Understanding BTU Readings – The Simplified Version

BTU’s are a unit of measurement equivalent to the amount of heat required to increase the temperature of one pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. BTU is an abbreviation for British Thermal Unit and has been used since the late 17th century. Understanding these measurements is the key to determining how many BTU’s you need to heat your home.

What are BTU's?

Dreaming of BTU’s…

What are BTU’s?

BTU’s are commonly used to measure heating and cooling capacity. You’ll often see BTU readings on heaters, air conditioners, and space heaters. Understanding what these numbers mean and translating them into heating capacity can be confusing for first time buyers. Rest assured, it’s not as complicated as you may think. You don’t have to be a science whizz to understand what a BTU is!

“The British Thermal Unit (BTU or Btu) is a traditional unit of energy equal to about 1055 joules. It is the amount of energy needed to cool or heat one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.”


BTU Conversions

You can calculate how many BTU’s your electric fireplace produces by multiplying wattage by 3.4. Wattage measures the rate of energy consumption by any given electrical device. Watts can be calculated by multiplying Voltage X Amperes. Below are some common BTU conversions.

  • 1 Watt = 3.41214 BTU/H
  • 1,000 BTU/H = 293.071 W
  • 1 Horsepower = 2,544 BTU/ H

In relation to heating devices, BTU’s tell you how much heat your device will provide. This is the bottom line when searching for home heating solutions that are sufficient for your application. The more BTU’s, the more heat your electric fireplace will provide. Keep this in mind when searching for something that will be able to keep you warm through the winter months.

Electric fireplaces are space heaters that can provide anywhere from 5,000 – 10,000 BTU’s. You can see how electric inserts compare to traditional wood burning stoves here. Outdoor patio heaters hold a much higher heating capacity, ranging upwards of 40,000 BTU’s. We welcome you to check out more of our blog topics to find helpful information!

More Helpful Information:

  1. Do Electric Fireplaces Really Work?
  2. Just How Much Can a New Fireplace Add to Your Homes Resale Value
  3. 10 Most Asked Questions About Electric Fireplaces