TV Over FIreplace?

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Should you do it?

Over the years, there has been much misinformation about fireplaces, and fireplace design in general, being circulated. One of the main debates is about installing TVs above fireplaces, with many “experts” claiming that it is not safe to have your TV, or electronics in general, above or near to your fireplace. With this post, we hope to dispel some of these myths and explain how, through proper design, you can have the fireplace and entertainment setup of your dreams.

Many of our past clients have told us that while in the early stages of designing their project, they were advised by either their architect, interior designer, contractor, or friends, not to place their TV above their fireplace. This can make the beautiful room layout that they had imagined seem unattainable. Fireplaces and televisions are both focal points that people tend to design a room around, so in a room that is intended to have both, it’s natural to want to organize them together. Now, in all fairness to those who may have warned against putting them together, there are countless examples of TVs over fireplaces that overheat or mysteriously stop working. Does that mean that it shouldn’t be done? No! It just means that those fireplaces were not designed properly by people who know how to keep the TV cool and safe.

With proper design, there is no downside to putting your TV right above your fireplace. Here are some of the most common concerns/misconceptions we hear:

Heat

Extreme heat is undeniably bad for electronics, which often have issues keeping cool, even under normal circumstances. Throw in the heat of a roaring fire and you’re asking for trouble. So how do we at The Fireplace Specialist deal with this issue? Easy, stop the heat from reaching the TV altogether!

In most cases, almost all the heat coming from the fire projects directly into the room.  Often it does move up the face of the fireplace and immediately comes into contact with the TV. To combat this issue, we have developed a system that uses convection to move hot air away from the front of the fireplace and circulate it around the room. This not only protects the TV that is hanging above but helps to create a more even ambient temperature in the space. Our system also helps to protect cladding materials (e.g. marble, steel, etc.) which may become warped or even crack under extreme heat, and allows for materials that would otherwise be unsafe to be installed right up to the fireplace opening, significantly increasing your design options.

In addition to moving hot air away from the TV, we also insulate the walls of the fireplace surround in a way that means they remain cool. This allows us to have the TV above the fireplace, safely recessed, allowing it to be flush with the face of the wall.

Soot/ash/particulate

This is not a concern with sealed gas units.  It can be a worry with wood-burning and open concept gas fireplaces. Open fireplaces, especially wood-burning, can create a fair amount of particulate, which will over time build-up on and inside TVs, coating them with a type film that can affect both their internal processes and the picture quality of the screen.

We believe that a properly designed wood-burning/open gas fireplace should not be emitting any unwanted smoke or particulate into your living space, as it will affect the air quality, which can become a serious hazard to your health, especially during the winter months when your home is closed up. A capable and effective extraction system will help to eliminate these issues, while the air-flow wall ensures that any trace amounts of particulate that may still make its way into the room never make it to the TV.

TV viewing angle

Another commonly heard concern is about the viewing angle of the TV. Many people have concerns that they will experience neck pain from having to look up to see the TV, which itself both looks better and is normally mounted at eye level. This can become an even greater concern in smaller rooms, where the seating arrangement cannot be pushed further back.

These issues may have been of real concern in the past, but modern technology helps to eliminate these potential problems. Newer TVs (especially OLED TVs) are much better at maintaining picture quality from a wider range of viewing angles, and new, fully articulated wall mounts allow for the TV position to be moved higher or lower, as well as tilted up or down as needed. A slightly elevated TV position is more desirable when lying in bed or on a couch.

Here is a guide to finding the right TV for your space.

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Conclusion

It’s perfectly safe to have your TV above your fireplace... once it's been properly designed! Air movement and adequate insulation are key to protecting, not only your TV, but any electronics (or even artwork) you may have near to your fireplace. Design aesthetics and personal taste should be the only factors to consider when deciding if to put your TV above your fireplace. So get busy dreaming up your perfect fireplace, and leave the rest to us!