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Flat screen TV over a working fireplace

Angela Cook
January 5, 2014
Can you actually, safely place a flat screen TV over the top of a working, wood burning fireplace? The idea seems good, but I can't see how the TV would cope with the heat an inevitable rising ash.

My husband & son desperately want to join the modern world and get rid of our 20 year old, old school TV, but the only place in the room to put a flat screen, is above the fireplace. I see so many pictures of the TV above the fireplace, I just had to ask.

Has anyone actually done this? Has the TV survived a winter? Is there a secret to heat / ash proofing the TV? (Photo attached is a random example, not our place)

Comments (16)

  • PRO
    Advantage Developer & Constructor
    The answer is YES ! You can do it but you need to make sure you fireplace is well insulated. Also make sure the wires for the TV are protected otherwise the heat will burn them .

    If it's an old fireplace , I would recommend to call a contractor to do a checking to see how it was build at the begining . You may need to re-build some parts in order to install proper fire insulation...

    Good luck !
  • Mike
    Softly, silently, invisible smoke will fill the interior of your TV with smuts. Ergonomics dictates that the screen should be at eye level, so if your mantel height is too high, you will spend all evening looking upwards - thus aching necks....
  • Angela Cook
    Our house was built in the late 50's and the fireplace was retrofitted with a wood burning fan heater in the 90's. It's our only source of heating ( country NSW, Australia). The flue runs up inside the chimney, so that may stop the chimney heating as much as it could. I think the ash that the heater creates ( bane of my life in winter) is probably the biggest problem.

    Do the flat screens heat up / have vents for heat to escape etc. that may log up?

    I've not ever thought it a genuine option, so have kept saying no. I've not ever really had a close look at one.
  • chookchook2
    Keep saying no. Unless you live in a two dimensional house you have other walls.
  • northernchic
    We have our tv over the fireplace. The AV guy and contractor didn't indicate it would be a problem. We use our fireplace every night. Perhaps over time?
  • wyndyacre
    Where is your present tv sitting in the room? There is no reason the flat screen can't sit there also. They don't HAVE to be hung on a wall. I've put mine in an entertainment armoire because I don't like having it visible.
  • PRO
    DaleAllenSpiry Designs
    We make an insert, partial insert, and shadow box system for installing a TV behind a two way mirror. We have had them installed over fireplaces. Test the area where you want to install it to see the temperature. If it is set back enough and the chimney has the proper insulation it shouldn't be a problem.

    Angela Cook thanked DaleAllenSpiry Designs
  • Angela Cook
    Thanks Chookchook, but in fact the house is terribly designed and there isn't much choice. We have a single living area that is approximately 6 metres x 4.5 metres.

    The north wall (long side) has a bank of French doors placed centrally, with clear wall space of 1 m on the east and west ends.

    The east wall (short side) is a full wall of built in bookcases over cabinets, built around a doorway into our entry hall.

    The south wall is approx 3.1m long, and clear, currently holding artwork. The rest of it is a triple width doorway into the dining room.

    The west wall is the fireplace with wood heater insert. Mantle is 2.5m long and 1.1m high. There is about 1m clear either side of the mantle that currently holds wall sconce type lighting.

    The television, a rescued 50 cm old school CRT-style beast, with accompanying ugly digital set box top and DVD played sit in a pine corner wall cabinet in the north west corner.

    We have a horrid, old, modular lounge suite in the south east corner. It covers all the cabinets below the bookcase between the south wall corner and the doorway into the entry hall.

    As farmers only just starting to financially recover after 12 years of drought, and our kids finally finishing school and heading off into the real world, I'm just starting to find enough cash to paint rooms. Re-finishing the timber floors is next on my list. But in the mean time, the boys think they deserve a flat screen, and in reality, they do. But how?
  • dianecourbat
    Why would they want the TV up there? Your home isn't an IMAX theater. It should be at eye level when seated. If you use the fireplace it will ruin the TV.
  • dianecourbat
    A flat screen TV doesn't need to be mounted on a wall. It can sit on just about any stand that is big enough.
  • Angela Cook
    I think it's a male thing. Not so much that they want it up high, they just want a space large enough to have something huge. I'm not fussed with having a bloody great tv as a major eye-drawing feature in our living room, but at the moment I'm being beaten 2 (males) to 1. Lol!
  • varns
    Hi. We deliberated over same but opted not to as I believe the fireplace should be the focal point, not a TV. Personal opinion aside, we have a modern wood combustion fireplace. We put a zero heat box around and no heat is felt through plaster walls at all. HOWEVER, we have had plastic wall features and frames above and they have melted in part from the sheer gust of heat which escapes as you open the door to put in more fuel. I hate to think what it would to do with TV wiring and components. I guess if your fireplace is permanently open, gas or bioethanol, the heat may not be as intense.
    Good luck.
  • Camilla Mann

    Hi Angela, Just wondering whether you did eventually put the tv above the fireplace and if so, whether is was successful? I'm putting in a new fireplace and wanting to place our tv above as well. Have ordered a jetmaster open wood firebox and a limestone hearth and mantle but the builder seems to be caught up with all the regulations. My builder has never put a fireplace in as we live in North Queensland, west of Townsville on a cattle property. We can get very cold where we are but not for very long at all. We had -3 for three mornings in a row this year and quite a few cool nights as well. My husband is the one keen to have the fireplace by the way.

    Just wanting to know whether the fireplace and tv above is doable???

  • Angela Cook

    @Camilla Mann Hello. Well, Christmas 2014 saw our son bring home a Samsung 64inch digital flat screen TV as a 'gift' for us. Hahahaha. He REALLY wanted a big telly. He and hubby spent a good couple of hours mounting it above the fireplace - swearing trying to get screws through half inch thick horsehair plaster into hardwood studs, but they got there. And there the telly has been ever since. We're 4 winters in now and the telly is huge, ugly and it is totally fine. It's given a good vacuum behind every couple of weeks, and we use a special digital screen cleaner on it's face at the same time, we've even got the hang of using the Chromecast for streaming services. It's never dropped a pixel, and the colour and clarity is as good as the day we got it. I'm surprised. My son's surprised. The retailer that he bought it from is surprised.

    This summer were going to have to replace the old Heatcharm wood burner. Things may be different with the new heater. It will also be a wood burner, but may be more efficient and burn and blow hotter.

  • Ruth BT
    On a completely unrelated topic - are you a writer Angela? Because if you are not - you should be! You’ve painted an amazing picture of your house and family in a few paragraphs!
  • Angela Cook

    Thanks, Ruth. I do dabble a bit. Glad you enjoyed the read :-)

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