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Is it safe to mount a tv over a fireplace?

4 most crucial things to consider.

In recent years, a TV above the fireplace became extremely trendy in the world of interior design and architecture. Connecting two strong elements that increase the viewing experience might be a beneficial solution for both the designer and the homeowner.

However, in 2018, in the USA alone, there were over 4000 accidents concerning an incorrectly installed TV screen. This combined with unique conditions created by the structure of fire units creates multiple challenges for the architects and interior designers.

In this article, we will present all crucial aspects of a safe architectural project with a TV mounted above a fireplace.

1.    Which fireplace under a TV screen? Safety ranking

When designing a space with a TV mounted above a fireplace, you need to consider the type of fire unit in the room and all necessary safety factors connected to it.

We ranked the fireplaces into three categories:

  • green category: when we recommend installing a TV above a fireplace,
  • yellow category: when a TV can be mounted over a fireplace, but some conditions have to be fulfilled,
  • red category: when placing a TV over a specific type of fireplace, can damage the electric device.

a. TV mounted over an electric LED fireplace

Electric LED fireplaces are the safest option for TVs hanging above them. They don’t emit a real flame and consequently, they don’t produce any soot, smoke, or ash that could negatively impact the electronics. It is by far the safest option to combine with a TV set when arranging a media wall.

Although multiple LED lights create only an imitation of a real fire, some types of electric LED fireplaces can spread warm air to the room.

This type of fireplace can be safely mounted over a TV screen to create a unique element in an architectural project.

electric LED fireplace under a mounted TV set.
Flat TV screen over an electric LED fireplace.

RECOMMENDATION: we recommend mounting a TV above an electric LED fireplace 

b. Mounting a flat screen TV above a vented gas fireplace.

Gas fireplaces produce heat thanks to the gas supply to which they are connected. Most of them are vented types and release the heat through the chimney. This way the TV screen mounted on a media wall is not heated up from the back. The glass panels that completely cover the hearth limit the emission of the hot air from the front.

What is more, the heat from the flame is not emitted directly to the room, because it is separated by glass panels.

As in case of any fireplace with a chimney, an incorrect installation of the TV may lead to damaging the vent. Removing the screw by an unprofessional may result in the spreading of combustion by-products. What is more, if the size of the chimney is incorrect, the heat might reach the back of the flat screen TV and burn it.

Solutions for a television hanging above a gas stove.

The architectural project can include these two solutions for a safe installation of a TV above a gas-fuelled fire:

  • check the size of the screws in the mounting kit,
  • isolated the wall behind the TV with mineral wool or a non-combustible slab,
  • use a tv mounts that can withstand the weight of a TV over a fireplace.
TV above a vented gas fireplace in a media wall.
TV installed over a vent gas fireplaces.

RECOMMENDATION: we recommend mounting a TV above a vented gas fireplace

c. Automatic bioethanol fireplace with BEV Technology under a TV set 

An automatic fireplace with BEV is a new technological solution in the world of fireplaces. This type of unit allows to manage the level of the flame and switch the device on and off easily. The BEV® (Burning Ethanol Vapours) Technology prevents sudden increases in the temperature and allows complete control over the automatic ethanol fireplace. This type of fire unit provides a unique and eye-catching experience in an architectural project.

BEV® (Burning Ethanol Vapours) Technology – how does an automatic ethanol burner work?

It is worth knowing how the BEV® (Burning Ethanol Vapours) Technology works in automatic ethanol fireplaces.

  • First, the bioethanol fuel is pumped to the closed tank inside the burner.
  • Then, thanks to the remote control, an insignificant amount of the liquid is delivered to the vapours generator.
  • There, the liquid is turned into ethanol vapours and later transported to the burner and ignited by a filament.

The BEV® Technology also provides clean combustion with no smoke, ash, or soot. Additionally, the heat generated by an automatic ethanol burner stays in the room. The whole process is under the strict control of sensors and a microprocessor.

TV placed over a tunnel automatic ethanol burner.
TV in a recess mounted above an automatic ethanol burner.

You can arrange a space with a TV mounted over a fireplace if you surround the hearth with glass panels. If the fireplace is not equipped with large glass panels, there should be a minimum distance of 50 cm between the edge of the unit and the TV screen. Another option is choosing an automatic ethanol fireplace in a casing. These are already equipped with a deflector that diverts the hot air and doesn’t require additional insulation.

