Fireplace HDTV Installation & Mounting
One of our most requested services is mounting and wiring an HDTV over a fireplace. I’ll help take you through the checklist of things to consider, as well as things you’ll need to have an HDTV mounted over a fireplace. This blog doesn’t actually cover the installation, but has examples of our installations below. As we’ve installed hundreds of HDTV’s over fireplaces, we have tools and experience that help to minimize any damage, if any damage is needed at all. I make this point because while the cost of a professional installation may seem pricey, the tools needed for a correct, concealed, and safe installation combined with the possible drywall (or other material) repair is going to be a lot higher if you don’t already have the tools you need. I can’t say enough about having experience with fishing the wires and knowing what you are up against with fireplace vents, fire-blocking, and unseen obstacles. These installations can be tricky.
Things to Consider:
- HDTV Size – Will it work over the fireplace? Do I have someone to help hang it?
- Fireplace/Mantel Height – Will it be comfortable to watch TV from your seating area?
- Concealed Wires – This should be obvious, but we always run the wiring so it is hidden
- Fireplace Material – Can I get HD wiring and an electrical outlet to that location
- Mounting Style – Fixed, Tilt, Articulating, Motorized
- Equipment Location – Where will my HD Box, Blu-Ray, AppleTV, etc. be located?
- Surround Sound – Are the sources routed through a receiver? Do I want sound coming through my HDTV?
Once you’ve decided to move forward, the following items are needed:
- The HDTV
- HDTV Mount – We use Strong Mounts
- HD Cables such as HDMI, Component, Optical
- Control Cable – If you are using a Universal Remote
- Network Cable – If you want a hardwired network connection for Netflix, Pandora, etc.
- Speaker Wiring – If you’re adding a surround sound system, don’t forget the sub-woofer
- Electrical Outlet – You may need a licensed electrician. We include a surge protected outlet for our installs
- Tie Wraps, Midlite Plates, Remodel or Surface Mount Boxes – Low Voltage and Electrical
Tools, Bits, & Misc:
- Screw Gun
- Bits – Philips Bit, Sockets, Pilot Bits, Masonry Bits (for brick/stone)
- Socket Kit
- Straight-Blade Screwdriver
- Philips Screwdriver
- Allen Wrench Kit
- Rock Saw
- Tape Measure
- Stud Finder – With electrical and metal sensor
- Good Level – Not Torpedo
- Pencil – Never mark with a sharpie or pen
- Lag Bolts/Anchors – The lags supplied with the mounts are often cheap or over-sized
- Ladders – 4′ or 6′ generally work for most installations
- Wire Strippers
- Wire Cutters
- Glow Rods
- Tarps and Vacuum – Keep things clean
- Bonus Tools – Snake Camera for viewing inside the wall
Tips & Tricks for HDTV Installations:
- Never use a screw gun to install the mounting brackets to the HDTV
- Make sure you use the proper holes and size screws for securing the bracket to the HDTV
- A good pencil with an eraser is a great tool to save you lots of headaches
- Always use a proper size pilot bit before installing the lag bolts
- DO NOT over-tighten the lag bolts
- All new construction projects should have 1-1/4″+ conduit from equipment areas to the fireplace location
- If you aren’t 100% sure, call a professional
10 Straight Consecutive BBB Gold Star Awards!
Electric Doctor Earns BBB Gold Star for 2012
- No complaints from January 1, 2010 – December 31, 2012
- 10 Years! Gold Star Certificate Award Winner 2003-2012
- This marks the 10th straight year that the Littleton electric company has earned a Gold Star
- Electric Doctor maintains an A+ rating with the BBB
Electric Doctor has earned a BBB Gold Star Award for 2012, marking an impressive 10th straight year receiving the award.
Electric Doctor, Inc. is an electrical contracting and audio/video installation contractor in Littleton. The Better Business Bureau Gold Star Award is given to companies that display excellence in customer service and have had no complaints for three consecutive years. This award marks 10 consecutive years with no complaints, an achievement that highlights Electric Doctor’s company values of customer service and quality workmanship.
