TV over fireplace

astridhFebruary 22, 2008

We are renovating our family room and would like to mount a TV over a wood-burning fireplace. Opinions seem to be mixed as to how well this works out. We have been to three local fireplace stores and no one can recommend a set-up for us. We have 7'9" ceilings. My questions are:

If you have this set-up, how do you like it?

How big is your TV (we're thinking 42" or 50")?

How many inches above the floor is the bottom of the TV?

What is the height of your mantle?

How high is the hearth?

What type of fireplace do you have?

Is the TV recessed?

Did you have to do a 30 degree elbow in the flue to recess the TV?

Any pictures would be GREATLY appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

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A TV over a fireplace is generally considered too high for comfortable viewing. But if you really want it, go to this website for advice on TV size: The optimal screen size depends on the distance between the viewer and the TV. That website will give you a guide on size and a lot of other things.

You need to make sure that heat from the fireplace will not get to the TV. The TV you select will probably weight over 100 pounds, and will probably have to be installed professionally by a contractor who specializes in home theater work. I'd be concerned about drilling into the wall above the fireplace to install the special bolts needed to hold up the TV. If I were the contractor doing this installation, I would want in writing from you a signed statement holding me blameless if I damaged your chimney in the process of installing the TV.

In other words, I see problems, problems, problems. Can't you put the TV somewhere else?

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 2:19PM
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It's a common installation today, and one I like very much.

I mounted one this way in my current house [7'6" ceilings] to see if I'd like it before commiting to this in the under construction home.

The mantle is about 57" above the floor, and the bottom of the set contacts that [though doesn't rest upon it]. The 46" screen is wall mounted on a tilt mechanism, and tilting it forward makes this quite a comfortable height for veiwing from 10 to 22 feet away, though the sort of seating you have matters a lot, and is central to the whole 'veiwing angle' discussion-- disreguard any information that doesn't acknowledge that reality. Try to acheive a neutral angle for your neck without too much bending. If your seating has no neck support an an upright back, a screen this high could be a problem from less than [say] 12 feet. But if your chairs have higher, angled backs a higher screen will actually be more comfortable than a more 'standard' height.

It may be inadvisable to burn the fp while the tv is in operation. Doesn't bother me, as I see the fp as being mostly for times when I'm reading, or enjoying a glass of wine or conversing with friends, and tv isn't part of that scenario. But if your fp is an important part of your heating system, it might be a problem. In theory, you don't want to run a flat screen when the surrounding temp is over 95 [you'll note, though, that this is never mentioned in the context of desert dwellers without AC], but this number seems pretty randomly chosen to me, and isn't endorsed by any tv maker I know of. It first appeared on the internet several years ago, and I think flat screens have become a bit more robust since then.

As to mounting it: If you have a true masonry chimney of brick or stone, it would be a very good idea to contact a professional for advise. While you aren't likely to put a screw into the actual chimney opening, the masonry itself could either crack or fail to hold the bolts, and either would be a big deal.

OTOH, if your house is wood framed with a zero clearance triple wall chimney pipe inside a chase [possibly with stone of brick veneer facing], mounting above the fp is no different than wall mounting anywhere else. You'll need to be very careful to bolt into the studs only, but by definition if the bolt is going into the stud, it isn't going into the pipe.

You will need at least 2 people to lift the set in place, and having a third to help a bit and make the connections will make it easier. It isn't just a matter of the weight, these things are very awkward as well-- an inconvenient combination of size, shape and fragility.

I've been very impressed by how much more space my room seems to have, now that the great black box is gone.

At the new house, I intend to install a retractable painting that will cover the tv when not in use. Haven't bothered in my current home, and the dark screen is a little oppressive unless the fp is in use. The flames draw the eye, and the tv almost doesn't exist.

