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Air Conditioners: What Are BTUs?

What are BTUs? We explain how they matter for air conditioner efficiency. Read about what to know about BTUs when buying an air conditioner.

BTUs: What They Are and Why They Matter For Air Conditioners

If you’ve ever had to buy a heating or cooling unit, you’ve probably come across this term. And if you’ve surmised that its habit to pop up everywhere makes it important, you’re right too.

But what are BTUs and why do they show up on most appliances which involve heating or cooling? And what do they mean for them?

If you’re planning to purchase an air conditioner or a heater then you’ll love this article which contains key information on what they are and why they’re so important.

A question of efficiency

If you’ve set your heart on getting a new air conditioner at the height of summer, one of the main things you’d have in mind is just how efficient it’s going to be at keeping the room it’s placed in fresh and cool. After all, the last thing you’d want is to return home and get it all set up just to find that your newest purchase isn’t actually performing how you hoped it would.

However, the good news is that the information which would help you to select the right appliance is readily available, and below, you’ll be able to discover key points which will assist you in making informed choices when purchasing that new cooling unit or even any other appliance which happens to rely on BTUs too.

What Does BTU Mean?

The abbreviation, BTU stands for British Thermal Unit and is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water by 1° Fahrenheit at sea level.

Fun fact: The definition of BTUs actually mirrors that of another important unit: Calories are defined as the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1°C making them the metric cousins of the former.

Why BTUs Are Important

Now we know what BTUs are, it’s time to find out why they’re so important. These units actually indicate how much heat an appliance is able to add to or remove from any room it’s placed in.

Hence the larger the value is, the more powerful the appliance will be (a 4,000 BTU heater would be less powerful than a 5,500 one). As a result, it’s extremely important to ensure you select an appliance with the right BTU value.

But what would happen if you didn’t?

A great example to use in this instance would be an air conditioner. If you happened to buy one with a BTU which was too low, it would be incapable of cooling the room you placed it in. The air conditioning unit would also end up working extra hard in an attempt to lower temperatures which would mean a shorter lifespan and heftier power bills at the end of it all.

Purchasing an extremely powerful one may not be such a great idea either. This is due to the fact that its compressor would get overworked due to its ability to cool the room rather quickly, resulting in it getting constantly activated and deactivated. The overall result would be the same as for the less powerful air conditioner (except for its inability to cool the room): a shorter lifespan and heavier bills.

BTUs: Knowing just how much you need

Several factors play a role in the selection of a heating or cooling appliance with the right BTU value. These include insulation, the climate you’re located in, the location and purpose of the room you intend to place it in, the number of individuals it’s intended for and its height and size.

Thanks to the availability of BTU charts, it’s possible to work out the right value for an appliance.

BTU cooling calculators are also particularly useful in ensuring you’re able to take the influencing factors mentioned above into account to ensure you’re able to calculate an accurate BTU value for air conditioners.

Calling on an expert is recommended in order to accurately work out the right value your appliance is meant to have. This is particularly necessary if you wish to add a central cooling and heating system to your home.

Conclusion: What To think about when buying an AC Unit

As important as BTUs are, it’s hardly any surprise that they tend to show up on just about every heating or cooling appliance there is. And now you too will be able to make an informed choice when making a purchase to ensure you get that cooling or heating unit which is just right for you.

Resources— New Air, Compact Appliance, Electric Fireplaces Direct, Ace Plumbing Direct