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BTUs: The most important term for air conditioners that you may be overlooking



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The BTU rating of your AC unit is important.

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When looking for an air conditioner, one of the terms you will come across is BTUs, also known as British Thermal Units. This guide will help you understand what a BTU rating is and how it affects choosing the right air conditioner for your home. For the purposes of this post, we̵

7;re focusing specifically on BTU ratings for window air conditioners.

Read more: 5 signs you need to replace your window air conditioner

BTU basics

A measure of the performance of an air conditioner is the BTU rating. BTUs are the energy used to remove heat from a room. Therefore, the more BTUs an air conditioner has, the better equipped it is to cool a larger space.

How many BTUs do I need?

When determining the BTUs you need, measure the dimensions of the room where you plan to install them. Once you have calculated the square footage, you will need 20 BTUs for every square foot of space. In addition to the size of your room, consider ceiling height, whether the room will get shade, and window dimensions (if applicable).

Then multiply the square footage of your room by 20. If your space is 90 square feet, you want to find a model that can produce at least 6,000 BTU. As a guideline, consider 5,000 BTU models for rooms 150 square feet or smaller, 8,000 BTUs for medium-sized rooms (340 square feet), and 12,000 to 14,000 BTU models for rooms with square footage from 550 to 800.

Having the right strength is imperative. This allows the unit to operate at maximum efficiency, saving you money and extending the life of the air conditioner.

Avoid these common air conditioner mistakes

If you try to run an air conditioner with too few BTUs, your air conditioner will turn on and off more often to keep up, which can result in higher utility bills.

Using it all the time also puts unnecessary pressure on your air conditioner, potentially requiring more maintenance and shortening its life.

You also don’t want to buy a model that’s too powerful for a room. Sure, a 12,000 BTU air conditioner will cool a small space (150 square feet or less) quickly. But it can cool it down to fast, preventing it from removing some of the ambient humidity from the room and leaving the room moist.

Two last things to know

When buying air conditioners, look for models with eco settings. Eco settings can make your unit run more efficiently, allowing you to better balance comfort and savings.

The placement of your air conditioner is also important. You don’t want to place your device next to a television or other appliance where it can detect heat, which keeps the air conditioner running continuously.

Read more: Are you going on vacation this summer? Here’s how to cut AC costs while you’re away






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