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Let there be light! Scottish Gas’ bright idea to tackle John O’Groats winter darkness

  • Nearly 40 per cent of people in Scotland leave their lights on for more than 7 hours a day during the dark winter months
  • More than half admit they feel less energetic during darker days
  • Scottish Gas delivers special daylight bulbs to residents to help them keep a step ahead of the darkness

As the shortest day of the year approaches, Scottish Gas is helping the residents of John O’Groats – the most northern place on the UK mainland – to keep one step ahead of the darkness by providing them with a welcome ray of sunshine in the form of special daylight lightbulbs for each household.

For the people of John O’Groats, the darkest day of the year brings just six hours of sunlight, with sunrise at 9am and sunset as early as 3pm. That is nearly two hours less daylight than London.

Scottish Gas HomeCare Engineer, Lewis Tyronney, delivered three special daylight bulbs to each household in John O’Groats ahead of the 21st December, the darkest day of the year. While visiting residents, Lewis also shared his expert advice on how to protect homes during the winter months including tips on boiler maintenance.

The full spectrum of light bulbs work to replicate the intensity and range of colours found in natural daylight, thereby helping to alleviate the symptoms associated with darker days. The special daylight bulbs are also low-wattage LED bulbs, enabling households to save energy by using them.

John O’Groats resident Sandra Sinclair said: When you’re this far north, the days are incredibly short in winter and you can really feel the effects of the lack of sunlight. Getting these bulbs from Scottish Gas ahead of the Darkest Day has made a real difference, and all of us here think it’s marvellous that we can enjoy a bit more daylight in our homes after the sun sets in the early afternoon.”

Speaking about his delivery, Scottish Gas HomeCare Engineer Lewis Tyronney said: I usually visit homes to service and repair boilers. However, it’s been great to visit residents in John O’Groats to give them special daylight lightbulbs, which can enhance their well-being during these dark winter months.”

Independent research* commissioned by Scottish Gas highlights that more than half of Scots admit they feel less energetic as the days get darker, and a further quarter say their quality of sleep declines during winter.


Scottish Gas’ top tips to help households stay a step ahead of winter:

Bleed your radiators: to make sure they are working properly. If your radiators have cold spots at the top, this means you have air in the system, so you will need to bleed them to get them working efficiently.


To do this, turn the system off and when cool turn the radiator key until the air stops and water runs consistently. Once you have turned the system back on, the problem should be solved.


Cold spots in the bottom or centre of the radiator may be an indication of sludge build up and the need for system flushing.


Bleeding your radiator may result in pressure dropping. If you have a pressure gauge, make sure the boiler is at the right pressure and top up as necessary. 


Block the breeze: Make sure all your windows and doors seal properly to stop warm air escaping. For those that don’t, fitting draught excluders, which you can buy from most DIY stores, is a quick and cheap way to cut down on your energy bills. 


Stay safe: It’s vital to have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted and that you test it regularly.


Love your boiler: Check to make sure that your boiler is working properly before winter sets in. The older your boiler, the more inefficient it will be. If you have a pressure gauge make sure the boiler is at the right pressure and top up as necessary.


Wrap up your water tank and insulate hot water: The materials can be purchased from most DIY stores and help to conserve heat and save you money.


Insulate your pipes: Burst pipes are a huge issue during winter months. To help prevent burst pipes, ensure all pipes are properly insulated by using lagging, which can be bought cheaply from most DIY shops.


Be energy smart: Why not speak to your energy supplier about a smart meter? You’ll be able to see how much energy you’re using, in pounds and pence, with a smart meter monitor. In turn this helps you to better understand your energy consumption and identify where you can make savings. Find out more:


Maintain your drains: If you're trying to keep your drains outside well maintained, it's a good idea to make sure they are clear of debris at the point at which they enter the ground. This involves checking your gullies for autumnal leaves and twigs to ensure that they don't restrict water flow at any point.


Control your heating remotely with Hive Active Heating: Using Hive Active Heating means you can control your heating and hot water remotely from your smartphone with the Hive app, so you can ensure your home is warm when you need it to be. Find out more:


Peace of mind: British Gas has a range of HomeCare products to help keep your home a step ahead of winter with protection for your boiler, heating, electrics and plumbing. With HomeCare you can have your boiler serviced every year for less than 40p a day. Find out more:



Notes to editors

* The research was undertaken by 3gem research on behalf of Scottish Gas between 21st – 23rd November 2017, on a sample of 2,000 UK adults in accordance with MRS guidelines and regulations.


Media Contact

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About Scottish Gas

Scottish Gas has almost 900 engineers working across Scotland helping to provide support when things go wrong in the home – such as broken boilers, faulty electrics or leaking pipes.



British Gas is Britain’s leading energy and services company, serving more than 10 million homes and over 400,000 businesses across the country. More than 8,000 highly-trained engineers guarantee the highest quality of service for our residential and business customers. We also provide a range of innovative offers and services including connected home Hive™ products, smart meters, and the online tradesman service, Local Heroes.

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