gordon – flash drying towel warmer (single) dark grey
What’s the purpose of a towel warmer? Clues in the name probably, but that’s not the whole story. Unless you’re one of a dying breed who only ever use a towel once and then wash it immediately (costly both for you and the environment) then you need your towel warmer to be a towel dryer/warmer. Wet towels hanging about the bathroom (or worse still thrown over anything that provides a drying surface) are unpleasant and smelly. You want a towel dryer/warmer that can dry all of your towels in a flash, using as little energy as possible, in a pleasing aesthetic package. That’s the job description.
Gordon was born of a realisation that the standard towel warmer with horizontal bars didn’t work as designed. This was backed up by an extensive Eskimo test series which discovered that, despite the high energy consumption, the standard ladder towel warmer didn’t even effectively dry and warm towels overnight. This was our absolute lowest benchmark measure of acceptable product performance.
After more market research we then embarked on a second test series where we started hanging the towels vertically over the ends of the ladder towel rail to emulate how people use them. Whilst this only utilised a small part of the ladder rail, thus wasting the majority of its energy used, it did then become more effective at drying a couple of towels. People intuitively worked round the deficiencies of the design and turned into something that was more effective by using it in a different way than intended.
Next there’s the physics. Using only natural convection the speed with which a towel will dry is a function of temperature, airflow and humidity.
Temperature The maximum operating temperature has a limit imposed by what is safe and comfortable in a room where the user tends to be wearing little or nothing. The British and European Standards weren’t much use here as they allow a maximum surface temperature of 95ºC – genuinely dangerous in our opinion and worth noting that many products on the market operate towards this limit. In order to keep things safe we adopted the Low Surface Temperature standard used in public buildings such as hospitals of max 43ºC for an electric towel warmer without a towel on. Once you cover it with a towel this can be allowed to rise a bit because it’s much safer for the user in this state. We set ourselves a limit here of 56ºC – still much lower than most radiator temperatures of c.60-80ºC.
Airflow This was the clever part – how do you promote the convection currents that will provide a constant flow of warm dry air over the towel. This is where our two decades of experience designing high performance radiators combined with state of the art modelling techniques come in. It’s essentially all in the form.
Humidity This is where the ladder rail design breaks down completely. Not only does it not provide adequate airflow, but due to the horizontal nature of the towel hanging it also traps a pocket of damp air underneath the towel that, once it has become saturated with moisture, cannot absorb any more and so prevents the towel from drying further in that area. Gordon’s use of long vertical fins provides free air galleries that constantly exhaust the humid air, replacing it with dry air from underneath the towel warmer.
To put it into perspective a single Gordon will dry two large bath towels from wet (>25% moisture content) to dry (<10% moisture content) in 2 hours. A ladder rail with the same size heating element (200w) but twice the size of a Gordon with the same two towels hung over it will take in excess of 11 hours.
In terms of energy usage that’s over 5 times the energy requirement to do exactly the same job. Over the course of a year that’s a whopping 657 kW of wasted energy! At today’s energy prices that will cost you around £95 in running costs for each inefficient ladder rail you have in the home and this is only set to get worse. So get yourself a GORDON – flash drying towel warmer.