When working in information technology (IT), a thorough understanding of units of energy and the correct usage of terminology is crucial to ensuring accuracy in your position. Two commonly used and often misunderstood terms in IT are watts and BTUs (British Thermal Units).
The more accurate your understanding of these terms, the better you’ll perform in the tech industry.
BTUs vs. Watts
Watts and BTUs are both essential factors in determining your data center cooling needs.
Understanding the relationship between BTUs and watts is a fundamental skill for IT professionals. These units are used in basic formulas to calculate the total tons of cooling needed to maintain the optimal temperature for a data center system.
One British thermal unit is the amount of energy it takes to increase a pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. This unit is a standalone factor and is not associated with a relative time.
The term “watts” denotes a unit of measurement of power. When used in IT-related formulas, one watt is approximately the equivalent of 1 volt-ampere (VA). For this reason, the terms watts and VA are often used interchangeably in an IT context.
Multiply the voltage of something by its amps to find the total number of watts. This number refers to the rate at which energy is transferred, typically in joules per second. A wattage measurement is always associated with a time factor.
How Are They Different?
Although watts and BTUs are both units of energy, they measure two different aspects of how energy is transferred.
The key difference between watts and BTUs is that the latter is a measurement of energy, a standalone factor in physics. In contrast, wattage denotes the rate of energy transfer, which is always relative to a time factor.
You can convert watts into BTUs using a standard formula, and doing so is common practice to calculate data center cooling requirements.
How Do Watts and BTUs Relate to Data Center Cooling?
You need both BTUs and watts to determine the cooling requirements for your data system. Using standard formulas, you can convert watts into BTUs and find the tons of cooling necessary to keep your data center at the ideal temperature.
Follow the steps below to calculate the tons of cooling you need:
- Voltage x amps = watts
- Watts x 3.41 = BTUs per hour
- BTUs per hour / 12,000 = tons of cooling
The tons of cooling number tells you what is required to cool your data center system and prevent overheating.
Contact DataSpan for Effective Cooling Solutions
Calculating your data center cooling needs is crucial to maintaining properly functioning equipment. DataSpan has 50 years of experience in the IT industry. We are equipped to calculate your cooling needs and design, install and maintain proper cooling systems that meet your specific requirements.
Alex von Hassler’s long term focus is the continued testing, learning, and deployment of modern IT solutions. During his years as a DataSpan team member, his responsibilities grew from managing Salesforce CRM to improving system security, creating marketing initiatives, as well as providing continued support to the highly motivated and experienced team in an ever-changing industry. As DataSpan evolves to provide the best-fitting IT solutions to its customers, Alex von Hassler continues to hone his skills in the world of web-based ERP systems, security, and best customer engagement practices. Empowering such a dynamic team with the right tools provides him with enormous gratification.