Most of our customers who are creating a fireplace feature wall are putting a TV above the fireplace. Like it or not, most room layouts lend themselves to a single focal point, and the seating area will be centered on that focal wall. In these rooms, it just makes sense that the TV and fireplace will be on the same wall. Our clients have visions of family and friends gathering around the fireplace to enjoy movie nights or game days on the big screen TV. The design of the wall and the position of the TV will vary greatly for a gas fireplace vs. an electric fireplace. Below, we outline a few of the important differences between electric and gas fireplaces, where TV’s are concerned.

Heating up the walls

Overheating the TV is the biggest concern when mounting a TV above a fireplace. The delicate electronics in the TV can’t handle excessive heating. With many gas fireplaces, the heat from the fireplace affects not only the air in front of and above the fireplace, but also the walls around the fireplace. There are guidelines in the owners’ manuals of gas fireplaces, with minimum safe distances for mounting TVs above the fireplace. Often, these guidelines have the TV sitting higher on the wall than is comfortable for viewing.

Is it okay to put a TV above an electric fireplace? Yes! With an electric fireplace, the heaters don’t heat up the walls around the fireplace. When the heater is on, a blower directs the hot air out the front of the fireplace, and into the room. There is no combustion inside the fireplace, and therefore no heat to transfer to the surrounding wall cavity. In the early days of linear electric fireplaces, the units were surface-mounted, and the heat blew out the top or bottom of the unit. If heat blows out the top, it affects anything sitting on the wall above, including a TV. Fortunately, the major manufacturers of electric fireplaces quickly adapted to the reality that homeowners wanted their electric fireplaces set into the wall, with heat blowing out the front. Among better brands, there are no electric fireplaces with heat blowing off the top of the unit.

Size matters

If you are going to install a TV above a fireplace, we believe that the two should be balanced. This means that the TV should not overpower the fireplace. TV’s are measured on the diagonal — as they get wider, they also get taller. This is not the case with linear fireplaces (the most popular style for mounting below TVs). Generally, a linear fireplace comes in a particular height, and has several different lengths. Linear fireplaces are much slimmer looking than TVs, so it takes a wider fireplace to balance out a large TV. If you think of the TV and fireplace ‘stack’ as a pyramid, you want the bottom of the pyramid (the fireplace) to be wider than the top of the pyramid (the TV). This is more easily accomplished with an electric fireplace, and here’s why.

Gas fireplaces generate heat by combustion – natural gas or propane is burned to create heat and flames. The bigger the burner inside, the more heat is generated. Thus, a larger gas fireplace will generally pump out more heat than a smaller gas fireplace. Because many homeowners don’t need a lot of heat in their living spaces, and because they are concerned about overheating the TV above, they will often choose a gas fireplace that is smaller than the TV above. We find that this looks top-heavy, likean upside-down pyramid, especially as the average size of the TVs has crept up to 65 and 75 inches and even larger. If they did choose a gas fireplace that matched the width of their larger TVs, homeowners would find that the heat would be unbearable, or they would have to vent it to the outside. Not only is it expensive to power-ventilate the heat to the exterior, it’s also not environmentally friendly. So they settle for a smaller gas fireplace.

Is it okay to put a TV above an electric fireplace? Yes! With an electric fireplace, there is no ‘burner’. Flames are generated with LED lights, and the heater is a separate element. The heaters don’t vary from one size to another, as they do with gas fireplaces. As a result, there is a greater range of sizes in electric fireplaces, all with heaters that can be operated independently from the flames. An electric fireplace may be enjoyed with flames only, or with flames and heater. The heaters are usually thermostatically controlled, so they turn on and off to keep the room at your preferred temperature. Even a really large electric fireplace will not overheat the room. Electric fireplaces range in size from 36-inches up to 100-inches, so there are lots of larger linear options to go under even the largest TVs. This keeps your TV-fireplace pyramid in shape!


Family Safety

If your TV-fireplace gathering place is going to play host to small children, then safety will be top of mind for you. The glass on the front of a gas fireplace can get hot enough to instantly burn skin on contact. That’s because the burner inside is the source of heat as well as flames. Adding a gas fireplace to your TV wall comes with the responsibility to be vigilant, and to keep stray fingers away from the fireplace.

With an electric fireplace, the glass doesn’t heat up because the flames are not the source of heat. If someone touches the glass when you’re not looking, they won’t get burned.

Is it okay to put a TV above an electric fireplace? Yes! For all of the reasons above.

Stylish Fireplaces knows that adding a fireplace to your home can be challenging. With an electric fireplace and their NFI Certified Hearth Design Specialists, it’s easy to create a space you’ll love to share with family and friends. Check out all the options and connect with their experts for help to find the perfect electric fireplace for you. You’ll live stylishly ever after. 

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