What is a BTU in Air Conditioning?

If you want to cool your home efficiently, you need to choose an air conditioning system of the right capacity. If you make the wrong choice, you might end up spending more money on energy bills. If you choose an air conditioner of lower capacity, your room won’t be sufficiently cool or comfortable. Most people don’t understand how heating and cooling systems work. They look at the technical information provided in the user manual or product description but don’t really consider what those technical terms mean. One of those technical terms is BTU.

What is BTU?

BTU stands for British Thermal Unit and it’s used to assess how much thermal energy an appliance can generate. One BTU unit equals the amount of energy a system needs to raise the temperature of one pound of water by 1°F if it’s at sea level.

You might wonder how this relates to air conditioning as ACs are used to lower the room temperature instead of increasing it. In air conditioners, this unit of measurement is used to determine how much heat the appliance can remove from the air in the room every hour of use. The BTU is directly proportional to the cooling power of your appliance. Most customers skip past this unit of measurement when they look for suitable air conditioners and that can be a mistake. You should consider BTU carefully before you think of an AC replacement.

Does Higher BTU Mean it’s Better?

It’s important to find just the right amount of BTU’s for your requirements. Too many or too few BTUs can cause problems in the long run and damage your air conditioner. If the BTU is too high, your room will cool too quickly and that can cause the air conditioner to cycle more often. That places a considerable amount of load on the compressor and can shorten the lifespan of the air conditioning unit.

Air conditioners with higher BTUs can also consume more energy and that can have an impact on your monthly expenses. If you want to extend the lifespan of your air conditioner and ensure you don’t spend too much on energy bills, make sure you opt for a system with the right amount of BTU’s. You can consult with experts like installers or store owners to determine just how many BTU’s you might need.

What Happens if You Purchase a System with Insufficient BTU’s?

If your air conditioner has lower BTU’s, it won’t cool your room enough and you’ll never attain the level of comfort you need. But that’s not the only consequence of insufficient BTU’s. The struggle to reach the desired temperature will place an excessive load on the air conditioning unit and can cause problems in the long run. Eventually, the compressor will buckle under the pressure from the heat generated, and you’ll have to replace the unit entirely. If your air conditioner doesn’t cool efficiently enough to reach the set temperature, it won’t cycle at all. That means that it will consume excess energy and you’ll have to deal with higher electricity bills every month.

How Many BTU’s Do You Need?

It’s a good idea to ask an expert to measure your home or assess your requirements and offer recommendations. They’ll make sure you get the right unit for your requirements. You can also use online calculators to determine the right size. Most wholesale air conditioner vendors will have calculators or recommendations listed on their website. However, here’s a general recommendation that can help you determine how many BTU’s you need to cool your room or office based on their size in square feet.

•    Areas between 150 sq. ft to 350 sq. ft – 5,000 to 8,000 BTU
•    Areas between 400 sq. ft to 700 sq. ft – 9,000 to 14,000 BTU
•    Areas between 1000 sq. ft to 1600 sq. ft – 18,000 to 25,000 BTU
•    Areas between 1900 sq. ft to 2700 sq. ft – 28,000 to 36,000 BTU

There are several other factors to consider; so just going by the room size will not lead you to the most efficient system. You need to consider the number of rooms, windows, and other such factors as well. For example, if you have too many windows that let ample sunlight in, your air conditioner will have to work harder to get the desired result. In such cases, you’ll benefit from a unit with a higher BTU measurement.

If you want to install air conditioners in hot rooms with large windows or too many heat generating appliances like a kitchen, you can add around 10% more BTUs to your estimate. You can also reduce the amount of BTUs if the area you want to cool is already relatively cool and dark like the basement.

Other Factors

You need to consider what kind of unit you want for your property. Portable and window units differ from central air conditioning systems so you need to calculate the BTU’s based on the system. Central air conditioning will require more BTUs to cool your property comfortably in many cases because they cover a large area that includes both hot and cold spots.

How to Choose the Right Air Conditioner Based on BTUs

A sales representative can help you determine the best option for you but here are some tips that can help you choose the best air conditioner for your requirements:

•    Consider the area you want to cool carefully. Measure the room, count the number of windows and doors, look for any additional heat sources, etc.

•    Determine your budget for air conditioning units and make sure there’s some room to overspend if needed.

•    Look at the technical reference charts carefully and compare the BTU’s and prices of air conditioners from different brands.

•    Look at the performance reviews of all air conditioning units in your shortlist and compare the reviews to price and BTU’s.

This will help you choose the best product for your needs. If you want professional installation and expert consultation on air conditioning systems, don’t hesitate to contact PriceFixer or call us at 877 774 2334. We’ll be happy to help.