What is a BTU and Why Do I Care?

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What is a BTU and Why Do I Care?

Who knew that one day you would be here – in the market for a new air conditioner, reading a blog post about BTU and why it’s relevant to you. Those three letters have a significant meaning for your air conditioner and how efficiently it’s cooling your home. Let’s get into it!

What does BTU stand for?
BTU is an acronym standing for British Thermal Unit. Basically, it measures energy. A BTU rating indicates the amount of energy required to increase the temperature of one pound of water by one degree fahrenheit. It is frequently used surrounding the topic of heating and air conditioning units.


So what does this mean for your HVAC system?

Every HVAC unit comes with a BTU rating, which lets people know the power and capability of the unit. BTU’s measure the amount of energy required to heat a pound of water, which makes sense regarding a heating unit. So when it comes to an air conditioner, how does it relate? Well, AC units remove heat from the air and circulate cool air back into the space. So instead of measuring how much heat is being added to your home, it measures the heat that is being removed.


How many BTUs will your home need?

The correct unit size doesn’t always mean dimensions, but does include choosing a unit with the best BTU rating for your particular needs. The first thing you’ll need to take note of is your home’s square footage. There are simple, free resources online with charts to show how many BTUs are required for the amount of space you have. You’ll also need to take the height of your ceilings into account, but the typical assumption is for homes with 8-foot high ceilings.


Other factors to take into account are things like your home’s insulation, where it’s located, and your floor plans/layout. The range of BTUs needed for your space will depend on these various factors and your personal needs. At the end of the day, what you don’t want is for your unit to constantly be running, which can cause faster wear and tear and higher utility bills.


If you’re ready to chat BTUs and which units would work best for your space, give our comfort specialists a call!

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