1st Propane North Texas
Newsletter, April 2014
Welcome to our first posting. We hope you enjoy this newsletter and find it helpful. And we encourage your feedback and ideas.
This has been an unusual winter. The cold days came, and STAYED. As reported by the Wise County Messenger, temperatures in February ranged from a high of 80, to a low of 12; below-freezing temperatures were recorded on twenty of the twenty-eight days in the month. Many customers called, concerned they were using propane more quickly than in the past. Our goal with this newsletter is to provide a perspective which may help you understand your propane consumption over the past six months.
A degree day is a tool to measure a demand for energy, and it is often used when analyzing the energy required to heat a structure. Basically, it is the difference relative to a “base” temperature; the base most often used in the USA is sixty degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature is captured each hour of the day, averaged, and then compared to the base. This example may help show how it works.
The average of these readings is 42.5. The difference between 60 and 42.5 is 17.5; thus, this day has earned 17.5 degree days.
Every home, every building, is different in terms of design, construction, and insulation, so there is no single formula which can convert a degree day into energy consumption. However, we can use degree days to compare one time period to another, which then helps us understand changes in energy consumption.
The following chart compares three sets of degree days: the winter of 2012-13, the winter of 2013-14, and the average of the winters of 2005 through 2012-13.
As you can see, the recent winter had significantly more degree days than last year, and more degree days than the average of the last eight years. Whether we compare month to month (year over year) or just the total degree days, we see a large increase.
The following table helps us see how dramatic the increase was by month, particularly November, December, and February.
Now, we all know there are lies, damned lies, and statistics, so we must be careful how we interpret this data. With that warning in mind, let us consider how this kind of degree day change might affect a homeowner.
We will assume that in the winter of 2012-13, 100 gallons purchased at the beginning of November would last four weeks. In the winter of 2013-14, November would require 154% of the energy required in 2012-13, or 154 gallons. 100 / 154 = 65%, meaning that 100 gallons would only last 65% of four weeks, or 2.6 weeks.
Over the entire 2013-14 winter season, degree days increased 32%. So, if 200 gallons was sufficient for 2012-13, we would need 264 gallons for this past winter.
Please remember, this is just one way to measure the need for energy, and cannot be used to explain the propane consumption of every customer. Also, degree days do not include humidity as a factor, and we know that a rainy 60 degrees feels much colder than a dry 60 degrees. But we hope this discussion may have provided an interesting perspective.
We thank you for your business, and look forward to continuing to fulfill your propane needs. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please get in touch with us via telephone, email, or even better, come by our office in Bridgeport.