Degree Days: HVAC Contractors Use Them In Their Calculations, And You Can Too
Figuring “degree days” is helpful in tracking energy consumption in your home. The concept helps keep track of how many degrees you cool down or warm up your home and can be averaged over a month, allowing comparisons to other months or other years.
Cooling degree days, which would more often be the unit of measurement for hot climates like Florida’s, are calculated by subtracting the baseline number of 65 from a day’s average temperature in a specific location. For example, if the day’s high temperature is 85 degrees and the low is 65 degrees, the day’s average is 75 degrees. Subtract 65 from 75 for a total of 10 degree days’ worth of cooling needed that day. Heating degree days are also calculated using a baseline number of 65.
HVAC contractors use this data in several ways:
- To help determine the size of the air conditioning system that is most suitable for your home
- To determine the effectiveness of recently installed energy saving enhancements, such as insulation and upgraded equipment
- To compare the current summer’s energy usage to that of previous summers
- To normalize the energy consumption of buildings with air conditioning
As a homeowner, you can use this data in the same way. Keep in mind that the application is different for each home and can be affected by the size of the home, how well it is insulated, and family lifestyle.
You can find data on cooling or heating degree days in your city or region by visiting the National Weather Service website. Click on your designated area on the U.S. map and follow the prompts.
For more information, contact Symbiont Service Corp, headquartered in Englewood, Fla.
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, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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