Flat screen TV mounting over an existing fireplace is a popular option. A flat screen TV has a slim footprint that allows it to be placed in areas where it would be a nuisance if it poked out into the room.
There are a number of considerations that you must take into account when you decide to mount it over a fireplace. These can include fireplace type, ambient temperature and how your chimney is built. Some fireplace installations can be difficult and a professional installer should be employed, but if you are confident in your abilities, you should be able to do it yourself in most cases.
Hiding the cables is often necessary for a neat look, so if the wall behind the mantle is hollow, this makes it easier. Hiding cables in a solid wall should be left to a professional.
Will Heat from the Fire Damage the Screen?
Tape a thermometer above the fireplace to make sure the temperature of the area while the fire or heating is being used will not damage the screen. Heat can be radiating through the chimney wall, or escaping from the front of the fireplace. Plasma displays will be permanently damaged if exposed to temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius). Check your screen manual for operating temperature range for your model.
As long as the ambient temperature is within the storage range of the TV, you can mount it above a hotter fireplace as long as you only turn it on when the fireplace is not lit. The storage temperature of a flat-screen TV is usually from 15 to 120 degrees F (-10 to 50 degrees C). Some bricks radiate more heat than others, and for longer.
Height of the Instillation
Installing your flat screen TV over the fireplace can often mean that it is too high for comfortable viewing while seated. To allow for this, choose a tilting mount that makes for easy viewing when resting back in a chair. This option is still not ideal if you do not have reclining chairs. Ideally, the bottom of the screen should be at eye level.
Fixing to the Fireplace
Make sure you buy anchor bolts appropriate to your wall type. Bolts for brick are different than those for drywall or wood panelling. If you are mounting onto drywall, be sure that the wall can easily hold the weight of the TV.
This is not recommended over a fireplace, not only because of heat issues, but also because it makes replacement of a different sized TV in the future difficult. If you have a mantel over the fireplace, the TV can sit on it without looking out of place, avoiding the need for recessing.
If your fire tends to put out smoke when it is opened, be aware that the smoke may discolor the screen over time. A gas fire is preferred for over-the-fireplace installations.
Installing your TV over the fireplace can seem like a great way to focus attention on both the fireplace and the screen, but in reality, the focus will be on the TV while it is on, negating the total effect. With the height and heat problems involved, it can be a better option to place the TV in a separate area.