Daylight saving time: If it's 6 p.m. in Florida, what time is it in California, Arizona, Hawaii? And other math questions
When do we set our clocks back? For some states in certain time zones, 2 a.m. Sunday.
- Thanks to Benjamin Franklin's idea in 1784, we "gain" an extra hour of sleep
- Arizona and Hawaii are the only states that don't recognize Daylight saving time
- What are the time zones? Pacific Time, Mountain Time, Central Time and Eastern Time
On your mark, get set, change your clocks — unless you live in Arizona and Hawaii.
Daylight saving time is upon us once again, or in a nutshell, “longer days in the summer, shorter days in the winter.” For those in the Eastern, Central, Mountain or Pacific time zones, the time will change.
Daylight saving time in the fall means we “fall back” and — depending on your outlook — we lose an hour during the day or we gain an extra hour of sleep. For those states that observe Daylight saving time, it occurs the first Sunday in November. For 2021, the time change happens at 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 7. Its counterpart in the spring is when we gain (or lose if you're talking about sleep) an hour or “spring forward.” The states that recognize Daylight saving time will set the clock one hour ahead in March 2022.
If you live on the East Coast, you're in the Eastern Time zone, and if it's 6 p.m. in Florida, it's 3 p.m. in California, which is in the Pacific Time zone. Subtracting three hours to get the time from Eastern to Pacific, or two hours from Eastern to Mountain and one hour from Eastern to Central, that's what we call "time zone math."
Interesting! South Carolina passed a bill to end Daylight saving time. So did these other states
But what about the states that don't observe Daylight saving time? What is the time zone math like for that? If it's 6 p.m. in Florida, what time is it in Arizona or Hawaii, and how do you calculate the time? Arizona and Hawaii are the only two states that don't observe Daylight saving time.
We've set up a guide to help you with the time zone calculations. Here's a guide to "Daylight saving time math" and other fun things to know about the, ahem, time-honored tradition.
What is Daylight saving time?
Time is adjusted to achieve longer evening daylight, especially in summer, by setting clocks an hour ahead of the standard time.
Who invented Daylight saving time?
Benjamin Franklin is credited the most with coming up with Daylight saving time in 1784, so that people could "gain" an extra hour of sleep. (Watch the Palm Beach Post video above with reporter Kimberly Miller's quick explanation.)
When did it go into effect?
Daylight saving time was enacted during World War I as a way to conserve coal. The Department of Transportation manages the time changes, citing energy and crime reductions.
Why different times?
"When the sun is high in the sky in one part of the world, it is night-time in another place. So for 'midday' to be close to the middle of the day, the world has to be divided into different time zones," according to mathsisfun.com.
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When should I set my clock?
Most people set their clocks before going to bed, and those with smartphones, computers, tablets and smart TVs typically don’t have to do anything — their devices automatically adjust to the correct time.
Why all the hype around Daylight saving time?
We live in a time-obsessed culture. What time is it? When's dinner? When's lunch? How soon till I take my 30-minute lunch break from work? How many days or hours until we celebrate Diwali, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah or Christmas?
And, of course, one of the most popular holidays of all time revolves around a clock — New Year's Eve. Worldwide, we love that holiday so much, we dress up, drink Champagne at midnight, or watch a ball drop (in person, virtually or on TV). So when we have to alter our schedules or time, it has a big impact on our lives.
In the news business, it’s especially critical to mind your time zone. A rocket launch scheduled to lift off at 12:21 a.m. EST from Kennedy Space Center plays havoc with a reporter on a 9 a.m.-to-5 p.m. schedule, but chances are people tuning in from the West Coast are able to watch it virtually at 9:21 p.m. PST with little or no interruption to their sleep schedule.
With the coronavirus pandemic and remote working — #WFH or working from home — knowing your time zone math is critical. Especially if, say, you live in Arizona, but your job is based in Florida.
Fun fact: Most of Florida is in the Eastern Time Zone, except for Pensacola, Panama City, Marianna, Chipley, Defuniak Springs, Valparaiso, Fort Walton Beach and Crestview.
Finally, Daylight saving time math calculator
In the U.S., there are four time zones: Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific. If it's 6 p.m. in Florida (in the Eastern Time zone), that means it's 5 p.m. in Illinois (which is in the Central Time zone), 4 p.m. in Colorado (which is in the Mountain Time zone), and 3 p.m. in California (which is in the Pacific Time zone).
There are time zone converters and time zone calculators online, but if you're not around a computer or smartphone, and you want to do the math on your own, we have these tips.
The simplest way to remember "time zone math" for the states that recognize Daylight saving time is three-two-one: three hours difference from Eastern to Pacific, two hours difference from Eastern to Mountain, and one hour difference from Eastern to Central.
• If it's noon in Florida, it's 11 a.m. ET in Illinois, 10 a.m. in Colorado and 9 a.m. in California.
• If it's midnight in Florida, it's 11 p.m. ET in Illinois, 10 p.m. in Colorado and 9 p.m. in California.
• If it's 7:37 p.m. in Florida, it's 6:37 p.m. ET in Illinois, 5:37 p.m. in Colorado and 4:37 p.m. in California.
Daylight saving time math calculator if you live in Arizona
"3 hours in the summer, 2 in the winter" is a common phrase for Arizonans. Because the state does not recognize Daylight saving time, time zone math gets a little tricky.
Daylight saving time in the fall
• From an Arizonan's point of view, before the time change on Nov. 7, if it's 6 p.m. ET in Florida, it's 3 p.m. in Arizona and California.
• After the time change on Nov. 7, if it's 6 p.m. ET in Florida, it's 4 p.m. in Arizona but 3 p.m. in California.
Daylight saving time in the spring
• From an Arizonan's point of view, before the time change in the spring, if it's 6 p.m. in Florida, it's 4 p.m. in Arizona and 3 p.m. in California.
• After the time change in the spring, if it's 6 p.m. in Florida, it becomes 3 p.m. in Arizona and California.
Daylight saving time math calculator if you live in Hawaii
There's "island time," then there's Daylight saving time.
Because Hawaii does not recognize Daylight saving time, the time zone math also gets a little tricky.
Daylight saving time in the fall
• Before Daylight saving time takes place in the fall, Hawaii is always three hours behind California, Washington, Oregon and Nevada.
• From a Hawaiian's point of view, before the time change on Nov. 7, if it's 6 p.m. ET in Florida, it's noon in Hawaii. Hawaii is six hours behind Eastern Standard Time, five hours behind Central time, four hours behind Mountain time, and three hours behind Pacific time.
• After the time change on Nov. 7, if it's 6 p.m. ET in Florida, it is 1 p.m. in Hawaii because the states that observe Daylight saving time "fell back" an hour. Hawaii is then five hours behind Eastern Standard Time, four hours behind Central time, three hours behind Mountain time and two hours behind Pacific time.
Daylight saving time in the spring
• From a Hawaiian's point of view, before the time change in the spring, if it's 6 p.m. ET in Florida, it's 1 p.m. in Hawaii.
• After the time change in the spring, if it's 6 p.m. ET in Florida, it becomes noon again in Hawaii.
Contributing: Janessa Hilliard, USA TODAY Network-Florida; Doyle Rice, USA TODAY