It should be remembered that when the TV screen is not mounted correctly above an automatic ethanol fireplace, it can lead to damage to the screen. Especially when there is no chimney and no high glass panels to distribute the heat.

Protecting the television from the heat output of an automatic ethanol burner.

Compared to previous fireplaces, the solutions to protect the TV placed above the fireplace are way easier to implement.

  • Opt for a bioethanol firebox that is equipped with an air buffer. This prevents the heat from warming up the media wall.
  • Use a fireplace mantel or fireplace hood to deflect the heat and protect the TV screen above the fireplace.

RECOMMENDATION: we recommend mounting a TV above an automatic bioethanol fireplace

d. Mounting a TV above a wood-burning fireplace with a glass door

The first fireplace in the yellow category. These traditional fireplaces with glass-door pose two main threats. First, they emit a great amount of heat that cannot be controlled. Secondly, these fireplaces produce harmful by-products such as soot, ash, and smoke.

However, the glass door limits the spreading of the heat and the by-products such as soot, ash, and smoke that can stuff the interior of the TV set.

What are the requirements for mounting TVs above wood-burning stoves?

Even though a TV can be mounted above the traditional fireplaces with glass doors, there are three main factors to consider for a safe architectural project:

  • The TV set should be mounted at least 1 meter above the fireplace.
  • It is recommended to use a double-glass door to provide a thicker protective layer that would keep more heat inside the hearth.
  • To make sure, that harmful gases don’t escape inside the room, place the CO sensor near the wood-burning fireplace.

Before mounting a TV over a wood-burning fireplace with a glass door, only choose the right size of the bolts. Longer bolts can pierce through and chimney and allow the CO, soot, ash, and smoke to be released into the room. 

RECOMMENDATION: maintain safety measures when mounting a TV over a wood-burning fireplace with a glass door

e. Installing a TV over an electric water vapour fireplace

Another fireplace in the yellow category. In this case, it’s not the fire that poses issues when mounting a flat screen TV over the fireplace, but the humidity.

An electric water vapour fireplace utilizes distilled water that is transported to the steam generator. This steam is then spread out with different pressure levels to ensure the most natural effect of fire imitation thanks to the LED lights.

Even though an electric water vapour fireplace lights is easy to arrange as an element of an architectural project, the architect might face some technical issues when mounting a TV. If the fireplace is not equipped with a good-quality air humidifier, the moist air might reach a high level. Consequently, the water might start to collect on a TV screen or inside the device.

How to mount TV over water vapour fireplace?

  • Place a humidifier close to the fireplace or in the same room,
  • Keep the distance of 40-50cm between the TV screen and the fireplace.

RECOMMENDATION: avoid mounting a tv over an electric water vapour fireplace

f. Manual ethanol fireplace under a TV set

Ethanol burners can be differentiated into two categories: manual and automatic.

A manual ethanol burner (most common on the market of the two) is one of the most unsuitable units for an architectural project due to how its combustion process follows.

How are manual ethanol burners ignited?

  1. The combustion requires direct contact with a lighted match and liquid fuel.
  2. A combusted ethanol starts to heat up and once it reaches 80°C, it boils.
  3. Boiling fuel can spread to heights of up to 1m.

Apart from the ignition process, the use of a manual ethanol burner itself poses two main threats. The uncontrolled fire heats up to extremely high temperatures that might melt the wires and the electric system of the TV screen. Additionally, the fire can still be lit up in a tank even when extinguished. Refuelling the device in this state might lead to a small fire that can spread up to the TV hanging above.  

RECOMMENDATION: DO NOT mount a TV over a manual ethanol fireplace

g. Mounting a TV above an open wood-burning fireplace

An open-wood burning stove (or masonry fireplace) is probably still the most popular fire unit in many households. Despite the aesthetic experience it still poses a multitude of threats to an architectural project when mounting a TV over an open fire.  

But what exactly makes a TV and an open wood-burning fireplace a bad combination?

The answer is quite self-explanatory.

What are the main threats of a wood-burning stove?

  • Extremely high temperatures that reach over 50°C.
  • Emission of soot, smoke, and ash.

Both can lead to damaging the TV set by melting the electrical connections, burning the screen, or clogging the system with by-product particles.

What are the solutions for installing a flat screen above a wood-burning stove?

  • installing a mantle to deflect the heat,
  • putting a TV in a recess.

