You’ve left your TV in your unheated garage this winter, and temperatures reached below zero. When you finally return, you’re about to turn on the TV, but something stops you.
Is it a good idea to turn on a TV left in the extreme cold?
You notice something isn’t right with the TV screen. Is the cold to blame?
Can a TV break from being too cold? What happens if a TV gets too cold?
Keep reading to find out!
Can a TV Break From Being Too Cold?
Yes, a TV can break from being too cold.
A TV’s internal hardware is a delicate ecosystem that extreme temperatures can certainly disrupt.
While different types of TVs have varying levels of sensitivity to cold, they will all be damaged by prolonged exposure to very cold weather.
If you live in a place with cold, icy winters, it’s best to store your TV inside your heated home, rather than leaving it in your humid, below-freezing garage or basement.
What Happens If a TV Gets Too Cold?
Several things could happen when a TV gets too cold.
There are a few different ways that extreme cold could damage your TV.
Your TV’s Metal Components Could Shift
You may already know from middle school physics that materials expand in the heat and contract in the cold. The same philosophy applies to your TV’s internal hardware.
Your TV is made up of delicate and complex logic boards, wires, and other carefully placed metal parts. When frozen, these metal pieces will contract and pull away from each other, which could lead to wires detaching and breaking.
If your TV is not turning on or is not responding to its remote control, it could be because a few of its inner components have broken.
You will most likely need to take your TV to a TV repair technician or replace it altogether.
Condensation Could Form
Winter often brings humid weather, such as blizzards, rain, and other forms of precipitation.
Without the warmth to evaporate all of this moisture, condensation could form inside your TV.
This could completely break your TV and pose a fire hazard when you try to turn it on. If your TV has condensation inside, you may notice water inside the screen.
Water damage creates bright spots on-screen or flashing vertical lines. Your TV’s built-in speakers may have also stopped working.
Fixing water damage on a TV is a complicated process that yields low success rates and often requires you to completely take apart your TV. This is risky if you’re unfamiliar with a TV’s anatomy and you could struggle to put it back together correctly.
Watch the video below to see an example of water damage on an LED TV and the complicated procedure involved in fixing it.
Your TV’s Screen Could Lag
Your TV may be working a little slower than usual and take several seconds to respond to your remote’s commands.
The image could also be lagging or ghosting.
This could make tasks like changing the channel or volume quite frustrating and may make it almost impossible to game as the input lag would be too slow.
What Temperature Will Damage a TV?
TVs should be kept at temperatures higher than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Any weather under 40 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celcius) will damage your TV.
Every TV brand has its own recommended temperatures to operate in, so consult your user manual for guidelines specific to your unit.
Can You Leave a TV in a Cold Garage?
It’s not recommended to leave your TV in a cold garage.
If you live in a very cold area of the world, it’s best to avoid leaving your TV in your garage over the winter.
Garages are often very cold and humid. Leaving your TV there during the cold months could cause irreversible damage.
Note that although your garage may feel warm during the day, it often becomes quite cold at night, which could damage your unit.
If you’re thinking of mounting your TV in your garage, it’s best to monitor the temperature and humidity levels to make sure it’s a safe environment for your TV.
This Haozee Smart WiFi Temperature and Humidity Monitor connects to an app on your phone, so you can monitor how cold and humid your garage gets at night without having to get out of bed and check it yourself.
How Long Should I Wait To Turn On a Cold TV?
Wait a few hours before turning on a cold TV.
If your TV has been exposed to extreme temperatures, do not turn immediately turn it on while it’s still frosty.
There could be moisture inside your unit, which, when mixed with electricity, is a recipe for disaster.
Instead, bring your TV inside your home and let it come back down to room temperature. This will give the metal components time to expand back to their original size. It will also allow any condensation to evaporate.
Ideally, you should let your TV rest for a few hours, but it’s better to leave it out overnight.
Do not place the TV next to a heater or fireplace in an attempt to quicken this process. You will only do more damage.
Once it’s back to room temperature, turn it on and observe if it’s working normally.
Wrapping Things Up
This winter, don’t give your TV the cold shoulder.
You don’t want to sit in 40-degree Fahrenheit weather for weeks on end, so why subject your TV to the same torture?
Extremely cold temperatures could severely damage your TV, leading to hundreds of dollars worth of repairs. In the worst-case scenario, you may even have to purchase a replacement.
Keep your TV inside the house, where the cold weather won’t destroy its internal hardware.
If your TV was left in the cold, remember to let it rest at room temperature for at least a couple of hours.
What’s your experience storing TVs in cold weather? Let us know in the comments below!
Yesenia Achlim is a technical copywriter and editor with a focus on AV equipment. She aims to break down complicated topics and make technology accessible, no matter your technical expertise. When she’s not teaching you how to replace a projector lamp, you can find her reading and baking.