A TV hanging above a fireplace is a common sight in homes nowadays. It simply looks great, but it does beg an important question; can electric fireplaces damage your tv?
An electric fireplace can damage a TV when it blows the heat directly onto it. However, most electric fireplaces either don’t generate any heat or push the heat out through the glass front or at the bottom. Alternatively, with a minimum clearance of 18 inches, your fireplace won’t damage your tv.
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent heat damage to your TV, even if your unit blows heat upward. In this article, we’ll cover how to prevent your fireplace from damaging your tv, as well as discuss how much distance there should be between the two!
Can An Electric Fireplace Damage A TV?
Electric fireplaces can damage a TV if it’s a fireplace that has a top heater and blower. With these types of fireplaces, you can protect your TV by installing a mantel or hanging the TV with 18 inches of clearance. When the blower is on the sides or bottom of the fireplace, allow 6 – 10 inches of clearance to be safe.
Some electric fireplaces don’t generate heat, so damage isn’t a concern. However, since an electric fireplace with a heater can damage TVs, it’s essential to take some precautions to prevent your television from being damaged or, worse—catching fire. Below are three steps you can take to protect your television from the fireplace’s heat.
1. Block the heat with a mantel
A mantel is a great solution to protect a TV from heat damage. It works as a shield for the television by blocking direct heat and preventing damage to the electronics.
This solution is excellent for any type of fireplace. It also adds a practical design element to break up the white space between a fireplace and a TV. Mantels often function as a small shelf as well, so not only will this help protect your television, but it also adds some space for you to let out your creativity.
2. Hang the TV at a greater distance
If the TV is too close to the fireplace, it has a higher risk of damage. As a general rule, a TV is safest when installed 18 inches away from the top of the fireplace.
Of course, refer to your user manual for the manufacturer’s recommendation. Generally speaking, though, 18 inches is enough distance between an electric fireplace and television. If you want to be extra sure, you can always increase the clearance.
3. Redirect the heat with a deflector
A deflector is a piece of metal, usually installed below a mantel, that redirects heat out into the room and protects the mantel (and television) from direct heat damage. An added benefit is that a deflector also helps improve the fireplace’s efficiency.
Overall, an electric fireplace won’t produce as much heat as wood-burning or gas fireplaces will. Usually, they are considered a safer and more affordable fireplace option.
Typically, electric fireplaces won’t damage your television:
- Not all electric fireplaces actually generate heat.
- Pretty much all electric fireplace models push out the heat via the glass front.
- With a minimum clearance of 18 inches, an electric fireplace is far enough away from a television to damage it.
How Close Can A TV Be To An Electric Fireplace?
Generally, you can safely install a TV at 6 – 10 inches away from the top of most electric fireplaces. However, the distance becomes greater when the electric fireplace has a top heater that blows heat up rather than out. In this situation, install your TV 18 inches above the top of the fireplace.
The clearance recommendation will vary depending on how your electric fireplace functions. First, electric fireplaces that don’t generate heat don’t require clearance because there is no heat to damage the TV.
Next, check your user manual for any manufacturer recommendations. If it doesn’t have any guidance, follow these steps to determine the best clearance.
Determine if the heater and blower are located on top.
The heater and blower are the parts that become hot when the unit is operating. Check all sides of the unit for signs of heat-output. Commonly, the heater is located on the top or bottom.
A heater or blower on the bottom or sides of the fireplace is less of a heat risk to your TV. In these types of appliances, 6 – 10 inches of clearance are recommended.
On a top-heater, determine which direction the air blows.
If you find that your fireplace’s heater and blower are on the top, you next want to determine if the hot air is directed up towards the ceiling or out towards the room.
In units that blow hot air out towards the room, 6 – 10 inches of clearance are likely still safe. However, electric fireplaces that blow hot air up toward the ceiling present an overheating concern for TVs, as they blow the heat directly towards the tv. These fireplaces need 18 inches of clearance from the television.
