What Are BTUs and How Do I Measure It?

What Are BTUs and How Do I Measure It?

What Is BTU?

If you're out to purchase a new fireplace this winter, you have probably come across the word BTU. But what does that mean? And how do you know how many BTUs your fireplace needs? We're here to help! In this post, we'll explain BTUs and how to figure out how many you need.

What Is BTU?

BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. It's a measurement of heat, and it's used in the United States to measure fireplaces and fire pits.

A BTU is the amount of heat required to raise 1 pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit at sea level. 

When you have a fireplace or a fire pit, you'll probably want to know how many BTUs your new heater needs to produce to heat your room. This will help you decide if it will be able to heat your entire home or just a portion of it.

How To Calculate BTUs

It is important to determine the square footage of the room where the fireplace will be installed before deciding how many BTUs it needs to produce. The straightforward way to do this is to measure the length, width, and height of each wall in feet. Once you have that information, refer to a common BTU chart like this one.

The BTU output can also be calculated by multiplying the length, width, and height in feet of your room by the BTU per square foot for your location. For example, if your room is 1000 square feet and you live in Maine, which has an average BTU per square foot of 1,900 then your fireplace will need to generate at least 28,000 BTUs to heat adequately.

Other Factors That Affect BTUs

To calculate the BTUs needed to heat or cool your home, you'll need to consider other different factors too.

  1. Ceiling height, as well as room size, play a major role in determining how much space needs to be cooled or heated. The bigger the room, the more BTUs are required to maintain a comfortable temperature.
  2. Insulation quality is essential for two reasons: it affects how much heat is lost through the walls and ceiling, and it affects how long it takes the heat to travel through the insulation. Higher-quality insulation will result in fewer BTUs required to maintain a comfortable temperature.
  3. Finally, don't forget about the local climate. Some areas have much more extreme weather, so different heating techniques may be needed depending on where you live!