Is 8000 BTU Good Enough For Portable ACs?

During those long hot nights we get in the summer months, we all dream of keeping our bedroom’s cool. Electric fans don’t seem to do much, opening a window simply lets hot air in, so what can we do?

That’s when we all start to think about air conditioning. But as we don’t get it hot for long enough to justify the cost of a full air conditioning system, there’s really only one option that makes sense.

That’s buying a portable A/C. But that opens up a whole new batch of confusion. We wrote this article to answer any questions you might have concerning 8000 BTU portable A/Cs. If you still have any questions after reading this article, feel free to ask them in the comments section.

What Does 8000 BTU Mean?

The heat content in fuels and energy sources are measured in British Thermal Units (BTU). 1 BTU is equal to the amount of heat needed to raise 1 pound of liquid by 1 degree Fahrenheit.

Of course, in air conditioners BTUs are used to measure the amount of heat removed.

It is said that 1 BTU is about the same amount of heat as generated by 1 burning match. This means that 8000 BTUs is roughly the same amount of heat as 8000 burning matches.

So in terms of air conditioning, this means it takes roughly 8000 burning matches worth of heat per hour from the room.

How Much Space Can A 8000 BTU Portable A/C Cool?

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) you need 20 BTU for each square foot of space.

Which means a 8000 BTU portable A/C is sufficient for a room or area that has an area up to 400 square feet.


How To Work Out How Many BTUs Your Room Needs

All you need to work out the required BTUs needed to cool your room is a measure, a calculator and this simple equation;

L x W x H x 5 = BTUs (where L=Length, W=Width and H=Height) 

If your room is 15 ft long, 15 ft wide with a ceiling height of 7 feet then an 8000 BTU portable A/C will be perfect. This is because;

15ft X 15ft X 7ft X 5 = 7875 BTU

SEE ALSO: Best Portable ACs (UK aircons reviewed)

Is 8000 BTU Enough For A Small Room?

Yes an 8000 BTU AC is enough to cool a small room as most people would consider a 15ft x 15ft x 7ft room quite large.

If anything, an 8000 BTU portable A/C might be too much for a small room. Any room with an area of between 300 to 400 square feet cannot really be called small.

You’d have to call it medium at the very least. However, it’s not just the dimensions of the room that need to be taken into account. To ensure your portable A/C has enough power to cool your room or small apartment, you need to be aware of certain factors.

For instance; direct sunlight adds 10% to the total BTU requirement, any people over and above 2 add 1000 BTU per person and a kitchen adds 4000 BTU to the total requirement.

Then there’s any electrical appliances that produce heat like; TVs, PCs even lamps and light bulbs.

If the room gets only indirect sunlight, there’s never more than two people in the room at a time and the only source of heat is one TV, then an 8000 BTU portable A/C will be the perfect size for that room.

With that said, you should never allow the A/C to work too hard which is why some A/C specialists state that an 8000 BTU portable A/C should only be used to cool an area of 350 square feet.

Is 8000 BTU Enough For A Large Room?

The answer to this question is yes, but only if you consider a room with an area of 350 to 400 square feet large.

The maximum area an 8000 BTU portable A/C will cool efficiently is 350 to 400 square feet assuming there are no outlying factors to consider.

If your space is larger than this, you’ll need to recalculate to find the correct unit to fit your space. It might be that a 9000 BTU AC is more suitable for you.


What Would Happen If You Were To Use A Small Powered A/C In A Large Room?

If you were to use a lower than required BTU in a large room, you would cause the A/C to overwork. This would lead to higher than usual maintenance and a shorter lifespan of the unit.

Plus the room would never cool properly and you’d be using way more electricity too. And with energy prices as they are currently, nobody wants to use more energy than is absolutely necessary.

Is 8000 BTU Enough For A Living Room?

An 8000 BTU portable A/C should be sufficient for many rooms in your home, but there are a few factors that could mean it won’t be enough for the living room.

Hopefully you will have done the calculation and are certain that the living room’s area is less than 350 to 400 square feet. You will also have accounted for direct sunlight too.

