What is a BTU
The heating & air acronym BTU, stands for British Thermal Unit and is a form of measurement for heat energy. The way it works is that one BTU is equal to the amount of heat energy required to raise a single pound of water by 1℉. The way that BTU ratings are used for HVAC equipment is in reference to both the input and output of the unit. The input BTU rating refers to the amount of fuel the equipment burns while the output BTU rating represents the total usable heat the unit generates. Therefore, the input rating tells you the size of the unit and the output rating tells you how efficiently it operates.
What BTUs Mean for AC Units
Air conditioners also come with a BTU rating, which refers to how powerful the unit is. The BTU rating for an AC is also calculated by heat energy and refers to how much heat the unit is removing from the home. So the higher the BTU rating, the more powerful the unit. Window AC units can have anywhere between 5,000-12,000 BTUs, while residential air conditioners average between 20,000-50,000 BTUs. The BTU rating is an important factor when upgrading your unit.
How Many BTUs Do You Need?
There are many factors in your home that contribute to choosing the right sized unit. A general rule of thumb is that for every 1 square foot of living space, 20 BTUs are needed. Therefore, a space of 500 SqFt would need a unit with 10,000 BTUs. However, type and placement of windows, ceiling height, insulation, and more are also contributing factors to ensuring your home has the right size unit. For instance, if you have high ceilings, poor insulation or your house has a high exposure to sunlight – it may recommended that you purchase a unit with at least 10% more power. Failure to install the correct size unit could result in potential problems such as short cycling. If you are considering upgrading your unit and would like our professional opinion, call us today. We offer free estimates and can ensure the right sized unit is chosen and installed in your home. You can also click here to schedule service on your existing unit.
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