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Measuring How Many BTUs You Need to Heat a Room

Youíve found the perfect heater to fit the space you need. Now you have to know how strong you need that heater in order to sufficiently heat your room. Perhaps as youíve been shopping, youíve noticed that some heater models come with different BTU outputs. What does this mean? The British Thermal Unit (BTU) is the standard measurement for energy output in heating sources. If it burns, thereís a BTU measurement that can be extracted from the intensity of the heat. And why do we care about this? Because getting the right BTU output in your heater will make all the difference in the world to maintaining the desired temperature in the space you need additional warmth.

So how do you figure out what BTU measurement is right for you? Itís actually kind of simple, but there is a little bit of estimation to be made. First, figure out the cubic volume of the room or space you need heated. To obtain this: simply multiple the width of the room by the length, and then multiply that number by the height. Didnít think youíd be back in high school math again, did you? Now, you have your cubic volume. Next, youíll have to use a bit of careful estimation to judge how drafty/insulated your room/space is. If you feel you have excellent insulation, youíll rate it a 2. Average insulation is a 3. And poor insulation is a 4. Generally speaking, itís best to rate your room a 3 to find a good middle ground. You then take your cubic volume and multiply that by your insulation estimate. This number will provide a general base rule for the BTU you need to heat your room. Hereís an example:

You have a 10 X 12 room with good insulation. The ceiling is 9ft. tall. 10x12= 120; 120x9= 1080 cubic feet. Your insulation is good, so you have an insulation rating of 2. 1080x2= 2160. Maybe you donít have any idea what your insulation rating will be. It could be 2, 3, or 4. In this case, what is the BTU youíll need for poor insulation? It would be 4,320. So, in essence, youíll need a heater that can produce anywhere from 2160 to 4320 BTU per hour. Since most heaters are adjustable, itís best that you procure the most BTUs you need and you can simply adjust the intensity of the heater based on your needs. Another thing to keep in mind is that colder climates will invariably require a higher BTU output. If you live in a colder climate, itís best to adjust your BTU needs just a little higher to make up for the colder temperatures. Here are a couple sites that can assist you with your calculations if you need second opinion.

Now youíve got your BTU count. Warmth awaits.


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