The heat and humidity has been oppressive over the last few weeks, although no one should be surprised. It is July in New York City, after all. However, if you’re finding that your home is still not cool enough with your air conditioning running on high, you might want to check that your current unit or units are powerful enough for your living space.
Getting Familiar with BTUs. . .
BTU is an acronym that stands for British Thermal Unit, and these units are measured per hour. Most folks, of course, know the term largely from having to purchasing new air conditioners as the summer heat and humidity begins to rise, but they’re used in heating systems, as well. Quite simply, BTUs measures energy, like a calorie or kilocalorie. One BTU refers to the amount of energy that’s required to increase the temperature of a pound of water by 1° F; in fact, it’s actually the British kilocalorie. In North America, the BTU describes both the heat content of fuels and the power of heating and cooling units, such as such as furnaces, air conditioners, water heaters, stoves, barbecues, and fireplaces.
BTUs Measure Energy
Heating and cooling units come with a BTU rating, which reports on the unit’s power. Because BTUs measure the amount of energy required to heat a pound of water, it makes perfect sense that it is used for heaters. However, BTUs actually work in an inverse way for air conditioners. Instead of BTUs measuring the amount of heat that’s added to your home, they measure how much heat is being removed from your house. The higher the BTU rating is, the more powerful the unit, whether it be for heating or air conditioning.
How Many BTUs Do I Need to Cool My Home?
First, you will need to determine the square footage of the area you’re trying to cool. Let’s say we’re talking about a living room that is room 18’ x 20’? Multiply the length of the room by its width to find the area. With an area of 360 square feet, you’ll need a 9,000 BTU air conditioner to cool that particular space, as per the following conversion chart.
Refer to this Chart to Figure Out How to Cool Your Apartment or Home This Summer.