2018-03-08 / Front Page


Daylight saving time is here once again. On Sunday, March 11, we will all set our clocks ahead, at 2 a.m., losing one hour of sleep.

Some people love it – others hate it. The concept of daylight saving time has always been an issue. It was first started in 1918 as a wartime measure. Contrary to popular belief, it was not for the farmers to have more time to work in the fields. Americans hated it so much that the law was later revoked. It was reinstated in 1942 as another wartime measure, and the necessity of it ended in 1945. It was brought back once again in 1966 with the enactment of the Uniform Time Act as an attempt to standardize daylight saving time. (DST)

The Uniform Time Act of 1966 commanded that daylight saving time start across the nation on the last Sunday of April and end on the last Sunday of October. Proponents of Daylight Saving usually state that most people would prefer an increase in daylight hours after the normal 9-5 workday. They have also stated that DST decreases energy consumption however the real effect on overall energy use has been and continues to be disputed. Rather than rural interests, it has been urban entities such as retail outlets and recreational businesses that benefit from the change. Over the years, the starting and ending dates have been adjusted several times.

The final tweak ­­– so far – in 2007 has daylight saving time lasting from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November, totaling 34 weeks (238 days) every year, about 65 percent of the entire year. Hawaii and parts of Nevada still observe standard time year-round.

In recent years, changing your clock forward and back is also a reminder to change the batteries in your smoke detectors. Many fire departments encourage people to change the batteries in their smoke detectors when they change their clocks because daylight saving time provides a convenient reminder. A working smoke detector more than doubles a person’s chances of surviving a home fire.

More than 90 percent of homes in the United States have smoke detectors, but one-third are estimated to have dead or missing batteries.

While battery-operated units have a built-in device that chirps when batteries get low, signaling the need for replacement, common wisdom dictates not waiting until that point. Batteries should be replaced twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.

When you change your batteries, be sure to dust the unit, making sure that the sensor is lint free. The button test ensures that the batteries are working. However, it doesn’t tell you whether the detector is operating properly. To find out, put two or three lighted matches together and then blow out the flame, holding the matches so that the smoke wafts up toward the unit.

After a period of 10 years, a smoke detector has endured more than 87,000 hours of continuous operation, during which time the internal sensors have probably become contaminated with dust, dirt, and air pollutant residues. If your alarm or detector is more than 10 years old, consider replacing it. Your family and your home are certainly important enough to do a little maintenance!

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