What Is BTU and Why Do I Need to Calculate It?

Understanding what BTU means will help you decide on the best heating system for your commercial or industrial premises. BTU is a measurement of power in relation to the heat output of appliances. Measuring BTU comes in extremely handy when you are thinking about which type of commercial heating you need when heating the following buildings:

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, and other heating appliances carry a BTU rating, which tells you to what extent they will heat, or cool, a room.

What is BTU?

BTU stands for British Thermal Unit.

It is a measurement of heat energy. The BTU represents the amount of heat you must add to an indoor environment to heat it; or the amount of heat you must remove to cool it.

Even though BTU is not a metric measurement, it has been widely adopted by English-speaking countries which are metric, as well as the USA, which isn’t.

BTU equates to the amount of energy you require to raise one pound of liquid water by one degree Fahrenheit, at a pressure of one atmosphere.

The metric equivalent to the BTU is the calorie. A calorie is the amount of energy you need to raise one gram of water by 1 degree Celsius, at one atmosphere of pressure. If you measure a room’s area and volume by square feet, this can then determine its BTU requirement.

Why is it Important to Know the BTU of a Space?

There are different sizes of heating systems available for commercial and industrial applications, and choosing the right one means matching the capability of the system to your heating requirements.

Knowing the BTU your space requires will help you decide on the best, most efficient and effective commercial heating solution for it.

The single BTU is a tiny unit of energy, but you will find heating equipment rated in thousands of BTUs. When calculated, they are a significant indicator of the equipment’s performance.

By measuring BTU, not only do you have this indicator, but also you get a measure of how much of the heat energy that the equipment generates will actually make it into the space you wish to heat.

This also makes efficiency an important factor in making the right choice for your heating.

Heating systems and equipment will have a base level of function, depending on how many BTUs of energy they consume in an hour (BTU/h).

You can then determine their efficiency by how many of these BTUs they convert into usable heat. The higher the efficiency of the system, the less energy it loses, and the more it turns into heat.

How Do I Calculate BTU?

There are several key factors in calculating the BTU of space you wish to heat:

  • The overall room dimensions
  • Number of windows
  • Dimensions of windows
  • Number of people using the room
  • Floors above or below
  • Type of exterior wall

There are various online calculators, which, when you input your specific data, will give you a BTU figure.

How Do I Choose the Correct Heating System Based on BTU?

When it comes to choosing the right heating system for the needs of your workplace, size matters.

However, size does not refer to the physical dimensions of your heating equipment, but rather its capacity.

What your aim should be is to choose a means of heating where its BTUs match the BTU requirement you have calculated for your space.

This is important because you do not want to end up with a system with more BTUs than you require, just as much as one that is insufficient to heat your room.

If the heating system has an over-capacity of BTUs, then it will be working too hard, which will be inefficient, and can lead to it wearing itself out early.

A lower than recommended BTU rating, on the other hand, will leave the system struggling to produce the amount of heating your space needs to be comfortable for the people using it.

You can also convert a BTU/h figure into watts, to help you decide on the correct heating solution for you. You simply multiply the BTU by 0.293.

You can also do the reverse, and convert watts into BTU/h. You take the wattage of the equipment or system and multiply it by 3.412.

To ensure you have the system to meet your needs, you should first calculate the BTU requirement for your premises. At Winrow, we can help with this. Please contact us if you need any support and guidance choosing the right heating system for your workplace, please give us a call on 08000 588 035.

Garage heating options

Occasionally you want a garage to be more than that. You may need a study, an office, a workshop, or somewhere for band practice. But it is not comfortable to do any of those things if yours is cold.

What follows is a concise review of your options for garage heating.

Types of Heaters Available to Consider

Installing a gas radiator might not always be an option because your garage may not be attached to your house or it is badly insulated. Badly insulated buildings make a gas radiator inefficient due to the significant amount of heat loss.