“The 10th consecutive BBB Gold Star Award is an achievement that is difficult for any company to achieve. Being in business 10 or more years, let alone receiving no complaints in over 10 years is quite remarkable. My Dad started this company with the idea of nothing but the highest quality electrical work and it grew to include low voltage work and outstanding customer service at reasonable prices. Here at Electric Doctor we will continue to strive for this award from the Denver/Boulder BBB year in and year out, client after client.” said VP James Bisgard
Electric Doctor is an Electrical Company based in Littleton, CO, with a team of fully licensed & insured Electricians. Electric Doctor provides electrical, lighting, and audio/video services for residential, commercial, and industrial clients throughout the Denver Metro Area.
Electric Doctor, Incorporated – Littleton, CO – 303.973.2551
Electric Doctor Earns BBB Gold Star for 2011
- No complaints from January 1, 2009 – December 31, 2011
- Gold Star Certificate Award Winner 2003-2011
- This marks the 9th straight year that the Denver electric company has earned a Gold Star
- Electric Doctor maintains an A+ rating with the BBB
Electric Doctor, Inc., an electrical contracting company in Littleton, has been awarded a Gold Star Certificate Award from the Denver/Boulder Better Business Bureau for the 9th consecutive year. The Gold Star Award is given to companies that display excellence in customer service and have had no complaints for three consecutive years. Three consecutive years with no complaints in any industry is a difficult feat and Electric Doctor has Gold Star Award certificates since 2003. That makes for a record of no complaints since 2000, Electric Doctor’s first year with the BBB, for 12 official years with thousands of customers served for electrical, lighting, and audio/video installations.
Electric Doctor strives to continue operating with its founding principles of quality work at reasonable prices. Offer the best service and the best installations possible for all our customers. Opening for business in 1995, Electric Doctor became a BBB member in 2000. Electric Doctor earned a BBB Gold Star Award in its first eligible year of 2003 and has earned a BBB Gold Star each consecutive year thereafter. A distinguished honor in the electrical service industry and an even larger honor when including all the lighting and audio/video projects as well.
“The 9th consecutive BBB Gold Star Award is a great way for us to display our ongoing commitment to our customers. I started this company on the principles of quality work, quality electrical service, and quality prices. Its been our honor to grow to include lighting and audio/video installations to go along with our electrical foundations. Earning this award from the Denver/Boulder BBB in all of our eligible years is an honor.” said President Craig Bisgard
Electric Doctor is a Denver Electrical Company based in Littleton, CO, with a team of fully licensed & insured Electricians. Electric Doctor provides electrical, lighting, and audio/video services for residential, commercial, and industrial clients throughout the Denver Metro Area.
Electric Doctor, Incorporated – Littleton, CO – 303.973.2551
Snow Storm Causes Tree to Fall on Electrical Line
Electric Doctor had an emergency service repair that was caused by the wet, heavy snow that caused several different tree branches to break and fall on the overhead electrical 240 volt line from Xcel and the overhead phone and cable lines from Comcast and CenturyLink. The call came in and this particular repair involved a bit more than electrical as the fallen tree was still over the line. This also caused the gutter an fascia to be ripped off the house and while these issues might deter other electricians, the Doctors went to work and evaluated the existing electrical breaker panel to see if it could be repaired or if it needed to be replaced. This panel looked to be very damaged and after spending some time checking everything, it was decided a repair could be in order. The decision to offer the repair in lieu of replacement potentially saved the client thousands of dollars.
The fallen tree, still on the damaged overhead power line from Xcel
The mast was ripped from the house along with the gutter, fascia and stand-offs that were installed with nails, not lag bolts.
The mast hub that was burned due to the live power line cutting into the metal
The electrical service after being repaired with new wire and roof stand-offs. We even did our best reattaching the gutter
Experienced Electricians & Professional Quality
When you need an electrician, they aren’t hard to find. Finding a reputable, qualified electrician is another story. There are questions to ask and reputations to verify. Be sure to ask for references and check your local BBB for any possible complaints. While you’re online, might want to check out places like AngiesList and Yelp, too. So how does a person become an electrician? To become a licensed and experienced electrician takes a lot more work than most people think and it’s not just about ‘knowing some electrical’…
- Have you ever thought about the service a good Electrician can provide?
- What does the make-up of a good Electrician look like?
If you’re like most people the thought won’t cross your mind until you ever have experience flickering lights, electrical outages or the smell of an electrical burning odor. It’s then you need an electrician and you know that you need a professional electrician.
I need an electrician, now what?
For insurance and quality reasons, you should be hiring an electrical contractor who employs licensed electricians. First and foremost a good electrician will be licensed within the state and/or the local jurisdiction in which you reside or where your business is located.
