If you are an HVAC novice, you may wonder what BTU is...In this article, we are here to let you know!
What is BTU?
BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is the amount of energy needed to increase or decrease the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. For furnaces and heat pumps, their BTU number relates to the heat output capability of a unit. For air conditioners, their BTU number relates to the amount of energy used to remove heat from the air.
So, I want the unit with the highest BTU number, right?
Well, not necessarily. A higher BTU number does not directly translate to a system being 'better.' The power output needed for your home depends largely on your home size, ductwork, type of windows/doors/insulation, and structure.
Whole home units range anywhere from 60,000 BTU all the way up to 100,000 BTU and larger! Smaller units, such as ductless split indoor units, range from 6,000 BTU to 36,000 BTU, with their outdoor units ranging from 1.5-5 tons. Air conditioning units and heat pumps are sized by ton, which equates to the amount of BTUs they can handle. For example, a 4-ton unit can handle up to 48,000 BTUs. The larger your home, the higher BTU and larger system you will need. BTU also provides a great way to compare the capacity of different brand units that are similarly priced.
How do I know what size I need then?
The best way to find a properly sized system is to work with an experienced and knowledgeable HVAC professional. If you purchase a system that is too large for your home, the system could cool the space too quickly and not work well to remove humidity. Conversely, if you purchase a system that is too small for your home, your AC will turn off and on more often in an effort to keep up, which could result in higher energy bills.
At ECI Comfort, we specialize in sizing and designing heating and cooling systems specifically tailored to your family and home's needs. We achieve this with proper load calculation and decades of experience with both installation and service.
ECI Comfort specializes in installing properly sized HVAC systems. Learn more about these opportunities by clicking the button below, or give us a call at 215-245-3200.