However, a panel radiator is something to think about if you have an electricity supply to your garage. They are energy-efficient, and will heat up (and cool down) quickly. Therefore, you are able to turn it on when you enter (or just before) and switch is off as you leave, in turn, making it energy efficient.

A convector heater works differently, by circulating air internally across a heating element. It warms the air, which then rises and is replaced in the heater by cooler air which goes through the same process. That continues until the heater is switched off, or until the thermostat tells it to stop.

Portable fan heaters are a popular choice for heating garages too. They offer a quick blast of heat, usually in one direction, and this is generally enough for heating a smaller room. It is often chosen for use in a caravan, for example. This option is something to think about when your aim is to heat yourself in the garage, rather than heating the whole room.

An oil-filled radiator is another possibility.  They tend to take time to warm up, but once they have they tend to retain heat well.  They’re an energy-efficient option, but you’ll have to remember to put the heater on before spending time in your garage.

Which Type of Heater is Best for a Garage?

Which type of heater you choose comes down to how long you intend to be in there at any one time. If you only want to be in there for a short period, then a portable fan heater will do the trick, since you’ll only need a short blast of heat. 

You may even want to switch it off before a couple of hours pass as many heaters retain heat well. This, of course, depends on your garage insulation.

If you plan on being there for a substantial part of the day, then a convector heater might suit you better because it continuously heats air that’s circulating the room. All you would need to do is to set the thermostat at a temperature to suit you.

What is the most efficient way to heat a garage?

An important step in heating your garage is to ascertain what type of heater best fits your needs. 

Heating a garage is not just about what heater to use, it’s also about how to retain heat without it dissipating into the walls.  

In addition to buying a heater of your choice, you should also consider investing in some form of insulation. If your garage is well-insulated, whatever heater you pick will serve you well.

How can I heat a garage cheaply?

The most important factor in heating a garage cheaply is to only have a heater switched on when you are in there, if possible.  

As a general rule, electricity is slightly cheaper than gas. Of course the more energy-efficient a heater is, then consequently the cheaper it will be to operate.

However, how much it costs to heat a garage depends on a number of other factors mentioned in this article including:

  • How long you are planning on staying in the garage
  • The size of your garage
  • Whether your garage is connected to your house
  • The quality of insulation in the garage

Thinking about these factors before you purchase your heater will ensure you get the correct type of heater for your garage, as all garages are different, so one type of heater doesn’t fit all.

Do You Need Professional Advice?

At Winrow, we can offer professional advice and help you select a heater for your garage. We will weigh up the factors associated with heating a garage to come to the cheapest and most efficient decision for your individual needs. We can also install and maintain the heaters and can typically save you up to 30% on running costs.

Call us today on 08000 588 035 and we’ll be happy to help.

What is the best way to heat a warehouse?

There are several challenges that come with warehouse heating, such as adjusting a method to the nature of a building and the layout of storage facilities inside.  A mistake can cause poor heat distribution, which risks wasting money and energy.  That is why it is important to ensure you get it right first time when heating your warehouse.  

There are two primary options for heating warehouses, and these are radiant heating and warm air heating.  

Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, which we explore below.

What is warm air heating?

Warm air heating systems incorporate a vent in order to pull heat in from outside air. It is then heated over a gas flame, circulated via ducts, grills or vents which are situated around the building. You manage them using a thermostat.

While we specifically mentioned gas, that isn’t the only choice when it comes to warm air heaters. You can also use an oil-fired burner that is located in the body of a heater (direct-fired), hot water piped into a heater from a central heating plant like a boiler (indirect-fired) or an electric element.

It is possible to suspend warm air heaters from the roof, mount them on a wall or they can stand on the floor. However, with the latter option, they are going to take up more space.

Costs of upgrading to warm air heating

This largely depends on the type of warm air heating you opt for and how large the space you want to heat is.

It will cost more money to heat a larger warehouse than it will a smaller one, but in the long run it will likely cost less money.Naturally, the different types of warm air heating you use will also change how much you pay overall.

Remember to always check that quotes you get explain exactly what they cover.

