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What Are BTUs in Air Conditioning?

If you are upgrading your central air conditioning or wondering which sized air conditioner to buy for a new home or business you are building, the answer lies in BTUs. 

What is a BTU?

The BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is a unit of measurement for heat energy. It is often used to measure the power of air conditioners and other heating and cooling systems. In terms of air conditioners, BTUs measure the amount of heat an AC unit can remove from a room in an hour. So, the higher the BTU, the more powerful the air conditioner. Knowing the BTU rating of your AC unit can help you determine how powerful it is and whether it is suitable for your needs.

How do you calculate the number of BTUs you need? 

The first step is to calculate the square footage of the room or structure you want to cool. To do this, simply multiply the length and width of the space in feet. Once you have that number, there is a general rule of thumb to help you calculate: an air conditioner generally needs 20 BTU for each square foot of living space. This “20 BTU per square foot” guideline varies widely based on your climate and the size of the house/building. The more in-depth technical formula for figuring out how many BTUs you need takes many factors into consideration, including what zone you live in, how many people occupy the home, if certain rooms get a lot of sunlight during the day, etc. But, generally speaking, this is the suggested range of appropriate BTUs:

1,000 square feet space: 45,000-55,000 BTUs

1,500 square feet space: 68,000-82,000 BTUs

2,400 square feet space: 108,000-132,000 BTUs

While BTU ratings are important when shopping for a new AC unit, they are not the only factor to consider. You should also consider the size of the unit, its energy efficiency, and its features. AC units with higher BTUs will usually be more expensive, so be sure to compare prices before making a purchase. Just remember that, when in doubt, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and go for a slightly larger unit—you can always adjust the temperature up or down as needed but you can’t increase an AC’s power once it’s installed.

If you are, or aren’t, sure which AC unit is right for you, it’s always a good idea to consult with the professionals at Parker’s Heating & Air Conditioning. AC units come in all different shapes and sizes, and we can help you find the perfect one for your home or business. We listen to your indoor comfort needs and recommend just the right type of heating and air conditioning system for your structure and budget. We are skilled at installing high-efficiency systems that maximize your comfort and minimize utility costs. Our professional AC Installation team will ensure your new HVAC system functions efficiently and properly. 

Once installed, AC maintenance is also important for the life of your unit. Signing up for one of our service agreements helps your system operate at peak efficiency; our experts will identify any potential problems to reduce the cost of repairs, and routinely keep your HVAC system clean for improved indoor air quality and longevity.AC units are a significant investment that make a tremendous difference in your home or business. When you call the professionals at Parker’s Heating & Air Conditioning, all that’s left is to enjoy those cooler temperatures! Happy cooling!

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