A Guide to Air Conditioner BTU

Apr 04, 2022

When you’re looking for a new HVAC system, you need to know the AC’s British Thermal Unit (BTU) rating before you buy it. Essentially, an AC’s BTU rating will tell you if the unit has enough power to cool your room or home properly. Since you probably don’t want to be stuck with an AC with too little power to protect you from the sweltering summer heat, find out more about AC BTU ratings and how to find a unit with the perfect rating for your home. 

What Is a BTU?

A BTU is a measurement of energy, with one BTU referring to the amount of energy needed to raise a pound of water’s temperature by 1-degree Fahrenheit. BTU is most commonly used when discussing HVAC systems. 

What Does an AC’s BTU Rating Mean?

If you’re looking for an AC, you’ll notice that they all have a BTU rating. A higher BTU rating will mean your HVAC system has greater power and can heat or cool a larger space more easily. 

Since a BTU is used to measure how much energy it takes to heat water, you might be wondering how they apply to your AC system. Instead of measuring the amount of energy required for heating water, an AC’s BTU rating refers to how much power the unit has to remove heat. If an AC has a higher BTU rating, it will have more energy and power to remove heat from your home’s air.

How Many BTUs Do I Need?

As you try to find the perfect BTU rating for your AC unit, you’ll want one that isn’t too low or high. An AC with a lower BTU rating than your home needs will struggle to keep you cool, while one with a higher BTU rating than you require will use up lots of power and raise your energy bills. 

To get the best cooling performance and energy efficiency, you’ll want to use a BTU calculator to find the right BTU rating for your home. The square footage of a room or entire house is the biggest factor in deciding the appropriate rating. For example, a 100 to 150 square foot room will generally need an AC with a BTU rating of 5,000. In contrast, a 700 to 1,000 square feet house or apartment will usually require a central AC with a BTU rating of 18,000.

While square footage is a good place to start, you’ll also need to consider other factors, such as the height of your home’s ceilings, the condition of your home’s insulation, how much sun exposure your home receives, and the general climate of your area. Due to all the factors that go into determining the right BTU rating, it’s usually best to have an HVAC professional inspect your home and give you a recommendation. 

Choose Newcomb and Company for New AC Installation and Design Services in Raleigh

While you can use an online calculator to get a sense of your needed air conditioner BTU rating, nothing beats a home inspection and AC BTU recommendation from one of our HVAC technicians at Newcomb and Company. Once you schedule a home inspection, our team can inspect your home to find the right BTU rating for your next AC unit, taking square footage and several other factors into account.

After we’ve given you our recommendation and you’ve picked your new AC unit, we’ll remove your old unit, replacing it with the new one. When you want the best performance and energy efficiency possible, we can also design a custom HVAC system for you and install it.

Find out more about our AC installation services in Raleigh, Wilmington, and the surrounding areas today. If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment, please contact us.

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