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Choosing an affordable and energy efficient bathroom heater may seem like a daunting task with so much choice; this article covers the options available for the best bathroom heaters in the UK and what factors you need to consider.
Let's face it, living in the UK, heating systems are a necessity in all parts of your home, and heating your bathroom is no different. Nobody wants a cold bathroom. After all, it is the room where you generally get ready in the morning or last thing at night, usually when temperatures outside are at their lowest during colder months. And there is nothing like stepping out of a shower into a warm and cosy bathroom to get your day off to a good start.
Read on to learn more about what types of bathroom heater options are currently on the market and how to decide what suits best your needs.
There are a few things you need to know when looking to buy a heater for your bathroom, such as the bathroom layout, what is the available space and what is your budget. Narrowing down between the many options from the best heaters on the market is a bigger decision than you think. It is not advisable to get just any heating system installed in your bathroom, it's important to explore the bathroom-specific heaters that are on the market and what type is more suited to your home. It should serve a specific purpose, be energy efficient and cost efficient above all.
Read more below on the following questions you may have:
There is something about a warm bathroom, whether it is stepping out of your electric shower, into a warm and dry towel or simply getting ready for work, being warm leads to a high level of comfort which is so important. Bathrooms are usually smaller spaces that retain a high amount of heat and humidity, so heating this kind of space requires a specific heating solution. Bathroom heaters keep mirrors from fogging up and also keep the air dry so help prevent moisture and odour build up.
How often and exactly when will you be using a bathroom heater? You will want a bathroom heater that heats up the room relatively quickly so you can start getting ready first thing in the morning without having to wait for your central heating to crank up. Usually, a bathroom heater will just be turned on when needed, rather than being left on all day or night.
Running your heater even in warmer months will get rid of moisture in your bathroom and ensure that mould doesn't form. Some bathrooms don't even have windows so hardly any ventilation at all, so turning on the heating for short periods of time is important to do so moisture doesn't build up.
It is possible to use your existing central heating in your bathroom using a conventional bathroom radiator, however this comes with the problem of having to heat your entire home at the same time when it's likely that you will be getting ready first thing in the morning or at night in just one part of your house or apartment. Therefore, this is not very energy efficient and you may feel the need for a secondary source of heating such as an electric radiator that can be run on its own.
Manufacturers take plenty of precautions to ensure that heating appliances are entirely safe to be used in bathrooms. Cords are manufactured to withstand moisture and they often come with ALCI plugs, which are safety features built into the appliance cord or plug that are designed to keep you safe from shock when plugged in.
Another thing to consider is the shape and size of the heater and the kind of risks they impose. Some bathroom heaters are free-standing and come with tip-over automatic shut off whereas a wall mounted bathroom heater won't need such features as they are well out of the way and pose no risk to being knocked as you get out of the shower. Corded heaters can be a tripping hazard, so must be placed somewhere safe when not in use and definitely out of reach of children. Heaters can be cordless such as wall mounted which can have the cord embedded into the wall. And being able to programme your heater so they only function at the times you are home will ensure you can keep an eye on their correct operation.
There are a number of options to choose from:
We have reviewed some of the more energy efficient and space saving options to suit your needs.
Bathroom heaters can be a part of your bathroom lighting fixture with the option of combining a bathroom heater and light and a fan in a single unit. This fan heater is a good idea for a poorly ventilated bathroom. Each function can be switched on or off independently depending on if you want light or fan only or heat and light combined. A bathroom heat light can warm the bathroom with one or a number of bulbs depending on the required heat output and can be relatively inexpensive if used when necessary.
An electric heater does not rely on your existing central heating system and are entirely electric. This option can save you money in the long run by avoiding having to switch on your central heating just to heat up a small space. Electric heating work mostly by convection so heat the air in your bathroom but not the walls or floor tiles which might not best suit a bathroom setting. The heating element in the convector heater is turned on and off by a simple switch, therefore work on demand and with no need to wait. However, most are corded which can pose a tripping hazard and need to be stored safely when not in use.
Glass panel heaters are innovative and elegant in any room in your home and are wall mounted with hidden brackets for a discreet finish. In your bathroom these would take up very little valuable space and look very modern. The cost effectiveness of a glass panel heater comes with the ability to turn the heater on only when required and can quickly heat up a small bathroom.
Underfloor heating is growing in popularity as it is seen as a rather modern means to heat your home. Two types of floor heating systems exist: a dry system which is entirely electrical and a wet system which uses hot water fed from your central heating. Installing an underfloor heating system can be complicated however but could be considered for a new build or if you are remodelling.
