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Degree Days, And How They Enter Your Energy-Use Calculations

One of the frustrating things about utility bills is they are not always constant. One month you're paying a low total and then the next month your energy bill is nearly double. And you're probably not prepared for the drastic change. Had you tracked degree days, you could have estimated your energy use and calculated an approximate energy bill total.

So What Is A Degree Day?
Degree days help you to track the amount of energy required to heat and cool your home. Cooling Degree Days (CDD) is the amount of cooling that is necessary to condition the air in your home. Heating Degree Days (HDD) show the amount of heating your home needs in the winter. Knowing the number of degree days you are using month-to-month and year-to-year allows you to get a general estimate of your monthly energy consumption.

To calculate degree days, you need to know that the baseline temperature is 65 degrees. You will also have to calculate the average temperature of each day during a cooling or heating season. For instance, if the average temperature for a given summer day is 90 degrees, subtract 65 (the baseline) for a total of 25 CDD. To calculate HDD, do the reverse: subtract the average temperature from the baseline.

How Can You Benefit From Recording Each Degree Day?
The benefits of tracking your degree day usage are numerous, not the least of which is the fact that it allows you to keep a better idea of expected monthly energy consumption to plan your heating and cooling budget. Weather varies from year to year, so it's hard to know exactly how much energy your HVAC equipment consumes. Degree days level the playing field: they take variations in the weather out of the energy-consumption calculation. For instance, if last year required significant heating and this year's winter is mild, you'll use less heating. Calculating HDD for each season will show you the difference in energy consumption – and how efficiently your system performed.

Consider how degree days can help you, and contact the experts at Joe Behr for assistance with increasing energy efficiency.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about degree days and other HVAC topics, visit our website.

Joe Behr Plumbing and Heating, Inc. services the Mid-Ohio area.

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