Unless your mantle is a good deal lower than mine, you aren't going to want a set much larger than 46 inches. Measure before you shop to make sure you have enough ceiling clearance.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 4:50PM
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We are currently in process as I type. We removed existing fireplace and installed a zero clearance but we actually moved it over about 2'. So we had to add a 30 degree angle to meet up with existing chimney pipe opening But that had nothing to do with the tv. But it did allow us to install a center speaker because there is literally no heat near the pipe or box except in front of it. We did all the heat testing to make sure tv would not have any problems. We could have not had a mantle and would still have no heat hitting tv.

As for angle of viewing. We realized that our sofa is one that you snuggle into when watching tv. With current tv we found our necks bend as we look downwards. But if tv was on wall our necks would actually be better positioned. If, and I mean IF grandma comes over she will just have to get more comfy if she wants to watch the tube. Since she is rarely over, it is our comfort that we are considering. We have a large room and are able to have sofa considerably farther away than in some livingrooms so viewing will be great. We are installing a 50".

As for your install. If you are really unable to determine your setup you may need to get professional advise. There are ways to cut costs so look into it. I only paid my fireplace store to literally take stove from truck and set it in hole then connect the chimney. We did everything else ourselves.

I think the biggest issue with tv over fireplace is the distance with seating. You really need to be comfortable so really think about it before you do it. We literally put up a pc of cardboard and "watched" it.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 8:56AM
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Thank you for your comments. They have made us realize that a key point is how far away from the TV we will be seated when we watch it. Since our sofa will only be about ten feet away from the TV, I don't think we would be comfortable with an over-fireplace height. We'll have to put it to the side and give up potential bookshelf space. I think we could have dealt with the heat issues, but no point in paying $$ for a big TV and be uncomfortable watching it. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 12:50AM
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A TV over the fireplace is really too high for comfortable viewing without craning your neck. I you have even the hint of a neck issue do not place the TV that high.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 9:55PM
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We mounted a 52" Samsung over a gas fireplace. We have 12 ft ceilings in our family room. Per the Samsung guide, the temp should not be over 120 degrees and the fireplace heated the area and wall to way more than that (after an hour of being on). Our fireplace is contemporary with no mantle to break the wall. We had the AV installer build a steel heat shield mounted to the bottom of the TV. We are still a bit concerned about letting the fireplace burn more than an hour so we turn it on and off while we are in the room to avoid damage to the TV. We are probably over cautious.

Bad pics (from my phone) but gives u an idea.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2011 at 6:47PM
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I'm in the process of designing a TV over the fireplace in our new house and am also worried about both the height and heat. As for the height I referred to the setup we have now which works well for us. The TV is mounted on the wall 40" above the floor and couch is 12' away. We have a sectional couch and I'm able to comfortably watch with my feet up on the "L" section and my back only slightly inclined (no head rest).

In our new living room we will have the same furniture, but the couch will now be ~2ft farther away at the closest arrangement (I'm using Chief Architect software to place and arrange). To maintain the same viewing angle we want an approx. height of 3.33/12 * 14 = 3.88', or around 47" off the floor. This wouldn't be possible if you wanted a large mantle and traditional square fireplace. Fortunately our tastes are contemporary, so I found a more rectangular shaped fireplace with zero clearance to set at floor height - the Napoleon BGD42CF works as does a few of the Heat n Glo models. Following Napoleon's requirements for clearance the TV can be placed at 47". This maintains the minimum clearance of 12" above the glass. Instead of a mantle we're recessing the TV in a cutout. This will allow us to mount the TV on a tilt/swivel to ensure good viewing, and will hopefully help to shift focus away from the huge thing (also allows for a picture to be hung in front as mentioned in an earlier post). We�re putting a fan in the cutout above the TV (out of sight) as an added precaution. An earlier post had a great idea to mount a heat shield below the TV so I think we'll add that as well. I could also extend the bottom of the cutout out slightly to act as a pseudo-mantle and help more heat away. The weight and complexity of this means we�re using professional carpenters to build the enclosure.

