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12 Bathroom Heating Ideas: The Ultimate Guide

When winter rolls around, the idea of a hot bath is a luxury denied to many due to cold bathroom conditions.

With this ultimate guide to 12 bathroom heating ideas, you can heat your bathroom, making it a warm space even during the coldest days.

bathroom heating

Why Is Your Bathroom Cold?

There are several reasons your bathroom may be a chillingly awful space in winter.

Knowing what is dropping the temperature can help you make a jaw-dropping space and plan a heating strategy that will be as cost-effective as possible.

Your bathroom may be cold because of any of the following factors:

  • Drafts
  • Cold tiles
  • Cool colors
  • High ceilings
  • Large spaces that don’t heat up
  • Exhaust fans that introduce outside air

Bathroom Heating Ideas & Options

Heating your bathroom will require a comprehensive strategy based on eliminating the cold factors mentioned above.

Here are the 12 helpful bathroom heating ideas.

1. Consider Using a Dehumidifier Instead of an Exhaust Fan in a Small Bathroom

Using an exhaust fan, you remove the humidity in your bathroom via fans that introduce outside unheated air.

Instead, opt for a dehumidifier that simply dries the air through condensation.

With outside air entering your bathroom, it will be cold and cost more by increasing your HVAC usage.

Power Consumption

A 50-watt fan will cost you $4 per month for a 24/7 operation and introduce more cold into your bathroom.

Opt-in for a dehumidifier!

2. Use Warm Lighting or Heating Lamps

By using a ceiling or wall-mounted heating lamp, you can heat up a substantial part of your bathroom from above.

These lights are available from good hardware stores or lighting distributors.

You should get the correct fitting to mount these heating lamps in to avoid electrical dramas.

By opting for a warm-light light bulb, you can also significantly improve the warm feel of the room as the light will be golden tinted and not the cool-white that many bulbs offer.

Power Consumption

A 250-watt bulb at 12 cents per hour in a heat lamp will cost approximately $21 for a 24/7 month operation.

3. Try Larger Shower Heads

The bigger your shower head, the better it can cover your whole body while you shower, which means a nice warm shower.

Additionally, a larger shower head can produce more steam, which increases your bathroom temperature.

Just be sure to check a water-efficient head to cut down on warm water usage and flip on the dehumidifier afterward to dry up the bathroom to prevent mold from forming.

Water Consumption

Depending on your water needs, up to 10-20% more of your shower consumption. Consider investing in a low-flow showerhead and fixing your shower leaks to save up to 60% on your water expenses!

4. Invest in Water Preheaters

While having a large water heater or boiler may be a blessing, it can be a problem to heat up in a large family.

Using a preheating system can ensure that your warm water is actually warm, no matter how many people have used water that morning.

It’s also a great way to save on costs.

Power Consumption

Preheater solar installations or tempering tanks located in naturally warm areas are extremely power efficient. Power savings, however, are hard to calculate precisely and will depend on your particular setup.

5. Opt-in for Heated Towel Warmers and Racks 

Jumping out of that lovely warm shower only to be met with a freezing towel is not how I want to start my day, so having a heated towel rail is a wonderful luxury.

Not only will towels be nice and warm, but the rail also heats up a significant portion of your bathroom.

There is a range of heated towel warmers and racks available, and with automatic shut-off timers, you can heat and forget with ease.

Power Consumption

A 500-watt towel warmer would cost around $40 at a 24/7 month operation at 12 cents per kWh.

6. Don’t Forget to Seal and Cover Your Windows

Your walls are often the site where most of your bathroom’s heat escapes. Check edges of doors and windows, making sure there are no drafts.

An excellent way to check if that’s your case is to take a piece of tissue and hold it up to the doors or windows when they are closed.

If the paper trembles, you know you have a drafty window or door.

You can seal drafts with silicone sealant or you can install new rubber window trim to block extra airflow.

7. Add Extra Towels 

Bathroom walls are traditionally tiled with ceramic tiles, which are notoriously cold to the touch.

Having extra layers of towels hung on the towel rails and covering the exposed wall areas will be decreasing the cold ambient temperature of your bathroom.

You can also layer warmer wall treatments, like replacing ceramic tiles with bamboo tiles or wood paneling.

Note of warning: should you choose this option, you need to ensure there is adequate humidity control with an exhaust fan or a dehumidifier to stop walls from becoming soggy.

8. Try Warm Decor Tones

It is a small matter to redecorate your bathroom in shades of paint, fabric, and tile that are warmer to the eye.

A blue bathroom will leave you feeling blue with cold, but change up the decor to include warm orange towels or red accessories, and you will have a warmer feeling bathroom.

9. Check Out Plush Bathroom Mats

Covering as much of the floor with plush bathroom mats and woven carpeting in winter will help you keep those toes from going blue.

You can also layer mats with extra foam padding to cut off under-floor chills.

This is an easy enough solution to help warm up your bathroom.

