How to calculate btus & watts

Written by bill brown
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BTUs and watts are both units that measure types of power (energy expended over time). The term BTU typically refers to BTUs used over a period of time, such as an hour. For watts, the kilowatt hour is a standard unit used by energy companies (1,000 watts, or 10 light bulbs of 100 watts, used for one hour). You can calculate the number of BTUs in a given number of watts, and vice versa, using a conversion factor. The calculation of BTUs and watts is useful in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) applications, among others.

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  1. 1

    Calculate BTUs from watts by multiplying the number of watts by 3.414. If you have 2,000 watts, that would be 6,828 BTUs.

  2. 2

    Calculate watts from BTUs by dividing the number of watts by 3.414. If you have 5,000 BTUs, that is about 1,465 watts.

  3. 3

    Use this calculation to figure out the BTUs of a heating or air conditioning unit, given the watts, or the reverse, calculating the watts from a given number of BTUs.

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