If you get an air-conditioning system without considering the BTU rating, you could face significant challenges, from underperformance to high energy bills. So what exactly does the acronym BTU mean, and why is it important? Here’s a quick guide to BTUs and their effects on your AC unit’s performance.

What Is a BTU?

BTU is the acronym for British Thermal Unit. In terms of air conditioning, a BTU is a measure of the amount of heat that an air conditioner can remove from your home’s air within an hour. One BTU by itself is a small amount of energy. Air conditioners are rated at thousands of BTUs. An air conditioner rated at 12,000 BTUs absorbs 12,000 British Thermal Units of heat per hour and transfers it outside to cool your indoor environment.

Why Are BTUs Important?

Knowing the right BTUs for a house the size of yours is essential to determining the kind of AC system you need. Suppose you get a system whose BTUs exceed the amount recommended for your home. Such a system will cool your home too quickly, meaning it will shut off immediately. It will turn on and off more often, making AC equipment work too hard and wear itself out earlier than anticipated.

Cooling your home too quickly also means your air conditioner won’t have enough time to effectively remove moisture from the air, leaving behind a sticky, humid environment.

What if your system’s BTU rating is lower than the recommended rating for your home? It will constantly run to try to cool a space that it lacks the capacity to cool. Consequently, it may never cool your house sufficiently, leading to uneven temperatures. The extra energy the AC system expends as it tries to reach the set temperature will result in high energy bills.

As you can see, choosing the right amount of BTUs is crucial to your AC unit’s performance. An HVAC professional will consider your home’s square footage, ceiling height, size, and number of windows, among other factors, to determine the amount of BTUs that you need. Contact Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing for all your air-conditioning needs in the Indianapolis area.