10. Invest In Radiant Floor Heating 

While this can be a costly exercise, radiant underfloor heating is the best option for heating up your whole bathroom.

The heating system is installed under ceramic tiles, which conducts heat quickly.

Most systems also come with an auto-shutoff or timer to give you peace of mind regarding your energy usage.

Radiant floor heating will set you back a bit on the installation cost, but while this may leave you a little hot under the collar, it will significantly improve your home’s resale value.

The electricity cost for running radiant heating isn’t as much as you would think, as long as you use the auto-shutoff features.

Power Consumption

In a 40-square foot bathroom a typical system, running 24 hours per day, would cost around $32 a month, which makes radiant floor heating a highly efficient heat system.

11. Try Good Old Heater 

Bathrooms and heaters have always made my hair stand on end at the thought of water and electricity, but with the safety features in place on many heating units, you need not worry anymore.

Choose a low-energy heater such as a wall panel heater to help raise bathroom temperatures.

You can also use a pillar or radiant heater to help increase your bathroom temperature.

Be sure to use one approved by the U.S. Department of Energy to ensure the unit meets safety standards and has a shutoff feature.

When considering the placement of your heater, keep the safe zones as discussed below in mind to ensure you and your family are safe.

Power Consumption

A 1500-watt heater operation cost would be around $130 for a full 24/7 month operation or $43 per month for a daily 8-hour operation at 12 cents per 1 kWh.

12. Renovate Wisely

Ripping up the floor to ensure your bathroom is warmer is drastic, but if you are already planning on renovating the space, keep in mind that ceramic tiles are colder than other floor treatments unless you spring for radiant floor heating.

Replace ceramic tiles with vinyl flooring, which can have additional padding under, thereby increasing your bathroom’s heat factor.

You can also opt for other flooring types such as bamboo, wood, and laminate flooring.

With natural fiber products, be sure to keep your bathroom humidity in mind and dry the space as soon as spills happen.

[Safety First] Electricity and Water: How to Avoiding a Shocking Experience

Your bathroom is a tricky space. It combines electricity with water and bare feet—a recipe for disaster if you are unwary.

However, this mini-guide will show you how and where to use electricity from heaters and dehumidifiers safely.

  • The inside of the bath or shower and sink is considered a danger zone, so keep cables and plugs, as well as any appliances, away.

  • The area just above the bath, showerhead, and sink is considered an orange zone. When using electricity here, you should limit the use of electrical appliances, never leave devices unattended, and wear shoes if you need to use electricity.

  • Lastly, the area at least six to seven feet away from the bath, sink, and shower is considered a safe zone. Here you can place portable heaters and dehumidifiers.

While a towel rail is secured to be electricity safe, you should keep it out of the immediate splash distance of the bath and sink. Never install a heated towel rail in a walk-in shower.

Bathroom Heating Ideas FAQ

What is the quickest way to heat up a cold bathroom?

You can heat a bathroom with radiant floor heating, portable heaters, and heated towel rails. Cutting off drafts and sealing windows and doors to be snug is also a great way to keep a bathroom warm. Cover the floors with rugs to stop underfloor chill seeping through.

Are heated bathroom floors worth the cost?

Yes, they are an excellent addition to any home and increase the resale value of the property. They are an efficient way to heat up a larger bathroom.

Why is my bathroom freezing?

A cold bathroom is likely caused by drafty windows or a lack of heating. Exhaust fans can also lead to a cold bathroom, as the fans lead to warm air being lost and replaced by cold outside air.

Finally, No More Freeze

With all of these proven bathroom heating ideas, there is no longer reason for chilly floors, drafty windows, or cold spaces that make you want to never take a shower again.

Here’s your warm bathroom checklist:

  • Eliminate drafts by checking doors and windows
  • Cover cold surfaces with rugs and towels
  • Stop using an exhaust fan
  • Warm up the lighting and use floor heating
  • Stay safe with appliances, like heaters and heated towel rails that are secured

Adam McCoy

Adam is an HVAC expert and the owner of Mackydo's HVAC Services with decades of experience in fixing and installing air conditioning units, furnaces, and every type of cooling and heating equipment you can think of.

Adam believes that your home is your sanctuary. He loves sharing advice based on his lifelong experience and treats every HVAC problem as if it was his own.

Mandy Phillips

As a frequent contributor to top US magazines and publications in the home improvement niche, Mandy has been known for sharing her expertise on how to clean, organize, and decorate bathrooms.

Additionally, Mandy has immense experience offering lifestyle tips and tricks to her readers.

About Loo Academy

At Loo Academy, our mission is to offer trusted advice for everything related to bathrooms (design ideas, plumbing advice, showering & bathing tips, remodeling guides, and more) — a place where we all spend a great deal of time.

We work closely with qualified experts and follow a thorough editing and fact-checking process before publishing content.

Published content is regularly fact-checked and revised so that the information we provide is accurate and up-to-date.

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