Advantages of warm air heating

There are several benefits to using a warm air heating system in a warehouse:

  • To start with, it is a modern system that warms up quickly
  • Due to the way it’s set up, you also don’t need radiators
  • They operate quietly too, so none of your workers are going to be irritated by white noise caused by some heating systems
  • They are extremely energy efficient, more efficient than most other heating systems
  • Some of the more modern systems can also be controlled electronically so you can get a stable temperature, allowing you to modify as you see fit
  • They’re extremely effective because some provide an option for electronic filtration. This is ideal if any of your workers have allergies, as it regularly removes a high proportion of particles in the air like human and pet hair, bacteria and pollen

What are radiant heaters and do they use a lot of electricity?

Radiant heating provides electricity through suspended radiant tubes, or in some cases by radiant plaque heaters that can be mounted on a wall or suspended. These heaters emit infrared radiation from a hot surface, and this heat is radiated to warm objects and people.

Unlike warm air heating, radiant heating doesn’t warm the air it passes through.So what does this mean for electricity? Thankfully, radiant heating is affordable.

Part of the reason for this is that with radiant heating you aren’t wasting any energy by heating air that’s just going to escape through windows or chimneys. All you are doing is heating objects that need it, in turn saving energy.

Advantages of radiant heating

There are a number of advantages to getting radiant heating.

  • You may already know that the majority of heaters end up drying out the skin and can block the sinuses – this simply is not a problem with radiant heating
  • It doesn’t lose any heat through ventilation, nor does it dry air in the room
  • Radiant heating is suitable for buyers concerned about their carbon footprint
  • It doesn’t have issues with heat loss, because it uses all of the heat that it generates
  • They also cost little to run because there aren’t any moving parts that could develop faults or wear out after a while
  • All you need to do is clean the reflectors on occasion so that the heater is kept in good working condition

Radiant heating versus warm air heating

There are a few differences between warm air heating and radiant heating.

Firstly, heat distribution; a warm air system is going to circulate the warm air around the space so there’s not much difference in heat wherever you go as long as it’s installed properly. With radiant heating, you will need to be in an area where the heat hits in order for you to feel its benefit. This can cause some issues if your warehouse has a lot of tall structures like racking, as it will get in the way of people getting the heat source. On the other hand, warm air heating needs the flow of air to work properly, so it can sometimes be challenging to avoid cold spots. If it’s not properly installed, you may not get even heat distribution. Heat is also more likely to escape and waste energy with a warm air heating system because it is distributed through the air.

Both are suitable for warehouses, but in the majority of cases, it may be best to opt for a warm air heating system as they are usually the most efficient for this kind of space, especially if yours has high racking.

Benefits of energy-efficient, modern heating controls for commercial heating

Many commercial properties could benefit from installing energy-efficient heating controls.

These thermostats allow users to operate their heating systems during predetermined hours and at temperatures that are optimised for the space they are warming.

The time and temperature of different heating zones throughout your commercial property can be adjusted at a moment’s notice using a thermostat.

Plus, more modern control systems can be personally monitored and updated using a smart device connected to the internet, whether it’s a mobile, tablet or computer.

With an average of 30 per cent of energy wasted in commercial buildings, energy-efficient controlled heating is an obvious choice.

Energy Efficient Heating controls

Heating brands such as AmbiRad offers a multi-zone heating system which uses a fraction of the energy to ensure only the spaces you want are heated.

There is a range of commercial heating brands with heating controls to suit all types of spaces, from brands like Winterwarm, Benson, Harry Taylor, Powrmatic and Reznor that boast an excellent efficiency rating.

The installation of an energy-efficient heating control allows the user to operate a heating system during specific time periods at a pre-set temperature level which is optimised for the space being heated.

It is also feasible to control the time and temperature of different heating zones within a building. Modern control systems can also monitor and can be adjusted by using a smartphone or tablet.

Smart heating controls are not only energy efficient but can also integrate weather compensation settings. The heat your system generates for a commercial space can get lost through the fabric of the building and the speed in which it goes will change based on the temperature outside.

