TV Above Radiator – Yes Or No?

If you’re arranging a room for the first time (or rearranging for the hundredth), you’ve likely come to a familiar problem. Where does the TV go? It needs to be mounted at just the right height so it’s comfortable to use, and can’t have too much right next to it. It also needs to look good, as well as be in a functional place so you can sit comfortably and watch it. If you’ve come to the conclusion that the best spot is above the radiator, I’ve got some bad news. There is likely a better place for a TV than above a radiator.

A TV above the radiator is generally a bad idea. Electronics and heat don’t go well together, which could damage your TV’s internals and actively impair the image.

While that sounds like all bad news, I’ve got a bit of good news to go aside it. Keep reading to learn what it is, lest you despair in a TVless room forevermore.

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TV Above Radiator: The Good, The Bad, The Okay(ish)

There is quite a bit of bad news in this article, unfortunately. We’ll start with the good, though, just to make it hurt a little bit less.

The Good

While it’s generally a bad idea to put your TV above the radiator, there are a few ways to work around it that are actually pretty reasonable. And by reasonable, I mean we won’t say to “just move your radiator” like some articles I’ve read recently… Anyway, here’s the good news – there is a workaround (or two):

Radiator Cover

This is another good option, especially in tandem with the full-motion bracket. In case the name doesn’t imply it heavily, a radiator cover… covers your radiator. It’s essentially a cabinet or decorative piece that goes over the radiator. This does four things:

  1. Block or redirect heat – A properly fitted and designed radiator cover will block heat in certain directions and redirect it to the front. If you plan to hang a TV over a radiator, this is pretty much required.
  2. Spruce up the room – Even if you somehow don’t like the example above, radiator covers come in a wide range of shapes and styles. If you want a more cabinet-like one – you can find them. They can also be more sleek than the above, more of a slight grate with insulation, whatever floats your boat.
  3. Reduce noise – It’s another solid object between you and the radiator. Any sound that comes out will be cut a lot – just be sure to check on them regularly.
  4. Child and pet proofing – This is the most common use for radiator covers. It gives a bit of a safety barrier betwen the hot radiator and any sensitive skin.

If you plan to put a TV above a radiator, this is a must – and it just helps make old radiators look a bit nicer. Be careful to properly fit it, though. An improperly fitted cover can cause heat loss. The general rule of thumb for measuring a radiator cover is to give it a bit of extra space on all sides. The basic guide is 40mm wide X 30 mm tall X 20 mm deep.

Full-Motion Brackets

These are essentially the traditional TV mount, but better. MountPlus, if you will.

They’re nice because it allows you to minimise potential damage. Additionally, they offer quite a bit more flexibility in terms of where the TV sits while watching vs. resting. And if you’re going to buy a bracket like this, who knows – you may be able to reasonably hang the TV elsewhere. And that’s good because what happens to some TVs is rather gnarly if they’re heated up too much or too quickly. But we’ll get to that in time.

The Bad

And… now it’s time for the bad news. I’m sorry it had to come to this, but it’s better that I tell you first than you experience this firsthand. As I said at the beginning of the article, electronics and heat don’t really mesh. They already heat up quite a bit on their own (PC enthusiasts know this very well), so adding heat to them is a pretty bad idea.

Your TV is made from metal, so it’ll need to get pretty hot for this to happen, but extended heat exposure is not good. Not only can internal parts melt or shift as the metal softens, but parts can outright fail. Additionally, their picture is actively damaged after extended exposure to high heat. Pixels will die or start to fail, and you’ll have a generally worse picture quality.

The Okay(ish)

A TV can usually be sort of close to radiators. That’s not to say that you should pop it right above the sucker, but depending on the TV and placement, you may be okay. The obvious first step is to double-check with your manufacturer how hot the TV can get, and how quickly before damage occurs. That’s something that they have to plan for (due to the TV’s natural tendency to heat up), so they generally record it in the instructions/manual.

More modern heaters tend to project hot air and are generally a bit more effective. This means that if you have underfloor heating or convection heating, you’re likely in the clear. Again, it’s good practice to install a radiator cover and full-motion bracket, but it can be done under the right circumstances.

One final note, though – a good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that TVs should be 10-15 cm from the wall. This allows the TV to vent its own heat – if this is obstructed and you add a radiator’s heat to the mix? That’s bad news, my friend.

Final Thoughts

In general, TVs and heat don’t really mix well. While there are workarounds, they’re few and far between. The best case that allows you to put a TV over a heat source relies on a lot of specific conditions that aren’t really likely to come together. That makes your best workaround to be a combination of full-motion brackets and a radiator cover.

Without specific precautions taken, placing a TV above a radiator could have disastrous results. Beyond actively damaging your TV’s internal electronics, the picture quality can actively degrade. Pixels can start to fail, resulting in a washed-out, ugly picture, or even outright die. In short, it’s best to plan ahead and try to find anywhere else that you can put your TV. But, if needs must, it can be done.