There are a number of types of Infrared wall-mounted bathroom heaters that work by radiant heat from far infrared waves that warm up the walls, people and the objects in the room as opposed to the air that fills the room (this is near infrared - think glowing red bar heaters). This means that the level of comfort isn't affected by open doors or draughts as you step out of your power shower.
(Far) Infrared heaters are very easy to install. By being wall mounted, they therefore take up very little space and most importantly don't rely on your central heating to function as these run on electricity and are super efficient. You can either use a thermostat and keep a constant temperature, or programme the thermostat to increase the temperature when the bathroom is in use - ie. in the mornings and evenings. Two good options are a infrared towel heater or a infrared mirror heater:
Infrared towel heaters are a very popular choice in bathrooms today- they are very stylish, convenient to use, take up very little space and provide enough heat output to heat your bathroom while at the same time keep your towels warm and dry. It's quite the luxury to step out of the shower and into a towel warmed by a heated towel rail.
A wall mounted infrared towel dryer can be ideal where access to connecting to the central heating system is made difficult. By installing a thermostat you can set it to a number of hours of operating time or use a simple on/off switch to make it more energy efficient.
A heater that also serves the purpose of being a beautiful mirror in your bathroom is ideal for saving on space and functionality. The mirror will never mist over as the heating aspect prevents this and as you use your mirror you are met with a lovely radiant warm glow that also heats your walls and tiles to ensure your bathroom stays warm and dry even after the heater is turned off. These types of mirrors are also a popular choice for hallways, living rooms and bedrooms.
Infrared heating does pose some advantages over other heating systems, especially in a unique space such as your bathroom. Space is a consideration, which infrared towel heaters and mirror panels are perfect for as they serve dual purpose and are wall-mounted. With high levels of humidity in poorly ventilated bathrooms, infrared heaters keep walls, ceilings and floors dry and at a temperature that prevents condensation and mould from forming. The time it takes for infrared to heat up your bathroom, in less than ten minutes you have the perfect climate to step out of your shower into, and the efficiency of a heater that is just used when necessary and can be easily turned off when not in use means immediate cost savings.
Where? What are your options for placing your heating system- do you have a choice? Are you going to go with your current central heating system's radiators or can you opt for a mounted bathroom wall heater or a ceiling heater which won't take up any of your bathroom floor space.
Type? With so many types of heaters to choose from, you can now opt for a heater that also doubles up as your towel dryer or even your bathroom mirror with a Mirror Heating Panel, where you won't have to worry about them misting over. Some heaters can also actually look stylish and add to your bathroom décor so keep that in mind when choosing your heater type.
Expense- best value for money
Bathroom heaters are not expensive compared to the heaters you have elsewhere in your home. If you're not looking to invest in your current home then there are plenty of inexpensive portable short-term solutions, however these are less efficient and more costly in the long run. However, if you are fitting out a home you are likely to stay in for a while then you may want to invest in a modern wall mounted system that will pay itself off in the long run and guarantee you low maintenance and comfortable warmth.
Consider installation costs for each of your heating options as these will vary, a heater that runs off the central heating will need a plumber to install, electric underfloor heating is best to install during construction as it can be expensive to retrofit and insulation will also be needed for a wet system.
You want your bathroom heater to be as durable and long lasting as every other appliance in your home, so be sure to check waterproof rating, need for maintenance and always go for a reputable company that will provide you with a heater that matches your needs.
Space- does the size of your bathroom matter?
Many bathrooms are small spaces so you don't want to use up some valuable space in your bathroom with a heater. The layout of the room should be considered as well as the positioning of the heater with respect to the sink and bath or shower. You don't want to buy a heater that you then realise takes up half the space in your bathroom so keep this in mind when buying your heater. A wall mounted heater obviously solves this problem for you as they take up very little space. Larger bathrooms need a heater with a bigger output of heat to cover the whole bathroom and when space is at a premium you don't want your heater to take up too much space.
How to use your bathroom heater
It sounds obvious, but in order to use your heater efficiently, make sure you know how your bathroom heater works. Look through what the more advanced settings are and use them! And most importantly, it helps if you purchase your heater from a reputable provider who will be on hand to advise you should you have any questions about setting up and day to day functionality.
We have reviewed the bathroom heaters that are currently on the market and given you some pointers on what you need to consider when choosing what type to go for. More importantly consider what exactly are your specific needs, what functionality do you seek and what is going to be the best investment in the long run? At the end of the day, whether you live in a five-bedroom house or a compact city apartment, comfort and warmth are worth doing your homework for.