Tips for Mounting Your TV Safely

People make jokes about how you’re more likely to be killed by a falling TV than a terrorist, but here’s the thing: It’s true. Crazy, right?

Crazy but true, making mounting your TV a bigger safety concern every day.

In fact, the Associated Press recently reported that: “Falling televisions sent nearly 200,000 U.S. children to the emergency room over 20 years and the injury rate has climbed substantially for these sometimes deadly accidents, a study found.”

And it doesn’t need to be the case. TVs can absolutely be mounted safely, easily, with a little preparation and the right tools. Do it properly, because folks who don’t can wind up paying for it.

Literally too, because a lot of insurance policies won’t cover damage to the room or equipment when it’s caused by poor mounting.

Beyond the mounting: Basics to Know

Before we get into mounting your TV, it’s also important to know that a lot of furniture isn’t designed to hold the old heavy TVs, let alone new ones, and these errors of judgment also result in injuries if it gives way and a big TV topples. This is definitely a big part of why that number of people getting injured keeps rising.

TV stands tend to advertise the maximum size/weight a TV can be, but that old coffee table, desk, or tall dresser doesn’t give you such guarantees.

Where to start? Know the size and weight of your television, and go from there. This will give you the minimum you’ll need from your TV stand, wall bracket, or arm-mount, in order to keep your equipment and those around you nice and safe.

Getting Started: Resources & Planning

We return to the wall-mounting nitty-gritty. Mounting your TV on the wall is only a good idea if you know you’ve got no dry-rot or other wall-condition issues. That 50-60-pound TV will need a whole lot of support.

There are a zillion technical things to know about installing a wall-mounted TV, and I’ll point you to this great, detailed resource for the technical know-how.

If you learn more visually, make sure you scour Youtube and the web for instructional videos, like this companion video to that article, with more recent information.

Make sure you have the proper equipment from start to finish, and err on the side of being more cautious than casual. I have friends who swear by the “knock and if it sounds hollow” test for finding supporting stud behind drywall, but that’s risky for your $500-3,000 investment, don’t you think?

For peace of mind and precision, I use a stud-finder religiously after that fateful day 15 years ago when an overhead shelf of glass and metal canisters crashed down onto my head. Back then, I was a naïve girl installing my first shelf and knew nothing of bracing things into studs, so I leaned the hard way on the importance of good installation.

Hardware Considerations

Your hardware will be the biggest expense, and the biggest choice you make is all about the bracket. Scour the web for reviews from people who’ve bought the models you’re looking into. Do they say the installation was simple? Are there any gripes about the fitting and performance? Do they think it’s strong and safe?

Consider getting a mounting bracket that allows for angling the TV up/down, maybe left/right, or even an articulating arm so you can raise/lower its height as well. Folks with neck issues can find higher-mounted TVs problematic, and it’s an awkward thing to discover after you’ve already spend an afternoon installing your TV, so spending extra for adjustable options after installation is a great splurge to make.

Too Much for You? Call the Pros

If the whole thing seems too intimidating for you to install yourself, there are a ton of audio-visual companies that’ll come install it for you, whether you want the basic install or you want it installed so cords and cables are invisible. From major companies like The Geek Squad to smaller indie service providers, there’s a lot of peace of mind in paying $100-300 to get your system professionally installed.

Like so many home-repair and installation jobs, this is one that’s really worth taking the time to do right. Do your homework, don’t skimp on the parts, and you can relax, lie on a beanbag under your TV, and confidently enjoy your popcorn-and-a-movie extravaganza.


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