Where Can I Mount My Aerial My When I Have No Chimney?
It’s funny how in the UK that aerials and chimneys are generally associated with each other, you may not have even noticed it, but I think that the beginning of Coronation Street have firmly engrained the image of TV aerials and chimneys into our subconscious. My seven year old daughter even draws aerials and antennas on her houses now.
Why Do Aerials Go on Chimneys?
A chimney stack is usually the chosen position for TV aerials as typically the TV aerial would perform best on a chimney stack for Freeview reception, but not always. This is because generally the chimney stack will provide the highest readily available place to secure a TV aerial, if you can access it with ladders of course. Height is often the most important thing with TV aerial reception so you can get any obstructions to where the signal is strongest. It also gets the aerial furthest away from potential interfering electrical sources, which include timed circuits, ignitions and so on.
People are also more accepting of a TV aerial, essentially a load of metal on their chimney stacks as it is expected to see them there. But they do not have to live on chimney stacks, in fact sometimes on occasion a superior signal can be achieved by mounted the antenna somewhere else. So if you do not have a chimney stack, or cannot access your chimney stack for whatever reason. Do not despair, let this blog be a guide to you.
It is also very common where chimneys are allowing water to enter the property that these are removed and a new TV/ radio aerial position is required.
Alternatives To Chimneys For Mounting Antennas
Below is a list of potential places where you can site your aerial instead of your chimney stack. Please be mindful that installing aerials is often referred to as a “black art”, what works for one property will not always work for another. So please do not assume all of the below will work for you, in particular when mounting TV aerials in lofts. If in doubt consult a good TV aerial company in your area. If you are looking for an expert aerial company in Sussex? That’s us by the way.
1) Gable End Wall
If you are fortunate enough to have a gable end wall that does not have wall hanging tiles, this is the next best position for you. You will of course have to exchange your chimney lashing bracket for wall brackets that can be secured by bolts and plugs. From the gable end with a relatively short aerial mast you could mount the aerial above the roof line which is usually enough for good TV reception. If you are in a terraced house or have wall hanging tiles, short of removing the wall tiles are fixing to the brick behind you will have to mount the aerial elsewhere.
If you live in a poor Freeview reception area and you have to mount your TV aerial onto a tall mast. I would recommend installing the aerial onto a wall in any case as the wall would be a much stronger position for a heavy load and high wind loading. Chimneys aren’t indestructible and I have a lot of damage caused to them because the aerial was too big or the aerial pole too high.
2) Gable End Fascia (Ideally Wood)
If you have a tile hung gable wall and a fascia that is in good condition then often a suitable position can be the fascia itself. If you have a wooden fascia that is in good condition, usually you can fit secure a small six inch wall bracket or heavy duty fascia bracket to it. I recommend screwing the brackets into a position where the fascia board itself is secured as this will be where the fascia board is at its strongest.
If you have a plastic fascia has been mounted on top on a wooden fascia then this is usually a very good position also, just make sure that the wood behind which you will need to secure into isn’t completely rotten. If you just have a plastic fascia, you may want to try to find another suitable position instead.
When mounting aerials onto fascia’s I strongly recommend not installing big high gain aerials and tall masts. The fascia itself will be considerably weaker that a chimney stack or a wall, so I recommend only smaller, lighter aerials like log periodic designs and small masts not exceeding 3’.
3) Front or Back Wall
Of course no one wants an aerial on the front of the house! But this could save your bacon. If you live in a terraced house, then typically you will only have a front or back wall to choose from and not a gable end. Providing these walls are not tile hung, you could mount your aerial here. As this is lower than where a chimney would be and a gable end often the signal will be weaker. You may be able to get away with a 4’-6’ mast, but you may also need a 10’-12’ mast secured with T and K wall brackets for the extra height help clear any nearby building and obstructions to get a good signal.
You may also have very deep fascia’s, soffits and guttering so you will also need to consider have far away the aerial needs standoff away from the wall to clear these comfortably.
4) The Loft
Believe it or not the loft can be a suitable place to secure your TV aerial. If you can get a good signal in your loft then your aerial could last you as long as you need it as it will be protected from the elements which could cause it to fail over time. Often when there is no chimney or gable wall the loft can be the next best position despite the signals having to travel into the loft itself, through tiles and brickwork as it can offer almost as much height as a chimney or high wall.
