Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

How do I calculate BTU?

  1. Aug 5, 2010 #1
    I have a gas water heater that has an exhaust of 475 degrees Fahrenheit. I would like to know, what formula can I use to determine the amount of BTU's that the water heater produces (or wastes) per hour of use. I only have the temperature of the exhaust (475 Deg. F) and the diameter of the flue which is 3". I would appreciate any help or guidance. Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 8, 2010 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    You can't calculate it from the exhaust temp. But You can read your gas meter a couple of times when it us running. Or read it off the nameplate...
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2010
  4. Aug 13, 2010 #3
    You could do an experiment . A BTU is the amount of heat needed to raise one pound of water one degree F . You could place a glass jug of water near the exhaust and measure the temp increase . And of course measure the amount of water . Or you could
    do it in calories , then convert to joules and then divide by the amount of time it took so this will give you power .
    At least this would give a crude approximation .
  5. Aug 18, 2010 #4
    @ cragar: it is a great method to estimate the heater's power within three orders of magnitude.

    @attitudeworks: it is impossible to tell using only this information. Can't you contact the company?
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook