BTU - British Thermal Unit

BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. It’s a unit of measurement used to quantify the energy required to heat or cool something. One BTU is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

If you’re considering having a new heat pump or heating system installed, it may be beneficial to know how many BTUs per hour your unit will require.

The best way to find out the exact BTU requirements you need to heat your desired space is to call Valley Home Services and schedule a ductless heat pump installation consultation. Our team excels at analyzing the heating and cooling needs of Bangor and Brunswick homes and businesses.

What Is BTU/H?

BTU/H, which stands for British Thermal Unit per Hour, refers to how many BTUs of heat an appliance produces if it runs without interruption for one hour. This measurement can be used to compare various heating appliances.

Knowing an appliance creates 18,000 BTU isn’t very helpful without a time component. Specifying how many BTUs are produced in an hour helps heating and cooling system shoppers determine how powerful a temperature control appliance they require to meet their desired heating and cooling performance targets.

It’s worth noting that speed isn’t necessarily the be-all and end-all of temperature control performance metrics. Furnaces burning fuel can significantly outpace heat pumps in terms of BTU/H, but the cost of that performance is far higher than the energy costs required to obtain the steady heating performance of a heat pump.

Both options will meet your comfort needs, but one will do so quickly and expensively while the other will do it much more affordably at a slightly slower pace.

Where Is BTU Commonly Used?

BTU is used as a unit of performance measurement in a variety of heating and cooling applications, including:

  • Heat pumps
  • Gas, electric and oil furnaces
  • Central air conditioners
  • Portable air conditioners
  • Boilers
  • Wood furnaces
  • Gas fire pits
  • Gas stoves and grills

What Does BTU Mean for Your Heat Pump?

Unlike conventional gas furnaces, heat pumps don’t burn fuel to produce energy. Instead, a heat pump collects heat and dumps it inside or outside your home depending on its mode. In the summer months, your heat pump will work like a standard air conditioner—it will cool your home by absorbing heat from inside and releasing it outside. In the winter, your heat pump will run in reverse, meaning it will take heat from the outside and transfer it into you home.

Because a heat pump merely transfers heat instead of producing it, the amount of energy needed to power it is only a fraction of what a furnace requires to match the heating output. What does this mean for home and business owners in the Bangor or Brunswick area? Heat pumps are significantly more cost effective and environmentally friendly than gas and oil furnaces. That’s why Efficiency Maine and other organizations offer rebates to encourage families and businesses to invest in ductless heat pumps.

In terms of BTUs, your heat pump will have lower BTU/H performance compared to conventional heating and cooling appliances.

For instance, the average BTU range for a mini-split ductless heat pump is 6,000 to 48,000 BTU/H, whereas the gas/oil furnace BTU range is 40,000 to 160,000 BTU/H. Central air conditioners operate a lot like heat pumps (although they don’t have a heating mode) and offer cooling performance around 18,000 to 60,000 BTU/H.

Heat Pump Size by Square Footage

In general, the heating and cooling capacity requirements of your heat pump will be dictated by the square footage of your home or the space you want to heat or cool. Because mini-split ductless heat pumps are used to supplement heat or only control the temperature in a few rooms, you don’t need to base your calculations on your whole home’s square footage.

An experienced heat pump technician can help you determine the kind of BTU/H performance you’ll need to meet your temperature control needs.

Reach Out to Valley Home Services in Hermon and Brunswick About Your Heat Pump Installation

At Valley Home Services, we specialize in installing energy-efficient ductless mini-split heat pumps to provide efficient heating and cooling for homeowners in the Bangor, Hermon and Brunswick areas. Whether you need a heat pump for residential or commercial heating and cooling, we have the right unit for you. We can also help you take advantage of great rebates so you can replace your existing heating solution or supplement your central air system at a steep discount.

To schedule your ductless heat pump installation consultation, call (800) 316-7815.