That being said lofts are not always a suitable position. If you haven’t already I recommend reading our blog on loft aerial reception.
You will of course not be able to see clearly where you are pointing your TV aerial and you could be pointing straight through a tree which itself could cause pixilation and loss of TV signal. It’s worth noting that aerials that have been insulated with a foil lining will not work at all as the signal will be reflected away preventing the signal from entering the loft and reaching the aerial.
5) Roof Penetrating Installation – Lead Flashing
Not very common but always a possibility. With a “pole through the roof” installation a mast of reasonable diameter (2” recommend) is mounted through the roof and secured to the wooden beams in the loft. A tile is removed to allow to the mast to enter the roof and replaced with a lead flashing to weather proof the installation.
Typically this costs more and I believe would be common if people weren’t so squeamish about the idea of a pole going through the roof. It’s actually common with things like boiler flues and can usually provide and excellent place to install a TV aerial or satellite dish.
It is very important to prevent water ingress into the building, that the top of the mast has a bung inside to stop rain water from running down the inside and flooding your loft. I have seen this before!
6) Tile & Slate Clamp
Did you know that it is possible to still mount your TV aerial to the roof without a chimney stack or pole through the roof? With the ingenious Tile & Slate clamp you can secure this to a roof tile and the weight of the tile will hold it in position.
It’s not a fixing that I’m hugely fond of and I will always look for somewhere else to install an aerial but I have seen it successfully used many times. Of course you can only mount a light, small aerial to this!
7) Non Penetrating Roof Mount
You may have had your chimney removed for a loft conversion? In which case you may now have a flat roof where the aerial can be sited. A non-penetrating roof mount is a metal base that is designed to sit on a flat surface, like a flat roof with a pole extending from the centre where the aerial can be secured. The base itself is weighed down by standard 450mm square slabs, usually 4.
It is important that before you install a non-penetrating roof mount onto a flat roof that you first install a protective matt for the non-penetrating roof mount to be mounted onto. This prevent the weight on the mount causing any surface damage to your flat roof which may only be felt and easily damaged.
8) Large Pole Concreted Into Ground
Not a task for the feint hearted, you may be able to achieve good reception with a large pole concreated into the ground and a TV aerial mounted to the top. You would probably need a 16’-20” pole to do this of decent diameter and wall thickness. I would recommend a scaffold pole or something similar.
As the mast itself would be very heavy and susceptible to high levels of wind loading, you would also need to secure the mast with guy wire in a few directions to prevent it blowing over in the wind. The sound of a scaffold pole, blowing over in gales and landing on the family car would make one hell of a bang and no doubt get you in trouble with the spouse!
If you’re going to all of this effort for digital TV however I would suggest strongly considering Freesat however as you typically do not need as much height for good reception.
9) Set Top Aerial
You did not hear me say that okay as I will want to be associated with such a suggestion. If on the very, very, very rare occasion that a set top aerial can offer suitable reception by your TV then this could be an answer to your problems.
This will only ever work if you are in a very strong signal area and are on the top of a hill or something. I personally would advise everything possible to avoid it however, even the expensive models that offer some 45dB gain! It is worth noting that if you have to amplify a signal this much to get some form of reception, then you do not have a signal to begin with!
If you have your hands tied and have to use a set top aerial typically these work better higher up in the room and near a window as the transmitted signal with penetrate this easier than the brickwork.
9 Alternatives to a Chimney For Mounting Aerials
There you have it, a total of 9 practical alternatives to having your aerial mounting onto a chimney stack. There are more that it didn’t really feel necessary to add. Like clamping the aerial to some exposed metalwork or on a front or back wall fascia.
I hope that this article was of some use to you. If you have any questions please LEAVE A COMMENT and I will be delighted to offer help and advice where possible.
Until next time,
Home Entertainment & Connectivity Specialist
Aerial & Satellite Extraordinaire
Humax No Longer Manufacturing Freesat Boxes
Freesat has ended it's association with Humax who will no longer be manufacturing Freesat set top boxes & PVR's. Read on for more info.
Do Trees Block TV/ Sat Signals? How To Fix
If you want to know, do trees block TV aerial & satellite signals? Read this. includes solutions to tree related signal problems.
700Mhz Clearance - All You Need To Know
Read this for info on the 700Mhz Clearance. What it is & how it may affect your Freeview reception.