What is a BTU?

Posted: January 24, 2017


You’ve probably heard the term BTU many times before – but do you know what it means?

A BTU (British Thermal Unit) is the amount of energy needed to heat one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. For example: if a 16 ounce glass of water is at 59° F, it would take 1 BTU to raise that glass of water to 60°. One BTU is roughly the equivalent of burning one match.

Each type of fuel and appliance has an estimated amount of BTUs it can produce. Typical BTU outputs for common fuels are:

Heating appliances are rated by the amount of BTUs they can produce – the higher the BTU rating, the shorter the time it needs to produce heat.

How does this affect me?

The size of your house, type and amount of insulation, and other factors such as climate, sun exposure, and the quality of your doors and windows will determine your home’s heating load – in other words, the amount of BTUs per hour it takes to heat your house.

Installing a new appliance whose BTU output is appropriate for your home type is very important: you want a system that consumes as little as possible while still keeping your home warm. With guidance from a professional, you can choose a system that’s the perfect size and output for your home and lifestyle.

Ready for an upgrade to your home heating system? Contact us today for a FREE estimate on a right-sized solution for your Maine home.