Understanding Meaning and Importance of Fireplace BTUs

meaning importance fireplace BTUs

Understanding Meaning and Importance of Fireplace BTUs

There are numerous benefits that might be present in a modern fireplace you’re considering purchasing, and this versatility itself is in itself another big positive. Where fires and fireplaces in previous generations were often simply for warmth and survival purposes, modern fireplaces offer benefits ranging from aesthetics and beauty to home value and much more.

At Comfort Solutions, we have a huge selection of modern and contemporary fireplaces for you to choose from. If you’re among those who continue to prioritize heat as one of your primary desires in a fireplace, one of the most important factors in which option you choose to install will be a measurement called BTUs. What are BTUs, and how can you determine the proper range of BTUs for a given room in your home as you consider which fireplace to install?

Basics on BTUs

BTU is a short form for the measurement known as British Thermal Units. This is one of the oldest and most traditional measures of heat, with a single BTU describing the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. BTUs are part of the United States customary units.

If you’re looking for a comparison point, consider the calorie – this is the metric equivalent. A calorie describes the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius. When it comes to defining the amount of heat your fireplace will put out, BTUs will be the primary measurement used.

Calculating BTUs for a Room

When it comes to assessing the right fireplace for your home, the name of the game in terms of BTUs is assessing a given room’s capacity. A fireplace with too many BTUs for a room will waste money on your heating bill each month, while one with too few will not adequately heat the area.

To calculate the BTU capacity of a room without an existing fireplace already in it, follow these simple steps:

  • Using measuring tape, measure the length of the room. Then, measure the width of the room.
  • Measure the height from the floor to the ceiling, using a ladder if needed.
  • Multiply these three numbers together. So for instance, if your room comes in at 11 feet long, 13 feet wide and 10 feet high, your makes up 1,430 cubic feet.
  • The maximum quantity of BTUs per 50 cubic feet of room space is 1,000, meaning that the maximum BTU rating allowable for the example room we just gave would be 28,600.

Calculating BTUs for an Existing Fireplace

In other cases, if there’s already an existing gas fireplace in a given room, you can use it to determine that room’s BTU capacity with the following steps:

  • Go over your monthly gas bill, looking for gas usage in cubic feet per hour.
  • Divide total cubic feet of gas by the number of hours of fireplace operation during that month – some find that tracking fireplace usage helps here.
  • Multiply the figure you get by 1,000, and you have your BTU rating.
  • For more on BTUs and finding the right heat output level for your fireplace, or to learn about any of our fireplace services, speak to the staff at Comfort Solutions today.


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