When is the middle of winter according to heating degree days? January 18.

Image by TheUjulala from Pixabay

I mostly heat by burning firewood and my wood pile has shrunken quite seriously already this year. I was wondering when the middle of the winter is from an HVAC perspective and I was surprised that I couldn’t find the answer, so I downloaded data from DegreeDays.net for the Findlay, Ohio airport weather station for the past three and a half years and did the calculations to discover that yesterday, January 18, was the middle of the winter for heating degree days according to local data.

This year has been warmer than average, and the second half is likely to require more heating due to regression to the mean unless the mean temperature is rising due to global warming. Anyhow, if you are wondering how much more firewood you will need for the rest of the year and you know how much firewood you have burnt so far this year, it should be about half of the total amount you will burn for the entire heating season if the rest of the year continues on the same trend.

So we just passed the median day of winter’s heating needs based on historical trends.

The beginning of the official seasons are set according to the length of day. Winter officially begins on the shortest day of the year–the winter solstice on December 21 or 22. Fall and spring officially begin on the equinox when the day and night are equal in length and the summer officially begins on the longest day of the year–the summer solstice on June 20 or 21. But these astrological dates have very little to do with seasonal climatic changes and their affects on biological needs. The real onset of winter and summer weather always begins earlier in Ohio than the start dates on the official astrological calendar. The real mid-winter is January 18 according to our climate in NW Ohio (and probably most places) even though the middle of winter is February 3 according to the official astrological calendar of the seasons.

This is one of the last vestiges where astrology still rules modern life rather than more practical considerations!

Posted in statistics

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