So how does that electrician who works for a quality electrical contractor earn his license?
There are different electrical licensing levels that can be achieved by an electrician. Those licenses now require continuing education under Colorado state law.
An Apprentice Electrician is the entry level into the trade. The apprentice is required to be registered as an apprentice with the state and/or local authorities. The apprenticeship requires two or four years of a solid employed electrical experience with a licensed electrical contractor, along with some classroom electrical apprenticeship schooling programs.
A 2 year Residential Wireman’s license can be obtained by demonstrating two years of continuous experience as an apprentice wiring houses, condominiums, apartments etc. This type of license permits the wireman to wire residential units unsupervised. It is often skipped over by most apprentices in favor of a Journeyman’s license.
A 4 year Journeyman Electrician license requires four years of progressive experience as an apprentice electrician, in a combination of residential and commercial wiring experience. The testing examinations for this license are extremely difficult and require a great deal of study and preparation on the part of the apprentice seeking this level of licensing. It is not uncommon for the apprentice to take the exam several times before obtaining success. Once the Journeyman’s Electrician license is obtained the “new” professional is entitled to perform any and all electrical wiring in all types of buildings for both residential and commercial applications. Both the Residential Wireman and the Journeyman Electrician licenses are required by statute to be employed under the supervision of the Master Electrician.
The final level of licensing is the Master Electrician and requires an additional year of experience in the areas of planning and layout. The exam for this license is far more difficult than the Journeyman Electrician exam and requires a higher degree of study and experience. This level of license entitles the Master Electrician to legally own and operate a legitimate electrical contracting company.
Now we know that a good electrician is a locally licensed professional that has completed the required apprenticeships and areas of study to obtain a specific electrical license. That is what a good electrician looks like.
Now what about an excellent electrician? An excellent electrician can provide professional electrical services on a variety of levels. An excellent electrician has experience that goes well beyond the installation of new electrical wiring in a newly built structure. An excellent electrician has been exposed to a variety of complex electrical problems or issues that have developed within facilities and residences. They have developed the skill sets necessary to analyze, troubleshoot, and complete repairs in a timely manner. Handymen and multi-service contractors often only train as an apprentice electrician, if they have any certified electrical training at all.
An excellent electrician knows and recommends the correct product or solution for any given electrical situation. Whether it is repairing an electrical issue, proposing lighting solutions, or assisting with energy saving measures.
An excellent electrician understands the importance of customer service and therefore trains and educates the apprentice and licensed electricians within their employ to the “excellent electrician” level of professionalism.
An excellent electrical company recognizes and utilizes ethical business practices and employs excellent electricians to serve their customers.
Electric Doctor takes pride in hiring and training professionals who have dedicated themselves to being excellent electricians. Our team exemplifies what it means to be an excellent electrical company specializing in Electrical Service and Repair of all electrical issues big and small, commercial and residential.
Aluminum to Copper Wire Pigtail Connectors
Purple Wirenuts vs AlumiConn Lugs
When it comes to pigtailing aluminum wiring to copper wire, there are several options available to use. We focus on the easily available solutions which are Purple Wirenuts (Model 65) and AlumiConn Lugs. I’m leaving out the CopAlum Crimp because it’s not easily available to everyone.
Important Note: The U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission only recognize CopAlum and AlumiConn Connectors as meeting the agency’s standards regarding preventing fire hazards as of March 15, 2011.
Before these connectors, pigtailing involved pouring some No-Lox liquid into whichever wirenut you needed to install. Purple wirenuts then became the accepted UL solution for Aluminum/Copper connections having antioxidant liquid pre-installed and a flap-style system at the base to prevent run-out. AlumiConn Lugs are now our standard solution for Aluminum/Copper connections for several reasons:
- UL Listed
- The Aluminum and Copper wires never come into direct contact
- Solid Connection
- Max Voltage – 300v AlumiConn : 600v Purple Wirenuts
- Wire Size Range – Minimum #18/Maximum #10 for both
- Temperature Rating – 105 degrees C for both
- Flammability Rating : V-2 for both
- Maximum Wires per Connector – 3 for both
- King Innovation AlumiConn Lugs and Ideal Purple Wirenuts are Made in the USA
Installer Pros and Cons:
Purple Wirenuts twist on quick and installation is easy. AlumiConn Lugs are a bit more time consuming with having to unscrew each port and then tighten each port. Plan on spending up-front time prepping the lugs, it will speed up installation.