As a result, your heating system can communicate with an outside sensor and automatically adjust the temperature inside to prevent your property from becoming uncomfortable.

These thermostat settings provide you with confidence that the correct temperature is being maintained and, controlling the system from your smart device, staff can’t tamper with the optimum settings.

Benefits of installing an energy-efficient, modern heating controls

  • Ensuring your employees have a comfortable working environment is key to increased productivity.
  • Different areas in your property may require different temperatures, which is where using a modern heating-controlled system can help.
  • You can schedule your heating to go on and off when needed.
  • You can control the temperature of different zones at the tap of a button.
  • With many companies now focusing on maintaining their corporate social responsibility, heating controls ensuring every area of the business structure is as energy-efficient and reduces CO2 emissions.
  • Energy-efficient heating controls are just one of the more innovative ways with which companies can stay in control of energy use while beginning to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • Heating controls can lead to reduced fuel costs, another area that every company will be pleased to progress in.
  • Modern heating control systems can be adjusted by using a smartphone or tablet.
  • You could save money on your heating bills by installing and using your controls efficiently.

At Winrow Industrial Heating, we are lucky to have worked with a wide range of the most trusted and prestigious heating brands in the UK.

Our team of expert commercial heating contractors are available to advise on the optimal type of heating controls for your business.

If you are looking for a cost-effective, energy-efficient heating solution for your commercial space, then don’t hesitate to get in touch today with Winrow Industrial Heating for a free quote by calling us on 08000 588 035.

Which is cheaper: Oil or LPG heating?

Discover the key differences between oil and LPG heaters to help you decide which option is more suitable for your industrial property.

Oil and LPG heaters are most commonly used to heat commercial and industrial properties that are located in rural or isolated areas where there is no mains gas available.

Both options are easy to transport and store and are usually delivered in tanks or bottles.

There are however some key differences between oil heating and LPG heating systems, read on to find out more about each option to help you decide which is more suited to your requirements.

What is LPG?

LPG is liquid petroleum gas, a hydrocarbon gas that can be either liquid or gas in form. When stored under pressure in a container, LPG is a liquid, when released, it becomes a gas. Two common types of LPG are Butane and Propane.

LPG is a clean and environmentally-friendly fuel that can be used to heat either domestic or commercial properties.

At Winrow Industrial Heating, we specialise in designing and installing LPG heaters in commercial and industrial properties.

LPG heaters are highly efficient and produce very low levels of carbon emissions, meaning that when your business chooses an LPG heater it will significantly reduce both its energy expenses and its impact on the environment.

If your business premise does not already have a mains gas supply, then an LPG heater may be the ideal option for you.

LPG heaters Vs oil heaters

Oil can be used to power a range of different industrial heaters including warm air heating systems.

Oil is a fossil fuel and is less environmentally friendly than LPG. The carbon emissions created by oil heaters are said to be up to 20% higher than the emissions from LPG. LPG also emits fewer toxic particles than oil.

Which is cheaper: Oil or LPG?

It is widely agreed that LPG is the more eco-friendly choice, but which is the most cost-effective?

  • Price of fuel – There is very little difference between the price of oil compared to LPG.
  • Stability of price – Whilst there is little difference in price on average, the price of oil can fluctuate whereas the price of LPG is much more stable and reliable.
  • Efficiency – LPG heaters are highly efficient; they can be up to 20% – 30% more efficient than oil heaters.
  • Maintenance costs – LPG is a cleaner fuel than oil and so LPG heaters generally require much less maintenance than oil heaters.
  • Future – As a society, we are trying to phase out the use of fossil fuels that are damaging our environment, fuels like oil could become scarcer and more expensive in the future. With this in mind, opting for LPG could be a more future-proof option.

At Winrow Industrial Heating, our team have over 30 years of experience in designing and installing heating systems in commercial and industrial premises. For further help and advice choosing the most suitable fuel or heating system for your requirements, give our team a call on 08000 588 035.