Can Heat Damage Your TV? Why a Hot Car Could Spell Disaster

an overheating smart TV

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What To Know

  • TVs can be damaged by heat, whether from overheating internally, exposure to external heat sources like fireplaces or hot cars, or from the sun.
  • Temperatures above 125 degrees Fahrenheit (or 52 degrees Celsius) can damage your TV.
  • Leaving a TV in a hot car can lead to dangerously high temperatures, potentially damaging your TV.

Concerned about the effects of heat on your valuable TV? Heat can indeed pose risks both internally and externally, potentially shortening your TV’s lifespan.

As summer approaches, learn how to shield your TV from overheating, whether it’s indoors or in a sweltering car.

Dive in to protect your investment!

Can a TV Break From the Heat?

Yes, a TV can break from the heat.

TVs can certainly break from the heat.

a heavily damaged smart TV screen

Just as you wouldn’t put your phone or projector right next to a heater or fireplace, you shouldn’t expose your TV to high heat levels.

The TV could break from overheating. If left on too long without proper ventilation or from an external heat source, it can break your TV. For instance, leaving your TV in a hot car or placing it next to a fireplace or heater will also damage your TV.

Additionally, your warranty is unlikely to cover heat damage, so you may need to pay for repairs or a replacement out of pocket.

What Happens If a TV Gets Too Hot?

A few things could happen if your TV gets too hot.

If your TV overheats, it can cause damage to both the internal and external hardware.

Let’s go over what could happen if your TV overheats.

The Pixels Could Be Damaged

The excess heat could damage your TV’s pixels, making it difficult for them to produce or accurately change color.

You could find yourself looking at a TV with several black spots made up of dead pixels.

Additionally, the pixels could become stuck, usually turning a bright color and not changing color with the rest of the screen.

TV with dead pixels

Dead pixels are almost impossible to fix. Stuck pixels can be fixed, but it’s usually a risky process with low success rates.

This phenomenon is especially common with plasma TVs, though the pixels on LCD and OLED TVs are also likely to sustain damage if overheated.

Although TVs have cooling systems, they can only take so much heat before they start to break down.

The Hardware Could Melt

If your TV is over a fireplace or near a heater, the TV’s hardware could begin to melt.

internal components of a tv are shown

You may begin to see your TV soften up and hear that the speakers don’t sound right. You may also be able to smell the plastic burning, which releases toxic fumes into the air.

Black or white spots could appear on-screen in addition to brightly-colored vertical lines.

The dangerous thing about your TV melting is that you won’t notice it until it’s already happened. Your TV could be melting for several hours without you seeing it.

Not only is this alarming, but it’s also incredibly dangerous.

The TV Could Combust

TVs can combust when exposed to high levels of heat.

The risk of your TV combusting is higher when your TV is plugged in and powered on, as the electrical components overheat inside the TV and combust.

Unfortunately, TVs catching on fire is more common than most people think. Several companies, like Sony and Samsung, have recalled certain TV models and released statements warning customers to be wary of their units combusting.

The first signs of combustion usually involve dead spots on-screen and melting. You will also notice that your TV is extremely hot to the touch.

Warning: If you see that your TV is exhibiting any of the above symptoms, immediately turn it off. Be careful when unplugging it, since you risk burning or electrocuting yourself from touching the hot plug. Contact your local fire safety authorities for further guidance.

What Temperature Will Damage a TV?

Sony TV with the LG sound bar on a wooden table

Temperatures about 125-degrees Fahrenheit will damage your TV.

An environment hotter than 125-degrees Fahrenheit (or 52-degrees Celsius) will damage your TV.

To be safe, make sure your TV is not somewhere that exceeds 100-degrees Fahrenheit (or 38-degrees Celsius).

Your TV produces heat when powered on, so hot environments could only exacerbate the risk of overheating.

How To Reduce Heat From TV?

Follow our tips below to reduce the risk of heat damaging your TV.

TVs breaking from the heat can be scary, but it’s completely avoidable if you take the proper precautions.

Follow our tips to keep you and your family safe while watching TV and lower the risk of your TV overheating.

Choose Your TV Mounting Place Carefully

Mounting your TV over a fireplace may look cool, but things can heat up very quickly.

a man mounting a TV

Measure your mantle temperature when your fireplace is turned up high before mounting your TV there.

Mark where you want your TV to go and place a wall thermometer where the bottom of the TV will lay.

Turn on your fireplace, let it run for an hour or so, and observe how hot the area becomes.

If the thermometer reads 100-degrees Fahrenheit or more, you’re better off mounting your TV elsewhere.

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Additionally, placing your TV in an area of the home that receives several hours of direct sunlight isn’t recommended. The sun’s rays could heat your TV, and although it may not melt the hardware, it risks damaging the screen.

