HVAC Terms Explained

Degree Days Explained

By May 13, 2016 No Comments
Degree Days Explained

What Are Degree Days?

It sounds like another word for a graduation, but knowing what degree days are can be important if you want to know how to read an electric or gas bill. It’s also a good way to calculate your overall energy consumption. In a time where people are concerned with how much energy they’re using, and how much the electric bill is each month, degree days can help you immensely.

What is a Degree Day?

Degree days are calculated based on the temperature of 65F. Why 65, you may ask? That’s the temperature where most people won’t need any heating or cooling in their homes, as it falls under the ‘just right’ temperature for most, keeping their home naturally at an ideal level. Most will easily be able to fall asleep when the temperature is in the 60s, and they won’t need any special clothing to stay cool or warm.

A degree day is calculated based on the high temperature of the day plus the low temperature, divided by two. If the difference is above 65, it’s called a cooling degree day. If it’s below 65, it’s a heating degree day. If it’s around that ideal range, there are no degree days.

So let’s say the summer temperature reached 100 at the peak of the day, and at the peak of the night, lowered to 80. We add 100 to 80 and get 180. Then, we divide it by two, and get 90. Subtract 90 by 65, and we get 25. It was 25 cooling degree days. It’s burning up! Odds are, you’re running the AC, and your electric company realizes this.

During winter, let’s say the high was 32 and the low was 20. Combined, we get 52, and if we divide it in half, we get 26. 65 subtracted by 26 is 39. It was 39 heating degree days. Yikes! Talk about cold. Better crank up that heater.

What Does That Mean?

So far, this sounds like a bit of trivia that is a bit useless. But it’s not. A degree day is important when tracking energy use. Electric companies use degree days to track how much demand the surrounding homes may have. Higher degree days means more power consumption, and by calculating degree days, a company comes well-prepared.

For the home or business owner, calculating degree days can help you figure out how much your electric bill is going to be. While different homes may have varying bills depending on how much electricity they’ll use, a chunk of your energy consumption does come from heating and cooling the house.

No Need to Do it Yourself!

There are various degree day calculators available online that can help you out immensely. One of them is Degreedays.net, which allows you to calculate locally. Check it out if you’re interested in calculating.

Call a Professional!

Calculating degree days and other energy consumption is a good start to seeing what your electric bill will be. But if your bill is way off, and in a bad way, there may be something wrong with your cooling or heating unit. If you haven’t been maintaining your HVAC regularly, call a professional today and get it maintained. They may be able to give you a precise calculation on what to expect each month, too.

Degree days are a useful way of calculating your energy. If you’re concerned with how much you’re using, they can help. However, make sure you stay just right during hot and cold weather!