BTU stands for British Thermal Units. Using BTU is the basic way to measure the power of air conditioning units. And while the term might look intimidating, it is not.
So, what is a BTU in AC units?
A BTU simply means the amount of energy needed by an air conditioning unit to cool your home in an hour. And before buying an air conditioning unit, it is advisable to consider the BTU rating to avoid under-sizing or oversizing your unit.
How do you Calculate the BTUs you need for an AC?
BTU is a technical term, but you do not have to be a technician to make the calculations. Once you know the size of your room in square footage, then you can make the calculation.
Therefore, the first step is to calculate the size of your room’s square footage. Once you have it, multiply that figure by 25; the figure you get is the size of AC that you need in BTU.
Why Is Picking the Right AC Size Important?
Picking the right AC size in terms of BTU is the most important decision when buying and installing an AC. You need to get the figures right for proper cooling of your space and also for energy efficiency.
An air conditioning unit with more BTUs might be powerful, but that does not mean that you should always go for it. Always strive to get the right AC size for your space.
BTU that is too Low
A BTU that is too low will not sufficiently cool your home because the AC is underpowered. The air conditioning unit will be working overtime to cool your home, so it will take a longer time to push out the heat from the space.
You will also notice high energy bills because the air conditioning unit will need more power to cool your home. Since the AC will be operating for a longer time, it will wear out fast, and your power bills will remain high.
BTU that is too High
You probably think a high BTU means fast cooling, right? Well, yes, but that isn’t the entire truth. A high BTU translates to fast cooling but when it comes to AC operations, there are other factors to consider.
While the room will be cooled fast, the moisture in the air also needs to be eliminated. Since the cooling happens so fast, moisture remains in the air. Your home will be cooled quickly, but it will feel humid and sticky.
Also, since the air conditioning needs more frequent cycles to operate, it will wear out fast, and you might need to replace or repair it sooner.
What is BTU in AC Unit? Picking the Right one for your AC
Doing the basic calculation of multiplying the square footage by 25 is the easiest way to find the right BTU for your AC. However, there are other factors to consider because every home is different, meaning the cooling needs might differ.
Here are some other factors to consider when choosing BTUs for your home AC:
1. House Floor
If you live in a story house, the upper floors tend to be warmer because they are closer to the roof. Therefore, you’ll need a more powerful AC for the upper floors, compared to the lower ones.
The best way to estimate this is to adjust the BTUs by 10% upwards as you move closer to the roof. Adjusting the BTUs upwards will guarantee you proper cooling even when the temperatures are too high.
2. The Direction of the Sun
Study your room and determine the direction of the sun. If the room receives a lot of direct sunlight, it might need more cooling compared to rooms that face away from the sun. On those hot days, you might need a more powerful AC to get rid of the excess heat.
If you notice that one of the rooms receives more direct sunlight, adjust the BTUs by 10% to take care of the excess heat caused by direct sunlight.
3. Number of People in the Room
A bedroom and a classroom of the same size might require different AC sizes. A classroom is used by more people, and this means that you need more cooling power.
If you want to know how many BTUs you need for a room, add 600 BTUs per person. In case the room has two people or fewer, you can keep the BTU constant.
Heat-generating appliances in the home can affect the number of BTUs that you need for your air conditioning unit. Some rooms like kitchens need higher BTU because they have a lot of heat-generating appliances like cookers.
If you are planning to cool a kitchen, it is always advisable to account for the number of heat-generating appliances. You can add a total of 4000 BTUs to your kitchen just to be safe.
Benefits of BTU in AC
Using BTU is very important when it comes to sizing air conditioning units. Without BTU, it will be difficult for HVAC technicians to determine how much energy is needed to cool homes.
Here are some reasons why BTU is important:
1. Helps with Energy Efficiency
Using BTU calculations can be helpful when you want to achieve energy efficiency. When you buy the right size of air conditioning unit, you do not have to worry about wasting energy. You only use the exact amount of energy that you need to cool your home and save the excess.
2. The Durability of AC Appliances
Buying and installing AC appliances is an expensive affair. When you buy your air conditioning units, you need to be sure that they will serve you for a long time. And the best way to ensure the durability of your appliances is to make sure that you get the right size of AC appliance.
You need to avoid overworking your appliances so that they can serve you for a long time.
3. Efficient Cooling
If you want to achieve efficiency when cooling your space, it is advisable to get the right AC appliances. Make sure that you invest in good-quality appliances that are ideal for your places. Buying An AC with the right BTU can help you achieve maximum efficiency when cooling.