Hardwired heated towel rack

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Old 11-25-18, 01:22 PM
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Hardwired heated towel rack

I've been thinking about getting this towel warmer from Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/Amba-RWH-CB...dp/B00B4UC3EQ/

I was originally planning on getting one that plugged in to an outlet, but I feel like that would be pretty ugly. Could someone give me an idea of what exactly I would have to do to install the hardwired version? Feel free to also say that I am way out of my depth. My electrical experience is comprised of changing dumb light switches and thermostats with smart ones and installing a ceiling fan (the wiring was already in the walls).

I would want to center it over the scale in the picture.
 
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Old 11-25-18, 02:24 PM
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You would need to get a cable or conduit to the location there you connect the towel rack. this could be easy or hard depending if you have an unfinished basement or crawlspace below the bathroom, or an attic above.

If you want a timer to control the rack, you will need to run the cable there first and then to the rack.
 
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Old 11-25-18, 02:30 PM
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I never saw on Amazon what power it requires or where the hook-up is located. I assume 120VAC 60hz but it would be nice if they told you. I would order the unit and wait for it to arrive so you know where the power input is located and how they do it. Then once you have that you'll need to get power through the wall to the heater's location. You might be able to tie into the outlet in your photo.
 
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Old 11-25-18, 02:35 PM
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Maybe you could wire it so that the Towels are being heated anytime the light is on . . . . no light = no heated towels !
 
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Old 11-25-18, 02:52 PM
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being heated anytime the light is on
My experience with such heated towel racks is that they take a long time to heat the towels. I leave mine plugged in and on all the time except in the summer when temperatures are high.

The photo in the link shows what looks like an outlet cover plate at the lower right hand corner. I think you would have to install an outlet box there, wire the unit and attach the coverplate.

Since it is in a bathroom you need to have GFCI protection--either from an existing protected outlet, from a GFCI circuit breaker, or a separate GFCI outlet (or GFCI blank) mounted nearby and connected to the warmer wiring.

Some locations may restrict how close such a unit or outlet can be to a shower or tub entry (3 feet as I recall) even if GFCI protected.
 
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Old 11-25-18, 02:53 PM
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It will require a junction to be set at the lower right rung. It can be seen in the install manual.

Heated towel bar installation (pdf)
 
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Old 11-25-18, 04:22 PM
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I do have an attic above. I'm not sure how to use that. The area above is covered in insulation that hasn't settled.

The outlet in the photo is GFCI protected. I was hoping there would be a way to pull power from that. The Ideal situation would be installing a smart light switch next to the rack that would control it. That way I could easily activate it from anywhere and put it as part of routines that activate automatically in the morning.

I'm attaching a picture of the bathroom before the drywall was put in, in case it's helpful. It's probably of limited use since I screwed up and didn't do one inside the bathroom, so you can't see the outlet in the picture.

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Last edited by PJmax; 11-25-18 at 04:57 PM. Reason: added second labeled pic
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Old 11-25-18, 04:59 PM
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I added a labeled picture to your post. Two things of concern......
1) the horizontal wood.
2) that X bridging.

Is what looks like metal strapping in an X still in the wall ?

The white boxes are approximate locations.
 
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Old 11-25-18, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by PJmax View Post
I added a labeled picture to your post. Two things of concern......
1) the horizontal wood.
2) that X bridging.

Is what looks like metal strapping in an X still in the wall ?

The white boxes are approximate locations.
I have no reason to believe they took the metal down. Sorry I'm not following, but what issues to the horizontal wood and metal X cause?
 
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Old 11-25-18, 06:06 PM
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Sorry I'm not following, but what issues to the horizontal wood and metal X cause?

The horizontal wood blocking would make it pretty difficult to fish a cable from the attic. The metal looks like wind bracing to me so I would assume it is still there.
 
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Old 11-25-18, 06:11 PM
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If the attic was the best way to go, I think I could flip the unit upside down so that the power source would be at the top of it and way above the horizontal wood. That would make the built-in switch awkward to reach, but that wouldn't be much of a concern if I was controlling it externally somehow.
 
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Old 11-25-18, 06:14 PM
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You'd need a stud finder to locate that metal for the X or for sure it will be right where you want the box. I thought the wind bracing was usually on the outside of the studded wall facing the sheathing.

You may be able to install the switch box and then drill from there over two stud bays to the receptacle. You may need to pull the receptacle box out to drill towards the new switch.

It looks like the receptacle is below the horizontal blocking.
 
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Old 11-25-18, 06:15 PM
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If it matters at all, this wall is shared with the town home next to mine.
 
