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What Not to do with Your TV

Your new TV may be a cutting-edge marvel of modern technology and an excellent home entertainment center, but it is fundamentally also a fairly delicate appliance that is prone to damage. Fortunately, most of the problems that emerge with TVs are the entirely avoidable results of user error. Assuming you want it to stay in good working order throughout its lifespan, here are eight things to not do with your TV.

Don’t Lay Your Flat-Panel Flat. It may seem reasonable to lay a flat-screen TV down on its front, especially while first getting it out of its box or moving it from one place to another. However, televisions are designed to support their weight while in a vertical position, not a horizontal position. Laying your TV down on its front can crack the screen; this happens especially frequently when tipping the box over and sliding the TV out, since the pressure points on the packing material push right up against the glass. Keep your TV upright at all times to prevent damage.

Don’t Put Components in Enclosed Spaces. By their very nature, electronics like TV components generate heat. Receivers and amplifiers in particular need adequate ventilation to stay cool, and even DVRs and cable boxes are not immune to overheating. There is mounting evidence that even a few degrees’ increase in operating temperature can significantly reduce the lifespan of your electronics, so keeping them out in the open is the best policy. If you do decide to put TV components in enclosed stands or cabinets, invest in a fan or other ventilation device to keep them cool.

Don’t Plug In Directly to the Wall. Your TV is a very sensitive device, and even small power surges can cause significant damage. Make sure it is plugged in to a surge suppressor or, better yet, an uninterrupted power supply (UPS). This applies to your DVR, cable box, speakers and other components as well.

Don’t Move the Subwoofer Away From the Wall. In theory, a subwoofer can be placed just about anywhere; its sounds are so deep that you more feel than hear them. In practice, though, placing a subwoofer against a wall or, better yet, in a corner increases its output significantly. You can get an increase of up to six decibels by placing the subwoofer in a corner as opposed to the middle of the floor, which is substantially more sound.

Don’t Try to Mount It Yourself. Your TV could easily weigh more than 100 pounds, and the walls in your house aren’t designed to support that much weight unassisted. Amateur installers frequently miss a stud or two and see the whole thing come crashing to the floor. Unless you happen to be a licensed contractor yourself, pay for a professional to mount your TV. The few dollars you’d save on the installation aren’t worth the potential cost of a repair or even a completely new TV.

Don’t Mount It Over Your Fireplace. Putting a TV over a wood-burning fireplace can cause it to overheat and coat its internal components with soot. An extreme environment like that is really not an appropriate place for a fairly delicate appliance. Plus, such a location is generally up too high to make watching the TV comfortable. No one wants to crane his or her neck just to look at the screen.

Don’t Throw Out the Stand. What good is a TV stand if you are just going to hang the television on your wall? None, as long as you never plan on redesigning or redecorating your house. Since you never know when you will want to change the layout of your living room, though, find a place to keep the stand just in case. TV technology changes so quickly that it can be very difficult to find a replacement stand.

Don’t Expect It to Last Forever. Modern televisions, like many other electronics, are designed to be replaced. The average flat-screen TV lasts about five years. Plan on upgrading within that time frame and you won’t be disappointed when your TV reaches the end of its lifespan.