TV Aerial Problems and Lifespan

If you already rely on an aerial or antennae for your home entertainment or are thinking of having one installed, you probably have a few questions. For one, you’re probably curious just how long you can expect your aerial to last.

Unfortunately, there is no simple way to answer this question, as there are a variety of factors that can impact the response. In this brief article, we’ll take a closer look at TV aerials and try to identify problems or issues that can cause issues with your service, or result in the early replacement of your antennae. For services in the Chester area click here

Table of Contents

The Average Aerial Lifespan

Professionally-installed TV aerials should last anywhere between 10 and 20 years. Of course, an aerial can last much longer under the right conditions, sometimes 30 years or more. The reason why I specified “professionally-installed” when providing that answer is that shoddily-installed antennae can lead to problems that dramatically shorten your aerial’s lifespan.

Below, I’ll include some examples of factors that can cause early failure of your aerial, or lead to other problems that negatively impact your experience.

1.     Too Much Height Can Strain the Brackets

When trees and other objects are in the way, some people will install their antennae on a higher-than-average mast. However, the higher the mast, the more strain the weight of the antennae will put on the brackets. To ensure that your brackets can handle the tension without giving way, try to set the bracket spacing at least 1/6th of the mast height.

If the aerial is particularly heavy or in an area of high wind, you might also want to consider increasing that spacing to 1/4 of the height. If space is an issue, you can also use a thicker mast wall thickness to reduce the risk of failure further.

2.     Cheap Antennas Are Worth the Price

Many people will attempt to save a few quid by buying a cheaper one. Unfortunately, the price almost always reflects the overall quality of these products, and they will rarely last even the bare minimum of 10 years listed above. There are several manufacturers out there that are more than happy to take advantage of the “budget” market. Those that fall for this trick often end up paying twice as much in the long run.

3.     Bad Installations Bring Bad News

Some people, on the other hand, will buy a reliable aerial but then choose to skimp on the installation or the parts. This can be just as disastrous and – ultimately – even more expensive because the aerial crashing to the ground in that wind storm will be one you paid a premium price for.

Make sure you look for mounts and antennas that don’t use Bacofoil, as these tend to bend easily and can’t stand up to high winds. Furthermore, make sure you have a professional do the installing. These men and women might cost a bit more, but they won’t cut corners and will make sure the job is done right.

4.     Many DIYers Over-Tighten the U Bolt

Though it is mostly seen in situations where the homeowner installed the aerial themselves, it is also possible for some less-experienced installers to over-tighten the “U bolt” or “V bolt.” A common mistake, this causes the mast to bend and eventually weaken. I recommend not using a ratchet spanner on the top bolt so that you can more easily see how much pressure you’re putting on the mast.

5.     Sometimes Nature is to Blame

Lightning strikes, high winds, and electrical storms can wreak havoc on an aerial, even if it is installed properly. Usually, once a high-voltage current has passed through the aerial, it will fry most of the electrical components, necessitating a full replacement of both the antennae and the coax cable.

Winds that reach extremely high speeds or particularly violent storms can not only damage the aerial itself but can also do damage to the roof holding it in place. Of course, there is also the possibility of a chimney collapsing, a tree branch falling and hitting the aerial, or water becoming lodged in the electronics.

In these cases, there is nothing that can be done, even if the aerial was just installed.

6.     Loft Aerials

Many people attempt to get longer use out of their aerials by installing them in their loft. While this may seem clever at first, I don’t recommend it for a number of reasons. One, the loft is typically too low to get a proper signal, because it will need to pass through walls and roof tiles before being received.

You’ll also be more likely to see a lot of interference from the other electronic devices in your home. This can result in pixelation or fuzzy images when you turn on certain appliances. So while you can certainly avoid weather damage by sticking your aerial in a loft, you have to do a cost-benefit analysis to see if it’s truly worth it.

Aerial Installation Warranties

In general, companies will offer a one-year or two-year warranty on aerial installations. I, for instance, offer a one-year warranty standard but provide an extra year if the customer leaves us a review online. Most of these warranties, however, are based on the installer’s warranties on the parts they get from the manufacturer. While there are longer warranties out there, a properly-installed aerial should last much longer than any warranty regardless.

Questions and Comments


If you have any questions about the information here or wish to provide comments, please feel free to do so. That said, as I have multiple blog posts up, please make sure you specify which one you are talking about.