Heating and cooling equipment firms adopt a requirement of providing at least 25 to 30 Btu of heat per square foot in the residence for a moderate to warm environment. A 2,000-square-foot mid-sized home would require roughly 50,000 to 60,000 BTU to heat effectively.
Btu is short for British thermal unit. The term refers to the amount of energy needed to raise one pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. One Btu is equal to 0.1378 kilowatt hour (kWh).
So, if your gas furnace has a output of 20,000 Btu, it will be able to heat your home about two months out of the year. If you use other sources of heat during those months, such as electric heat pads or a wood stove, then your family won't be using as much energy as they could be. But still, 50,000 Btu isn't very much space heating.
The building code usually requires that homes be adequately heated with one system. If you have a split system, you must provide an auxiliary fuel source in case one side of the house goes down. This might mean installing a back-up generator or filling both sides of the house with oil or other fuels.
In conclusion, six thousand cubic feet is a small room, but it can be made more comfortable by adding insulation and a programmable thermostat.
Multiply by 20 or 30 in more temperate climates. In frigid areas, increase the square foot number by 30–40%. For example, 30,000-40,000 BTUs will bring substantial warm air to your home if you're trying to heat 1000 square feet in a chilly location. That's enough heat for one medium-size space heater.
Space heaters use lots of energy and can be expensive to run, so try to use other ways to keep rooms comfortable when you need more heat than what a space heater can provide on its own. For example, you could buy an electric blanket that uses less electricity than most space heaters but still provides similar warmth. Or you could install fans to help move air through a room and out the window when you need heating rather than cooling.
The amount of energy you need to stay warm depends on how hot you want your house to be, how large a space you're talking about, and how far you are from the next wall. Use this calculator from the US Department of Energy to find out how much heat you need for different situations. They also have a lot of information online about how much energy different things use.
For example, a 1,000-square-foot room would take 20,000 BTUs to heat. If the temperature in the area where the heater is located drops below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, a thermal fuse may go out due to the excessive heat. This type of heater should always be installed by a qualified technician.
Heaters come in many sizes and shapes. But no matter what kind you choose, make sure it will cover your floor space and that its output exceeds your heating needs at all times. For example, if the temperature in your room rises quickly from the use of a lamp or computer, a heater should be on to provide extra heat.
Also make sure the heater can handle any material that might be thrown into the path of the flame or heated surface. For example, if dry wood is used as fuel, add some water to it before lighting to prevent a fire.
Finally, check the heater's warranty. Some manufacturers require their products be installed by professionals. Others may have lifetime warranties for parts even after they are installed. Still others may only warrant their product for a certain number of hours of usage. Be sure to read the fine print before you buy so you know what you're getting into.
Simply multiply the square footage by 20 BTUs per square foot to obtain the amount of BTUs per square foot required to heat a space. A single-zone heater will meet your heating needs with only one zone on at a time. Multizone heaters need not worry about turning off different zones accidentally because each zone has its own thermostat so you can be sure that it is only running when needed.
The number listed on most heaters is the maximum output in British Thermal Units (BTUs). One Btu is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. So if you want to know how much a particular heater will heat a given area, simply divide the number by 60 to find the number of hours it will operate on a constant setting.
For example, a heater that produces 100,000 BTUs and that covers 300 square feet would cost $11,071. If you wanted to be safe rather than sorry, you could get a 200,000-BTU unit for $22,144. However, since heating emergencies do happen from time to time, it's best to have more than one heater on hand. We recommend having at least two heaters in an apartment or house suite, and three is even better.