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Old 11-26-18, 09:17 AM
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I could flip the unit upside down
That probably won't work. The heating unit is on the bottom and interacts with some medium (like mineral oil) to cause heating by conduction inside the pipes. Heated oil rises and cooler oil returns to the bottom to be reheated. If the heating unit is at the top the heated oil will not flow to the bottom. Also there is a possibility that the heating unit at the top will be above the oil level and will overheat and burn out.

this wall is shared with the town home next to mine.
There are fire rating and other issues with shared walls that have to be considered.

Also depending on your location the metal X bracing may be for earthquake provisions.

I think a plug and cord to the existing outlet may not look as nice but is a reasonable solution. You can shorten the cord to the exact length you need to improve the look.

As for using a timer or switch, see my comments in post #5. The electricity used is minimal.
 
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Old 11-26-18, 04:14 PM
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According to the manufacturer's website, it can actually be oriented in any direction: https://ambaproducts.com/products/ra...-curved-rwh-c/


Having said that, I think you're probably right that the right direction is just plugging into the existing outlet, even though it won't look as nice.
 
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Old 11-27-18, 10:17 AM
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Heating with an internal cable allows mounting in any orientation.

Now you need to consider how to mount it. It looks like your wall studs are 16 inches on center. The unit needs 22 3/8 inches and they recommend screwing into a stud or blocking.

You could mount the upper corners on the horizontal bracing and use wall anchors at the bottom. That way the weight of the unit + towels is supported by the bracing. At 15 1/4 inches high it should still be at a reasonable height for a towel rack without the lower towel hitting the floor.

If that is too low then you might have to consider mounting boards (1x2) that are about 24 inches wide screwed to the studs at 16 inches higher up and mount the rack on the boards.

Since it is a shared wall it is possible that the drywall is double thickness for fire rating. You may need longer screws and/or molly bolts.

Shorten the cord to the length needed and use an angle plug to keep the cord close to the wall.
 
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Old 11-27-18, 11:29 AM
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Where are you seeing the recommendation to mount on studs or blocking? I'm not seeing that anywhere. I'm not saying it's a bad idea, but it just wouldn't seem practical to me to put out something 22 3/8" wide and expect it to be mounted on studs or blocking unless it's only meant for new building.

It would be lower than I'd want putting the top corners on the horizontal mounting. What would really bother me is that the switch and the cord would both be really low. What I'm more inclined to do is have the bottom corners on the horizontal support and one of the two top ones on a stud. I realize it wouldn't be quite as secure, but it would line the cord up perfectly with the outlet to make it as unobtrusive as possible. Given that the item itself is only 10 lbs., I feel like it would be fine without using any studs, and will definitely be okay with 3 corners attached to studs. Am I crazy?
 
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Old 11-27-18, 12:47 PM
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That information is in the Installation PDF that PJMax linked in post #6. (Step 7.)

I think that If you mounted the bottom at the blocking and one of the top corners to a stud it would probably be OK but would it be centered?

Mounting the bottom on the horizontal blocking may make the unit too high. You decide.

I agree with your comment about the width. It may be a European measurement. I once got regular European towel bars that had a similar measurement and I cut them down for 16 inch mounting.
 
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Old 11-27-18, 03:57 PM
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To wire and install something like this is might be a better option to open up the wall, do the wiring and blocking installation, and then repair and paint. That will get the result you want and the best install. It looks fairly new so matching that paint shouldn't be too hard.

I suspect they want you to mount it to backing in case somebody climbs it as it appears to be similar to a ladder.
 
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Old 11-30-18, 10:31 AM
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Ah, I see that now. I was missing it because I'd pretty much decided to just do the plug in model, which doesn't call for that. It just uses anchors. I'm not sure why.

Since I am doing the plug-in model, I remember 2John said it would be possible to shorten the cord. How would I do that?
 
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Old 11-30-18, 03:53 PM
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Yanking a towel off the rack can put a lot of strain on the anchors. Make sure you use something like this that goes all the way through the drywall. Toggle Bolt: 3/16, 3.000 in (76.2 mm) Length Under Head, Mushroom Head | EssentraComponentsUS

Try to hit the blocking and a stud if you can with screws. Use an anchor only for the "floating" corner.

Get one of these for the plug. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Eaton-15...-206469341-_-N

Cut the wire to the correct length strip back the covering, strip off about 5/8 inch of insulation from each wire and twist the exposed wire if stranded, connect the wires to the new plug--Black to gold screw, white to silver screw, green to green screw.
 
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