Learn BTU – Watt Conversion Using a Toaster w/ Ty Branaman
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Toasters also have a bimetal device on the inside. Bimetal devices are composed of two metals, and the device begins to warp when it comes into contact with heat. An example of a bimetal device in HVAC is the Snap Disc or snap switch thermostat.
As that bimetal device on the toaster warps, it also energizes an electromagnet, which props the toast out when it is ready. So, toasters are great learning tools for HVAC apprentices because they have so many parts in common with HVAC equipment. You can essentially turn the toaster into a heater by attaching a fan to it. The bimetal device would also act as a safety device if the toaster were attached to a fan.
In toasters, wattage (power) gets converted into BTUs of heat energy. Each watt yields 3.413 BTUs of heat energy. If a toaster were to use 900 watts of power, it would yield more than 3000 BTUs of heat energy.
In the HVAC industry, we perform load calculations to determine how many BTUs of heat our equipment must move (such as Manual J calculations). So, hypothetically, we could use these calculations to determine how many toasters could provide heat to a home. It’s impractical to use so many toasters with fans, but the wattage costs the same regardless of if you use several toasters to heat a home or a typical HVAC electric heater. The expense will come with energy efficiency, as large HVAC fan motors have become much more efficient in recent years.
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