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What are BTU’s for your AC and Furnace?

In this post the focus of BTU’s is going to be on heating and air units such as air conditioners and furnaces, but much of what is going to be shared is universal to other appliances as well. So what are BTU’s?

What are BTU’s?

Very simply, a BTU is an acronym for “British Thermal Unit”. A British Thermal Unit is the standard of measurement used for generating or increasing thermal energy. A single BTU is the amount of energy it takes to raise the temperature of an environment of 1 pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit (per hour, normally). This standard of measurement is used for heating and air units, grills, stoves, and other common appliances.

What are BTU’s for a furnace?

When it comes to your furnace or any other heating system for your home or business, BTU’s are going to be what are used to determine the unit’s heating capacity. With a heater, BTU’s are used to determine how much heat is produced and delivered to the specific area. For example, if you are looking for a new furnace, you would use the BTU capacity to determine what size furnace that you need. This can be calculated by taking the square footage of an area and determining how many BTU’s will be needed to heat that area. For an area of 1000 sq ft it takes anywhere from 30,000 to 60,000 BTU’s to heat that area depending on different factors such as insulation and climate.

What are BTU’s for an air conditioner?

For an air conditioner that blows cool air, the procedure is a bit different. A BTU for an air conditioner refers to the amount of energy it takes to remove heat from an area rather than produce heat. The air conditioner is cooling the area rather than heating the area, but BTU’s are still used as the standard of measurement. But, you’ve probably noticed that most air conditioners are classified by “tons” and not by BTU’s. What’s with that?

Well, first of all, it has nothing to do with the ac unit’s actual weight. A 2 ton air conditioning unit simply means it can cool at a rate of 24,000 BTU’s (per hour). A 2.5 ton unit would be rated at 30,000 BTU’s per hour. As you can see, BTU’s are still the standard of measurement, but the term “ton” has helped categorize the unit’s cooling capacity more easily. Similar to a furnace or heater, the square footage of an area and the amount of BTU’s (or tons) an ac unit is categorized as is important to determining the size ac unit that you would need.

Have a better understanding now?

I really hope this has helped you understand what a BTU is and how it relates to heating and air conditioning units. You can find more related information by clicking the hyperlinks that are located in the text above.

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  1. Pingback: How Much Does a New Furnace Cost? - Cagle Service Heating & Air

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