Portable Air Conditioner ASHRAE and SACC BTU Ratings

Learn the BTU ratings of ASHRAE and SACC portable air conditioners and how to apply them.

Air Conditioners have a BTU rating.  What does this rating stand for?

BTU  stands for British Thermal Unit.  It is a form of measurement that measures energy.  One BTU refers to the amount of energy that is required to increase the temperature of a pound of water by 1° F.   This measurement is only used in certain countries such as the United States and Canada.  Many other regions of the world use different measurements.  

What is ASHRAE?

ASHRAE stands for American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.  It was historically the standard rating used to identify the BTU rating or portable air conditioners.   The ASHRAE BTU rating is being replaced by the SACC BTU rating however there are many portable air conditioners that still display the ASHRAE rating.   

What is SACC?

SACC stands for Seasonally Adjusted Cooling Capacity.   It is based on the current testing standards that all currently manufactured portable air conditioners must display.   The SACC BTU rating is always lower than the previous ASHRAE standard.   For example, a model previously rated at 14,000 BTU or 14K BTU (ASHRAE) is now considered a 10,000 BTU or 10K BTU (SACC) unit. 

What is the difference in the ratings?

The ASHRAE testing was based on ideal situations whereas the SACC testing is based closer on real-life conditions.  The SACC rating is a more accurate method of identifying how much area can be economically cooled.  

 How can I tell if the rating is ASHRAE or SACC?   

Unfortunately, not all products have always displayed which BTU rating system was displayed on the box or product label.  It may be necessary to look at the detailed specification of a product to identify the actual rating system.   For TCL products the transition over to the SACC rating started with products manufactured in 2020.   As of 2022, all TCL portables use the SACC instead of the ASHRAE in the naming convention.   When in doubt consult the detailed specifications.

Not all manufacturers have transitioned over to displaying of the SACC rating in their naming convention or even on their product pages so it is best to always validate.  








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