Both Wirenuts and Lugs take up considerable space. Purple wirenuts take up slightly less than AlumiConn Lugs. Considering that most homes with aluminum wire also have smaller metal boxes, this can become an issue. Standard switches and outlets aren’t usually an issue but GFCI outlets and dimmers will often not fit when using aluminum/copper connectors. Plan on installing a GFCI breaker for bathrooms/kitchens or removing the old metal boxes and installing a new plastic remodel box, or adding an extension for space when bringing those areas up to code.
Purple wirenuts will occasionally not grab your wires but for the most part are reliable. AlumiConn lugs are solid and the only complaint is the occasional lug port is pre-set just a bit too tight.
A main reason for using AlumiConn lugs is the fact that the copper and aluminum wires don’t make direct contact. AlumiConn keeps the dissimilar metals from ever directly contacting one another.
We prep AlumiConn lugs up-front with a variety of leads (wire size and colors) and loosening the ports for improved installation time. As with any installation, make sure not to strip the wire too much or have any exposed metal remaining on connections. Wirenuts can be stripped longer for wirenut installation, AlumiConn lugs have a smaller strip size to keep leads from being exposed. Keep in mind your amp rating and sizing for aluminum and copper to help your installation time.
20amp Circuit = #10 Aluminum and #12 Copper THHN
15amp Circuit = #12 Aluminum and #14 Copper THHN
Wire Charts : Allowable Connections and Sizes
One wire per port/three total
#12-#10 Solid Aluminum
#18-#10 Solid or Stranded Copper
1 #10 AL sol. w/1 or 2 #10 CU sol.
1 #10 AL w/1 or 2 #12 CU
1 #10 AL w/1 or 2 #14 CU
1 #10 AL w/1 or 2 #16 CU
2 #10 AL sol. w/1 #12 CU
2 #10 AL sol. w/1 #14 CU
2 #12 AL sol. w/1 #10 CU sol.
2 #12 AL sol. w/1 #10 CU str.
1 #12 AL sol. w/1 or 2 #10 CU sol or str
1 #12 AL str. w/1 or 2 #10 CU sol.
1 #12 AL w/1 or 2 #12 CU
2 #12 AL sol. w/1 #12 CU
1 #12 AL w/1 or 2 #14 CU
2 #12 AL sol. w/1 #14 CU
1 #10 AL w/1 or 2 #18 CU
2 #10 AL sol. w/1 #16 CU
2 #10 AL sol. w/1 #18 CU
1 #12 AL w/1 or 2 #16 CU
1 #12 AL w/1 or 2 #18 CU
2 #12 AL sol. w/1 #16 CU
2 #12 AL sol. w/1 #18 CU
Federal Pacific and Zinsco Breaker Panels
One of the most common questions is about the dangers of having an older breaker panel. As a general rule of thumb, we always recommend replacing breaker panels that are more than 30 years old. The most common panels mentioned in home and electrical inspections are Federal Pacific (FPE) and Zinsco service panels.
How do you know which type of breaker panel I have?
Federal Pacific (FPE) generally have orange breakers but also come in black and brown:
Zinsco generally have multi-colored including blue, red, green and black:
Inspection reports often note that these panels are out-dated and have known issues. Most common is that breakers are known to not trip as designed. Generally, if a panel is 30+ years old, the breakers can be problematic. If you have an older breaker panel, it is a good idea to have a licensed electrician provide a standard panel maintenance to exercise the breakers and check the connections.
Newer panels labeled better than older services, making them much easier to identify. Some common manufacturers:
- Bulldog (Pushmatic)
- Cutler Hammer
- Federal Pacific (FPE)
- General Electric (GE)
- Siemens (ITE)
- Square-D for Homeline and QO
Electric Doctor Earns BBB Gold Star for 2010
- No complaints from January 1, 2008 – December 31, 2010
- Gold Star Certificate Award Winner 2003-2010
- This marks the 8th straight year that the Denver electric company has earned a Gold Star
- Electric Doctor has an A+ rating with the BBB
Littleton Electric Company Electric Doctor has been awarded the Gold Star Certificate Award from the Denver/Boulder Better Business Bureau for the 8th straight year. The Gold Star Award is given to companies that display excellence in customer service and have had no complaints for three consecutive years.
