Tips on Hanging a Flat Screen TV

If you're comfortable with a drill and a screwdriver and have a friend to help, you don't need to hire a professional to mount a flat screen LED or plasma TV on your wall.Like most do-it-yourself projects, planning and preparation are key. Make sure you read the instructions for both the mount and the TV before beginning the job and decide what you want to do with the wires before investing in cables.

Using the Right Mount

Most major TV manufacturers offer mounts specifically designed for their TVs. Make sure the mount you get is recommended for your model. You should never use a mount that is not rated for the weight of your TV. Read the instructions carefully and make sure you have all the materials you need, including screws and fasteners before you begin. Regardless of the size of your TV, ask a friend to help you when it comes time to securing it to the mount.

Positioning the TV

For most comfortable viewing, the TV should be mounted at about eye-level while seated. Depending on the room's decor, you may want to mount the TV higher, but more than a 15-degree angle above your eyes while seated may become uncomfortable to watch. Horizontally, the TV should be mounted centered to your main seating area, no more than 40 degrees right or left of the center of your couch or favorite chair. You can test the position of the TV by cutting a piece of cardboard to the same size as the TV and mounting it where you want the TV to be.

Securing the Mount to the Wall

Use an electronic stud finder to mark the wooden studs behind the wall. Mounts should be secured to the studs, never to plain drywall or plaster. To make sure you are hitting the studs, use your smallest drill bit to drill pilot holes into the wall. You should be able to feel the resistance of the wood after the bit pierces the drywall and you will see wood shavings come out when you remove the bit. If you miss the stud, check its location again with the stud finder and drill a new hole. Use a bubble level to make sure the holes are horizontal. Unless your mount is self-leveling, the TV will hang crooked if the mount isn't level.

Hiding Wires

Check your local building codes before putting any wires in the wall. Putting the TV's electrical cord inside a wall is never acceptable and is a genuine fire hazard. Most audio-visual cables need to be fire-rated before they can be concealed inside a wall. An alternative to having the power cord hang down is to have an electrician install an AC wall outlet behind the TV. Depending on your local building codes and your knowledge of electrical systems, you may be able to install the AC outlet yourself.

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