News

Spring Forward: Why Do We Change Our Clocks?

To be on time for your Sunday activities, remember to turn your clocks forward one hour. The beginning of Daylight Saving Time is a great reminder to change the batteries in your smoke detectors, too.

Most of the United States, including New Orleans, will lose an hour at 2 a.m. Sunday by moving forward into Daylight Saving Time.

Why do we observe Daylight Saving Time? The simple answer is to save on energy costs.

One of the biggest reasons we change our clocks to Daylight Saving Time (DST) is that it reportedly saves electricity. Newer studies, however, are challenging long-held reason.

In general, energy use and the demand for electricity for lighting our homes is directly connected to when we go to bed and when we get up. Bedtime for most of us is late evening through the year. When we go to bed, we turn off the lights and TV.

In the average home, 25% of all the electricity we use is for lighting and small appliances, such as TVs, VCRs and stereos. A good percentage of energy consumed by lighting and appliances occurs in the evening when families are home. By moving the clock ahead one hour, we can cut the amount of electricity we consume each day.

Studies done in the 1970s by the U.S. Department of Transportation show that we trim the entire country’s electricity usage by about 1% EACH DAY with Daylight Saving Time.

Benjamin Franklin proposed Daylight Saving Time as an American delegate in Paris in 1784. The idea didn’t really catch on in the United States until World War I, in an effort to save on artificial lighting costs. The same thing happened during World War II.

After the war, states individually chose whether to observe daylight saving time and when they wanted to begin it during the year. As you can imagine, this just caused a lot of confusion, especially for travelers and those of us in the news business.

The Uniform Time Act of 1966 provided the basic framework for alternating between Daylight Saving Time and standard time, which we now observe in the United States. But Congress can’t seem to resist tinkering with it.

For example, in 1973 Daylight Saving Time was observed all year, instead of just the spring and summer. Again in 1986, Congress declared that DST would begin at 2 AM on the first Sunday in April and end at 2 AM on the last Sunday in October.

In 2007, Congress voted to switch the end of daylight saving time to the first Sunday in November to offer trick-or-treaters more daylight time to venture into the streets, even though most children wait until after dark to go out anyway.

While most states observe the spring forward / fall back switch in time, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and Arizona do not change the clock.

However, the Navajo Nation in Arizona does participate in daylight saving time and will roll the clock back Sunday. The Hopi Reservation, entirely surrounded by the Navajo Nation, does not observe daylight saving time, creating a “doughnut hole” in time in the middle of Arizona.

When’s the next time change? Fall back Sunday, November 2, 2014.

Oh, and remember: it is Daylight Saving (with no S) time, because we are ‘saving daylight.’ Get it?

VIEW & ADD COMMENTS

21 Comments to “Spring Forward: Why Do We Change Our Clocks?”

    Evon Brooks said:
    March 8, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    Has Indiana gone to observing Daylight Saving time?

      Claude Thacker said:
      March 8, 2013 at 7:06 PM

      Let's once and for all eliminate this stupid ritual to change our clocks twice a year. I propose that the whole country from now and into the future go to what I would call "Gradual Time". This would be simply put as its name does suggest that for six months a year we would "gradually" see our daylight become a little more for six months and then "gradually" begin to see our daylight become a little less for the following six months. Just ask the majority in the state of Arizona how they like their system. Also ask the people of Indiana how they did like this system for more than 30 years before it was changed in 2008. Changing clocks causes depression!

    Clovis Marion said:
    March 10, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    Time Change — how much a "Waste of Time" moving clocks back and forth

    Rolanda said:
    March 12, 2013 at 8:47 PM

    thanks!

    Micki said:
    August 13, 2013 at 1:12 AM

    I’ve learn a few just right stuff here. Definitely value bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how much attempt you set to make one of these great informative website.

    David said:
    March 7, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    Every state should be like Hawaii and Arizona. They have it all wrong, summer is hot so it save more energy if it got dark earlier not later. Winter is cold saves more energy if it gets dark later. Congress is stupid that's why we are 18 trillion in debt.

    Tim said:
    March 7, 2014 at 2:48 PM

    VCRs? Is this article from the 80s?

      Logan said:
      March 8, 2014 at 8:54 PM

      Skipping dvd players were already on bluray but this guy still has a beta player

    Guest said:
    March 7, 2014 at 2:55 PM

    Daylight Saving Time does not save energy, time or anything else. It only infuriates anybody with a clock that has to be reset and upsets your inner clock twice a year. I live in Arizona and thankfully it's one of the few things this backwater state does correctly by not following. The rest of the world needs to get real and either go with their standard or daylight time and stick with it year round!

    Hossein Motarjem said:
    March 7, 2014 at 3:21 PM

    I live in Iran, we have the same problem here in the beginning of the spring! Fuck the Energy consumption or time saving, it only disrupts your inner clock without any outcome!

    Russ said:
    March 7, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    It is another way Congress meddles in our private lives. One year I counted that our family had to reset fifteen clocks and watches. It is a terrible nuisance twice a year. If it saves energy it isn't yours or mine because we have to spend time changing time keepers and some of these electronic wrist watches require a person with a PHD degree to figure them out. Go figure…

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