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Degree Days: They're A Handy Way To Figure Your Energy Use

You might be one of those homeowners who think no news is good news, that if your furnace or A/C hasn’t had a serious repair or breakdown, you’re not worried about it. One of the best ways to keep equipment functioning at peak capacity is to have it serviced annually. You can also use degree days to calculate its true efficiency. This is valuable information at a fraction of what it would cost to have an expert evaluation.

So, what are degree days? The fuel industry uses degree days to calculate expected fuel consumption over each season, and the HVAC industry similarly uses it as a guide for consumer demand depending on climate factors.

Degree days are simply a calculation of how much heating or cooling is needed to make a home comfortable, using a baseline temperature of 65 degrees. The baseline is simply a measurement of where the average person tends to feel comfortable.

To calculate Heating Degree Days (HDD), you need to find out how many degrees a winter day needs the furnace to function in order to reach that comfort point.

  • First, calculate the average temperature for the day by adding the high and low.
  • A high of 40 plus a low of 20 degrees is 60.
  • Divide that by two, and the average is 30 degrees.
  • Take the average, 30, and subtract it from the baseline, 65, and you get 35 HDD.

To calculate Cooling Degree Days, find the average temperature, but then subtract the baseline from the average temperature.

The reason degree days are so valuable is that they can tell you heating and cooling energy consumption despite the weather. For instance, if one summer is extremely hot and the next mild, you can look at your energy consumption and degree days to see how much energy was consumed in each season. You can also see how much impact home-improvement projects have on energy use, such as upgrading insulation, sealing air leaks or upgrading equipment.

For help with increasing efficiency or using degree days in the Fayetteville area, contact the experts at Blanton’s Heating & A/C.