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What Makes the Btu British?

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HeatingHelp
HeatingHelp Administrator Posts: 650
edited July 2019 in THE MAIN WALL
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What Makes the Btu British?

And why isn’t there a Ctu? You know, a Canadian thermal unit? It has a nice homegrown ring to it, doesn’t it? Feel free to adopt it if you’d like, and give it any value you please. You won’t be the first.

Read the full story here


Comments

  • Kimo
    Kimo Member Posts: 3
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    Great article, love the history, but the BTU is for a pound of water, not a cubic foot.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,792
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    Kimo said:

    Great article, love the history, but the BTU is for a pound of water, not a cubic foot.

    You didn't actually read the entire story, did you?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    triggerhappy24Mike_Sheppard
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,654
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    Whoosh!
  • Keith M
    Keith M Member Posts: 78
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    Dan, John Woodworth was the head engineer at The Hydronics Institute for many years. I learned a lot from him, he was always willing to answer questions and teach at the same time. His answers to questions were not only answers, they were explanations. He was a fantastic resource and easy to deal with.
    Keith Muhlmeister
    Slant/Fin Corporation
    Solid_Fuel_Mantriggerhappy24
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    The K and the M! Love it Dan.

    I think the Y2K thing pushes me to use the K, and it is a bit metric-esque.
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,549
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    @Keith M , yes, I know John held that position for many years and he sent me the book because he didn't want it to get lost in their file cabinet and be discarded some day. It now rests forever in a rare-documents safe at The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York.
    Retired and loving it.
    Mike_Sheppard
  • triggerhappy24
    triggerhappy24 Member Posts: 42
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    Good read! Not too many people care about the meaning of thing or where they came from now a days.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,549
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    Curiosity is a powerful things.
    Retired and loving it.
  • nibs
    nibs Member Posts: 516
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    Being an Englishman until my early teens, I insist that the only proper measurements are BTU's, had an uncle who weighed 14 stone, add furlongs and fathoms and get this.
    Pounds, shillings, pence, farthings, sovereigns, crowns and half crowns, were the monetary units I grew up learning.
    CLamb
  • mikeg2015
    mikeg2015 Member Posts: 1,194
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    Maybe in the AC and Refrgeration section you can do an article on a “Ton” of cooling.
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    I agree, "tons of ice made" would be interesting to see how they came up with that figure!
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,654
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    Isn't that literally the heat of fusion of 2000 lbs of 32° ice?
  • nibs
    nibs Member Posts: 516
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    Is that an American ton or 2,240 lbs.
    Or do we use troy ounces?
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,654
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    I doubt it's a long ton since they didn't specify a long ton. Doubt it's troy since it's not a precious metal or gem.

    Was that a subtle dig at Imperial measurements? I'm a little sensitive to those, so if not, sorry I don't mean to read too much into it.

  • nibs
    nibs Member Posts: 516
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    @ratio Yep, Imperial measurements are really old school and not nearly as handy as metric.
    But I grew up with Imperial and am getting a bit long in the tooth to change.
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,654
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    Huh. I've found that Imperial measurements are a lot easier to use in real life than metric. I suppose that by using SI measurements it'd be a lot easier to find the area of a rectangle that's 4 inches by 1 mile long, but…

    Imperial measurements evolved to fill specific uses and are quite suited for those applications.

    </rant>

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,454
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    ratio said:

    Huh. I've found that Imperial measurements are a lot easier to use in real life than metric. I suppose that by using SI measurements it'd be a lot easier to find the area of a rectangle that's 4 inches by 1 mile long, but…

    Imperial measurements evolved to fill specific uses and are quite suited for those applications.

    </rant>

    I quite agree! Almost all of them are relatable to the human body, one way or another, and the few that aren't -- the Fahrenheit degree being an example -- are sufficiently familiar to not matter. And the real beauty of the BTU is that it is so easy to do arithmetic with (for those of use who can still do arithmetic in our heads) -- 1 BTU raises 1 pound of water 1 degree. What's not to like?

    As to the ton. Almost always, unless it's clear from context or otherwise stated, one ton in Imperial countries is 2,000 pounds. The long ton is used mostly for shipping -- 2,240 pounds -- and is very close to the metric tonne (1,000 kg or 2,202 pounds). But keep in mind that the ton is also used -- not much these days, but a century ago -- to measure the internal capacity of a ship's hold or large wagon or tank: one ton is 100 cubic feet. Then there is the tun, which is defined as 252 wine gallons or 954 liters volume -- which is about 2,100 pounds of water...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • nibs
    nibs Member Posts: 516
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    Quick how much is 6 and 7/8 inches plus 7 and 9/16 inches.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,904
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    14-7/16".
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    Took steamhead exactly 1 standard hour to add those two whole numbers and two fractions.....
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
    Canucker
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,654
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    Easily done in your head, albeit with middle-school math (which is, alas, lacking in many). Like I said, you won't get in to trouble until it's stuff with opposing magnitudes, and even then it's not impossible, you just need to take care and do it right. Which, I'd argue, must be done with every calculation.

    As a proof that people have accepted metric grudgingly and only when forced is the fact that every time a metric time unit has been attempted, it has been resoundingly rejected. A 10 hour day, with 10 minutes in each hour, and 10 seconds in each minute; is nigh on completely useless for anything other than easy multiplication. And I can see no possible way to go to a 10 (or even 100, or 1000) day year.

    <sigh> Sorry. If you want to take this to PMs, I'll gladly respond. I'd actually like to hear some reasonable arguments for SI units.

    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • nibs
    nibs Member Posts: 516
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    In 1978, ran a cabinet startup, since it was just before Canada & the US were due to go metric, it was decided to be an all metric shop. When a new hire showed up, we took his imperial tape and square away until quitting time. We gave him metric tools to keep.
    Once you get used to the system it is easy, mistakes are made when people keep trying to convert.
    I can work either way, but have pretty much reverted to Imperial.
    Canucker
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,454
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    Last a Mars lander a few years back due to a units conversion problem... and very nearly crashed an 767 a few years back in Canada due to the same kind of problem (Google "Gimili Glider")
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • nibs
    nibs Member Posts: 516
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    The three countries which are not using the metric system are Liberia, Myanmar and of course… the United States of America
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    When I was a mechanic pretty much all vehicles were metric. GM & Ford were the first to go all metric in the mid 80s, Chrysler cars were mostly metric and Dodge/Chrysler trucks were a total hodgepodge until the late 90s. All European (German) cars were metric from the get go AFAIK.

    I think the metric system makes good sense in mechanical things. We are just so used to inches, miles, tons, cubic yards, gallons, tons, and degrees F, the general public wont deal with that change.

    Who wants to buy a liter of milk? But we are used to a 2litre bottle of soda. How about grams of fat? Or calories in a meal?
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
    Canucker
  • Canucker
    Canucker Member Posts: 722
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    For those who want some proof that physicists are human, the proof is in the idiocy of all the different units which they use for measuring energy.

    Richard P. Feynman

    I thought this would fit :wink:
    You can have it good, fast or cheap. Pick two