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11 Things You Should Never Do to Your Flat Screen TV

When the big game and awards season come around every year, it's easy to forget just how different those events used to look on screen. TVs have transformed dramatically since their inception. From the revolutionary wide-spread introduction of color TV in the 1960s, back when you had to stand up to change the channel (what a drag!), to console TVs in the '80s (when you watched music videos for the first time), to today's plasma and LED flat screen TVs. And, although they've become the standard, flat screen TVs do require some care and attention, so we advise you to never doing any of these things to your beloved TV.

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Never Mount a TV Above a Fireplace

A fireplace is an aesthetically pleasing and cozy centerpiece in any living space. The downfall? It may leave you with a conundrum: where oh where to put the TV? Let us help you: anywhere but above the fireplace! The fireplace can warm up your flat screen TV and consequently shorten its lifespan. Plus, if you use the fireplace, soot can get on and into your TV. And if that doesn’t convince you, then think about how uncomfortable it will be to have to look way up there when watching the big game. Instead of the TV above the fireplace, consider one of these unique TV installation ideas.

The next time you use that fireplace, remember these tips for the best fire ever.

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FlatAlexei Korshunov/shutterstock

Never Expect a Home Theater From a Flat Screen

Nothing is worse than turning on your TV, finding where you left off on your current Netflix obsession, and then cranking up the volume and craning your neck to hear the whispered dialogue. TVs have gotten thinner and sleeker and so have their speakers. At this point, nearly all speakers aren’t designed to produce excellent sound. Make your life infinitely better with an inexpensive solution: a soundbar. Or, if you feel like splurging, follow this buying guide for a home theater system and then set it up yourself.

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wipeDaniel Jedzura/Shutterstock

Never Clean with Chemicals

If you’re someone who loves a spotless house and smudge-free screens, you may want to take out your most dependable cleaner and give your flat-screen TV a spritz and a quick wipe with your favorite paper towel. Don’t do it! Harsh chemicals can damage the screen and paper towels and other abrasive materials can scratch it. Instead, follow the more traditional method for how to clean a TV screen:

  1. Turn off the TV.
  2. Wipe it down with a dry, clean rag or duster.
  3. If absolutely necessary, dampen your dry and clean rag with a solution of equal parts water and vinegar, and then clean the screen.

While you’re at it, why not get the whole house clean? These tips will help!

Stay away from these harsh cleaners that can do more harm than good!

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MountingNaypong Studie/Shutterstock

Never Assume You’ve Mastered Mounting

One of the biggest benefits of the flat-screen TV is the space you save by mounting the TV on the wall. But, mounting a TV properly requires very careful attention to detail and a good understanding of how structurally sound your wall is. The worst thing you can do is feign confidence when you’ve never done it before. So, choose your TV placement carefully, find the studs, and follow these reliable instructions. Resist the urge to use wall anchors because they won’t work unless you use this one (stressing only this one.)

If you’re an actual master of DIY and TV mounts, then try customizing it the next time around.

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Never Underestimate the Tipping Potential

Flat screen TVs may be lighter than their predecessors but they still pose a danger, especially if you have young kiddos who like to climb furniture. If the TV isn’t mounted on the wall, it’s critical that you have a solid TV stand that’s the appropriate size for your TV. You can be extra certain of this if you build it yourself! An extra safety precaution is to purchase safety straps that will anchor the TV to the wall or mount your TV to the wall and stop worrying about it tipping over.

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wire Nalaphotos/Shutterstock

Never Expose the Mess o’ Wires

Nothing is less attractive than sitting down to watch your crisp, clear flat TV screen only to be distracted by an ugly mess of wires. It may be stressful to untangle and organize those wires and cables but it’s even more stressful to look at them all the time. Wiring the TV correctly is an important first step and then hiding the ugly wires is a critical second step. Try sneaking them into your TV stand, zip-tying some together, or hide them by DIYing this clever and simply contraption.

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Never Forget the Surge Protector

If you bought your flat screen TV from a retail store with the help of a salesperson, it’s likely you heard a pitch for an extra powerful and fancy surge protector. While you don’t need the $100+ option, you definitely need an option. So, if you haven’t purchased a surge protector for your TV, buy one now and set it up correctly. It will protect your flat screen TV and other expensive devices from any surge of power that could destroy them. If you really want to play it safe, then consider getting a house surge protector.

Don’t neglect your workshop! Equip it with this amazing multi-purpose power strip.

Buy it now on Amazon.

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guyLightField Studios/Shutterstock

Never Choose an Awkward Placement on the Wall

If you gather people to watch the likes of the World Series game 7, award shows or the Summer Olympics, you’ll want to make sure everyone can settle in and see the screen. Too often, flat screen TVs are placed too high or too low, which results in an audience with stiff necks. Guidelines say 56 inches from floor to center of TV for a 42-inch TV, 61 inches for a 55-inch TV and 67 inches for a 70-inch TV.

Another awkward placement: the TV seems correctly positioned but then the afternoon sun prevents actually seeing the afternoon game. Make sure you considered how your windows and the sun will impact your ability to see the screen, unless you don’t mind having the windows covered with shades, blinds or curtains. Try these 7 genius ideas to get everyone in front of the TV.

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Never Neglect the Calibration

Most flat screen TVs today come with pretty accurate settings for color, brightness, contrast, etc., but if you have the patience and ambition to perfect the calibration, then get to it because it will ultimately make the viewing experience better. You can hire a professional to do this for you or you can do it yourself, but be sure to educate yourself first!

While you’re thinking of colors on your screen, consider the colors in your house. Check out these thirteen colors trends of 2019.

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GadgetsSyafiq Adnan/Shutterstock

Never Cook Your Gadgets

Flat screen TVs are only as great as the gadgets that support them. Well, maybe not all the time, but TV gadgets need just as much attention and care as the TV itself if they’re going to last. Placing your Playstation, Apple TV and/or Blu-ray player (if you still have one of those) in an enclosed TV stand or cabinet will limit air flow to the devices, thus raising their temperature, and shortening their lifespan. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: high temperatures can kill electronics. Get inspired to grow your home gadgets collection with these 19 tech tolls and accessories.

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move Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

Never Lay it Flat

If you ever move your flat screen TV, keep it upright at all times. They’re designed very carefully so that the weight is evenly distributed when they’re standing up. If laid down, they’re no longer balanced so gravity can pull the edges down and then potentially the screen will crack. Talk about a moving catastrophe. Make moving a breeze with these tips.

And check out these 14 clever hints for moving furniture so you can see the TV better!

Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Hannah Louise
I help people tell stories, whether that's about themselves, their company, or their product. Every project I take on has one priority: make sure the audience connects with the content. I've fine-tuned this skill over the past decade by creating content for audiences from C-suites to new hires in organizations large and small. I launched my career as a generational keynote speaker (think dispelling myths about Millennials/Xers/Boomers) and worked my way to being a principal of a consulting firm and published author by writing, presenting, and editing books, blogs, white papers, and research analysis. I bring my values of collaboration, humility, and research-driven strategies to everything I do. I'm also a cat owner, coffee enthusiast, and new home owner (you know, your stereotypical Millennial traits.)

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