Buying Guide


indow air conditioning units help
people who do not have a central
cooling system stay cool when
temperatures rise.

When shopping for window air conditioners, consumers will no doubt encounter the acronym BTU.
BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, which is a traditional measurement of heat, defined as the amount of heat required
to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree
Fahrenheit at sea level. While BTUs may make sense when determining heat output of gas grills or the warming capacity of a heating
appliance, just what do heating units have to do with air conditioners?
According to Compact Appliance, when BTUs are used in relation to
air conditioning systems, the measurement expresses how many BTUs
can be removed from the air per hour, essentially reflecting how well
heat can be extracted from a room and cooled by the unit. While it
may seem like having the highest BTU rating would always be ideal,
this isn’t always the case. Cooling a room too quickly with an oversized unit may result in the appliance having to cycle on and off frequently, eventually overworking the air conditioner’s compressor and
potentially shortening its life span. Similarly, using a unit that doesn’t
have enough BTUs will prevent the air conditioner from making a
room comfortable, potentially compelling users to run the appliance
in excess. Instead, consumers need to find the right unit for their
needs. Measuring the square footage of a room and then comparing it
against BTU guidelines for particular air conditioner units is a great
way to ensure you find the right window unit. According to the home
improvement experts at Lowes, the following are the advised BTU ratings matched up with room sizes:
150 to 350 sq. ft.: 5,000 to 8,000 BTUs
350 to 550 sq. ft.: 8,000 to 12,000 BTUs
550 to 1,050 sq. ft.: 12,000 to 18,500 BTUs
1,050 to 1,600 sq. ft.: 18,500 to 25,000 BTUs.
Other factors will influence cooling capability as well. Consider

whether a room gets a lot of sun or shade, and then adjust the BTU
rating accordingly. Second-story rooms may have more ambient heat.
Also, the number of occupants in a room may drive up the temperature, which may require purchasing a large unit.

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Serving the Area Since 2004

Your specialist for indoor air quality, heating,
ventilation and air conditioning



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