

If you live in Melbourne, you can also visit our Showroom or see us at the upcoming Melbourne Autumn Home Show. The 2022 show will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from Friday 29 April to Sunday 1 May.


Penny Evans

My passion for interior design and architecture can be traced back to my pre-professional days. Always on the look out for new and innovative products which take the project to a whole new and unexpected level. I like getting people excited about things I'm excited about right now, and that's anything that brings some flair and colour to what may otherwise be a mundane solution.

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