Ensure It’s Properly Ventilated

Your TV has a built-in cooling and ventilation system that circulates cool air.

However, your TV is more likely to overheat if the air vents are blocked or dirty.

Periodically check that your TV’s vents are dust-free, cleaning away any debris with a soft brush or cloth.

Encourage proper airflow by ensuring your TV is not mounting flat against the wall. A TV’s vents are typically found on its back, so there must be space between the TV and mount to allow for proper airflow.

Using spacers when mounting your TV will help prevent your TV from overheating. They’re affordable, easy to use, and can save your TV from heat damage.

Finally, don’t drape cloths over your TV. Your TV will remain warm for a while after it’s turned off, so avoid covering the screen and vents with any cloth (e.g., TV covers, curtains, doilies, etc.).

Don’t Leave it in Hot Areas for Extended Periods

a TV in a ventilated place

Avoid leaving your TV in hot spaces (e.g., attics, storage units, cars, etc.) for extended periods.

The heat can damage your TV, and you may be unpleasantly surprised when you plug it in and find that the screen is damaged.

Instead, make sure your TV is somewhere that’s well-ventilated, cool, and dry.

As a rule of thumb, if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your TV.

FAQs:

Is It Okay To Leave a TV in a Hot Car?

It is not okay to leave your TV in a hot car.

Cars’ internal temperatures can reach up to 138-degrees Fahrenheit (59-degrees Celsius) on a hot day.

Although you may not be sweating outside your car, your TV could reach dangerously high temperatures.

Because it’s hard to tell how hot your car will become during spring and summer, it’s best to avoid leaving your TV in your car to avoid damaging it.

So, instead of running a few more errands after buying your new TV on a warm summer’s day, just take your TV straight home. You’ll be thankful you did.

Wrapping Things Up

TVs, like many other electronic devices, are temperature sensitive and prone to overheating.

Your TV could not only break from the heat, but it could also catch on fire and risk hurting you and your loved ones.

To reduce the likelihood of your TV sustaining heat damage, don’t mount it over a hot fireplace or in direct sunlight. Keep it well ventilated, and place it in a cool, dry environment.

If you notice your TV has black or white spots and is melting, call fire safety authorities immediately and proceed with caution.

TVs are great for watching life’s most dramatic moments without living them. Just make sure you don’t end up on the evening news from a TV combusting.

What’s your experience with TVs breaking from the heat? Let us know in the comments below!

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3 Comments

  1. My landlord heated my apartment because of bedbugs it was 145° for six hours the next day my TV was dead but they say it wasn’t from heating my house up ! I say, bullshit

    1. @Michael Allarie, if your tv was on (if it’s a smart tv, most likely the chip/computer inside the tv was indeed on. Most, if not all, smart tvs these days have two separate power off modes. Most times simply pressing the power button only puts the tv into a sort of “hibernation” mode. It turns the screen off but once you press power again, it instantly pops back up to the Home Screen or whatever app you were in last. That’s because it actually never fully turned off.

      Most TVs you need to hold down the power button for an extended period of time where a power button menu where appear where you can choose to either shut down or restart your tv or put it to sleep.

      My guess is your tv was prob still plugged into power and was actually just sleeping. Not fully shut off. You will know it’s fully shut off if when you power back up, you see the full boot logo screen just as you did the first time you plugged in and turned on your tv. If you don’t see a logo screen, you didn’t shut it off properly.

      Anyways, even with the tv in sleep mode… it’s on… it’s operating… and TVs don’t exactly have the best cooling setup. Essentially a tv is honestly just a single board computer/Linux device that is attached to a display these days. Heck many of your higher end TVs have chips/CPU’s inside of them that rival some halfway decent laptops. We are talking 4 to 8 core cpus in some of these things.

      Even in sleep mode, those generate heat cuz they are still operating. Single board computers operate as long as there is a power source connected to them. And it doesn’t take much. Your average basic single board computer such as a raspberry pi will operate with a power source as low as 2-5w… that’s as much as a low energy light bulb for comparison. So yea you get my point.

      But even with the low power usage of sleep mode, you still generate tons of heat cuz again, your tv doesn’t have a robust cooling system. It’s prob pretty bare bones. For example, a simple raspberry pi 4 4 core sbc running on only 5w can hit temps of 75-90c fairly easily. And that rasperry pi isn’t totally covered by hard plastic and metal and glass with little to no air circulation at all coming in and out. Any air coming into the tv to cool the chip is usually already heated up by the monitor lights.

      So yea, having ambient temps of 165F will 100% fry you tv’s computer system even in sleep mode.

