BTU vs SI Units: Understanding BTU, Watts and Tons In Refrigeration Using Our Conversion Calculator

May 29, 2024

What Is BTU and What does BTU Stand For?

BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is a unit of heat measurement used in the US customary system. It quantifies the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. Despite the widespread use of watts in the SI system for power measurement, BTU is still commonly used for heating and cooling systems, especially in air conditioning.

Specifically, BTU per hour (Btu/h) denotes the rate of heat transfer and refers to the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit in one hour as stated above.

How To Convert Tons to BTU?

1 BTU is equivalent to 8.33333 × 10⁻⁵ refrigeration tons. To convert BTUs to tons, simply multiply the number of BTUs by 8.33333 × 10⁻⁵.

What is Ton of Refrigeration?

A ton of refrigeration (symbol: TR or TOR) is a unit of power used to describe heat transfer. One ton of refrigeration is equivalent to the amount of heat required to melt one ton (2000 pounds) of pure ice at 0°C (32°F) over the course of a day. The use of Ice was due to the introduction of a ton of refrigeration being introduced in the late 1800s when large blocks of ice were used to cool houses and business premises. As the ice melted, it absorbed heat from the room, functioning similarly to modern air conditioners. The ice didn’t produce cool air; instead, it removed hot air from the room.

In the USA, the cooling capacity of air conditioning and refrigeration equipment is frequently measured in tons of refrigeration. Manufacturers often provide the capacity in BTU/h as well, particularly for smaller devices.

To convert British Thermal Units (BTU) to tons of refrigeration, you can use a simple conversion formula. One ton of refrigeration is approximately equivalent to 12,000 BTUs per hour. Use our calculator Below to do the conversion.

Convert BTU to Watts

To convert power from watts to British Thermal Units (BTUs) per hour, you can use a straightforward conversion formula. One watt is approximately equal to 3.412142 BTUs per hour.

Formula for Converting Watts to BTUs per Hour

BTU/h = Watts x 3.412142

Conversion Process:

  1. Determine the Watts value: Find out the total number of watts that you need to convert.
  2. Apply the Conversion Formula:
  • Multiply the number of watts by 3.412142 to find the equivalent in BTUs per hour.

BTU to Tons and Watts Calculator

What Are BTUs in Air Conditioning?

A BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is a unit of measurement used to quantify the amount of heat energy as mentioned earlier. In the context of air conditioning, BTUs measure the cooling capacity of an air conditioning unit. Specifically, one BTU represents the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

How BTUs Relate to Air Conditioning

  • Cooling Capacity: The BTU rating of an air conditioner indicates its cooling power. The higher the BTU rating, the more cooling capacity the unit has, and the larger the space it can effectively cool.
  • Room Size: To select the right air conditioner, it’s important to match the BTU rating to the size of the room. Too few BTUs will result in insufficient cooling, while too many BTUs can lead to high humidity levels and an uncomfortable environment.

Typical BTU Ratings for Air Conditioners

  • Small Rooms (100-300 sq ft): 5,000 – 7,000 BTUs
  • Medium Rooms (300-500 sq ft): 8,000 – 12,000 BTUs
  • Large Rooms (500-1,000 sq ft): 13,000 – 18,000 BTUs
  • Extra Large Rooms (>1,000 sq ft): 19,000 – 24,000 BTUs

Importance of Correct BTU Rating

Choosing an air conditioner with the correct BTU rating ensures efficient operation and comfort. An underpowered unit will struggle to cool the space, leading to excessive energy use and wear on the unit. Conversely, an overpowered unit will cycle on and off too frequently, failing to dehumidify the space properly.

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