Six Ways To Warm Up A Chilly Winter Bathroom

To me, there’s nothing worse than walking into a cold bathroom on a cold morning, especially right after crawling out of a warm bed. Frigid tile floors, a cold toilet seat, and icy water when you turn on the shower can all conspire to make for a rather unpleasant start to a cold winter’s day. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are plenty of ways, big and small, to help quickly heat up a bathroom first thing in the morning, sometimes even before you set foot on that chilly tile floor.

Towel Warmer

Snake 50 CR Hydronic Towel Warmer From Scirocco
Snake 50 CR Hydronic Towel Warmer From Scirocco

Installing a towel warmer is the single easiest and most effective way to ensure your bathroom is nice and toasty warm when you wake up in the morning. These use a minimum of electricity and essentially act as safe, affordable 24 hour space heaters that can noticeably raise the temperature of the whole bathroom. Towel warmers circulate heated liquid inside the metal bars, warming them as well as the surrounding air. Electric towel warmers are self contained and can be installed in almost any space (some models can even be plugged into a nearby outlet rather than wired in), but hydronic towel warmers are designed to replace existing radiator and can’t be installed without an existing radiator system. Either way, leave it to run overnight or set it to turn on before your alarm and the bathroom will be toasty warm when you wake up.

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Heated Floors

Heated Floors Will Work With Any Type Of Ceramic Tile, But Need To Be Installed First
Heated Floors Will Work With Any Type Of Ceramic Tile, But Need To Be Installed First

If it’s the chilly tile that really gets you on a cold winter morning, heated floors are the way to go. These days, heated flooring is typically achieved by installing a fine mesh underlayment beneath a tile floor. An electrical current flows through the mesh, efficiently converting to heat which warms the tile. Like towel warmers, they add some ambient heat to the room, and guarantee the floors will be warm to the touch on even the chilliest winter days. Unfortunately, heated floors have to be installed as part of a larger remodel, as they’ll need to be installed underneath the tile. That said, they offer a great return on the investment and don’t cost much to use, so if you’re on the fence, don’t skimp on this feature.

Heat Lamp

Illumi-heat Semi-Flush Mount Ceiling Fixturer 21817 From Hunter
Illumi-heat Semi-Flush Mount Ceiling Fixturer 21817 From Hunter

Installing a heat lamp is another great way to help warm up a cold bathroom on a chilly morning. If you have a lighting fixture installed in the ceiling of your bathroom already, it’s a simple matter to upgrade to one with a built in heater – all the hookups are the same, though you may need to replace your standard light switch with a slightly larger timer plate. Depending on the design, these have a built in heating element and sometimes a fan (to circulate heat) and can noticeably raise the temperature of the bathroom. These aren’t great for that first morning shock, but take away that unpleasant chill once you get out of a warm shower.

Heated Toilet Seats/Bidets

Starck 3 Sensowash Heated Toilet Seat From Duravit
Starck 3 Sensowash Heated Toilet Seat From Duravit

Perhaps the worst thing about really cold weather is having to sit on a cold toilet seat first thing in the morning or – worse – in the middle of the night. But you might be surprised to know that this is actually something that you can change fairly easily. Many high tech, luxury toilet seats come with built in temperature controls. That’s right, the toilet seats are heated, and all you have to do is swap out the existing seat and hook the new one up to your water line and a nearby outlet. As a bonus, many heated toilet seats include warm water bidets and warm air driers for an even more luxurious experience.

Point Of Use Water Heater

A Small Point Of Use Water Heater Can Provide Instant, Endless Hot Water For Your Bathroom Sink Or Shower
A Small Point Of Use Water Heater Can Provide Instant, Endless Hot Water For Your Bathroom Sink Or Shower

If your bathroom is located a long way away from your water heater, chances are it takes your water a little longer than you’d like to heat up, especially on a really cold day. Fortunately, there’s a simple way to fix this problem: all you have to do is install a point of use water heater. These small electric boxes can be installed (and completely hidden) in the back of your bathroom vanity, and provide instant hot water as soon as you turn on the tap. Smaller ones are great for faucets, and slightly larger ones can heat enough water for a shower, which means not only immediate hot water, but infinite hot water, too.

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Steam Shower

Platinum Steam Shower From Ariel
Platinum Steam Shower From Ariel

Perhaps the most involved option on this list, steam showers are fast becoming a must-have spa feature in high end bathroom remodels. To get one, you install a bread box-sized steam generator within 25 feet of your shower and connect it to the shower with a small metal pipe. When turned on, the steam generator fills with water, boils the water, and pumps the steam into the shower, creating a fabulously warm, velvety spa atmosphere in about a minute. An average one will use about 2 gallons of water in a 20 minute period (as opposed to about 50 gallons for an average shower head over the same period of time), making them much more efficient. The only drawback is that you’ll need to design a shower around it (the space needs to be water resistant and steam-tight) or install a separate premade steam shower unit.

What’s your least favorite part of a cold winter bathroom? Anything you’d particularly love to change? Let me know in the comments!

One thought on “Six Ways To Warm Up A Chilly Winter Bathroom

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