But if the living room is where the whole household congregates, you’ll need to add 1000 BTU for every person over and above 2 people and also account for any heat sources like; TVs, PCs, lamps etc. These electrical appliances can produce anywhere between 50 to 500 watts and will need to be included in your total BTU requirement.

Is 8000 BTU Enough For A Bedroom?

An 8000 BTU AC is easily powerful enough for a bedroom, if anything it may be more powerful than you actually need for a bedroom. There are several reasons for this which include;

  • Most bedrooms are not that big
  • Most people don’t have too many electrical devices in the bedroom
  • Most people sleep during the hours of darkness (when sunlight is not a factor)
  • Most people sleep with the curtains drawn

However, without measuring the room it’s impossible to make that claim. But as long as the room has an area of less than 350 to 400 square feet you should be OK with an 8000 BTU model.

This could all change if you happen to live in a bedsit or a houseshare and you spend all of your time in your room watching TV or working on a PC. As you would then need to add any extra BTU requirements.

Is 8000 BTU Too Much For A Bedroom?

If used properly, an 8000 BTU AC is not too powerful for a bedroom, however there are circumstances where it could be, especially if that bedroom has relatively small dimensions.

Using a unit which is too powerful could have adverse effects on the room if used incorrectly which is why we always stress getting the measurements right.

What Happens If You Use An Air Conditioner With Too Many BTUs?

We spoke earlier about the disadvantages of using an underpowered unit, well in many ways, an overpowered unit is far more problematic.

On the face of it, a portable A/C with too high a BTU rating should be a good thing. The more cooling power the unit has, the faster it will cool the room down.

But therein lies the problem, if the room cools down too fast, it leaves humidity behind. The humidity then causes dampness in the room which can lead to many problems.

Of course the more power the unit has, the more electricity it uses to cool the room which adds to your energy costs.

Portable Air Conditioner

How Many Watts Is 8000 BTU?

An 8000 BTU portable A/C typically uses around 715 watts of power per hour. As a rough guide, to determine the watts from BTU rating, just divide by 10.

How Much Will It Cost To Run An 8000 BTU Portable A/C?

An 8000 BTU portable A/C will cost around 25.5p per hour to run. The average running time for portable A/Cs is 6 hours and an 8000 BTU model would typically cost 1.53p for 6 hours running time.

Ways To Save Energy With A Portable A/C

There are a couple of ways to save energy and therefore, money when using a portable A/C. 

Firstly, look for an A/C with “eco-settings”  This will allow you to keep cool whilst also keeping energy costs down as well.

Secondly, Place the A/C as far away from any heat source in the room as possible. This is because whenever the A/C detects heat it will continue to try to cool that heat down. If that heat is coming from the TV, it’s never going to stop until you turn the TV off which means the A/C will be constantly running.


Frequently Asked Questions

What size room will a 8000 BTU portable air conditioner cool?

A 8000 BTU portable air conditioner can cool a room with an area as large as 400 square feet.

Is an 8000 BTU portable air conditioner good?

An 8000 BTU portable air conditioner is good enough to cool most standard bedrooms, living rooms and offices. However, an 8000 BTU A/C is not powerful enough to cool larger rooms.

Is a 8000 BTU portable A/C too big for a bedroom?

A 8000 BTU portable A/C could be too big for a bedroom if the bedroom is relatively small. 8000 BTUs is powerful enough to cool a bedroom with an area of up to 400 square feet. If the room is much smaller it could cool down too fast which could cause issues with dampness.

How much does it cost to run a 8000 BTU portable air conditioner per hour?

The cost of running a 8000 BTU portable air conditioner at current UK electricity prices is around 25.5p per hour.

How much does it cost to run an 8000 BTU portable air conditioner for 24 hours?

It costs around £6.12p to run an 8000 BTU portable air conditioner for a full 24 hours at current UK energy prices. However, as the motor would cut out as soon as the desired temperature has been achieved, the A/C would not be running for a full 24 hours, so it would cost less.

How many watts does a 8000 BTU portable air conditioner use?

A 8000 BTU portable air conditioner uses anywhere between 700 to 750 watts per hour.

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