Is It Safe to Hang Your TV Over a Fireplace?
It’s true, hanging your television above a fireplace can maximize the viewing pleasure, but is it safe? Not in every setting. Here are five things to consider.
As technology has advanced and TV’s have become thinner and more lightweight, it has opened up the range of possibilities for where to place them. Mounting a flat-screen television above a fireplace mantel or on the face of a brick fireplace creates a double-duty entertainment spot that also serves as the room’s focal point. In addition, it liberates precious floor space and allows for more focused furniture layouts that center on a single wall.
With all that being said, there are a few challenges. Since the arrangement involves a fireplace, there are important factors to think about, like high temperatures, installation strategies, and wire management, to name a few. Consider the following to see if this arrangement is an appropriate choice for your space.
1. First Check the Temperature
What’s more cozy than watching TV while a toasty fire is burning in the fireplace? If doing so is part of your winter plans, then it’s important that the place you hang the TV doesn’t go above the temperatures indicated on the unit’s technical specifications. Exposing your television to excessive heat can shorten its lifespan and possibly create a scenario where product warranties are voided. To find out the surface temperature of the designated wall space or fireplace face when a fire is lit below, simply tape a thermometer onto that spot. If the temperature goes above what is recommended, it might be best to forgo your plan, or to move forward with the plan with the understanding that you won’t be able to light a fire and watch television at the same time.
2. Test the View
Another thing to consider is the television viewing height when hung above the hearth. It’s generally understood that the ideal height for a television is at eye level of the viewer. Unless your mantel is quite low, this probably isn’t possible when mounted above a fireplace. However, to make sure the angle is comfortable and doesn’t cause neck strain, you can test the angle by cutting out a paper rectangle the size of your TV and taping it up in your chosen location. Then sit in your favorite seat and look at that piece of paper for a bit. If you feel any straining or discomfort, it might be a good idea to position the television elsewhere, or look into a mounting unit that allows you to manipulate the TV’s position to improve viewing comfort.
3. Carefully Pick a Mounting Method
With multiple systems and methods for mounting flat-screen TVs, take the time to get familiar with each one and then choose the best option for your particular situation. The mounting system you pick should suit your television’s size and weight so that it is hung safely and securely. If the wall space above your fireplace is drywall, securing the mounting system to a stud is probably necessary, so locating the studs in your wall should be done before you start. In addition, avoid unnecessary damage to the television or wall by closely following all manufacturer instructions. If your mantel shelf is deep enough, it might be possible to avoid mounting the TV altogether by just placing it on a stand.
4. Think About Wires & Cables
Take the time to assess where power sources are located and how you will direct any electrical cords, sound systems and cable equipment. If no power source is available near your chosen location, it might be necessary to bring in an electrician to add electrical outlets. To hide or camouflage the cords and cables, consider installing a bridge system that takes the wiring behind the wall. Or as another option, buy a cable channel that runs along the wall and conceals small groups of cords. These cable channels can usually be painted to match your wall for a low-profile look. Since having a television above the fireplace will automatically make it the focal point of the room, it’s a good idea to conceal as much high-tech clutter as you can so that the technology blends into your existing decor as much as possible.
5. Try Integrating Your TV
When trying to reduce the appearance of a large television screen:
- Consider placing the TV into a recess in the wall or behind a set of folding doors.
- As a more tech-savvy resolution, incorporate a remote-controlled mechanical panel that moves up and down to hide and reveal the screen with the tap of a button.
- Try to find a television frame, folding doors, or a mechanized panel featuring the same materials and finishes that are already present in the room to create a unified look.
Other choices to consider when trying to conceal the TV include installing mirrored panels that vanish when the television is on, or incorporating motorized wall art that rolls up. A simpler solution? Framing the fireplace with bookcases for a decorative touch.