Spokane Heating FAQ: How Are Furnace BTUs Measured?

One question that we get from customers on a regular basis is how to size a furnace and how BTUs are measured to help determine the right size. Your furnace’s heating capacity is measured by a unit called a “British Thermal Unit” (BTU). A BTU unit is essentially a measurement determined by the amount of heat it would take to heat one pound of water by one degree; therefore, the BTU capacity for a furnace can help determine fuel costs by converting it into cost per 1000 BTUs.

When you are comparing furnace models, you should see a BTU number provided in the general information section. You’ll also see AC capacity measured in BTUs, but there are variations in the calculations according to whether you are purchasing a heating or cooling system.

The type of fuel will have an effect as well. For instance, natural gas is usually metered in CCF (hundreds of cubic feet) of energy consumption, so about one thousand BTUs of natural gas is provided by 1 cubic foot, so when you divide the cost of the fuel by 1000 BTUs of propane heat you can determine how cost-effective it will be to run a furnace on natural gas. Propane would require the same type of formula. Only combustible fuels are measured in BTUs. Determining the cost of an electric furnace will involve other factors.

Here are some additional factors to consider when sizing according to BTU output for a particular furnace model:

  • Location, size, and layout of the home.
  • How well the home is insulated and sealed.
  • The amount of natural light the home gets in the winter.
  • How many rooms require heating.
  • Ventilation and moisture levels.
  • Condition of all other heating components and equipment in the home.

For new home constructions, you’ll need to work with your builder to help determine square footage and the other factors mentioned above before choosing a furnace. Having the right furnace size is vital to maintaining high performance and efficiency levels.

Don’t hesitate to call the Spokane furnace experts at ACI NORTHWEST if you have any questions about selecting the right furnace for your home.

Call ACI Northwest for all your Spokane heating questions and services. Whether you want to know more about sizing a new heating system, or you would like to discuss your options for replacing your furnace, one of our friendly staff members will be glad to help you out.

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