TV above Gas Fireplace

4 reasons not to slap that flat-screen TV over your fireplace
December 21, 2020 – 05:57 pm

4 reasons not to slap that flat-screen TV over your fireplaceThe practice of mounting a TV over a fireplace has somehow become extremely popular in the US. If you didn’t do it yourself, chances are very good that you know someone who has. Who it was that thought up this terrible idea, and why they found it appealing in the first place are two mysteries that will likely follow me to my grave. But that’s all in the past now. And since science has yet to crank out a functional time machine that would allow me to preemptively ground the idea before it ever took off, the best I can do at this point is try to save you, dear reader, from perpetuating this mistake.

Please don’t mistake my contempt for TV’s over fireplaces as an insult on the sensibilities of those of you who have them set up that way. It’s not your job to know better. At some point between the time your home was built and that moment when your TV was mounted above the place where you burn things to generate heat, someone – an A/V installer, an ergonomics expert, an interior designer or electronics enthusiast – should have come along to tell you why it was a bad idea. Shame on them if they didn’t. And tsk tsk if they did, but you didn’t listen. Oh well, we all make mistakes.

TV over fireplaceWhat’s important now is that we spread a little understanding regarding why sticking a TV above a fireplace is such a bad idea. There are actually several reasons – most of them objective – which make a compelling argument on their own, but when you add them all together, it almost seems silly that this fad ever came to be.

Related: Expert tips for mounting your TV on your wall, our HDTV setup guide.

Fire + electronics = bad

Electronics don’t care for heat, and they care for smoke even less. Ever seen the windows inside the car of a cigarette smoker? Unless the smoking driver is an equally habitual window washer, those windows are covered with a hazy film of filth. Exposed to the smoke of burning wood, the same film will build up on the components inside the cabinet of a TV. You may not see the particulate when you have a fire, but it is there (you can smell it). And once that particulate builds up, so does the heat generated by the TV.

… neck headaches become a problem as well when you start protruding your chin forward with that ‘looking up’ posture.

Most electronic devices simply operate best and most reliably at lower temperatures. Beyond that, excessive heat can cause temperature-sensitive materials to degrade quickly, and conductive materials can even sprout little metal whiskers, causing shorts within the TVs circuitry.

Televisions already generate plenty of heat on their own, but by stifling the natural dissipation of heat with smoke, or introducing higher-than-normal levels of heat from below and behind the TV, you are significantly reducing your TV’s lifespan at best, and a dooming it to sudden death at worst.

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