Electric or Hydronic?

Electric Models
 
Electric models are self-contained and operate independently of the central heating system. They are either plugged in or direct wired and run on regular 120 Volt current.

They offer the advantage of four-season usage and will provide luxurious radiant heat to warm you, your bathroom and your towels whether it's the dead of winter or just a raw day. Electric models offer the flexibility of temperature settings; low for warming towels and high for room heating.

Electric towel radiators may be used as the sole source of heat for a room. Larger towel radiators (900 Watts) will heat an entire room up to 150 square feet. However, as a heater, electric models are often used in conjunction with another heat source. For example the majority of homes in the United States are heated by forced-air, and one of the limitations of this type of heating system is that it is not typically zoned. Bathrooms tend to be at the end of the heating run. By the time the warm air reaches the bathroom it often lacks oomph and people find themselves cranking up the heat in the entire house to warm the bathroom. An electric Runtal towel radiator provides energy efficiency by eliminating the need to raise the temperature in the entire house--just to warm the bathroom.
  Hydronic Models

Hydronic models operate in conjunction with a closed loop forced-hot-water heating system and typically operate only during the period that the central heating system is operational. The hydronic towel radiator is heated by circulating warm water from a boiler, which typically operates from home heating oil, natural gas, or lpg propane depending on the boiler. Towel radiators are not made to operate off of a domestic hot water system. The one exception to this rule is the Runtal Fain which is made entirely of stainless steel and may be connected to the domestic hot water system.

Hydronic towel radiators are most often used as the main source of heat for a room (particularly bathrooms, kitchens, entryways and laundry rooms), and proper sizing is a priority. A good "rule of thumb" value for a room is 40+/- BTUH per square foot of floor area, assuming a single outside wall with one window, and a standard ceiling height. For a more accurate heat loss value, consult with a qualified heating specialist.

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