Not to be confused with Thermies unit. The therm (symbol, thm) is a non-SI unit of heat energy equal to 100,000 British thermal units (Btu). It is approximately the energy equivalent of burning 100 cubic feet (2.83 cubic metres) – often referred to as 1 CCF – of natural gas. Since natural gas meters measure volume and not energy content, a therm factor is used by natural gas companies to convert the volume of gas used to its heat equivalent, and thus calculate the actual energy use. The therm factor is usually expressed in units of therms per CCF. It will vary with the mix of hydrocarbons in the natural gas. Natural gas with a higher than average concentration of ethane, propane or butane will have a higher therm factor. Impurities, such as carbon dioxide or nitrogen, lower the therm factor. One therm is equal to about 105.5 megajoules, 25200 kilocalories, or 29.3 kilowatt-hours. One therm can also be provided by about 96.7 cubic feet (2.74 m3) of natural gas. The therm sometimes has been confused with the thermie. The names of both units come from the Greek word for heat.
A calorie is a unit of energy. Various definitions exist but fall into two broad categories. The first, the small calorie, or gram calorie (symbol: cal), is defined as the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius at a pressure of one atmosphere. The second, the large calorie or kilogram calorie (symbols: Cal, kcal), also known as the food calorie and similar names, is defined in terms of the kilogram rather than the gram. It is equal to 1000 small calories or 1 kilocalorie (symbol: kcal). In other scientific contexts, the term calorie almost always refers to the small calorie. Even though it is not an SI unit, it is still used in chemistry. For example, the energy released in a chemical reaction per mole of reagent is occasionally expressed in kilocalories per mole. Typically, this use was largely due to the ease with which it could be calculated in laboratory reactions, especially in aqueous solution: a volume of reagent dissolved in water forming a solution, with concentration expressed in moles per liter (1 liter weighing 1 kg), will induce a temperature change in degrees Celsius in the total volume of water solvent, and these quantities (volume, molar concentration and temperature change) can then be used to calculate energy per mole. It is also occasionally used to specify energy quantities that relate to reaction energy, such as enthalpy of formation and the size of activation barriers. However, its use is being superseded by the SI unit, the joule, and multiples thereof such as the kilojoule.