April 3, 2024
HVAC inspection in Austin, TX

When looking for a new AC unit, you’re going to come across the term “BTU.” Understanding what BTUs are and how they work to cool your home is important when choosing the best unit for your needs. BTU is an abbreviation for British Thermal Unit, a measurement that explains how much heat can be removed from your home within an hour. The BTU rating on AC units is particularly important for homeowners because if you get a model that doesn’t match up with your square footage and cooling needs, it won’t excel at cooling your air. At Totally Cool Heating & Air, we are always happy to help you look at our different model options and select the best unit based on several factors, including your BTU needs.

Why Is the BTU Rating Important?

Getting an AC unit with too few BTUs for your home will overwork the AC unit because it will need to run continuously to cool down your home. The AC unit will constantly try to reach the temperature you select. However, the BTU rating is too low, and it can’t ever reach that lower temperature. As a result, the unit is likely to overheat and require repairs.

Getting an AC unit with too high BTUs for your home might sound like a good idea because you know that you’ll be covered and the unit can properly cool your home. However, the AC unit will waste energy operating at a higher level. It will quickly cool your home and shut off, which means it will constantly go through a cycle of quick on/off rotation. This often creates a humid feeling in the home and also increases the overall electrical bill.

It’s important to know your BTU rating for your home and choose an AC unit that falls comfortably within that range. This will ensure that the unit runs well, properly cools your home, wastes less energy, and doesn’t cost you a lot of money for repairs or electricity.

Measurements With BTU

BTU isn’t only used for air conditioner measurements. It’s also used to measure the heat required to raise or lower water, which is important for furnaces, cooking appliances, heating appliances, cooling appliances, and heat pumps. BTUs measure the energy needed for the desired effect (temperature change in air or water), and the BTUs ultimately help determine efficient operation and optimal comfort levels for homeowners. AC units start with BTUs of around 5,000 and hit the top end at around 36,000. Commercial HVAC systems, however, can reach even larger numbers.

Calculating Your BTU Rating and Choosing an AC

Trying to decipher the BTU rating that your home needs is a complicated process. In general, BTU correlates with your home’s square footage. Here’s a list with sample footage-to-BTU calculations:

  • 100-150 square ft = 5,000 BTUs needed
  • 250-300 square ft = 7,000 BTUs needed
  • 400-450 square ft = 10,000 BTUs needed
  • 700-1,000 square ft = 18,000 BTUs needed
  • 1,200-1,400 square ft = 23,000 BTUs needed
  • 1,500-2,000 square ft = 30,000 BTUs needed
  • 2,000-2,500 square ft = 34,000 BTUs needed

When you’re ready to purchase an AC unit, it’s best to speak with one of our HVAC technicians who can provide you with your BTU rating category and give you a few options to choose from. Our technicians will run several calculations to ensure that the BTU rating is correct.

Our Experts Can Help

Nothing beats a comfortable home with cool, flowing air. If you need air conditioning services in the greater Austin area, Totally Cool Heating & Air is here for you. We know how frustrating it can be to try to sleep with a broken AC unit or exercise when you’re already sweating from a warm home. If you need residential or commercial heating and cooling installations, repairs or maintenance, indoor air quality improvement, weatherization, or duct cleaning services, we’re here to help. We can even visit your home or business and conduct an energy audit, suggesting ways to make your environment more energy efficient. Whether it’s encouraging you to replace older appliances with ENERGY STAR models, investing in double-pane windows, or installing ceiling fans, we’ll search for ways that you can lower your utility bills.

Contact [company_name today to learn more about how we can help you keep a comfortable, cool home year-round!

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