If you are looking for a new HVAC unit, chances are you’ll stumble upon the acronym BTU. BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. This is a unit of measurement that indicates how much energy your air conditioner uses in an hour. Understanding what BTU means will help you select the right size air conditioner for your home.
Why BTU Is Significant When Buying an HVAC Unit
In order to understand the importance of BTUs, you need to understand how the air conditioner works. Air conditioners remove heat from your home’s indoor air and circulate it outside the house. Coils and fans make up the inside of your air conditioner. These replace the hot humid air with the cool air within your ductwork system.
When the HVAC unit removes heat from your home, it is similar to moving energy. The BTU measurement indicates how much energy your AC system will consume in order to eliminate the heat from your house. Therefore, if your HVAC unit has 12,000 BTUs, it means that the HVAC unit consumes 12,000 BTUs of heat each hour.
Why Do We Measure Energy with BTUs?
We don’t only use BTUs for HVAC units. BTUs measure the amount of heat required to increase or lower a pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. Heat pumps, cooking devices, furnaces, and other heating devices are all also measured by BTUs.
HVAC professionals use the BTU measurement to measure both heat loss and heat gain. This is why we recommend consulting with our HVAC experts when buying an HVAC unit. This ensures that you buy the unit with the right number of British thermal units for your home.
A unit with too many BTUs for the size of your home will lead to an increase in energy costs. This is because the HVAC unit will run for shorter intervals, and then shut off. This ends up causing it to consume more energy than an HVAC unit with lower BTUs. This frequent on-off cycle will also increase the wear and tear on your unit.
Is an HVAC unit with too few BTUs better for your home? No. Getting an HVAC unit without enough BTUs will cause your AC to require frequent troubleshooting. Your ac will continue to run and run, never quite managing to cool your home. This will create uneven temperatures throughout your house while also costing you high energy bills.
If you want to avoid the above issues, you’ll need to figure out the right amount of BTUs for your home. This will also help you determine whether you need a ductless unit or a central AC unit.
How to Choose the Right BTU Rating for Your HVAC System
Consumer Reports indicate that an air conditioner requires 20 BTUs for every square footage of space that it cools. Therefore, to get the number of BTUs that your home requires, multiply the total square footage of your home by 20.
For instance, if your home’s square footage is 1,400, then you should look for an HVAC unit with 28,000 BTUs (1400 X 20). However, this estimate may not apply to all living spaces because there are other factors that may affect the BTU. Factors that affect the BTU rating of an HVAC unit other than your home’s square footage include:
- The height of the ceiling
- Size of the doorways
- Size of the windows
Although a BTU calculator can help you estimate the BTU measurement for your HVAC unit, we recommend asking an expert. They can help you find an HVAC unit with the right BTUs for your home.
Relationship between BTU and AC Tonnage
Interestingly enough, we use ice as a measurement of AC cooling. This is because people used tons of ice to cool their homes before ac existed.
The ice would melt slowly as a result of absorbing the heat from the home. thereby lowering a home’s temperature like modern-day AC systems. As a result, HVAC experts continue to use tons of ice to measure how much cooling an AC can provide. Thus, a two-ton AC is the same as using two tons of ice to cool down your home.
Luckily for you, you do not need to be an expert in AC tonnage or British thermal units to buy the right HVAC unit for your home. Simply get in touch with us today! Our professional HVAC experts will do the math and guide you to the best HVAC unit for your home.
Call Us Today
Gallagher’s Plumbing, Heating, and Air offers exceptional HVAC services in the North Valley and Greater Sacramento area.
Our company has served the area for over three decades, and we have earned the trust of many satisfied customers. Our goal is to ensure that your home’s HVAC and plumbing system is safe, clean, and efficient through all seasons. Call Gallagher’s today to learn about our services. You can also speak to an HVAC expert about choosing the right BTU rating for your HVAC unit.