If you’re wondering what BTU is, you might know that it stands for British Thermal Unit. However, that might not tell you what the term means. If you’d like to learn what it really is and why it matters, then keep reading into the following paragraphs for an introduction to the concept.

Radiator TemperatureYou’re most likely to encounter the letters of BTU when you look through a store’s collection of things like heated towel rails, radiators or vertical radiators. A radiator will have a BTU rate which is a simple and fast way of telling you just how much heat that radiator is going to emit. It’s really just there to help you figure out if a certain radiator is the proper size for a particular room or not.

It’s crucial to know the specific amount of heat every room in your home requires for your system to operate efficiently. This is how you make sure your space isn’t too cold or too warm.

When you shop for a radiator, factors like finish, design, and style are all important things to consider. Having said that, the one central facet that is more important than anything else is the BTU output of a radiator. Getting this wrong can seriously risk wasting the money you work so hard for.

What Is BTU, Or The British Thermal Unit?

Okay, it’s time for hard science. A BTU is technically a measurement that represents how much energy it would take to heat up 1 pound of water, which is about 1 pint in volume, by 1 degree on the Fahrenheit scale.

This measurement is most commonly used in the United Kingdom. However, it is often used in many other parts of the world. It is frequently associated with air conditioning, power, energy, and steam generation. BTUs are standard heat measurements in terms of picking a radiator, so you’ll usually see it prominently featured with the product specifications of any reputable unit.

Assuming that you are in the market for a new radiator means that you need to put the time in to calculate the proper number of BTUs which you need. This is essential to making a good purchase, if not even a great one.

Temperature of RadiatorAn excess of BTU means you’ll by paying for more heat than you need, and the radiator might even get too warm to work right. A deficit in BTU output means your room will rarely meet the temperatures you need to be comfortable or even safe. Your room will stay cold and be an uninviting space no one wants to be in.

If you want to enjoy all the benefit that a radiator, as well as your home’s central heating system, can provide you, then it’s essential that you pick a radiator which has sufficient heat output to serve the space you need to put it in. You shouldn’t get a tiny single-panel convector radiator in your open-concept dayroom anymore than you would use a big triple-columned radiator for a coat closet.

Calculating BTU

Don’t worry about the calculations if you’re not good at maths. Figuring it all out just means that you know how to use a tape measure, be able to count your windows, and figure out what’s on the opposite side of some walls. It’s rather simply actually, particularly if you use an online calculator.

These calculators are typically easy to use, but also free to use. The really good ones will even ask you critical details like how many radiators a room currently has and whether the windows happen to be single- versus double-glazed.

Start things off with measuring your room. You need to know the specific dimensions in terms of square metre area of any room that you want to heat up.

Calculating BTUYou also have to count how many windows the room has in that specific space. Draughts contribute to your finalised BTU number.

Then, count how many radiators you need. Will you need only one? Or will two, three, or more maximise your central heating?

Also, figure out what is both above and below your room. These play huge roles in the finalised BTU number too, since a solid floor will retain heat quite differently from floors that are above cellars or a cavity.

Along the same vein, find out what is on the opposite side of every wall in the room. Walls leading to other rooms will convey heat or retain it differently than an external wall, although the composition of each wall also has to be factored in.

Now that you’ve read all of this, you should no longer be wondering what a BTU or British Thermal Unit is. You now understand what it means, why it’s important, and how to handle it when shopping for specific parts for your home.