Radiator heaters are more than just classy home décor. Although they can certainly look appealing, the right one can also make a significant difference in how comfortable a room feels to be in. They generate plenty of much-needed warmth with less risk than other types of heaters. Depending on the region you call home, they may be especially essential when fall breaks into winter and both indoor and outdoor temperatures drop.
With that said, we should note that only the right radiator heater can do that for a room. A heater that makes a bedroom habitable may not be as effective in the living room. In short, you must find a radiator that will provide exactly as much warmth as you need for the room, no more and no less. If it looks aesthetically pleasing but cannot meet your heating needs, then it is no longer a viable option.
To do that, you must know how much heat you need, as well as how much heat a radiator can produce. To know all that, you must understand British thermal units, or BTU for short. Here is a guide to everything BTU, including how to convert BTU to watts.
What is BTU?
You may notice that just about every radiator heater out there includes, among other data, a measurement in BTU. This acronym stands for British thermal units, which are (as you might have guessed) units for measuring thermal energy. More precisely, as Essential Home and Garden reports, “1 BTU is the energy needed to heat or cool one pound of water 1 degree Fahrenheit at sea level.”
A variety of household appliances make use of this unit, some with their own variation on how exactly they use it. Air conditioners, for instance, do the opposite of radiators and remove heat from the air. When the manufacturers of these devices display their BTU number, they are advertising how much heat it removes in the course of an hour.
Radiator heaters are all about the amount of heat they release, making BTU the perfect unit for understanding their power. The ones that generate the least energy are typically just a bit higher than 1000 BTU. The most powerful ones may surpass 6000 and even approach 8000. This wide range covers a variety of home heating needs, and each type has its own perfect application.
Factors That Affect Radiators’ BTU Numbers
Each radiator comes with its own BTU number, but that variable does not exist in a vacuum. A few other factors can have an impact on the effectiveness of the device and how much energy it needs to create heat. You should keep this information in mind as you prepare to shop. If not, the seemingly perfect radiator may prove to be a total mistake. Here are some of the factors for which you should watch out.
The Size of the Room
A small radiator can produce an extraordinary amount of heat. However, that heat should ideally spread over the entire room. If the room is large, that small radiator may not be enough to warm up anything outside of the area right in front of it. You could approach this by adding multiple radiators or just one large one. Either way, to paraphrase Jaws, “You’re gonna need a bigger BTU.”
You could retain the services of a plumber to assess the space and tell you the BTU range you would need. If you are more of a DIY type, you can get a rough estimate with help from an online BTU calculator. The DIY part comes from you recording the height, width, and length of the room and inputting your measurements into the calculator. It will base its recommendation on the room’s cubic volume. Take into account the insulation of any rooms above and below as well.
The Number of Windows and Doors
Windows and doors are great for ventilation — sometimes, just opening them can really cool a place down. However, that means they can be a problem when you are trying to keep heat in the room, even if they are closed. Heat loss is an important factor to remember when considering the BTU you need. If you do not think about it, then the radiator may never be enough to fully heat a room.
A good BTU calculator will take this into account as well. It may ask you to input the number of doors into and windows within a room. It may also ask if any windows face north, or belong in a specific category. Make sure that you have all this information at hand.
Converting BTU to Watts
The British thermal unit measures energy produced, but power companies do not charge households for that. Instead, the bills they send are for the amount of, well, power that you use in a monthly period. For this purpose, they use watts to measure energy transferred. If you want to know how much power a radiator requires to function, you can convert its BTU number into watts to get your answer.
BTUs and watts are opposites, but they do have a relationship. After all, you have to use power to produce energy. You would need approximately 0.293 watts to produce one BTU within one hour. Thus, to convert BTU to watts, you just need to multiply the BTU number by 0.293. Likewise, to convert watts back into BTU, you should divide by 0.293. If you prefer not to put a fraction in the denominator of a fraction, multiply by 3.412 (not the exact number, but close enough).
Find the Right One at Eastgate Radiators
Knowing the BTU requirements for your room is crucial for informing your radiator heater shopping. Without that knowledge at your disposal, you may end up with an appliance that fails to warm the room or provides far more heat than required. Worse, it could drive up energy bills
Once you convert BTU to watts and determine what exactly you need, you can find the right heater right here at Eastgate Radiators. We offer hundreds of heaters that run the gamut in their BTU numbers, guaranteeing that you will find one that perfectly suits your situation. Check us out today and place an order right away.