A fireplace is a natural focal point of a living area and hanging televisions, family portraits or other artwork above the mantle is common in homes today. While it makes for a great visual, it is important to keep in mind that heat (and soot if you have a wood burning unit) from the fireplace can damage anything hanging above it—particularly sensitive electronics and artwork. It’s not only the heat radiating directly from the fireplace opening, either; heat from chimneys and top vents can warm up the wall above the fireplace, added another point of potential damage. When you consider that the average wood-burning fireplace can get as hot as 1100 degrees Fahrenheit, you can see how important it is to consider proper placement and other precautions to protect your possessions.
Heat and soot (or ash) are the biggest dangers to items mounted above your fireplace. Ideally, framed art or photographs should not be mounted above a fireplace that is used frequently, as the heat can degrade the framing materials or art/photograph itself. The recommended temperature for displaying art is 75 degrees Fahrenheit, at the warmest. With a cozy roaring fire directly below your artwork and sending heat radiating through the surrounding walls, the temperature is bound to rise well above that sweet spot.
Soot from wood burning fireplaces can also significantly shorten the lifespan of electronics (such as a television) as it will settle on the components inside of the television, which prevents proper cooling and creates higher internal temperatures. This excess heat can cause materials that are especially sensitive to heat to break down quicker and compromise the overall operation of the television. Heat also prevents electronic devices from operating properly. For example, a typical LED television operates most efficiently at 50 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Mounting a television over a fireplace can raise the temperature of the wall to well over the optimal temperature for electronics.
In order to safely display and enjoy your television or artwork above your fireplace, it is imperative to ensure that the temperature of the wall to which it’s mounted does not exceed the recommended temperatures. The best option is to install an enclosed gas fireplace, which entirely eliminates the threat of soot and ash. To address the heat issue, consider a fireplace with cold wall technology. This advanced technology gives you a flickering flame and warmth but helps maintain cooler temperatures in the wall and surface area above your fireplace.
Ortal Heating Solutions, a leading provider of beautiful gas fireplaces equipped with cold wall technology, has devised a system that enables fireplace venting walls to release heat. This reduces temperatures from 210 degrees Fahrenheit to 90 degrees and cooler. Since this technology acts as a barrier and prevents the wall around the fireplace from heating up, it is possible to mount a television 12 inches above the fireplace without fear that heat will affect its operation or lifespan. Using this technology is a safe and effective way to display your prized artwork or television above the fireplace, preserving the natural focal point of your room without worry.