How to Calculate the BTUs Needed to Heat a Room

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Whether you are trying to decide on the best furnace for a new-construction home, replacing an old furnace that didn't seem warm enough or using a space heater to heat a garage or workshop, be sure you have enough heating power to get the job done. BTUs, or British thermal units, are the way heat output is measured. Determine the number of BTUs you need for your room before you purchase any heating equipment.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Calculator
  • Pen or pencil
  • Paper
  • Measure the width, height and length of your room, using a tape measure. Write these measurements down on a sheet of paper.

  • Multiply the length, width and height measurements together to find the total number of cubic feet in your room.

  • Multiply the number of cubic feet in the room by 5, 6 or 7, depending on the type of room you are heating. Multiply by 5 if your room has a normal amount of windows and doors and is well-insulated. Multiply by 6 if the room has larger windows or more windows than usual and has poor insulation. Multiply by 7 if your room faces north. The number you get is the total number of BTUs your room needs.

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