TVholic: Where to best mount your television at home

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Television can now be found everywhere at home, but do you know where to best place them?

In the same way that families grew from a single vehicle during the middle of the last century to now — when it seems like every kid gets a car even before he has a license — the landscape of the family television has evolved as well.

mounting TVGone are the days of one centrally-located television set that weighed the same amount as a car; we now live in an new era of flat screen TVs that can dangle from our walls and are placed anywhere they will fit.

Although you have a world of possibilities at your fingertips where television technology is concerned, there are some best practices to bear in mind and some common pitfalls to avoid. Here are some of the biggest Dos and Don’ts for mounting TVs.

Elementary Issues

One thing you must always keep in mind when dealing with technology is its proximity to certain natural elements, namely fire and water. Although you may have a prime piece of real estate just begging to be occupied, resist the urge to plant a TV where heat and moisture abound. These spots include:

Water Sources:

  • Above or beside a kitchen or bathroom sink – don’t forget about the reach of water from sprayers or detachable nozzles;
  • Over or next to a bathtub;
  • Dangling over a swimming pool or hot tub;
  • Too close to a steam shower or sauna – after all, steam is merely vaporized water in a gaseous state!

Always remember that the technology itself is not the only at-risk component in the equation when electronic items are near water; there is also the risk of electrocution to humans and animals.

Heat Sources:

  • Above the fireplace;
  • Over or next to an oven, stove or cooktop;
  • Over a fire-pit or bonfire area in a yard;
  • Too near an outdoor grill or barbecue.

Although gas-burning fire sources pose a threat to your electronics because of the actual heat, wood or coal-burning fireplaces and grills are more detrimental because soot and smoke can damage the internal components of a television and compromise the internal circuitry.

Environmental Concerns

In addition to making sure your TV is far enough away from water and fire, be sure to make arrangements for your electronics that are outdoors. Even if they are specially-designed to withstand rain or are waterproof, they likely do not come with insulation against freezing or protection against extreme heat.

Avoid leaving them in your garage or on your porch or backyard patio during periods of extreme climate spikes. After all, you wouldn’t leave your flat-screen TV in the backseat of your car during the hottest months of the summer (or a blizzard), so don’t leave it sitting in your garage to roast while you are away on vacation in the middle of July (or skiing in January).

It’s All About Balance

Now that you’ve figured out where you can mount your flat screen, let’s discuss some of the “how” considerations of TV mounting.

Size Matters:

When you have an entire wall to fill, avoid the dreaded “tiny TV syndrome” by making your 22″ flat screen the focal point when the space calls for something more along the lines of 50″. Instead, consider using a different wall to mount your TV and placing art or mirrors on the large one.

The opposite is also true: if you have a small spot on the wall, don’t overwhelm it with a huge TV or tons of space-consuming items (a TV with stacks of equipment below it – Blu-ray player, DVD player, sound system, game console, etc.). In this case, less is definitely more.

Distance Matters:

When you have a room that is more narrow than wide, avoid hanging the TV too high where you will have to crane your neck to watch your favorite shows or movies.

Likewise, be aware of the distance of your seating area in relation to the height and angle of your mounted TV. If you place your chair or couch too close, you will be reminded of sitting on the front row of a movie theater – not great for your eyes or your neck.

Finally, a special concern with some LCD flat screens relates to the angle of viewing: make sure you are not too far off to the side or too high/low to properly view the screen.

Tips on Mounting

  • Always read the instructions that come with your TV to determine the structural and weight requirements for mounting it to a wall.
  • Purchase an appropriate wall-mounting kit to make the entire process easier and safer.
  • Use a stud finder and a carpenter’s level to ensure proper placement and alignment.
  • Remember to measure twice, mark screw lines twice, cut/drill once.
  • Have a second person to assist in holding the TV’s weight while you attach it to the installed mount, or vice versa.
  • Once the TV is mounted, be sure to conceal or gather the wires for safety purposes.

If you fully consider all angles prior to embarking on a TV mounting adventure, you can ensure a smoother process and better results when you’re finished!

So, where are you thinking of mounting your flat screen?

Jay Harris is a Home Depot “on the floor” sales associate and a regular contributor to Home Depot’s blog. His interests include providing tips on TV mounts at Home Depot to covering the latest in LED light bulbs.

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