This is an acronym that almost everyone has heard but very few actually know what it means. A British Thermal Unit is a traditional unit of heat. One BTU is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. Its counterpart in the metric system is the calorie.
We use BTU as a way to measure how much heat is needed to heat a home or how much heat is being removed in the cooling cycle. Within the HVAC industry, BTU’s are the norm when discussing the capacity of any furnace or A/C.
Furnaces for residential applications range from 40-140,000 BTU’s and A/C units from 9-60,000 BTU’s. A/C units are also referred to in tonnage, 12,000 BTU’s equal 1 ton.
In theory, the larger the equipment the quicker it will heat or coll a given space. In reality, it is the worst way to size equipment. With today’s high efficiency and advanced features, it is mandatory to do a load calculation prior to any installation. That is the only way to maximize the efficiency and comfort of your new furnace A/C.
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