However, even with these solutions, there is no guarantee that the TV set is protected. The flame of an open wood-burning fireplace is never fully controlled, especially if its chimney is clogged. This is one of the reasons why any piece of art above an open fireplace is never covered by insurance.

Although architects know that the chimney is a specific part of the house’s construction, placing the TV above it requires special attention, especially when it comes to drilling holes in the wall. If the distance of the screw to the chimney is miscalculated, the chimney can be penetrated. A hole in a chimney can lead to CO, ash, and smoke going back into the room.

RECOMMENDATION: DO NOT mount a TV over an open wood-burning fireplace

2. How to deflect heat – proper installation of a TV screen above the fireplace

Once you know if the TV can be mounted over a particular type of fireplace, you have to decide how to deflect the heat from the fireplace.

In case of some automatic ethanol fireplaces, some models allow distribution of the heat through the vent. This way, most of the hot air goes behind the TV and is discharged above the flat screen. Consequently, only a small amount of heat goes directly to the front, but it doesn’t threaten the TV.

Additionally, to deflect the excess heat the TV can be put in a recess or the project can include a fireplace hood or a fireplace mantel. In case of a bioethanol fireplace, there are four ways of deflecting the heat, depending on whether the fireplace in the project is traditional of a tunnel type.

Single-sided, left/right corner, three-sided firebox:

  • If the fireplace doesn’t have a chimney, you can put the TV in a recess or install a shelf at a proper distance from the heat source.
  • If the fireplace possesses a chimney, you can install the TV in a recess and protect it with an additional shelf.
Deflecting the heat from the TV mounted above a fireplace
Deflecting the heat from a non-vented fireplace
Deflecting the heat from a vented fireplace

Tunnel, room-divider fireplaces:

  • If there is a tunnel fireplace without a chimney, you can mount the TV in a recess and use a heat-protective shelf.
  • If the tunnel fireplace has a chimney, you can mount the TV flat on the surface at a right distance, put it in a recess or use a mantel or a shelf.
TV placed over a tunnel automatic ethanol burner
TV installed above a tunnel fireplace without a vent
TV installed above a tunnel fireplace with a vent

When you decide to incorporate the shelf in a project, to protect the TV from the heat, you have to make sure it is made of non-combustible materials and its length is similar to the length of the fire line.

3. How to finish the fireplace wall – choosing the right materials

At this stage of the project, you have to make sure that the materials used to finish the fireplace can resist the high temperatures it emits; this is especially important in case of gas and wood-burning fireplaces. In this case, stone or brick is the safest option.

Electric fire unit allow for a wider variety of materials to use as the heat they produce isn’t as high as in case of those fireplaces mentioned above. This allows you to include plasterboard, MDF, quartz, and more in your project.

Some fireplaces such as fireboxes are equipped with built-in air buffers which restrict the emitted high temperatures. Using the fireplaces which are equipped with this type of solution, allows you to safely mount the TV above the fire and finish the media wall with the combustible materials. However, to make sure the heat of the bioethanol won’t damage the TV above it, it is recommended to install a deflector. Depending on the materials you are using for the fireplace TV wall, you might ask yourself what is the required distance between the fire and materials around it:

  • 0.5m between the fire and combustible materials,
  • min. 1m from surfaces that can get deformed from the high temperature,
  • min. 1.5m from easily flammable surfaces and non-fire resistant materials.
TV installed above an ethanol fireplace on a wall made of combustible materials.
TV places over a zero clearance automatic bioethanol fireplace.

4. Why arrange a practical space with a TV above a fireplace?

A project which combines a TV and a fireplace on a single wall creates an undeniable focal point for an indoor space, especially because the similar shape of these two elements create a harmonious arrangement. Keeping a TV and a fireplace together allows for an easy arrangement of other décor elements around them. Rooms, where most elements are concentrated in one place, get an improved sound system. Additionally, the focus of the project is directed to one point and doesn’t require creating multiple sitting spaces.

A TV mounted above a fireplace is a unique solution to include in an architectural project. Once almost impossible, now, modern fireplaces offer a wide variety of possibilities which allow to combine them with a TV in compliance with all safety measures. All these solutions give an opportunity to create a space in which your clients can watch TV and have a beautiful flame at the same time.


Safety Ranking of Fireplaces under a mounted TV flat screen
Types of Fireplaces under a TV – Safety Ranking
Download Planika lookbook
Inspirations and technical information automatic ethanol fireplaces with BEV technology.

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