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What’s the Best Way to Heat Your Bathroom?

Author: Abi Buckland

While nothing beats a hot shower or bath on a cold winter’s day, getting out of the bath or shower on a cold winter’s day is another story. So what’s the best way to heat your bathroom, and keep yourself cosy this winter?

Tiled bathroom floors can be a lifesaver in the summer. But the thought of stepping onto that frosty floor in winter can fill us with dread. Waiting for the water to run hot suddenly feels like the longest few seconds ever. Or minutes, depending on how quick your water heats up.

So, if you’re looking for a way to combat the cold, and keep your bathroom nice and toasty, then what’s the best way to heat your bathroom?

Below, we’ve compiled a list of both budget and pricier options to heat a chilly bathroom.

7 ways to heat your bathroom

Here are some of the best tried-and-tested ways to heat your bathroom.

1. Check the windows

First things first, make sure that the windows in your bathroom are properly sealed. There is no point trying to fill a bucket that has a hole in it. And the same philosophy applies to heating your bathroom. If you can feel cold air coming in, that means that warm air is also going out.

Fixing this is a fairly simple process. While there are a number of different ways to go about it, an inexpensive solution is a self-adhesive weather strip, which can be found in most hardware stores or online for about $10-$20.

2. Use bathmats

This one may seem obvious, but adding bathmats by the shower, the toilet and in front of the sink not only increases the aesthetic of your bathroom, and reduces the chance of slipping on a wet floor, but helps keep the heat in and your toes off the arctic tiles.

This is a budget and renter-friendly option that doubles in taking your bathroom design to the next level.

3. Invest in an overhead heating lamp

If you don’t already have an overhead heating lamp installed in your bathroom, they are a game-changer! It’s like a beaming ray of sun and it makes getting out of the shower much more pleasant in the cooler months. Most overhead heating lamps come in a 3-in-1 format (a light, a heating function, and an extraction fan). So they can be used all year round.

They’re fairly inexpensive to purchase, starting from around $100, are one of the most energy-efficient solutions for heating your bathroom, and they’re easily retrofitted to existing bathrooms.

Although keep in mind you’ll need to factor in installation costs.

It’s worth noting that overhead heating lamps lose some of their efficiency in large bathrooms.


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 4. Use a heated towel rail

Not only are heated towel rails functional, in terms of drying and heating your towels, but they also add warmth to your bathroom. All without breaking the bank to run. In fact, the cost of running a basic heated towel rail has been compared to the cost of running a standard lightbulb. Towel racks work by heating coils inside the tubing rail and radiating heat outwards to heat towels, and the warmth will be felt throughout as well.

The initial purchase of a heated towel rail starts from less than $50 for the most basic of models ($100+ is more standard). But if you wish, there are pricier models for hundreds of dollars. After this, there is the cost of installation, which depends on size, finish, labour costs, etc.

If looked after correctly, heated towel rails can last years in your home. And depending on the model, can add just as much style as they do heat.

→Related article: Most Energy-Efficient Clothes Dryers

5. Underfloor heating

By no means a small project, but if you’re building, renovating, or planning on replacing your bathroom tiles anytime soon, then this is the perfect opportunity to add an extra level of luxury to your bathroom.

Underfloor heating can warm up your bathroom evenly from the floor up and, while there are associated upfront costs, it’s a mighty effective way to heat your bathroom. Not only does it keep your feet warm, but as heat rises, this effectively heats your bathroom from the ground up. This can be more effective than heaters high on the wall or ceiling.

It doesn’t have to be installed in the whole room, either, so avoiding spaces such as showers and cabinets could be a way to cut down costs a little.

Most underfloor heating systems can be controlled by either a timer or are programmable, giving you control over when they are on. This can help keep running costs down. Generally speaking, while expensive to install, underfloor heating is cheaper to run than air conditioners or radiators. Overall running costs depend on factors such as the size of the bathroom, the system’s wattage and whether or not your house has solar power, etc.

6. Heated toilet seat

The shock of a freezing toilet seat is definitely enough to wake you up on a middle-of-the-night loo run. So why not consider a heated seat?

Originally, these came with a smart toilet. But they are now available to purchase separately, relatively cheaply. Although there are heated toilet seats that feature other integrated functions, such as night lights, automatic deodorisers and bidets.

They’re designed to attach to your existing toilet and can be found at hardware and bathroom stores as well as online. Heated toilet seats range from about $150 to $500. But if you want to get really fancy and/or include a bidet as well, they can cost even more.

7. Panel heaters

Another alternative way to heat your bathroom is to use a mobile panel heater. However, these aren’t usually designed to be used in wet and humid environments. Rather, they can be used to preheat your bathroom. Just ensure to remove the heater before bathing or showering, take appropriate caution and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Panel heaters use convective heat to warm up a room, and are compact and great for small bathrooms. However, they’re not the most energy-efficient solution, as they usually require time to warm up.

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Are portable heaters safe to use in a bathroom?

Portable electric heaters are a popular option to heat individual rooms in your home. But they’re not safe to use in rooms with high humidity (like bathrooms) because:

  1. Electric heaters used near water pose an electrocution hazard for all family members
  2. Moisture in the air could cause internal elements in the appliance to rust over time, leading to a shorter lifespan.

Therefore, it’s generally recommended that an installed heater is the way to go. Such as the 3-in-1 overhead heating systems, underfloor heating, or even the heated towel rail mentioned above.

→Related article: Best Kmart Heaters For Winter

Convection vs radiation heating: What’s best for the bathroom?

If you must use an electric heater in your bathroom (make sure to turn off the appliance at the wall before you run any water) − radiant heaters are best since they have a short heat-up time and are designed to transfer heat to people and objects in direct proximity. As opposed to circulating heated air around a room like convection heaters.

However, radiant bar heaters can have high running costs, and as they are designed to heat people and objects, they may not effectively heat the bathroom itself. On the other hand, convection electric heating works by drawing in cold air over a heating element before passing it back through the room. The benefit of convection heaters is that they can effectively heat a whole room for an extended period. But again, costs may be high, and larger bathrooms in particular may require significant preheating.

What’s the most energy-efficient way to heat your bathroom?

The most energy-efficient way to heat your cold bathroom is to install an overhead heating lamp. Not only are they easily retrofitted into existing bathrooms, with limited costs involved, but they also come with varying wattage bulbs to ensure adequate heating for the size of the room. There’s also no pre-heating required as it only needs to be on when you’re using the bathroom, so that will help keep your power bill in check.

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author andrew broadley

About the reviewer of this page

This report was reviewed by Canstar Content Producer, Andrew Broadley. Andrew is an experienced writer with a wide range of industry experience. Starting out, he cut his teeth working as a writer for print and online magazines, and he has worked in both journalism and editorial roles. His content has covered lifestyle and culture, marketing and, more recently, finance for Canstar.


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