Pros and Cons of Mounting Your TV Over Your Fireplace
A hotly debated topic in the fireplace, construction and design industries is whether or not a TV has a place above the fireplace. With strong arguments and adamant opinions on both sides, it is ultimately up to your design preferences, your comfort and what both your space and fireplace can facilitate.
Here’s a brief pros and cons list, but pros to one will be cons to another, so it isn’t quite that simple. We elaborate on these points below.
Pros to Putting TV Above Fireplace
- Enhance the fireplace as the gathering point for family
- The look might suit your design
- With the right fireplace and installation, it can be done safely
- Integrate tradition with modern times
- Great for spaces where no alternative location for TV
- Creates a multi-functional space
- Create the ultimate comfort zone for nights where you want to relax with your favourite show or a sports match
Cons to Putting TV Above Fireplace
- TV has to be at least the specified clearance higher than your fireplace, perhaps too high, neck strain and less quality display when viewed from angle
- Dampens more authentic sitting room look
- TV takes away from the fireplace and becomes the reason to gather
- Not aesthetically pleasing, plastic TV can clash with design elements of mantel and hearth
- Potential damage to TV – TV’s have a maximum heat tolerance and fireplaces get HOT
- Heat and electronics don’t mix
- Heat damage may void tv warranty (even placing tv above can void warranty)
- Complicated and potentially visible cables
- Smoke build up on TV (wood fireplaces)
Does the TV add or detract from this linear gas fireplace by FireplaceX?
For some perspective, most TV’s heat tolerances sit at around 100°F. Higher temperatures will damage the TV and often void the warranty. A gas fireplace can produce wall temperatures between 180°F and 380°F, which clearly doesn’t agree with the presence of a television.
Heat and electronics certainly don’t mix, and back in the day having any electronics near the fireplace was a bad idea. Luckily, there are plenty of fireplace manufacturers today who produce heat management systems, to redirect heat away from the wall and allow you to mount a TV there. Some examples are Valor HeatShift™, FireplaceX CoolSmart TV Wall™ Kit.
Electric fireplaces, which are increasing in popularity, do not produce a lot of heat and are mostly installed for visuals and ambience. As long as the electric fireplace doesn’t produce more heat than the TV can stand, you are good to go in placing the two on the same wall. An electrician can help with the installation of both.
All fireplaces specify clearance distances which must be adhered to to ensure safety. A mantel can do a good job at blocking heat to the wall and in conjunction with the right technology, having your TV above the fireplace is entirely possible. It is not a given though as not all fireplaces have this technology and clearances will vary.
An Amantii electric fireplace and the TV above are the focal point in this outdoor space
Whilst the original purpose of a fireplace was practical, in modern times, there are plenty of alternative ways to provide heat to a space. Nowadays, a major reason for installing a fireplace is aesthetics. Many designers and homeowners alike, are vehemently against the TV being above the fireplace because they frankly can’t stand the look. A fireplace is often intended to be stately, imposing and a focal point. In the eyes of some, the presence of a TV simply doesn’t belong, detracting from the beauty of the fireplace. On the other hand, the fireplace may be a distraction whilst trying to watch TV, creating a sensory overload.
Others who are partial to the ultra-modern look, highly rate the appearance of a TV above the fireplace. Why not combine the old and the new? To them, the fireplace does not distract, but enhances the viewing experience, providing ambience and enhancing the comfort of an already relaxing activity. The fireplace or the TV often serve as the focal point in a space, so why not have both? Another point to add here is that some may not have the choice of putting a TV elsewhere. For smaller homes, or laneway and basement suites, creating multi-functional spaces is essential.
In this more traditionally styled living room, this Valor fireplace is the sole focal point
Comfort is Key
Comfort is a major consideration of those who contemplate this choice. An appropriate TV height is typically eye level with the center or bottom third of the TV. By nature of being above the fireplace, the TV has to be higher than the height of the fireplace plus the clearance required. This can result in having to look up to view the screen which can cause neck strain and headaches. It can also distort the visuals creating a subpar viewing experience. Whilst this is a dealbreaker for many, there are ways around this.
The higher the height of the fireplace and the larger the clearances, the higher the TV has to be, so to mitigate this problem, you can opt for a fireplace that is not very high, and has minimal clearances. A linear model is a popular choice of fireplace with a low height.
As for low clearances, an electric won’t produce much heat and will have low or no minimum clearance. A gas fireplace with effective heat distribution will have lower clearances than one without. You can also consider a tilting tv mount to angle it down, and if you have reclining chairs, that will decrease the need to strain upwards.
A TV above the fireplace must be mounted higher than the fireplace plus clearance distances
To leave you with some final words of wisdom, if you are determined to have your TV above the fireplace:
- Choose a gas fireplace with efficient heat management to keep the wall cool
- Favor linear models to bring the height down
- Opt for an electric model if heat is not so important
- Install a mantel to block heat
- Factor the installation of both TV and fireplace from the outset
- Check TV warranty for mention of fireplace
- Discuss with an electrician positioning of cables
- Consider a tilting TV mount
No matter which side of the fence you sit on when it comes to TVs and fireplaces, we can source or custom design a fireplace that meets all your needs. Reach out today to create your dream space with a fireplace that steals the show.