What Exactly Are BTUs?

If you have ever bought a propane appliance, from a grill to a water heater, then you have likely encountered BTUs. BTUs are a unit of measurement, and when used on propane appliances, they give an indication of the power and capacity of the appliance in question. How should you evaluate BTUs when you’re looking at propane-based appliances? Here is what you need to know.

BTU 101

BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. One BTU is approximately the amount of energy that is required to increase the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. When you see a BTU rating on an appliance, it is giving you an idea of the amount of energy output it is capable of producing. Often, BTUs on appliances are listed as BTU/h or BTUs per hour. This tells you the energy capacity per hour for the appliance in question. Sometimes, the BTUs are listed as input BTUs, which refer to the amount of propane the appliance will use. In other instances, BTUs are listed as output BTUs, which refer to the output capacity of the appliance.

Evaluating BTUs

You may think that the higher the BTUs, the better for the heating capacity or other production of the appliance. However, BTUs alone cannot fully tell the picture of how an appliance will work. Everything from the design to placement of the appliance can have an impact. You should consider BTUs when choosing appliances, but don’t make it the sole factor in your decision-making process.

Deciding How Many BTUs You Need

You should choose the lowest amount of BTUs that will adequately do the job you need the appliance to do. If you choose an appliance, such as a heater, with more BTUs than you need, you’ll end up wasting energy and not getting the most efficient use possible out of the appliance.

Barnett’s Propane, LLC is here to answer your questions about efficient propane use. Contact us to discuss your propane needs and to get on a delivery schedule. Get propane in Sierra Vista by calling (520) 458-4541 or in Tucson at (520) 628-8525.