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Protect your outdoor TV from bad weather: Here are 3 tips

Nov 10, 2023 , , , ,

Many people enjoy watching TV outside when the weather is nice, whether it is on their patio, deck or backyard. However, as the temperatures dip, it’s important to know that not all TVs are suitable for outdoor use, especially during winter. This leads us to the question that Chad from Brentwood, Tennessee, is asking:

“Hi Kurt, I have been using an outside TV (inside TV that is outside) for many years. Each winter, I take it down and move inside. It’s 75 inches and is getting a little cumbersome as I get older. I am thinking this year I would leave it outside during winter. It is covered by a second story that keeps water/snow off, but I was wondering if I should try keeping it warm on the really cold days. I live in TN, and we get below freezing a couple of days out of the year.” — Chad, Brentwood, TN

Thanks for your question, Chad. The short answer to your question is: No, you should not leave your indoor TV outside during winter, even if it is covered by a second story. 

Indoor TVs are not designed to withstand the outdoor environment, especially the cold weather. The cold can cause several problems for your TV.

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Outdoor TV

A TV on an outdoor deck (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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The risks of leaving an indoor TV outside

The LCD or LED screen of your TV is made of liquid crystals that can freeze and expand when exposed to low temperatures. This can cause the screen to crack or shatter, rendering your TV useless.

The cold can also affect the internal components of your TV, such as the circuit board, the power supply, and the speakers. The cold can cause the metal parts to contract and the plastic parts to become brittle, leading to cracks, breaks, or malfunctions. The cold can also reduce the battery life and the performance of your TV.

Most indoor TVs come with a warranty that covers defects and malfunctions. However, the warranty usually does not cover damage caused by improper use or environmental factors, such as extreme temperatures. If you leave your indoor TV outside during winter, you may void your warranty and lose the chance to get a replacement or a repair.

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child watching TV

A child watches TV outdoors. (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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How to keep your current TV outside

If you decide to keep your current TV outside like Chad, there are some steps you can take to minimize the risks and extend its lifespan. Here are three important tips on how to keep your TV outside during winter.

1. Keep it covered

The most important thing you can do to protect your TV from the cold is to keep it covered with a weatherproof enclosure. You can buy a ready-made cover online or make your own using materials like vinyl, canvas, or plastic. The enclosure should fit snugly around your TV and have openings for the cables and the ventilation. The enclosure should also be easy to remove and put back on when you want to use your TV.

2. Keep it dry

The next thing you can do to protect your TV from the cold is to keep it dry and prevent moisture from getting inside. You can use a dehumidifier or silica gel packets to reduce the humidity and absorb the moisture inside the enclosure. You can also use waterproof tape or sealant to seal any gaps or cracks in the enclosure or the TV. You should also avoid turning on your TV when it is very cold or wet, as this can cause condensation or short circuits.

3. Keep it warm

Another thing you can do to protect your TV from the cold is to keep it insulated using insulation material like foam, bubble wrap, or blankets to wrap around your TV, but make sure it does not block the ventilation or the airflow.

An outdoor TV

A TV set up on an outdoor deck (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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Avoid these extreme temperatures with your TV

The optimal outdoor TV temperature range for most TVs is 40°F to 100°F (4°C to 37°C), with a relative humidity of 80% or lower. This is what most TV manufacturers suggest.

TVs are more sensitive to extreme temperatures. Samsung warns that TVs should not be exposed to temperatures below -20°C (-4°F) or above 45°C (113°F).

Flat TVs have liquid crystal fluid that can freeze in very cold conditions. To prevent this, you should keep your TV between 40°F and 100°F. TVs should not be left outside when the temperature is below 20°F.

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The benefits of investing in an outdoor TV

If you want to enjoy watching TV outside during winter, the best option is to invest in an outdoor TV that is specifically designed to withstand harsh temperatures and weather conditions. Outdoor TVs have several benefits over indoor TVs, such as:

Weatherproof enclosures: Outdoor TVs are built with weatherproof enclosures that protect the internal components from moisture, dust, insects, and temperature fluctuations. The enclosures are also UV-resistant and anti-glare, which means they can prevent sun damage and reduce reflections on the screen.

Ventilation systems: Outdoor TVs have ventilation systems that regulate the temperature and the airflow inside the enclosures. The ventilation systems can keep the TV cool during summer and warm during winter, preventing overheating or freezing. The ventilation systems can also prevent condensation and fogging on the screen.

Enhanced picture and sound quality: Outdoor TVs have enhanced picture and sound quality that can adapt to the outdoor environment. The picture quality is brighter and sharper, which means you can see the details and colors better even in direct sunlight. The sound quality is louder and clearer, which means you can hear the audio better even in noisy surroundings.

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How to protect your outdoor TV from getting stolen or vandalized

One last thing to consider. If you have an outdoor TV, you might be wondering how to keep it safe from theft or vandalism. One way is to use a weatherproof TV cover or enclosure that makes it harder to remove. Another way is to install a security camera or an alarm near your TV to deter or detect any intruders. You can also place your TV in a visible and secure location, such as under an awning or on a wall mount, to prevent easy access or damage.

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Kurt’s key takeaways

Again, we do not recommend leaving your indoor TV outside during winter, as this can damage your TV and void your warranty. We suggest investing in an outdoor TV that is specially made for outdoor use, as this can provide you with a better viewing experience and a longer lifespan. If you choose to keep your current TV outside, we advise you to follow our tips on how to keep it covered, warm, and dry.

What are some of the benefits and challenges of having an outdoor TV in your area? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact.

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