How BTU Affects Your AC Unit

Btu

BTU and AC are acronyms that go together to make cool comfort. The former stands for “British Thermal Unit,” the standard for expressing units of heat energy. The latter, of course, is short for “air conditioner.” The BTU specification expresses AC cooling capacity and efficiency.

Why BTUs Count

While a furnace adds BTUs of heat to warm a house during the winter, the BTU rating for air conditioners refers to heat the AC removes from the house every hour to keep it comfortably cool in summer. The higher the BTU rating for an air conditioner, the more powerfully the unit will extract heat.

How the Calculation Is Made

Determining the proper BTU rating to cool a specific house, which is known as “HVAC sizing,” involves a calculation including total square footage, the type and amount of insulation, daily hours of sun exposure your home gets, the number of windows your home has, and the typical number of occupants. The heat-moving capacity of an air conditioner is expressed in tons: One ton equals 12,000 BTUs of heat extracted from the home per hour.

How Much Is Enough or Too Much?

In residential applications, typical central AC ratings range from 1.5 tons up to 5 tons of cooling capacity. That equals between 18,000 and 60,000 BTUs of heat removed from the house every hour. An accurate sizing survey by a qualified HVAC professional to determine the required cooling capacity is critical for these reasons:

For all your home heating and cooling needs, contact the professionals at Jackson & Sons.

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