There’s nothing quite like an AGA – it’s the beating heart of every household; cooking your meals, warming your pipes and adding a distinctive bit of character to your kitchen. In colder months, your AGA works overtime to keep your house warm and cosy, so it’s worth making sure that you give it the TLC it deserves.
Follow our top tips to get your AGA in great condition, and make sure that it stays healthy all winter long.
1) Keep Your Heating Oil Topped Up
AGAs are built to run continuously off your domestic oil supply, so if there’s no oil getting through, it can cause major problems to the pipeline. Most AGAs are fitted with a fire-protection valve that closes up when there is no oil being supplied – this can lead to an airlock in the pipe which stops oil flow even after the oil starts running again.
The only way to avoid this is to make sure you don’t run out of heating oil. Bear in mind that if you are using your AGA a lot during the winter months (for example, to dry clothes as well as for cooking), then you may run out of oil sooner than expected. Keep an eye on your levels and never let the tank run empty.
2) Clean Your Cooking Rings
A build-up of carbon around the cooking rings can actually prevent the rings from heating properly. Every few months, clean inside your cooking rings to keep them clean and in full working order – this will keep your AGA running at maximum efficiency at all times.
3) Know Your AGA
Read your AGA handbook to get a basic idea of how your AGA works. That way, you can fix any minor problems yourself (such as broken doors, pipe blockages or surface damage) without having to wait for an engineer to come out. However, you should never attempt to tamper with your AGA’s control box, as you could cause long-term damage to your system.
4) Add an Additive
During the year, substances can build-up in your oil tank. If this rust, dust and debris (a.k.a ‘tank sludge’) enters your AGA, it can lead to blockages, running problems and efficiency issues. Adding an additive such as CookerMax to your oil is an easy way to breakdown these deposits and prevent sludge from forming in the future. With one bottle treating around 1,000 litres of oil, it’s an inexpensive way to keep your AGA running smoothly between services.
5) Clean While You Cook
Integrate a few clever tricks into your cooking regime to keep your AGA clean while you work. For example, when you are boiling a kettle, point the spout in the direction of your lid liners – the steam will help keep them clean and hygienic.
6) Use the Right Cleaning Products
Never, ever use a store-bought oven cleaner on your AGA. AGAs were built to be self-cleaning, so you should be able to get rid of any oven grime by simply wiping it down with a dry cloth, and brushing (or vacuuming!) out any crumbs. There is a huge range of AGA-certified cleaning products on the market, but for the most part, you can keep your AGA clean and healthy by using a dry microfibre cloth and cleaning up spillages as soon as they occur.
SAFETY FIRST: Always wait until your AGA has cooled down before you attempt to clean it.
7) Warm up Workout
In the past, it was normal to use your AGA throughout the year, however, with eco issues high on the agenda, many homeowners choose to save energy and money by using alternative cooking methods during warm months. If you do switch your AGA off during summer, make sure you run it for a few hours every other week so the parts don’t seize up.
8) Keep Acids Away from the Enamel
The easiest way to stain the enamel of your AGA is by pouring acidic liquids such as milk (yes, milk!) or fruit juice on it and leaving it there. To avoid this, make sure that you clean up any spillages immediately, before they have a chance to settle in and start damaging the enamel surface.
If you need to clean your enamel, wipe it down with a dry cloth then use a good enamel paste to keep it looking shiny and new.
9) Get a Professional Service
Oil-fired AGAs should be serviced at least once every six months by an OFTEC qualified engineer, to keep them in good working order. Make sure one of these services takes place just before winter, so you can fix any problems before the cold really sets in.
When choosing an engineer, you should always make sure that they are fully qualified and have plenty of experience with AGAs.
View OFTEC engineers in your area here.
10) Insure Your AGA
There are a lot of cover plans out there which have been designed to give you immediate help if anything should happen to your AGA. With the right insurance package, you will have peace of mind that no matter what happens, you won’t have to wait too long for help to arrive. This is particularly important in winter months when you can’t afford to be without your AGA for very long. Check out impartial price comparison websites for the best deals on insurance packages.