How much heat can a television withstand?
As you figure out the correct clearance, you might wonder how much heat a television can take. The amount of heat varies from brand to brand, but most TVs can withstand anywhere from 100 – 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything above the recommended temperature can lead to electrical failure and damage.
As a word of caution, check your TV’s warranty requirements. Some television companies will void a warranty when you mount it above a fireplace. If you don’t carry a warranty, this isn’t an issue, but it’s always best to check.
Is An Electric Fireplace Loud?
Electric fireplaces are typically quiet. The exception to this is when the blower is on. The blower is a small fan that pushes the warm air into a room. Blowers make some noise, but nothing too loud. If your fireplace makes a lot of noise, it may indicate that something’s defective or not working correctly.
Generally speaking, electric fireplaces don’t make that much noise. At least to the point where the noise doesn’t overshadow the sound of your TV. And that’s especially true for the models that don’t generate heat.
Most of the noise that electric fireplaces make comes from the blower, a small fan that pushes out the warm air into a room. If there’s no heat to push out, there’s no need for a blower.
When it comes to electric fireplaces that do generate heat, there are two models; infrared electric fireplaces and electric coil fireplaces.
Generally, neither type of electric fireplace will be louder than your television, but an electric blower does make some noise. So, let’s break down the two types of electric fireplaces.
Electric Coil Fireplace
These units work much like space heaters and generate heat from pulling air across extremely hot coils. A fan pushes the hot air from the fireplace into the room. Fans make some noise as it requires a motor to work. You can, however, use these types of fireplaces without the heat on, and it won’t make noise.
If your blower becomes noisier over time, simple maintenance or cleaning may help reduce the noise. Some reasons that electric fireplaces become noisy include the following:
- Fan motors that lose lubrication over time
- Dusty fans
- Loose parts
- Faulty fan motor
- Faulty flame speed control
Have your electric fireplace serviced to fix the noise problem if you suspect any of these issues!
Infrared Electric Fireplaces
Infrared electric fireplaces make little to no noise because they use light technology to heat a room rather than heating coils and fans. Some infrared heaters may have small internal fans to help keep the unit cool, but the noise from those internal fans is minimal (comparable to the fans that cool your PC).
Because of its quiet nature, an infrared electric fireplace certainly won’t overpower the sound of your TV.
How Big Should My TV Be Compared To My Fireplace?
As a rule, the width of the fireplace is best when it is slightly wider than the TV. Also, the television and fireplace appear balanced when the heights are similar. The size and ratio of a TV to a fireplace are often a matter of taste. However, there are some guidelines to help improve the room’s aesthetic.
When the size of the fireplace and the TV are vastly different, it can throw off the room’s balance. Some common issues with mounting a television over a fireplace include spacing issues or a disproportionate TV.
Generally, the recommended height for mounting TVs is 42 inches from the floor. If the fireplace requires the TV to be mounted higher than 42 inches to account for clearance, this can become a visual issue. It may cause the television to be mounted at an uncomfortable height.
You are less likely to run into this issue with electric fireplaces because their clearance is lower than wood-burning or gas fireplaces.
A large gap between the fireplace and TV can also create an off-balanced look to the room. Linear electric fireplaces (very wide and short) run into this problem. Other than a spacing issue, there is the issue of proportionality.
When the television screen is much wider than the fireplace, it can create a top-heavy look in the room. Conversely, a far wider fireplace than the TV makes a bottom-heavy appearance.
Aim for a slightly wider fireplace than the TV for an aesthetically pleasing look. If your television screen is wider than the fireplace, a fireplace surround can help offset the difference.
Some problems with proportionality happen with linear electric fireplaces. They are wide but much shorter than a TV—creating an unbalanced look. You can balance the space by moving the TV to another location in the room so that the TV and fireplace are not competing. Or, you can use other shelves and decorations to help balance and fill the space.
Overall, the easiest way to achieve a balanced look is to keep your TV and fireplace proportions similar.