May 13, 2021
man working on an air conditioner

If you’re in the market for a new air conditioner, you’ve likely come across the term BTU several times. The number of BTUs for the AC system you’re interested in is one of the most important things to know about it. But what is a BTU?

BTU Definition

BTU is an acronym for British Thermal Unit. Strictly speaking, a BTU is equivalent to the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. In practice, it’s a measurement of how much energy an air conditioner has. It’s like using calories to determine how much energy is in the food you consume. AC systems rated for a high number of BTUs have more energy than ones with less.

How Air Conditioners Are Rated by BTUs

If an air conditioner is rated at 5,000 BTUs, it will produce 5,000 BTUs of energy in one hour. The energy of an air conditioner is used to remove heat from your home and release it outdoors. The more powerful a system is, the more it’s likely to cost.

How Many BTU’s Do You Need?

When you need a new air conditioner, HVAC companies will perform a calculation to determine how many BTUs you require. They’ll recommend a system that has the same BTUs as their calculations determine or a little higher. Many factors go into their calculation, such as:

  • Your home’s square footage
  • Ceiling height
  • Windows
  • Home shape
  • Local climate
  • Insulation
  • Number of people in the household

Why It’s Important to Get an AC System With the Right BTUs

If your air conditioner has too many BTUs, it will cool your home too quickly. There won’t be enough time to remove moisture from the premises. If your AC system doesn’t have enough BTUs, it will run constantly trying to reach your desired temperature.

Conan Heating & Air Conditioning of Idaho Falls, ID, installs, repairs and tunes up air conditioners. We also provide the same services for heating systems. Our other services include geothermal and indoor air quality. Please call us today, and let our technicians help you find the right air conditioner for your home.

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