What Are Degree Days?

A term that you will come across when looking into how much energy your home uses is degree days. This calculation represents how hot or cold the weather is on a given day. But, what are degree days? In this article, we discuss what you need to know about degree days and how they impact your heating oil delivery.

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Determining Degree Days

image of thermometer in snow depicting heating degree days

Degree days are used to predict the cooling or heating needs of a specific structure. The degree days can be calculated for cooling and heating functions.

A 24-hour period can have more than one-degree day. Degree days are the number of one-degree temperature decreases from an accepted average outside temperature in one 24-hour day. A winter day wherein the temperature drops several degrees from the accepted average can have several degree days. In contrast, a day when the temperature doesn’t fall below the average has zero-degree days. Basically, the degree day value gets higher with dropping outdoor temperatures, meaning when it is cold out, the degree day is higher.

The calculation for finding the degree days are as follows: the low and high temperatures in a 24-hour period are added together then the result is divided by 2. The resulting figure is subtracted from 65 degrees, which is the accepted average temperature. This then determines the degree days in a single 24-hour day.

Heating degree days can be predicted with a particular day’s expected highs and lows or ascertained from actual recorded temperatures.

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What is the K Factor?

The K factor calculates how fast a home consumes fuel for heat production. It is a calculation that homes using propane, natural gas, heating oil, and other types of combustible fuel can use.

The K factor of a home represents how many gallons of fuel are burned each degree day. To find your home’s K factor, you need long-term fuel consumption records and the number of degree days between fuel deliveries. However, it can provide a helpful baseline for fuel use assessment and predicting when you will need a new fuel delivery.

Its calculation goes as follows: the number of degree days between delivery is divided by the number of gallons of fuel delivered.

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Using Degree Days & K Factor

Two factors dictate your automatic heating oil delivery. These are the heating degree days and the K factor. They determine when you will need your next delivery and also provide you with an understanding of how experts at Tevis Energy can predict when you’ll need another delivery. It begins with calculating the degree days. We will check the average historical temperature for that date in your locality. The next step is to compare this temperature to the mean temperature of 65 degrees. The degree day’s value is the difference between the mean temperature and the particular day’s temperature. The colder it is means we anticipate that you’ll need more heating oil.

On the other hand, the K factor is the other part of the automatic delivery calculation. It stands for your tank’s capacity subtracted from the reserve value in case of an emergency or inclement weather. The value of the degree days between deliveries will be divided by the capacity of your heating oil tank. This creates the K factor. A higher K factor means more fuel is used. Click here to use Energy Star’s degree days calculator.

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How Do We Know When to Deliver Heating Oil?

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If you are wondering how oil delivery companies calculate your usage when you are subscribed to automatic oil delivery, here’s how it is done:

It starts with the Heating Degree Days (HDD). This is calculated by getting the average of the day’s high and low temperatures in your area and subtracting the resulting number from 65. We use 65 because it has been found that a user of heat tends to turn their heat off or wouldn’t use heating when the average temperature for the day is 65 and above.

This is exemplified as follows: if the low and high for today are 20° and 30°, respectively, the average is 25°. Subtract 25 to 65, and you get 40, which is the Heating Degree Days or HDD.
The K factor indicates how many degree days you burn one gallon of fuel. Therefore, if you have a 500-gallon tank and a 6.5 K factor, you will burn through one gallon of fuel every 6.5-degree days.

Using the example above, having a 40-degree day means you will burn 6.15 gallons of fuel that day if you theoretically have a 6.5 K factor.

We can anticipate the needs of our automatic delivery customers through the combination of degree days and your custom K factor. Some homes utilize fuel oil faster, so they need more frequent deliveries, while other households have a more conservative usage.

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How Can You Use Degree Days to Be More Efficient?

Check the Degree Days website if you want to get the most from your heating oil or you want to learn how much of a difference your energy efficiency investments have saved you. Degree day values can let you see how your heating oil consumption has changed over time. This way, you get valuable insight into how you are doing.

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Call Tevis Energy For Your Home Heating Oil Requirements

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Tevis Energy is a trustworthy heating oil delivery company that services central Maryland and southern Pennsylvania. Our company offers affordable and the most competitive heating oil prices in the area. Our goal is to provide you with excellent products and services. When you choose us to be your oil supplier, you can rest easy knowing that you will have correct and prompt heating oil deliveries at the best possible prices. Furthermore, we offer various heating oil delivery plans and financing options, as a way to customize your oil deliveries. Be sure to call us today to learn more.

Tevis Energy has certified and highly trained HVAC technicians to cater to all your heating and cooling needs. We guarantee that each of our techs has the experience, skills, and knowledge to provide excellent HVAC services. Our team can assist you with installations, repairs, maintenance, and much more. Our superior HVAC solutions always come at affordable costs and we back all of our work with a guarantee.

Call us today to learn more about the products and services our company offers. We provide free, in-home estimates.

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