      You give you a real world example. My apartment is currently at 71 degrees farenheight.

      My tv has been “off for 6 hours” but not totally off. Aka it is sleeping. I can still touch the back of my tv where the exhaust vents are located, and directly behind where the computer system sits and still feel heat. I took a temp gun to both areas. The reasons were 45c and 41c. Again my room temp is 71f or like 24 degrees Fahrenheit.

      So my tv, even in sleep mode, had internal system temps of essentially 110 degrees farenheit.

      That sounds like a lot but it’s really not for single board computer devices. But it explains why, when on a smart tv, if you use it or keep it on for hours on end, it eventually starts to lag something horrible or gets stupid slow and takes 5 min to open a simple app.

      Now, if I change my room temp to 165f, that’s a 90 degree increase essentially. That wouldn’t increase your system computer temp by exactly that much but honestly it’s relatively reasonable to use that as a theoretical change. Usually any temp increases in room temps usually means almost an exact same change in system temps, 1 to 1.

      So that would mean if the same scenario, my sleeping smart tv would have its system temps change from roughly 110F or 24C to 65c and around 240F…

      That’s a massive spike. Now computers operating at 65-70c in a gaming computer setup is usually totally okay and the range you want to be at. But for a televation with little cooling built in aside from maybe a couple small vents and possible a very tiny air blower (we are talking like 10mm tiny. Your typical computer case fan is 120mm.), that’s not okay… why? Because even after that immediate jump in system temps, things will only get worse as time builds. Eventually, so much hot air will be inside the system ventilation that it will start to push out the cool air. Any cool air will cease to flow inside. Thus, hot air will just continue to build and get even hotter.

      Pair that with the fact that your monitor heats up all the air as well and essentially acts like a tanning bed for your system, and you can see your system temps start to creep up towards 75-90c.

      Most any chip manufacturers do not recommend running any computers or components at all at temps above 80c for extended periods of time. That’s when the silicon on the pcb connecting all the components and chips together, starts to degrade. The toughest components out there are prob the silicon used in most ram kits. Most ram modules (especially those on gpus) can easily see temps upwards of 120-135c if overclocked. However that will eventually fry not only your ram modules but your entire gpu or system after time. And those are considered heavy duty.

      Your single board computer in your tv is most def not considered heavy duty silicon. In fact it’s prob bargain bin silicon as quality of chips really isn’t looked at as important in TVs. You just want a decent core chip. Single board computers, because of their price point and usage cases, favor mass production vs quality.

      So, back to my point. Your tv that SHOULD be operating at temps of 65c MAX… is suddenly sitting at 85-90c while in sleep mode only.

      Then you try to actually turn back on your tv. That 3-5w of power that had the system running at 85-90c suddenly gets a ton more power (most modern TVs operate anywhere from 55w-200w depending on features used and resolution and display type and size).

      Even though it’s just for a minute or two, your sleeping cpu at 90c just got 5-8 times the power it was using before. That will jump the temps up to the
      Likes of 120c plus.

      At those temps, your tv chip will almost certainly immediately fry. Once that happens, goodbye tv because you will need a whole entire new tv motherboard to fix it…. Which usually cost the same as just buying a new tv.

      So yea, your Apt manager is an idiot. Easily won court case if you can prove they set the temps to 165 for extended time and didn’t first unplug all your electronics or at least advise or warn you to do so before that date. That’s basic real estate law. Under federal renter laws, any “maintenance” or upkeep tasks on the housing done by the property manager must include either notification/advisement of any potential hazards caused by the home repair process and steps to avoid the hazard occurring, or they must prevent the issues themselves before performing the work.

      I had a landlord take out an entire living room/kitchen/bathroom dividing wall because water was leaking inside the wall between the boards from the shower drain upstairs and had been for months. There was. Slick mold covering the entire wall interior space. So they had to knock it all down and replace it. Then they didn’t inspect for abspestus (or however it’s spelt) after since it was all drywall. I threatened to sue as it was a state law to have any drywall work inspected by the state after. Of course, he found absoestus all over the place. So they had to tear down the wall again and do it properly that time.

      Anyways, through the entire process, I reminded them to be careful because the main breaker for the entire Apt were in that wall, with most of the main wiring for both floors of the apartment.

      They assured me that we could keep all our electronics plugged in and power running as it wasn’t where they would be working.

      Well after doing the second wall repair, they cut some wire back there. Not all the way though (we later found out). It essentially was one of the main wires brining power into the house, feeding the breakers and outlets. However it was only providing unstable and partial power due to some of the wires being sheared and keep arching and sparking between the small frayed wires. But most things still functioned cuz it still had some power and most devices were off or not being used during the repairs since we were living in a hotel temporarily. The contractors used extension cables to an outside electrical source for all their tools during repairs.

