Ever seen a picturesque image of a family room with a beautiful fireplace centering everything. What’s that one thing that probably 90% of those pictures in real life will include; well if you guessed a flat screen TV hanging above the fireplace you would be correct. Did you know that hanging your TV above your fireplace might not be the best idea though? Welcome to our first ever edition of You Ask…We Tell.
In this issue we tackle a few of the most common questions we get asked as fireplace professionals. Lets get right to it.
Q: Can I hang my TV on the wall above my fireplace?
A: Technically, yes. You are a human and have free will to do as you please. Should you is the real question. While many people will do it and have no issues at all, the newer modern fireplaces nowadays usually will not have a fan it. Without a fan installed there is a lot of heat coming off that fireplace and what do we know happens with heat? Well it rises, and what else do we know about heat?
Heat + Electronics = Bad
Not only do Electronics not care for heat, but they also do not do well with smoke (for all my wood burning enthusiasts). Another reason this is not advisable is simply due to the fact that when your TV is hanging above your fireplace (lets say at a safe distance above it) it is not good for your neck/posture/spine/etc to be looking at the angle from a lower couch. Now beyond these few reasons, you may still decide you want to have your TV above your fireplace, and if you do I would suggest the following at a minimum.
- Try to have a fireplace with a lower output of heat or that can be installed with a fan to help better circulate the hot air away from the fireplace
- Be sure to install your TV at a acceptable distance above your fireplace (consult the manufacturers manual for guidance).
Q: In fireplaces is the bigger the unit, the better?
A: In fireplaces, much like lots of things in life the bigger they are doesn’t necessarily mean they are better. Sure a bigger fireplace will often give you the best viewing space of your beautiful fire, but often at the expense of heat output. Another issue that may arise is that your fireplace ends up being way to big for the room it is going in, providing way to much heat in that smaller area resulting in it never being used. When deciding on the size of your fireplace you should take the following into account.
- Is this for heat or decorative look?
- If it is for heat check what the efficiency of the fireplace is (actual heat that will be outputted, preferably above 70%)
- Is the size of the fireplace you are getting adequate for the size of the room you are putting it in?
Q: Can I convert my Gas fireplace to wood or vice versa?
A: At one time Heatilator had a fireplace that with 21 some-odd steps could be converted from a gas fireplace to a wood fireplace. Fireplaces, especially gas burning units have a lot of working parts inside of them. They are built for one specific burning source and tested to that standard. There is no way that your gas fireplace would ever be able to burn wood products in it. Now the opposite way is a grey area. A wood burning fireplace can have a gas log lighter installed in it which assists starting the wood on fire, but then should be turned off. Another option you may have is installing a gas insert in your existing masonry wood fireplace. But to answer the question plainly there is no way to go back and forth between these two fuel sources.
We hope these answers helped with some common fireplace questions you may have had. If you have further questions pertaining to these questions or different questions that you would like answered in future issues please leave them in the comments below.