# B Air conditioner Power vs BTU

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1. Jul 7, 2016

### techniker

Hi
Air conditioners power should vary with thermostat and fan/Airflow rate levels.
Is there data on Power vs BTU? Is it directly proportional?
Thanks

2. Jul 8, 2016

### sophiecentaur

BTU is a unit of Energy and Energy is Power times time. You should always aim at comparing like with like.
Afaik, AC units work at as constant Power level and the rate of heat they shift (per hour, say) will be proportional to the AC Unit's power times the proportion of each hour it's on for (thermostat duty cycle).
The effect of heaters and coolers will depend on the temperature difference they are working with - and even more so, in the case of a Heat Pump (AC), which performs better over a small temperature difference.
Could you be a bit more specific about your original question? What practical circumstances are you talking about?

3. Jul 8, 2016

### Staff: Mentor

It doesn't vary a ton (get it!?), but it does vary a little: any decent air conditioner catalogue spec should list performance at varying conditions. Pick one and google and we'll go from there...

4. Jul 8, 2016

### Staff: Mentor

That is true, but it is common to truncate BTU/hr to BTU.

5. Jul 8, 2016

### sophiecentaur

Really? So it's like Pounds and Pounds force. The imperial units really do need sorting out (or just to be left behind).

6. Jul 8, 2016

### techniker

2. ACs work at maximum power when air flow rate and thermostat levels are maximum, and cool with the stated BTU/hr.
When air flow rate and thermostat levels are not max, BTU/hr will not be max. Let us take BTU/hr to be 50%, what will power be? If it is higher than 50% then running the AC at lower than max will lower efficiency.

7. Jul 8, 2016

8. Jul 8, 2016

### techniker

1. OK, if the AC runs at lower than max, for 50% BTU/hr, it will have lower efficiency if power does not decrease by 50% (ratio of BTU/hr / hp).

2. I will look for that.

Thanks

Last edited: Jul 8, 2016
9. Jul 8, 2016

### Staff: Mentor

Wait, lower than max what? At lower than max outside air temperature, it runs more efficiently, not less.

10. Jul 8, 2016

### techniker

max air flow rate/fan and max thermostat (=lowest temperature level in the control panel/remote control).

11. Jul 8, 2016

### Staff: Mentor

Here's another one . When we talk about pounds pressure, what we mean is pounds per square inch (psi).

12. Jul 8, 2016

### Staff: Mentor

Typically, more air means more efficiency, but there is a limit where fan energy starts going up faster than cooling energy goes down.

For the thermostat: warmer setpoints in the house make for higher efficiency with the system.

13. Jul 8, 2016

### techniker

This is beyond my knowledge level at the moment.
Maybe I should have said "ratio of [BTU/hr] / hp" instead of efficiency, and take room and outside temperature as constant.

14. Jul 8, 2016

### Staff: Mentor

Naa, we'll get you there.

Same diff. That's a power over a power.

And varying what? Are you referring to the "normal/max" setting on an air conditioner? My assumption is that that only varies the fan speed and if that is the case, the efficiency is likely higher in the "max" setting.

15. Jul 8, 2016

### techniker

16. Jul 8, 2016

### sophiecentaur

Hah. Nice try but it tells you what you actually want to know - your Mass - usually by inferring it from the force on a spring. But you don't know what's in the instrument. It could actually have a proper balance inside it and then the kg value would be direct. What would we do if our planet was significantly more oblate, I wonder?
This unit business is really quite important and Imperial measurements really don't make a lot of sense. The use of decimal currency was a sensible choice. The UK was dragged kicking and screaming in that direction a mere 40 years ago and the pint is now the only worthwhile unit that's historical.
But even with SI, we have people talking about kW per hour and a 10A battery.
An AC unit is a heat pump and the "stated BTU/hr" will apply only under certain conditions. Give it a divergent operating temperature range and the rate of shifting heat can be very different. It's very hard to quantify what's really going to happen.

17. Jul 8, 2016

### techniker

18. Jul 8, 2016

### sophiecentaur

AC is expensive, the way that people seem to use it, even under moderate conditions. People living in Arctic regions treat building and heating with strict discipline. I get the impression that more people in extremes of heat do not tend to treat it as an Engineering problem but are prepared to throw money at it. Apart from the need for a pitched roof to shed snow, I would think that houses in both extremes should be built in much the same way.

19. Jul 8, 2016

### techniker

I agree.

20. Jul 9, 2016

### David Lewis

Cooling power out can be divided by electrical power in to yield the Coefficient of Performance (COP), a dimensionless number.

COP is distantly related to Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The differences are that SEER calculates average efficiency over a typical summer (e.g. 125 900F days x 8 hours/day with indoor 800F at 50% humidity) and, due to inconsistent units (BTU/W-hr) SEER needs a conversion factor to express it as a COP.

Last edited: Jul 9, 2016