I'm building a home and am thinking about adding a 110v outlet and low
voltage (cable, ethernet, hdmi) box to our fireplace mantel. This
would give us the option of placing a television above the fireplace
and a place to plug in our Christmas decorations, digital picture
Is this something that is done with any regularity? I'm considering
either a flush brushed brass outlet or something recessed.
Thanks for any input.
On Jan 21, 10:14 am, email@example.com (Doug Miller) wrote:
Second what Doug said.
You didn't say whether or not this was a "heatalator" or one of its
cousins or a brick lined fireplace. If it is the self contained metal
box with the fake bricks in it (99% of them are anymore) you shouldn't
have any clearance or leak issues by running your wiring any way you
Many times though, when we repair chimney leaks the "real deal"
chimneys have small leaks that develop over the years from one reason
or another. Make sure you put a drip loop in the Romex so that if the
water follows the Romex down to the plug it won't drain into the plug
itself. Think of the P trap under your sink.
I agree with the two answers you already got, but I will add that above
a fireplace is usually not a very good place for a TV. It is a bad working
environment. It also is likely higher than it should be. Generally the
ideal height for a TV is to center the screen the same height as the eyes of
the sitting viewer.
Valid points, though in a great many cases the fireplace is non-working
or a cosmetic gas one.
One thing I would do differently is on the data / LV side. It's unlikely
that you'd want a plain old cable connection to feed a new HD LCD TV on
the wall, so what you want to do is put in a run of large PVC conduit
from behind a cover plate next to the AC outlet above the mantle, and
run it to the nearest or most logical closet location.
Use large conduit such a 3" with gradual sweeps so you will be able to
pull the bulky HDMI connectors through it to the TV. You'll be putting
your cable or satellite box, DVD player, TIVO and audio components in
that closet and controlling them with an infrared repeater setup. Also
prewire speaker wire to that closet from the locations of your speaker /
surround speaker locations in the room.
I think Arlington Industries and Leviton make electrical boxes to go behind
flat screen TV's. They accommodate low voltage and the line voltage in one
unit. The nice part is that the devices are recessed in the wall so that
the plugs do not protrude out into the back of the TV. You may need to buy
these boxes at an electrical supply company.
Here's a link to Arlington's TV Box. Meant to be hidden behind a wall hung
flat screen. A piece of artwork could hide it as well until you invest in
the right flat screen.
On Jan 21, 10:14 am, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
If your going to be using the fireplace I wouldn't recommend hanging
the TV over it. I have a plasma hanging over my fireplace, but the
only thing in it is candles. I used a wall mount that allowed me to
tilt the plasma. The result is that you can be in a recliner and be at
the perfect angle to watch. The wall it is mounted on is drywall with
3/4" thick furring strips attached to the concrete. Due to the limited
space behind the wall I had to cut out access for the 120Volt box. The
low voltage does not have to be in a box so I made an access hole in
the drywall and put a trim ring on it. All of the low voltage stuff is
routed to a central access point near the electronic equipment.
I suspect you won't have much room between the finished wall and the
chimney masonary so you may not be able to use the standard stuff.
Wiremold makes some nice brass stuff that is available through Greybar
Electric and Wesco. Thomas & Betts and Schneider Electric (SquareD)
also compete in that market.
If it's a new house there is a rather good chance that the fireplace
wall will be of conventional frame construction and the fireplace will
be a factory built zero clearance gas fired unit with a double wall pipe
chimney. No clearance / wall depth issues at all with that construction.
Well actually there are clearance issues. I work in this field and I
have heard of all kinds of problems with Plasma units above a fireplace.
Even with gas fireplace units, there are clearances from combustibles
for the mantel and anything else surrounding the unit.
All manufactured wood fireplace units have clearance issues, even
thought the unit maybe be zero clearance, there is usually a 1/2 inch of
clearance around the box to combustibles. All wiring should be at least
2 inches from the pipe and unit, more is better. You would be surprised
at how hot a gas fireplace unit that is not "furnace rated" gets.
All manufactured gas and wood fireplace manuals include the
specifications of clearances in them. It is best to thoroughly read the
manual that comes with it to makes sure the clearances are met,
otherwise it could be dangerous to yourself, family and home.
All the Best
ASP since February 2005
(cut the spam to reply)
VOTE TO REBUILD!
That is not relevant to the subject at hand, installing an electrical
box and LV box in the wall surface above the mantel. The point is that
with the common factory built ZC fireplace unit, there is no issue of a
thin veneer type wall surface an inch away from solid masonry and a
normal depth box can be easily installed.
On Jan 21, 10:14 am, email@example.com wrote:
I built a house from the ground up and have a TV over the fireplace.
In NY state the fire code enforces the use of steel studs behind the
drywall above a fire place. Steel stud framing has different holding
strenghts for fasteners. A 50 inch TV with a mounting plate will be
about 90 lbs. I made the mistake in not reinforcing the wall hence
could not mount an articulated mount when the time came. So the first
trick is to reinforce the area for the TV mount plate. You need
something like a sheet of steel to comply with fire codes. If your
fire code does not require this then I would
recommend 3/4 inch plywood, a large sheet over the whole area. Stick
this sheet of steel / plywood behind your drywall and attach well to
Electrical connection wise you will need above the mantel where your
TV will be:
1) Power socket. I also replaced the standard power socket with a
surge protected one.
2) Cable TV coax home run to your cable feed in the basement /
3) Set of cables:
HDMI x2 sets,
Component RGB Video + LR Audio, 5 leads, x2 sets,
S-Video + LR Audio, 3 leads, x1 set
Video + LR Audio, 3 leads, x2 sets
These cables you need to thread from your TV to a place where you are
going to stack your DVD players etc. Note you need these cables long
to move them where they need to be and have some slack. You are
looking at like 20-20 feet cables. Also these cables are bulky. I put
in them in before the drywall. Over the cable ends place small jiffy
bags to keep paint and dust off the connectors when the painters and
dry wall crews come through.
A good place for all these outlets is just above there the mount plate
will be. You want to position them so that the TV when mounted will
hide all of them. You want them above the mount plate because (1) they
will dangle down, and hence if the position in the wall is higher up,
you can keep the wires from showing below your TV and (2) you have
more space between the TV back and the wall above the mount plate
because you will angle / tilt your TV down.
4) At your position where your DVD player will be, you need to add
Cable TV Coax, CAT 5 or 5, Power. Note that I have a cable TV coax
above the fireplace *AND* where the DVD recorder is. Most modern TV's
now have QAM tuners which will give you HD TV without the need for a
Cable Box. So one coax feed for the TV and One Coax feed for your DVD
A good place which I got all my cables from is Pacific Cable:
The cables can be obtained LONG, and also work very well. All this
Monster stuff sold at Circuit City and best Buy is over priced. If you
really want moster cables, the best place to buy is Home Depot. There
the prices for Monster HDMI and all other cables are the same as any
other cable, i.e. as it should be, monster cables offer zero advantage
over a good. I think my total cable cost was about $US 350 for all the
cables. Note for the lenghts your require, I think Monster cables do
not make 20-30 feet lengths.
I had all these cables just pop out the wall without a plate or
socket, just used a ordinary 120v power box without the socket and
face plate and a hole. Note that you cannot see this once your TV is
in place anyway.
Hope this is useful.
All the best, Mike.
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