This setup seems to work, though I�m open to input from anyone who sees flaws in this design.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 6:27PM
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we've always had our tv up high in the corner. we watch in bed or in the recliners and it works great for us.

our mstr bdrm fireplace corner is almost finished and i ended up with an electric woodstove look alike. it's amazing how good it looks and how well it heats the space. and of course no worries about overheating.
lol, and for $99.99 at christmas tree shop too!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 8:40PM
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shannon01 - I am also in the process of designing built-in shelves around my fireplace and mounting a tv right above it. I wanted to know what you did to make sure that no heat got to your TV. Can you please elaborate? Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 9:26AM
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A few things:

First oruboris, what do you mean about the painting retracting to hide the TV, can you elaborate in detail please?

Second the first thing you have to decide is wood or is it gas. Wood fireplaces can get much hotter especially all around the fireplace and up the wall. I would suggest using thermal measurements by a professional to decide whether or not it is a good idea, because you don't want anything to catch fire and this is a thing that you might even want to ask the local firehouse about. It's not a game and it's not something you want to mess with, because you can catch your house and others on fire.

If you have a gas fireplace it can be much safer because they burn cooler than that of wood fireplaces and they are controlled. You can ask actually ask the company how hot they can get, where wood fireplace depends on the wood, how much wood, what else is burning, and how it's burning in the fireplace's condition. I suppose it's possible to build a great shield around the fireplace to protects the television from to much heat but it would be a serious endeavor, and one that needs planning, and testing before anything is put up above the fireplace. After all you're not only putting together this for you but you also are putting it together for future owners or possibly current owners or people that are not familiar with how much wood put the fireplace for example. Even with most shielding I probably could build a fire in a fireplace that would melt a TV.

Again the gas fireplace is different and controlled. But you still have to think about all the heat, ergonomics, recommended distance, recommended viewing angles etc. You also have to think about speaker placement, surround sound, the studs/wires etc in the wall to mount the mount for the TV, etc.

It for gas you can just take a little temperature gauge, or a thermometer that is portable and put it above the fireplace in different positions take measurements. If you have made it cool enough with a mantle or/and a heat shield and you don't mind the TV being a bit high, go for it. However check with the manufacturer of both the fireplace, and TV, make sure that they can approve it. You might also want to check with the builder of the house to make sure there's nothing in the wall that could be damaged. Then again if you have the ability and still want to them go do it. I personally do not have the ability so I would have to have somebody do it, so I would call a professional.

I'm in the same position. I'm going to have for new house and I don't know whether to get a fireplace and then put a TV there or not get a fireplace and just put a TV in the regular area that be a fireplace with a better viewing area, better ergonomics, and a better atmosphere for television watching. But it will not be very romantic.

That's why I asked about the retractable painting. It might be an idea to hide the TV and pull it out and if there's a mount that allows it to come out and then down. Then you could have the best of both worlds as long as you don't turn on the fireplace with the tv in the down position. Of course you would have to try to hide the TV behind the painting or a hole in the wall and that probably won't work with the fireplace there.

So for me it's either have the TV or have the fireplace. Otherwise it just seems too much one area. If I had a wood fireplace I would just not do it. You also have to think about all the other electronics such as the cable/satellite box or the Xbox or the receiver (or and, and, etc). That kind of rules out the TV over the fireplace because where would you put all these other boxes??


    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 4:40AM
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hi all

I was thinking more about this and I was thinking that perhaps some type of protective box, or 'small' cabinet that can be on the wall for the much newer thinner TVs might be useful? I say this for two reasons. one, it would be useful to hide the TV when not in use, two, it might be useful to keep the TV out of the heat while not in use. after all I'm not sure how many would want to watch TV while a fire is also blazing in front of them because it would distract them from the TV light.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 8:00PM
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We mounted our tv above our wood burning fireplace in our old house over five years ago. We burned fires four to five nights a week in the winter months (in Ohio) and the tv held up fine through that heat. We also never had strained necks and we probably sat 11 or 12' away from the tv.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 5:00AM
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Sitting that far away, minimizes the strains or discomforts.
Reclining in an almost horizontal position helps also.

I've seen way tooo many setups where the couch is basically less than just a few feet away from the fireplace.

Almost like sitting in the first few rows of a movie theater.

Tell me if that's what most people are going after...

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 10:47AM
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