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Common Sense

Daylight Savings Time

October 28, 2009
Dysart Reporter



Tom Harkin

On Sunday, November 1 at 2:00 am folks in Iowa and across the nation are reminded to turn their clocks back an hour as we return to Standard Time from Day Light Saving Time (DST). I recommend that everyone change all their clocks on Saturday, October 31 before they go to bed to avoid confusion the next morning.

Why Do We Change Our Clocks for DST? The main purpose of DST is to make better use of daylight by "moving" an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening. DST also saves energy and money, because the demand for electricity is directly related to the times when people go to bed at night and wake up in the morning. In the average home, 25 percent of electricity is used for lighting and small appliances, such as TVs, VCRs and stereos, and a good percentage of that energy is consumed in the evening when families are home. By moving the clock ahead one hour, the amount of electricity consumed each day decreases as people are more likely to take advantage of the extra daylight during the warmer months by spending time outdoors.

When is Daylight Saving Time? Most of the United States transitions to Daylight Saving Time (DST) at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday in March (March 8, 2009) and returns to standard time on the first Sunday in November (November 1, 2009). Using the terms 'springing forward' and 'falling back' can be helpful when remembering to change your clock. The United States and many European countries have used DST since World War I. The Uniform Time Act of 1966, signed into law April 12, 1966 by President Lyndon Johnson, officially created Daylight Saving Time in the United States.

How Should I Adjust to DST? Even though DST is only an hour adjustment, it can cause a temporary disruption in sleeping patterns. It is easiest to change all your clocks Saturday before you go to bed. It is also recommended that you go to bed at your normal time Sunday night and rise at your normal time Monday morning. By that time you should be well adjusted to the change.

What else should I remember while transitioning from DST? Adjusting your clocks can also serve as a good reminder to check and replace the batteries in your smoke detectors which happen to be the single most effective tool for surviving a home fire. According to the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the smoke detector is missing or not working in three-fourths of fatal fires nationwide. So remember to switch your clocks and batteries. Because this is one type of change that not only makes sense, it saves cents.



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