How to Calculate a BTU Cooling Load

Written by bill brown
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How to Calculate a BTU Cooling Load
The BTU cooling load is the cooling requirement for your room. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

The BTU cooling load is the amount of BTU cooling muscle you'll need to keep your place comfortable when the mercury surges. The BTU abbreviation, which represents British thermal units, is very simply a power designation. Used almost universally for air conditioners, it represents how much capacity the unit has to affect cooling in your room. You can make comparisons of the strength of differing units; higher BTU ratings mean stronger units. Use the value recommended by Energy Saver to work out your cooling load by area.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Calculator
  • Measuring tape

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  1. 1

    Lay the measuring tape across the length and width of the floor the room you're computing the cooling load for, and take your reading to the nearest foot.

  2. 2

    Compute the area dimension by multiplying the length and width. For a room that is 17 feet by 26 feet, the area is 442 square feet.

  3. 3

    Multiply the area by 20. The BTU cooling load here (442 times 20) is 8,840 BTUs, a mid-size room unit.

  4. 4

    Increase your savings on electricity by finding the optimal SEER factor on units of equivalent power. The SEER reflects energy efficiency; higher SEER factors are preferred.

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