We use a lot of acronyms and terminology in the Heating and Cooling industry, and sometimes that can be confusing to homeowners. Today we want to shed a light on one of those terms: air conditioner Btu. So what is air conditioner Btu and how does it apply to your cooling system at home?

What is a Btu?

Btu stands for British thermal unit. It is a measurement of the amount of energy it takes to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. Although it has several different scientific applications, Btu is used in the HVAC industry to describe how powerful a furnace or air conditioner is.

What is air conditioner Btu?

When used specifically to describe the power of an air conditioner, Btu’s are often converted to “tons” of cooling. One ton of cooling is equal to 12,000 Btu. To give you some perspective, typical residential central air conditioners have a capacity of between 1 and 5 tons, or between 12,000 and 60,000 Btu.

Btu’s and tons are crucial measurements for figuring out the right size of an air conditioner for a home. A home with an air conditioner that’s too powerful or not powerful enough for its dimensions can lead to breakdowns and costly repairs.

Air conditioner Btu and SEER ratings

Another way that Btu’s are used in the HVAC industry is to calculate the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating of air conditioners.

The formula for figuring out an air conditioner’s SEER rating is BTU divided by watt-hours. In this formula, BTU describes the energy output of a unit, and watt-hours describe the energy that goes into powering the unit. The more Btu’s that are used in a given amount of watt-hours, the higher the SEER rating and the more efficient the unit will be.

If you have any questions about air conditioner BTU, or if you’d like a cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact Jerry Kelly Heating & Air Conditioning, your St. Louis area heating and cooling company.

Image credit: Samuelraj

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