Time change coming this weekend, be sure to change batteries in smoke detectors
Published 9:11 am Wednesday, November 1, 2017
As we move farther into fall, it will be time this weekend to change the clock — twice a year we either spring ahead or fall back (Sunday), changing our clocks to align with Eastern Standard Time. In the spring we will once again change our clocks to Daylight Saving Time with an eye toward saving money on our electric bills and overall efficiency.
As time has moved forward more into autumn, daylight does not come so early in the morning and darkness appears earlier in the evening. Come Sunday, it will be a little lighter when we get up, but our evenings will grow a bit shorter.
Like the residents of Massachusetts, many say it is time to permanently flip the switch in one direction or another.
Science argues it is best to keep daylight saving time year-round. That’s also most popular with most of the public, which enjoys the additional daylight in the evening. Changing our clocks back and forth affects the sleep pattern of most of us, although we adjust pretty quickly.
For some folks the time change can be profoundly jarring, thanks to something called circadian rhythm. The body’s natural biological clock sends signals when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to wake, and these signals are strongly tied to sunlight and darkness, as well as to the number of hours previously spent asleep or awake. Most sleep experts recommend that people get the maximum benefits from sleep by establishing — and sticking to — a sleep schedule.
According to a Department of Energy study done in 2008, daylight saving time saves .03 percent in energy costs for the year as a whole. The aggregate number is big enough to power about 122,000 average U.S. homes for a year.
The best solution would be to stay with what is known as daylight saving time year-round. That system saves some energy, is better for recreational pursuits and would save us all the hassles of changing our clocks twice a year and having to adjust to new sleep times.
The United States first observed daylight saving time in 1918 as a way to save energy during World War I. Also, the uniform time change was meant to provide a uniform system for interstate commerce but instead launched a tangled web of different time observances in different states. The rules weren’t specific, so the government eventually created the Uniform Time Act of 1966 to align the dates. The current schedule, introduced in 2007, lists the time changes on the second Sunday of March and the first Sunday of November. The change isn’t mandatory, however: Arizona and Hawaii don’t participate.
Many would prefer to leave daylight saving time intact all year. It is nice to have light later in the day, especially in the winter. The more sunlight we could see, the better we could feel on those long, cold winter days in January and February.
While we continue to adjust to the time change, a bigger event is set to occur — winter, which is still weeks away. It also means that the coldest weather of the season is yet to come, but it also means the holidays are much closer.
If the time change does any good, it’s that it provides an easy and important reminder to change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. While we still have some days before the time-change, use them to change the batteries in your smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors before the weekend arrives. The devices should be tested monthly and replaced every 10 years.