      Anyways, we get home and I noticed the lighting seemed rather dim. Thought maybe the bulbs just needed replaced my roommate then turns on his tv and Xbox. Tv turned on but the Xbox would boot correctly. Then his power supply for the Xbox totally stopped working.

      A few min later I went upstairs and turned on my tv and PlayStation and started playing a game. 10 minutes in, a loud snap/crack sound occurred from inside the wall by the outlet the tv and ps4 were plugged into. Then the entire apartment lost power.

      We had an electrician come right away and he said our break totally fried and pointed out the frayed cables mentioned earlier. He said essentially he had to rewrire EVERYTHING from scratch. Three weeks later, after everything was finally done and power restored, we went back home to find, half of our electronics didn’t work. Essentially anything plugged into an outlet that was drawing any amount of power, at all, got fried when the circuit breaker blew because essentially all those devices started to receive unredtricted and untuned electricity, frying any and all chips in the house connected to power.

      I lost a laptop, a ps4, a tv, a router, multiple lamps, all our lightbulbs, a security alarm, an Xbox, another tv, a desktop computer, a modem, a network switch, a hotspot, a cellular signal booster and several clocks… estimated somewhere like $5000 of damage.

      Apartment manager claimed they aren’t responsible as they made repairs in good faith to the wall and things happen. It was a mistake. She said it could have fried before hand and we didn’t know and it was coincidence.

      I called bs. I talked to an attorney at our campus legal services hub (I was attending college and they offered free legal consultation services to students for smaller matters)

      The advisor said that yea, it’s 100% the property managers responsibility to take precautionary measures to ensure zero damage to any renter owned properties (TVs l, electronics, etc) during any home maintenance/repair work. He said he could most likely just solve the whole
      Ordeal by writing the landlord a legal legal essentially stating the state laws for renter properties and the exact ones they broke by frying our electronics and threatened to sue for the state recommended damages amount for our particular circumstance (I think he wrote $20,000 in damages for property, time lost, time worked, hassle, etc).

      He said they most likely would immediately cave when seeing the letter because they know they actually are doing illegal actions but they just hope the renters are too dumb to know better and they get away with it. But once it’s pointed out and obvious, they would rather pay $5000 to replace the broken goods than pay $20,000 and even more for actual court costs and lawyers and such which could run into around $35,000 to $50,000 when it’s all said and done (even though I myself would likely only see around $10-$15,000 if it went to court after taxes and court costs,
      Lawyers, etc)

      He even said in the highly unlikely case that they decided to go to court, he would represent us even though he technically was not supposed to (the university legal services again are for essentially just basic advisement and advice on small matters, not court representation) but he said that it was such a slam dunk affair win that he wouldn’t mind if it got there. So we went ahead and sent the letter via USPS with confirmation services as per the legal process for that state when delivering legal notices. That also meant it would be at my managers residence with a single day.

      Sure enough, 9pm the following day, I get a text from my Apt manager suddenly sounding super friendly and accommodating asking if she could come check out the Apt and make sure no further repairs were needed. I said, sure, knowing full well she got my letter.

      She came in the next day, inspected the place with a state licensed inspector, then asked to get a list of all items lost from the power surge.

      She first said she would only pay us the
      Market cost for used condition but we insisted on the cost for each item as new (as the lawyer said technically that’s what the law says they need to do). I already had made up my own list of the items with the lowest price listings from various online retailers like bestbuy and Newegg using a “cheapest price comparison tool” for each item. Put it into spreadsheet and gave it to her. Told her this needs to be the amount that we got in compensation or else we would proceed to court and ask to be released immediately from our lease agreement with no fault or cause or penalty (we had only actually lived in the place for two months so far… with three months at the hotel. So they didn’t want to lose a renter after already losing so much on rental profit since we obviously didn’t pay rent while we were at the hotel and she had to pay for our hotel stay)

      She said she would go clear it with her partner and get back to me.

      The very next day, she swung by with a cashiers check for $6500 and asked me to sign a document essentially stating she indeed did pay us and that we both agree that the money would clear the manager of any liability due to the recent events.

  2. Of course it can break from heat. No duh. Every single piece of electronics equipment ever created can break from heat.

    All electronics is, is the movement of electricity from various points to other points along a circuit path or via pcb silicon.

    Electricity introduces heat. If the heat gets too high, it overloads capacitors and chips and memory, etc. they stop interpreting the electric signals it’s receiving incorrectly and thus sending back out bad/wrong signals to other components.

    Thus whenever an electronic device gets hot, it usually slows down or stops responding at all until it cools back down.

    This is basic knowledge folks.

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