If you are here, you probably agree with us that a fireplace is one of the best features you could place in your living room. However, they do pose a new question – where do you place your TV when your fire takes centre stage?
One of the most frequently asked about ways to tackle this is to consider putting your TV above your fireplace. It may be that you’re tight on space, you’re looking for ways to refresh your roof or maybe you just simply think it looks good!
However, there is a sticking point. A lot of advice does warn you against hanging your TV above your fireplace, both for safety reasons and to protect your TV from damage. So, what is best to do if you’ve been thinking of hanging your TV above your fire?
To help you out, for this week’s blog we’re taking a look at the issue of whether it is safe to have your TV mounted above a fireplace – or if you should find somewhere else to put it…
Why Would You Want to Have Your TV Over Your Fireplace?
Before we get into whether it is safe to have your TV above your fire, let’s consider why you would want to in the first place, so we can think up any alternative solutions.
Some reasons you might want to put your TV over your fireplace might be:
- You want to save space. While TV’s and their stands are very streamlined these days, you might think freeing up that extra bit of floor space would open your room up further.
- It’ll make your room feel extra cosy. Coming home on a cold day to sit around the fire and watch your favourite film? What’s not to love!
- To create one main focal point. Do you point your furniture at your fireplace or your TV? Combining them both into one main focal point could sound like the perfect answer!
Why Would you NOT Want to Have Your TV Over Your Fireplace?
While the reasons for hanging your TV over your fireplace sound great, what are the downsides? Why is it often advised against and what are the safety issues involved?
Take a look at some of the arguments against putting a TV over your fireplace…
The heat could damage your TV
This is the main reason many people decide against hanging their TV over their fireplace.
We all know that heat and electronics do not mix well! So, placing a TV in a position where hot air will be continually rising might not be wise.
BUT, the question is whether the heat produced by your fireplace is enough to actually cause serious damage.
Most TVs can operate in temperatures of up to 37°C, though as they produce their own heat whilst working too, it should be a few degrees less than this. It’s always best to check with your particular TV’s requirements first.
If your fireplace has a thick fire surround, this might be able to help. The mantelpiece offers some shelter from the flow of hot air directly above the fire. Smaller fires also mean you can leave more space before you hang the television, so could also be a good option. Electric fires, meanwhile, come with an effect-only feature, so you can enjoy the flame display without the heat.
You could, if you really wanted to mount your TV above your fire, measure the heat produced in that spot with a thermometer. Placing the TV higher up the wall might help you find a cooler spot, but be aware this could make viewing it more difficult – more about this below!
You should also bear in mind the possibility of your TV’s warranty being made void. If your TV instructions specifically warn against placing too close to your fire, then you probably won’t be covered if a fault does occur.
Verdict: Always check your TV manual to see how much heat it can withstand. Smaller fireplaces with thicker surrounds can help keep the heat away, while electric fires allow you to turn the heat off and still enjoy the flames.
It could give you neck strain
Kicking back on the sofa and watching your TV while the fireplace flickers might look comfortable. But it might not be as relaxing as you think!
The best height to position your TV is at eye-level. If you hang it above your fireplace, it will be much higher than this. This means you will have to keep your head tilted upwards to watch, which could cause tension and straining.
If you try and position it lower, the TV might be getting too close to the fire, risking heat damage. If you put it higher, you will need to sit further back to be comfortable – which may only be possible if your room is the size of a cinema!
One possible solution to this is to choose a widescreen effect fire. These are wider than they are tall – a letterbox shape. This might allow you to position the TV slightly lower.
To experience it for yourself first, sit on your sofa and stick a piece of paper to the wall where the TV would go. Does it feel comfortable? Could you relax in that position? If not, it might not be an ideal place to hang it.
Verdict: Above the fireplace might not be the most comfortable place to position your TV – make sure you are happy with it before fitting it. A widescreen fire can help you keep it lower on the wall.
The wiring will need concealing
The main reason in favour of mounting your TV above your fireplace is that it looks good.
However, would you still be happy with the appearance if the wiring was on display?
Consider the work that will be involved in concealing the wiring of the TV. You need to think about how far away the nearest power outlet and aerial is, and how an extension cord will be run to this point. Some drilling into the wall will be required to keep the wires concealed – or, some strategically place ornaments can help disguise them.
You might also have other devices to connect to your TV – DVD players, games consoles or a TV box, for example. They will also have wires that will be visible – how far would you be willing to go to keep the fireplace looking neat?
Verdict: Be aware that you might not be able to fully conceal all of the TV wires, which could make your fireplace look cluttered.
The picture might be affected
Finally, many people argue that the angle you will be looking up at your TV from will reduce the picture quality. If you have ever looked at a laptop screen without opening it properly, you will know what this looks like!
However, there are solutions to this. Many TV wall mounts are now adjustable, so you can angle it for the best picture quality.
Verdict: Picture quality shouldn’t be a big issue if you use a manoeuvrable wall bracket.
Conclusion: Is It Safe to Have a TV Above Your Fireplace?
Mounting a TV above a fireplace does have a few safety issues to be aware of – the heat from the fire has the potential to damage your TV, while the increased height can cause neck strain. While fireplaces can look good with the TV above them, care must be taken when deciding where to position them.
For small rooms, putting your TV over your fireplace probably isn’t the best idea. This is because you won’t be able to place your sofa far back enough to watch it comfortably. For larger rooms, heat damage is probably more of a concern. Big rooms need a higher heat output, meaning you need to be extra careful about how close you place your TV to the fire.
If you do really want to mount your TV over your fireplace, here are a few pieces of advice…
- An electric fire might be best, as you can always turn the heat off and still enjoy the flames
- Widescreen shaped fireplaces are better suited, as they leave you more wall space to position your TV
- A fire surround or shelf placed between your fire and the TV can help stop the heat from damaging it
- Always check yourself first – read your TVs safety instructions and test out whether your room is big enough
Building an entertainment unit alongside your fireplace is a popular alternative. You can even find TV mounts that pull out, so you can still get that cosy feel around your fireplace when you want to watch your television.
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