How Much BTU do I Need for an Air Conditioner?

When it comes to investing in a new AC system, there are a lot of numbers to pay attention to. The different EER and SEER ratings matter, as do amperage and voltage levels. However, the most important number you’ll want to know is BTU, which measures the entire cooling capacity of your system. Some homes require a system with a high BTU, others not so much. If you ever find yourself asking, “how much BTU do I need for an air conditioner,” we have some answers below.

What is BTU?

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To put it simply, BTU stands for British Thermal Units. This is the measurement used to measure energy. One BTU is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

Think of it in terms of a calorie. Calories help power our bodies and give them energy. However, too many calories can lead to a sluggish system. You want the optimal number of calories—or BTUs—to power your system, but not to overload it.

Why Does BTU Matter?

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BTU matters because it shows how much power the appliance has. The higher the BTU the faster a furnace or AC unit can change the temperature in your home.

There are a few things to consider though. A machine with a high BTU count can quickly temperature treat your home, but you may be looking at a higher bill. Something with a smaller BTU count will get your home to that optimal temperature, but it will take a few extra minutes.

How do I Calculate the Right Size?

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There are a huge number of factors that go into determining the right size system and number of BTUs needed in your home. Just like HVAC systems, larger isn’t always better.

It’s important to find a system that works for you, your home, and your lifestyle. Anything can change the number of BTUs you need. Does your home have high ceilings? What about the location of your home? Do you have insulation?

All these will need to be taken into consideration when looking for the right sized system for your home.

What AC Unit is Best for My Home?

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They type of AC unit you need depends on the type of home you’re living in. For studio dwellers, or people who rent a room, we recommend a portable AC unit.

Homeowners have more options. Our two favorites are the central home system and the ductless, or mini-split system.

Both these options have two components, an indoor unit and outdoor unit. Central AC systems are great for homeowners why may only have a furnace in place. It can add to your existing ductwork.

We recommend mini-split systems for homes that are new, or incredibly old. Both these homes usually do not have existing ductwork. Which makes the mini-split system your best bet.

Learn More About AC Options from Service Champions

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At Service Champions, we believe an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. That’s why we recommend scheduling an AC tune-up every year. During this appointment, one of our HVAC experts will look at every part of your system and give it a professional cleaning. They will also give any advice to keep your unit up and running and will let you know about best options for your home and lifestyle.

To meet your HVAC expert, dial the number at the top of the screen or click here to request an appointment online. We proudly serve areas of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties.