Degree days are a method of comparing historical heating and cooling energy data on a given structure, allowing homeowners to get a general idea of how many degrees they would need to heat or cool the structure for specific periods. These calculations are commonly used to survey and compare energy use to assess current performance and monitor for waste. The basic theory behind degree days calculations compares the base temperature of a building (the temperature at which the building requires no heating or cooling) to the outside temperature. You can easily calculate degree day data using websites such as To calculate degree days data yourself, you must first find the average temperature for the day. You can do so by adding the high and low temperatures of the day and then dividing that total by two. Then, if that average is lower than 65, you subtract the average from 65; this gives the number of degrees you would need to heat the house. If the average is above 65, then subtract 65 from the average, which yields the number of degrees you would need to cool the house. Degree days calculations determine the number of degrees of heating or cooling that the building would require for that particular period while controlling for weather variances. Degree days data is enormously popular with energy consultants; however, it’s subject to problems that may cause misleading interpretations of the results. Issues that can contribute to erroneous data and lead to costly misconceptions about a building’s energy use include Problems calculating the base temperature (different buildings are heated to different temperatures, and variances in heat accumulation can occur from internal sources) Intermittent heating/cooling (accounting for periods when heating/cooling are not in use, such as weekends or holidays or when there are vast day-to-night temperature variations) Inconsistencies with meter reading (for example, when a meter is not read at the correct time intervals) Despite these concerns the good news is that any degree of energy awareness should be considered a step in the right direction and will typically result in the realization of over-consumption on some level. Ways to tighten the belt on energy consumption can be found if you seek them out. For more information on degree days, energy awareness, or any HVAC issues, please contact the friendly folks at Pipe Works Services-we’d be happy to help you save some money! Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information, click here to download our free Home Comfort Resource guide. Pipe Works Services serves Chatham, NJ, and the surrounding areas. To get started, check out our website.

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