Comfort Air Conditioning + Heating is a premier high-end HVAC company serving Manhattan, Brooklyn and select parts of Long Island, including the East End. We specialize in everything from traditional to ductless air conditioning systems.
What a BTU Means to Your Air Conditioning System
When reviewing new air conditioning systems, you may run across the acronym ‘BTU’ when comparing different units. What is BTU, and how does it relate to air conditioning systems, furnaces, and heat pumps? Allow us to explain.
What is a BTU?
BTU is short for British Thermal Unit, a worldwide way to measure the heat needed to raise or lower one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.
BTUs and Your Air Conditioning System
Air conditioning systems need roughly 20 BTUs per square foot of living space. To determine the right amount of BTU for your home, multiply the square footage by 20. Let’s look at an example: If you have a 1400-square-foot house, you should be purchasing a unit that is roughly 28,000 BTU. Getting a system with too little or too many BTUs can lead to problems, so you must choose the right system for your home.
If you purchase a unit with too many BTUs, you will waste money and perhaps cause expensive damage. This is because your system will run for short, intense periods, shutting off, then run again. This rapid on and off cycle can lead to premature wear and uses energy inefficiently.
If you purchase a unit that doesn’t have enough BTUs, it may never shut off because it won’t be able to reach the desired temperature. This situation also wastes money and can potentially damage your system from excess wear and tear.
Choosing the Right System for Your Home
BTU is just one measurement used to determine the proper system for your home. Other considerations include tonnage, kilowatts, environment, and many other factors, large and small. To choose the appropriate system for your home, you should consult with a qualified HVAC contractor who can do a complete assessment of your cooling needs.