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Can You Mount a TV Above a Fireplace? (Our Experience)

One of the biggest problems we faced when we moved into our house was where to put our TV. There wasn’t a lot of room, and it seemed the best place was directly above the fireplace. However, this made us concerned not just for the mounting, but the heat and smoke affecting the TV.

It’s easiest to install a TV above a gas or electric fireplace as there’s less heat output and smoke. Wood-burning fireplaces and drilling into brick makes the installation more tricky, but it’s still possible with masonry drill bits and screws. Mount the TV 42-65 inches above the ground and keep the unit below 125ºF.

Let’s take a look at how we ended up mounting our TV, and more tips you should know.

our tv above our fireplace and christmas tree
Our TV above our wood-burning fireplace.

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Mounting a TV Above a Fireplace

Wood Stoves & Wood-Burning Fireplaces

Here are the main concerns when installing a TV above a wood fireplace:

  1. Properly mounting the TV
  2. Avoiding damage to the chimney
  3. Avoiding heat and smoke to the TV

Mounting a TV above wood stove and wood-burning fireplaces are the most tricky, mainly due to the excess heat and smoke. Additionally, they’re more likely to have a brick chimney, requiring masonry drill bits and screws (more on this later).

An average wood stove or fireplace typically puts out between 25,000-35,000 BTUs, which is enough to heat around 1,500 sq. ft. of space.

Naturally, larger fireplace models put out more, and smaller models put out less (10,000-40,000 BTUs)

Pro-Tip: Before installing your TV, run your fireplace at full heat and use an infrared thermometer to measure the wall’s heat where the TV would be. If it’s above 125ºF, you’ll need some heat-shielding such as a mantel.

Compared to gas or electric, wood-burning appliances are trickier for mounting TVs because of the amount of heat that goes up through your chimney (instead of outward into the room).

Smoke can also distort the TV’s screen and cause internal electrical problems. 

Recommended: 4 Ways to Keep Fireplace Smoke Out of the House

You can also build an alcove for the TV, install a mantel, or install a heat fan to redirect rising heat away from the TV.

Generally, if the proper steps are taken, it’s safe to mount a TV above a wood stove or fireplace (more details on mounting later).

Gas Fireplaces

a gas fireplace with a pilot light

Gas fireplaces have a much wider range for BTUs compared to wood fireplaces. This is anywhere from 10,000 to 70,000 BTUs depending on the model.

Despite the big range and potentially significant heat output, there is more control available for gas fireplaces.

Gas fireplaces usually have vented outputs that send heat in certain directions, typically to the side or directly forward. This reduction in heat and smoke makes it more possible to have a TV mounted above it.

Some gas fireplaces also allow for controlled air intake, which makes the heat much easier to manage.

TVs above gas fireplaces will have more flexibility on placement, but you’ll still want to follow proper instructions for both the gas fireplace and the TV itself to avoid any potential damage.

Electric Fireplaces

electric fireplace with hands warming in front of it

Electric fireplaces are the safest fireplace for a TV as they have a much lower heat output. Depending on the model, you’ll also be able to control the direction the heat is sent, creating a much safer environment for TVs.

Electric fireplaces generally put out much fewer BTUs compared to gas or wood-burning stoves and fireplaces. However, the output is much more controllable.

A 120v electric fireplace, which is small enough to plug into an outlet and essentially serves as a space heater, can put out around 4,000-5,000 BTUs. A larger heater that is 220v can put out between 5,000-9,000 BTUs.

Similar to a gas fireplace, you also don’t have to worry about issues with mounting a TV on a chimney or potential smoke damage.

Can a TV be Mounted Above a Brick Fireplace?

Our fireplace in our living room

A TV can be mounted above a brick fireplace if you have the proper equipment such as masonry or mortar drill bits and screws. However, there are some concerns such as damaging the chimney or the mount not holding. For best results, hire a professional.

Start by identifying the thickness of the brick and mortar, the weight of the TV, and which screws are compatible with your TV’s mount.

Avoid drilling into the mortar as it’s more brittle than brick.

If the correct screws and technique are used, the mortar will hold up just fine.

The main concerns here are if the screws are too shallow or unstable to hold up the TV or mount, and ruining the masonry or puncturing the chimney lining.

If you’re nervous about any part of the installation, it’s best to avoid drilling into brick and mortar and hire a professional to install the mount and TV for you (this is what we did).

How Far Above a Fireplace Should a TV be? 

measuring the distance of the tv from the fireplace

Keep the TV about 12 inches above the mantel or about 20 inches above the fireplace (including the mantel).

If your fireplace mantle is less than 4 feet from the floor, the TV should ideally be 12 inches above the mantel. This will set the TV at the correct and average viewing height for most living room setups.

In the case that your mantel is above 4 feet from the ground, your TV should be 6 inches above the mantel.

The ideal viewing angle is between 42 and 65 inches from the ground.

Pro-tip: If you’d like to be extra safe, get a TV mount that from the wall extends and can tilt.

Keep in mind that most sofas or seats raise your eye level, putting you at the proper angle after everything is completely set up.

More Tips to Protect Your TV from Fireplace Heat

our tv above our fireplace

These are some of the best ways to protect your TV from fireplace heat:

Different models of TVs may have different thresholds for heat, just as different fireplace models will create different potential risks for your appliances. Because of this, consult your TV’s manual for more information.

According to Hearth N Home, you should have a mantel size of at least 2.5 inches projecting from the wall. Having a mantel seems to be almost crucial in ensuring your TV is protected from heat and potential smoke.

On top of the protection benefits, mantels are also stylish and add some extra beauty to the setup.

Building an alcove is another viable option. However, this could be more costly than anchoring a mantel to the wall. It is also not as effective as a mantel in deflecting heat.

Installing heat-moving fans is another option to not only protect your TV but also send heat out more efficiently. These fans are generally inexpensive but make a big difference in transferring heat around your space.

Recommended: 5 Ways to Protect Your TV From the Heat of Your Fireplace

Before you install your TV or make any plans to install mantels, alcoves, or fans, take some temperatures of the wall with an infrared thermometer. This gives you an idea of how much you need to mitigate and reroute heat.

If you notice the heat is extremely high and above average, you may want to double up on getting both a mantel that is above 2.5 inches and also creating an alcove. You can also look into heat shielding material.

After these heat-deflecting items are installed, be sure to check the temperature again to ensure they are doing a sufficient job before installing and mounting your TV.

Final Thoughts

We’ve had our TV above our fireplace for several years now, and we’ve had no issues.

Because we didn’t want to chance messing up our masonry, chimney, or TV mount, we hired a handyman from Yelp to do it for us. We invited a few contractors out to look at our fireplace, got a few quotes, and hired the one that best fit our needs.

It saved us a bit of a headache and gave us more peace of mind that it’s probably more structurally sound than if we did it ourselves.

From our research, and what we’ve learned from our handyman, TVs can be mounted above a fireplace as long as the wall and mount are structurally sound, and the TV isn’t exposed to temperatures above 125ºF.

Installation can be tricky if you have a brick chimney, but it’s still possible with masonry drill bits and screws.

Remember that each TV may have its own heat threshold and that different types of fireplaces may cause more or less heat to rise and reach the TV.

Additionally, different types of fireplaces will have different clearance requirements. So, certain items such as TVs, rugs, and furniture require a set distance away from the fireplace.

If you need more information about mounting a TV by drilling into a brick wall, check out this video by Zip Tie Ninja.

Sources

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