• In this video, This Old House plumbing and heating contractor Richard Trethewey explains how to install a towel warmer.


    1. Drain hot-water heating system; turn off water supply to the old radiator.
    2. Use reciprocating saw to cut hot-water supply and return lines from old radiator; remove radiator.
    3. Cut open floor for relocating new hot-water supply and return lines.
    4. Hold towel warmer against wall and mark its location.
    5. Cut and dry-assemble copper pipe and fittings to extend the hot-water supply and return lines to new locations.
    6. Solder together the copper pipe and fittings.
    7. Sweat a threaded copper adapter onto the end of each hot-water line.
    8. Replace the plywood subfloor.
    9. Thread chrome nipple with shut-off valve into each copper adapter; tighten with adjustable wrench.
    10. Mark the positions of the hanger bases on the wall.
    11. Use toggle bolts—or wood screws if you hit studs—to attach the bases to the wall.
    12. Attach the towel warmer to the hanger bases.
    13. Use adjustable wrench and pliers to connect the chrome shut-off valves to bottom of towel warmer.
    14. Turn on water and check for leaks.
    • Difficulty: Moderate to hard
      Requires advanced plumbing skills

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      Video Directory

      Selected Topic/Section

      Tools List

      • reciprocating saw
        Reciprocating saw,
        used to cut pipes and saw through plywood subfloor
      • drill
      • adjustable wrench
        Adjustable wrench
      • hammer drill
        used to bore through tiled wall
      • propane torch
        Propane torch,
        for soldering copper pipe
      • Phillips screwdriver
      • needlenose pliers

      Shopping List

      1. Hydronic towel warmer

      2. Chrome nipples with shut-off valves

      3. ½-inch copper pipe and assorted fittings

      4. Lead-free solder

      5. Flux

      6. Emery cloth

      7. Flame-resistant cloth,

      to protect surfaces from propane torch flame

      8. Toggle bolts or screws,

      for attaching hanger bases to wall

      9. Drywall screws,

      used to reattach plywood subfloor