The Gold Star Award is a continuing symbol of excellence for Electric Doctor. Opening for business in 1995, Electric Doctor became a BBB member in 2000. Electric Doctor earned a BBB Gold Star Award in its first eligible year of 2003 and has earned a BBB Gold Star each consecutive year thereafter. A distinguished honor in the electrical and lighting field.
“Our 8th consecutive BBB Gold Star Award is a great honor for our company. Our goal has always been to provide the highest quality and professional installations to every customer. Earning this award in every eligible year with the BBB demonstrates our continuing effort to promote our values and competitive prices” said Vice President James Bisgard
Electric Doctor is a Denver Electrical Company based in Littleton, CO. Electric Doctor provides electrical, lighting, and audio/video services for residential, commercial, and industrial clients.
3D Home Theater/Basement Finish in Highlands Ranch, CO – 4/2011
Electric Doctor completed this full basement finish in Highlands Ranch, CO. The project was designed and GC’ed by the homeowner. The electrical, lighting, and audio/video systems were designed and installed by Electric Doctor. This project was a residential construction project, but used metal studs for the framing. The metal studs required us to install reinforcement for the HDTV mount. The cabinet area was not 100% designed during the rough-in phase of the project, flexible conduit was installed to guarantee we could have multiple wires pulled to the HDTV location. The surround sound system utilized performance in-wall enclosures and speakers from Polk Audio. The HDTV was a 65″ Samsung 3D HDTV. The lighting in the basement was controlled by URC Dimmers by Lutron so the entire lighting in the theater area was able to be set to custom scenes and control from the URC universal remote. The lighting included low voltage mini-can halogens as well as LED step lighting accent lighting.
- Polk Audio In-Wall Performance Enclosures & Speakers
- Velodyne Subwoofer
- Onkyo Multi-Zone Surround Sound Receiver
- Samsung 3D Blu-Ray & 3D Glasses
- Peerless In-Wall HDTV Mount
- Carlon 2″ Flexible Conduit from Rack to HDTV
- Middle Atlantic In-Cabinet, Slide-Out Rack with Cooling System from Cool Components
- Panamax Surge Protection
- Universal Remote Control Lighting & RF Remote System MX-880
- Samsung 3D HDTV in Home Theater and Samsung LED in Game Room
- Cree LED Lighting & Step Lighting
- Ruckus Home Network & WiFi
- Snap A/V Cables & Terminations
- Center Speaker and 3 boxes were buried by drywall. We traced & cut-out the buried items with no damage
- LED Step Lighting was installed in existing stairway using remodel light fixtures
- The home network was improved using Ruckus
Surround Sound in Castle Rock, CO – 12/2010
Electric Doctor receives calls weekly asking these very questions:
- “I already have equipment for a surround sound but need it hooked up, can you do that?”
- “I connected my surround sound but nothing works, can you fix it?”
Many of our clients don’t require pre-wire or full design and installation services. This installation in Castle Rock, CO is a prime example of a client who relocated and brought their existing equipment but didn’t have setup the way they wanted. Their new home was pre-wired for surround sound but it had never been utilized. This particular project already had most of the equipment they wanted for a surround sound system but they didn’t know how to get it to work. During the initial consultation, we looked at the equipment and wiring they already had and then filled in the blanks with the proper equipment to finish the installation.
They already had a newer HDTV, a setup with Comcast and a Bose surround sound system that was moved from their old home but never connected. The new home had a surround sound wiring in the ceiling and just needed everything installed to get it going in time for Christmas. The owner expressed that they felt their current setup didn’t really fit in the home and they wanted to get rid of their old TV stand. The project involved wall mounting the HDTV in the TV nook and providing new HDMI & speaker wiring to an open area that became the equipment nook. Electric Doctor also installed new electrical outlets for the HDTV and rack. All the equipment was rack mounted using an Omnimount Rack. The Bose front and rear speakers were ceiling mounted on new brackets. The old Bose receiver was not working so a new surround sound receiver was installed, along with new Panamax power conditioning for the HDTV and Rack. A new universal remote control system with RF capability was also installed.
- Omnimount Speaker Brackets
- Onkyo Surround Sound Receiver
- Samsung 3D Blu-Ray & 3D Glasses
- Omnimount Articulating HDTV Mount
- Omnimount Rack
- Cooling System from Cool Components
- Panamax Surge Protection
- Universal Remote Control Lighting & RF Remote System MX-450
- Snap A/V Cables & Terminations