Will a Fireplace Damage My TV?

This is a good question and one that deserves discussion and planning. Lots of people are installing big screen TV’s above their fireplace. It’s a great use of space, but will the TV be damaged if the fireplace in operating? Is there anything that can be done to protect the TV? If you’re building or remodeling, are there techniques that can be incorporated into the project to shield the TV from heat?

A POPULAR IDEA

Years ago, it didn’t take people long to discover that large, flat screen TV’s take up a lot of space in the family or living room. So why not hang them on the wall, right? Viewing angles of the TV were better, improved sound systems added and a theatre experience was relocated to the home.

The space above the fireplace, usually reserved for family pictures and seasonal decorations became a prime location for the TV. And, rightly so. Since the fireplace is the focal point of the living room, why not install the TV right above it? Enjoy the ambiance and benefits of the fire and flames while you’re relaxing watching your favorite shows or movies. Great idea! But what about the heat from the fireplace? We know that sensitive electronics and high heat are not a good combination. A great way to permanently damage or shorten the life of the TV is to subject it to high temperatures.

THE DISCLAIMER:

Before we go any further, understand that fireplace manufacturers generally do not endorse this idea.  Most will refer you to the recommendations in the TV owner’s manual.  None will assume liability or be responsible for an expensive TV being damaged from the heat of their fireplace. But even if most TV manufacturers do not endorse the idea of mounting their products above a fireplace, it’s done successfully every day and common sense will go a long way to prevent any difficulties.

ELECTRIC FIREPLACE

If yours is an electric fireplace, heat should not be an issue. The heating elements for electric fireplaces can be located along the top or along the bottom of the fireplace.  Purchase an electric model where the heat is in the bottom, furthest away from the TV above it. And if the heat is on, make sure the fan is, too.

GAS & WOOD FIREPLACES

Wood and gas fireplaces are a different story. Gas and wood models will get considerably hotter than an electric fireplace and that heat rises up towards your tv.

THE AMAZING MANTELMOUNT SYSTEM

There are several ways to install a big screen TV safely and effectively above a fireplace. The best option we recommend is the MantelMount system.

Made in the USA, MantelMount is a California company that owns eight patents on its TV mounting systems. Their attention to detail and high-quality construction combines lightweight alloys and state-of-the-art counterbalance technology. This allows anyone to easily pull a large flat-screen TV off the wall. A MantelMount will suspend the TV at a comfortable eye level in front of your fireplace and help eliminate neckstrain. MantelMount robotic MM860, electric wall mount for tvMantelMount allows the TV to swivel to the left or right and tilts forward as needed for optimum viewing. This helps reduce glare and hides the hardware associated with the TV.

The Pro Series MantelMount comes with a built-in heat-sensing safety feature. The handles will change color on the manual version, providing an easy visual cue that the temperature has reached 110° Fahrenheit (43° Celsius). The automated version automatically retracts the big screen back to its original position if it is too hot! Several different mounting accessories are available depending on how you need to install the MantelMount to a wall or post. This system has been designed with your safety and comfort in mind. Maximized TV viewing enjoyment is guaranteed for your entire crew! And MantelMount is so confident in their products that they back them up with a Lifetime Limited Warranty!

Please visit the MantelMount link here or visit your friendly local WE LOVE FIRE dealer to see it in person.

FOR BIG SCREEN TV’S PERMANENTLY MOUNTED TO A WALL:

There are other ways to permanently mount a large television above a gas or wood-burning fireplace. Most fireplaces should have a mantel installed, so let’s start there. Whether it’s a gas or wood-burning fireplace, be sure to comply with the manufacturer’s requirements regarding clearances from the top of the fireplace to a mantel. Most mantels are between 6” and 10” deep and extend wider than the full width of the fireplace.

A mantel provides first-line defense from the fireplace heat. Mantels will act as a deflector as the heat rolls off the front of the fireplace. The heat will be deflected forward with the fireplace fan turned on. But even with the fan off, the mantel will still shield heat and provide significant protection for the TV.

Smoke is another enemy of sensitive electronics. Make sure the smoke is contained within your wood-burning fireplace. This means learning how to build a fire from a cold start and refuel the fireplace during operation. The big screen will thank you for reading, understanding, and following the owner’s manual for your wood-burning fireplace!

FRAMING TECHNIQUES

A couple of framing techniques during installation are certainly worth considering. One involves framing the front of the fireplace into the room several inches. This allows the big screen to be mounted on the wall behind the fireplace.

Another technique is to build a small, recessed area above the TV. The TV can be mounted into space, providing another 4 or 5 inches of depth from the adjacent wall. Be sure the interstitial space above the fireplace allows for adequate clearances for any venting or chimney components. In both these framing scenarios, installing a mantel to help deflect the heat would still be prudent. Also, it’s a good idea to allow a 1” – 2” air gap behind the TV for air circulation.

FINAL CONSIDERATIONS:

Mounting a TV above a fireplace is very popular today. Keep in mind not to mount the TV too high on the wall. If yours is an 8’ ceiling and the mantle is already 4 ½ or 5 feet off the floor, the TV will be too high on the wall. It would be similar to being the last one seated in a theatre for a popular movie. If you sit in the front row, you’ll have a sore neck by the time the movie’s over!

But keep in mind this is precisely why the MantelMount system was developed. Check out the link above and find out why the MantelMount is getting so popular and has so many positive five-star reviews.

If you decide to mount your big screen above the fireplace, it is critical to protect it from excessive heat. And, remember that your WE LOVE FIRE expert is available to help in any way. Just call or email!

Below is a list of fireplace and grill stores that service Virginia (VA)

Manassas, VA

Winston's Chimney Service
11301 Industrial Road
Manassas, VA 20109

Mechanicsville, VA

Hearth & Home Shoppe
8151 Mechanicsville Tpk
Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Visit Store Page

Roanoke, VA

Dixie Building Products Inc.
3342 Melrose Ave NW
Roanoke, VA 24017


For more information, contact your local fireplace and grill store..

2 Responses

  1. Great article Joe Bodden! Glad to see you are still only semi retired.
    • Dominique Page
      Joe is simply the best! Dominique

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