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What Is a BTU and Why is it Important?


Are you in the market for a new HVAC system? If you’ve done any shopping at all, you’ve probably encountered the BTU that could have you scratching your head. Here’s a quick guide to what it is and why it’s important.

What is a BTU?

BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. It originates in 19th century England where it measured the amount of heat required to increase the temperature of one pound of water by one degree. This might seem random and irrelevant to heating your home, but it was significant in the days of steam heat and the use of steam engines. Its prominence in the measurement of thermal heat and measuring heat energy is why it’s still in use today.

Why is a BTU Important?

BTUs help determine the proper air conditioner size for any given space. The BTU helps measure how much warm air an AC unit can remove from the air in a room every hour. The higher the BTU, the more quickly an air conditioning unit can cool a room. While it might seem like the more BTUs the better, it’s essential to get the correct measurement for the size of the room. Several factors go into the calculations, including room size, elevation, the direction the room faces, the amount of sun exposure, and insulation.

The average homeowner doesn’t have the experience or knowledge to determine the BTUs necessary to cool their home, which is where the pros come in. To determine the size of HVAC unit right for your home, contact H.H. Hovey Heating and Cooling.

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