So, you’re looking on the market for a new air conditioner and you’ve come across an unfamiliar acronym - BTU. BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. It is a form of measurement that measures energy. One BTU refers to the amount of energy that’s required to increase the temperature of a pound of water by 1° F.
When purchasing an air conditioner, it is very important to check the BTU as this tells you how many units of heat the air conditioner can remove. You should ensure that you are purchasing an air conditioner that can remove the correct amount of heat from your home, otherwise you could be wasting your money.
What can happen if you don’t choose the correct BTU?
What Happens if You Don’t Have Enough BTUs?
Without enough power, your air conditioner will constantly be running to keep your home cool. If you choose a BTU that is too low - it will take longer to cool the room and your electricity bill will soar in price.
Does More BTUs Mean Better Cooling?
Yes, higher BTUs means that the air conditioner is more powerful. However, this doesn’t mean that you should automatically go for the largest unit you can find. In the case of air conditioners, bigger does not necessarily mean better. If your air conditioner is too powerful, it will cool your home too quickly. While this might sound like a fantastic thing at first, it’s pretty bad. In addition to cooling your home, your air conditioner also removes moisture. If you choose a BTU that is too high - the moisture extraction cannot keep up and this can cause a humid atmosphere. This can also put a strain on the system which reduces its lifespan since it has to stop the cooling cycle too frequently.
The amount of sunlight
If the room you are wanting to cool is directly in the sun for a long period of the day, it can affect the amount of power needed. This means you might need a higher BTU. If the room tends to be in the shade most of the day - you will need a lower BTU. Homes in hotter climates will require more power than those located in colder climates and homes with open floor plans will require more power than the ones that have smaller, enclosed rooms.
If your home is not well insulated, it will lose air much quicker meaning a higher BTU is needed. Another factor to consider is how many windows your home has. Windows don’t offer the same insulation as actual insulation. So, if you have several large windows in your home, you’re likely to require more power. Hence, go for a higher BTU so that it can keep up with this loss.