TV In Chimney Breast – Yes Or No?

Whether you don’t know where to put it, or you just like how it looks, you may be wondering if you should put a TV in the chimney breast. Not only does it honestly look really nice, but it can, at times, be the most realistic place for the TV. We recently talked about putting a TV above your radiator, and the consensus was that heat and electronics generally don’t work well together. This still stands for the chimney breast, but there are workarounds.

If you follow specific guidelines and do everything properly, a TV in the chimney breast is an elegant and good-looking solution for a living space.

Let’s talk a bit more about that because there are a few things you’ll need to know first.

TV In Chimney Breast – What to Know

While it’s a bit obvious if you know much about electronics, heat isn’t the best for them. And (believe it or not) chimney breasts can get quite hot at times. Depending on how well insulated your chimney is, what type of fireplace is in it, and a few other factors, it may get too hot to safely hang a TV.

Testing

The best way to tell quickly is to just give your chimney breast a temperature check. Generally, it’s best to keep electronics away from anything warmer than 35-37 degrees Celcius. They don’t stand up well to that type of heat, and TVs already can get quite hot on their own.

You can use a laser thermometer to take the temperature. Just get the fire going to where it would be during winter and give it a test. If it’s well insulated, it’ll fall below the dangerous range and you should be fine. If it’s at or above that temperature, it’s best not to risk it.

If you were to ignore the risks and mount it anyway, you could have one of two things happen, or both:

  1. Internal parts of the TV can melt and shift when heated. This can lead to parts outright failing. If exposed to severe temperatures, they can and will melt through the frame. That’s really not good.
  2. The slightly less bad possibility is that the screen could fail. More specifically, pixels would start to die. They would either outright fail, or lose quality, leaving you with a washed out TV devoid of colour.

Neither is good, so be sure to test properly before deciding to just mount it anyway.

Type of Fireplace

This is specifically important in terms of gas vs. solid fuel fireplaces. A gas-powered fireplace can easily get up to temperatures that could damage electronics, but it can also be turned off.

Solid fuel fires, on the other hand, can quickly rise in temperature before you know it. If left unattended, it’s entirely possible that a wood fire could quickly and irreparably damage a TV.

What About Wiring?

Wiring is always a concern when mounting a TV. Exposed, disorganised wires are just plain ugly. But when you add in a potentially hot chimney breast, it gets more important. They can melt and even catch fire if done poorly or exposed to high heat, which is… less than ideal.

You have two options here:

  1. If it’s a plaster chimney breast, you can recess the wires into the wall. This will hide them from sight and protect them from heat, assuming it’s properly insulated.
    1. Keep in mind, though, that this makes it a bit hard to retrieve the wires if needed. So essentially, don’t recess your power cord in – find a mount or bracket.
  2. Make a wire management system yourself. You can purchase various materials that are heat-resistant such as fibreglass sleeving, though it’s a bit spendy for what it is.

If it’s an extremely well-insulated masonry chimney breast, then you could theoretically run the wiring along the channel in the mortar, but that’s a lot of what-ifs.

Mounting to Masonry or Concrete

If your masonry or concrete chimney breast is well insulated enough to accommodate the electronics, it’s possible to mount it directly on. While the manner may vary, you can double-check with your manufacturer. To do this, you’ll need a few things:

  1. Wall bracket for TV
  2. Power drill (a cordless one with a hammer function, like an SDS drill)
  3. Masonry drill bits
  4. Level
  5. Sharpie
  6. Anchors or concrete screws
  7. Driver bit for aforementioned screws
  8. Washers
  9. Tape measure
  10. Rubber mallet
  11. Safety glasses, gloves, respirator
  12. Shop vac or vacuum

As you can see, it takes quite a bit of extra effort – but it can be done. Here’s how.

The Process

  1. Pick an ideal spot.
  2. Fix the bracket to the TV.
  3. Measure from the bottom of the wall bracket to the bottom of the TV. Add this to the TV’s desired height (from the floor) to get the proper mounting height.
  4. Remove bracket
  5. Place the bracket at the height you just got and mark it on the wall. Adjust as needed to keep it off the mortar.
    1. Mortar is softer than brick and will eventually lose grip on the screws. You don’t want this, so move the mount so the screws are in brick (or concrete).
  6. Drill the holes. Do it slowly and methodically. You’re trying to not crack the chimney.
  7. Install anchors or concrete screws.
    1. If installing anchors, use the rubber mallet to tap them into the holes. Don’t hit so hard as to crack the mortar – this is why it’s a rubber mallet, not a hammer. Slide washers onto the screws if needed. Ensure it’s level and tighten everything up.
  8. Pop your TV onto the bracket and get everything hooked up and organised.
  9. Admire your work. Maybe watch a show or two, kick back and relax – you earned it.

Final Thoughts

This is a whole process, as you can see – but it can be done. If you absolutely must have the TV on the chimney breast, get ready for a whole project. Yeah, you thougfht this would be easy – just pop the bracket on and boom! Done in time for your daily stories. Nope – this will take a while to do properly, and trust me, you want to do it properly.

If you don’t, you risk the TV falling out of the wall, damage to the TV or its cords, and/or a broken TV. None of those is good, and we’re trying to get a great outcome here that looks good. And a busted TV below cracked masonry is not a great outcome. So do things right, and put the TV elsewhere if you can’t safely hang in on the chimney breast.

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About the Author Harry Thompson

Involved in home renovations throughout his life, Harry is an expert in everything to do with home and garden DIY. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking and tending to his garden.