BTUs: What They Are and How They Impact Your Air Conditioner

Purchasing a major appliance like an air conditioning system can be a daunting experience. Unfortunately, manufacturers do not make it much easier for someone on the hunt for a new A/C system. As is the case with many appliances, consumers can become overwhelmed by the product’s printed vernacular. One of the more common head-scratchers is the acronym “BTU.”

BTUs: What Are They?

A British Thermal Unit (BTU) is a way of measuring how much thermal energy an appliance is able to generate. For example, a one-degree Fahrenheit increase per pound of water at sea level indicates that a unit has one BTU. To put it simply: the amount of British Thermal Units will let a consumer know how powerful a unit’s cooling system is. This is not an acronym to skip over when you are on the market for an air conditioning system.

The Higher the BTU Number the Better, Right?

An A/C unit’s BTU number should be taken into consideration along with the size of the space you are looking to cool. If you purchase a system with too many BTUs for your living space, you will see a spike in your utility bills and your air conditioner will have a shorter lifespan (due to the fact that the system is able to cool a room down quickly and will run its cooling cycle more often than needed). If you purchase a system with too few BTUs for your living space, you will likely run into mechanical issues due to the simple fact that your system is working harder to produce sub-optimal results.

Additional Factors to Consider

Room size is not the only factor to consider when deciding on an appropriate amount of BTUs. How many windows the room has plays a role as well. If the room gets an ample amount of sunlight and is 225 square feet, it will require a system with more BTUs than a 225-square-foot room that gets little sunlight. In addition, it is good to consider how many people will be in the space on a daily basis. A simple tip is to add 600 British Thermal Units for every additional person (including yourself) that will be residing in or working in the room.

As you can see, BTUs are more than just another bit of text on the packaging of an appliance. Coming up with the appropriate amount of BTUs for your space can be confusing, but Cascade Mechanical is here to help. Contact the experts at Cascade or Call (509) 642-6383. for expert advice on the perfect amount of BTUs for your air conditioning system.