Local weather or climatic conditions are one of three factors that affects the amount of heat loss through conduction. When examining weather conditions, we look at both the inside and outside temperature of a home.

The inside temperature is usually taken as a standard comfort temperature of 65ºF. The outside temperature varies by the hour. Knowing this information can help us to understand two concepts:

Average outside temperature = Average of the maximum and minimum temperature during the day

Heating Degree Day (HDD) = The temperature difference through which air has to be treated, or how many degrees the mean temperature fell below 65ºF for the day. It is also an index of fuel consumption.

Temperatures Inside and Outside a House

Determining Heating Degree Day (HDD)

The formula for determining the Heating Degree Day (HHD) is:

Determine the base temperature or inside temperature: $${\text{T}}_{\text{base}}\text{=usually65}\xb0\text{F}$$

Find the day's average outside temperature using this formula: $${\text{T}}_{\text{a}}\text{=averageoutsidetemperature=}\frac{{\text{T}}_{\text{max}}+{\text{T}}_{\text{min}}}{\text{2}}$$

Use the HDD formula to solve: $${\text{T}}_{\text{base}}{\text{-T}}_{\text{a}}$$

Note: If the T_{a} is equal to or above 65 ºF, there are no heating degree days for that 24-hour period, or HDD = 0.

Try This!

Click the play button below, and observe the temperature changes. Then calculate the average temperature and the Heating Degree Day.

Heating Degree Days Activity

Click here to open a text description of the Heating Degree Days activity.

Try This: Determining Heating Degree Day (HDD)

Picture a house with a thermometer on the porch. The current outside temperature is 60 degrees. As thick clouds start to move in, the temperature begins to drop in 5 degree increments, first to 55 degrees, then 50 degrees, etc. When the clouds have completely blocked the Sun, the thermometer reads 40 degrees.

Questions:

What is the average temperature?
Hint: T_{a} = (max temperature + minimum temperature) divided by 2.

What is the heating degree days?
Hint: HDD = T_{base} - T_{a}