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An extension of BTU, BTUH stands for British Thermal Units per Hour. This metric is used to determine how much heat an air conditioner can remove from a room within an hour.

What is BTUH?

BTUH stands for British Thermal Units per Hour and is a unit of measurement used to indicate how much cooling power an air conditioner has. It measures the amount of heat (in BTUs) removed from a room in one hour. A higher BTU rating usually means the air conditioner is more powerful and can cool a larger space.

What is a BTU?

A BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is a unit of energy used to measure the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. A BTU is commonly used when measuring how much cooling capacity an air conditioner has—the higher the number, the greater the capacity. Air conditioning units are rated in either tons (1 ton = 12,000 BTUs/hour) or BTUs per hour (BTUH).

How is BTUH measured?

Air conditioning systems are rated by their total BTUH output, which is determined by multiplying the system’s tonnage by 12,000. Tonnage, in this instance, refers to how much heat your AC unit can absorb. One ton of cooling is the amount of heat needed to melt a pound of ice in 24 hours. The most popular AC unit size is 2.5 tons, but your HVAC technician may recommend a larger size depending on the size of your home.

The higher the BTUH rating, the larger room or space the system can cool. Additionally, when paired with an appropriately sized ductwork system, your AC unit’s BTUH capacity can be maximized.

What is considered a good BTUH rating?

When selecting an AC unit for your home or business, it’s important to determine what size unit you need based on the size of your space. Generally, you’ll want to select an air conditioner with a BTUH rating that can cool an area of equal or greater size than your space. 

The U.S. Department of Energy recommends approximately 20 BTU per square foot. However, your home’s insulation and the height of your ceilings are also a factor. It’s best to consult with an HVAC professional for help sizing your system and selecting the right unit for your needs.

The BTUH measurement is one of the most important factors to consider when selecting an air conditioner, as it will determine how quickly and efficiently it cools a space. A properly sized AC unit can help reduce energy costs, provide better indoor comfort, and prolong the life of your system.

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