Although there are some interesting debates within the industry, the short answer is YES.
With everybody in the design and building industry weighing in on this topic, we decided to bring you the arguments, and the requirements faced with installation.
The "classic" fireplace has a mantel that can come up to your chest. This means that if there is a TV installed on top of the mantel it would be above eye level, and when seated on a couch, this height may bother you. An argument among design professionals is that this height causes neck and eye strain.
We recommend using a hinged TV mount that swivels multiple ways to allow adjustment for the perfect view of your favourite shows. Another solution may be to install a linear style fireplace which allows for a television to be installed lower, and greatly reduce overall height.
Some think that there is a aesthetic fault that comes with installing a television above your fireplace. This is more of an opinion upon the homeowner then anything else. Some prefer to have the center focus of the room to be artwork or a fireplace. Some find that the fireplace is used solely a functional unit to provide heat. For the second kind of person, having a television may be the reason for the family to gather, and is the only reason for people to be in the room. Whether or not you want to have the fireplace or television as the focal point is up to you, but it is something to consider upon room design.
Recessing the fireplace
As a large amount of heat is produced from your fireplace, you need to remember to correctly install the unit to prevent the chance of ruining your television. The recommendation among most installers is to recess the unit a minimum of 4-6". The exact dimensions aren't as important as making sure that the television is slightly within the wall including the TV mount. Heat does not deviate from its upward path, so the slight recess will help heat pass by the TV. Additionally, it is advised to paint the recessed unit a dark colour and to have electrical placed behind where the TV will be. At all costs avoid running wires out-front the unit.
A big thing we always recommend to our clients is to purchase the television prior to the fireplace installation to assure the proper fitting. It is much more difficult to change the built-in recess box afterwards. If you are unable to recess a fireplace for some reason, we highly recommend a mantel to direct heat away from the TV
The fireplace unit will come with manufacturer instructions of how high something of combustible material can be installed above the fireplace. This is typically used to determine mantel height. It is a great reference on a minimum height to place your TV above the fireplace.
Based On Your Fireplace Type
Heat sources and fireplace types greatly effect how much care you will want to take to protect the TV.
The most common and most versatile fireplace, the gas unit, can produce a great amount of heat. Making sure that there is a recessed box is key. The rear venting on the unit will make safety a priority and remove risks of the venting heat affecting the televisions performance.
Wood Burning Fireplace
The most powerful heat production units may require extra care with installation. Try opting for a mantel above the fireplace in order to help direct heat away from your unit. This should be used in combination with a recessed wall to help protect the TV.
As the lowest heat producing fireplace, the need to recess is not as critical. It is important though to make sure that there is sufficient height above the fireplace to still protect the TV from heavy heat contact
We hope this has provided some help in deciding to install that television above the fireplace. Either way you do it, make sure you read specifications and ask a professionals opinion prior to building!
The Fireside Group