Aga Owners - I need your help and experience!

(58 Posts)
LtEveDallas Sat 11-Jan-14 18:29:40

On Monday I am almost certainly going to be putting in an offer on a house.

The main selling point for me was the kitchen, which has been done to a seriously high standard and is a great space.

Except. It has an Aga.

I know nothing about Agas. The lady was waxing lyrical about it and I was just making "mmhhmm" noises. I did pick up some points:

It's a 4 oven Aga
It is gas converted
The ovens are 250, 180, 120 degrees and warming
She leaves it on all the time.
She thinks I could sell it for 4K

I feel like I have a billion questions, all of which I really should have asked at the time blush.

Ok, so how easy/hard is it to use an Aga?
Leaves it on all the time? Won't that cost a fortune?
Would I have to buy all special pots and pans?
How do the two hot plate things work - can the heat be regulated? Why only two hot plates (I'm used to 6 burners)
What's the flat plate thing on the left?

That's just for starters! Now I could just get rid of it, but the lovely kitchen has pretty much been built around it, and my range cooker is about a foot smaller, so we'd either have a big gap either side of it, or have to call in the kitchen guy she used to fit it in properly.

The thought of an Aga kind of scares me, I'm all for convenience usually. But I think I'd be willing to have a go.

Can anyone persuade/dissuade me?

LtEveDallas Sat 11-Jan-14 20:04:14

Is there anyone out there? grin

PyroclasticFlo Sat 11-Jan-14 20:08:26

Sorry can't give a long reply but we have a 2 oven gas Aga (converted from solid fuel, it's ancient!) and I absolutely love it, to the point that I miss it when we go away and where possible I now have to have holiday cottages that have an Aga as I can't live without it (to cook, to defrost, to dry out hats and gloves, to dry washing, to press washing, oh all sorts of things!)
They take a bit of getting used to but seriously, if we ever moved house I would have to have another Aga, it is like a member of the family now.
Oh and no you don't need special pots and pans or anything and yes it does cost a bit to keep it on all the time but we use it to dry washing (airer in front of it) so I figure it earns it's keep wink

Dunwhingin Sat 11-Jan-14 20:13:07

An aga is the most convenient thing ever.
I have a three oven electric, it is on all the time and heats my kitchen/diner.
The two rings can take several pans at once, the ovens are huge and you can cook anything on it.
Give it 6 months
There are loads of heat saving knacks, if you go to your local Aga shop they run classes on cooking with agas and can explain everything.
I wanted one for ever and I love it now I have one,
Everyone gravitates towards it, I dry almost all our clothes on it, it makes the best roast dinners in the world.
The big plate could be a warmer plate, I don't have one but I think it is just hand for keeping bits warm, hot dinner plates etc

mateysmum Sat 11-Jan-14 20:20:53

I was in just his position a year ago, faced with a beast of a 4 oven oil aga and no other means of cooking! Now I lurves it.
Agas are always on all the time - that is the whole point of them. They store heat and are instantly ready to use. Try not to think of the ovens in temperature terms, they are roasting (top right), baking(bottom right), simmering (top left) and warming (bottom left). Cooking in an AGA is an art more than a science and I reckon it took me 2 or 3 months to really get the hang of it. Yes they do cost quite a lot, but they save massively on central heating, tumble drying etc.
The 2 plates are boiling on the left and simmering on the right - they do what they say, but the whole AGA principle is that you cook mainly in the ovens - even root veg and frying things. I bought some new pans but really for convenience. What you will want are the AGA trays and roasting tins which go on the oven runners and some AGA bake o glide (wonder non stick sheets - I use them for everything. The flat plate is a warming plat - great for warming plates, keeping the kettle warm and I use it to put things on when I get them out of the oven. I also cook fried eggs directly on the simmering plate without fat.
To get over your fear, book a demo session at your local AGA dealer and get "AGA know How, by Richard Maggs". I refer to that book most days even now.
Your vendor is deluded if she thinks you could get £4k. Their second hand value is relative peanuts.
I also recommend getting some really good long oven gloves as the ovens are very deep and you use them all the time to put pans in.
When learning how to use an AGA, you really do just have to go with it and not try and make it behave like a conventional cooker. It makes the most fab Yorkshire puds, out of this world meringues and you can do lots of things all at the same time!

Good luck. Ask away if you have more?'s

IndridCold Sat 11-Jan-14 20:23:45

Agree it's a fantastic and wonderful creature, so much more than juat a cooker. It is not hard to use at all, but there are always more skills and techniques you can learn which will improve performance.

Classes at the Aga shop (or website) are a great idea, I also recommend the Mary Berry Aga book. Amy Willcock books are good too.

You can try it out for 6 months, and still sell it for £4k if you don't get on with it...

LtEveDallas Sat 11-Jan-14 20:40:31

Oh my god mateysmum, that is a fantastic answer. Thankyou.

(Going to read everything properly now and will come back)

mateysmum Sat 11-Jan-14 20:41:16

Any time LtEve.

springadorspringybum Sat 11-Jan-14 20:46:05

We love our! We have just run out of oil so it is off at the moment. We have PILES of washing that needs to be dried. Agas are fantastic for drying clothes!
Seriously dont know what i would do with out ours!

Chlorinella Sat 11-Jan-14 20:50:36

We have a 2 oven Aga ( was oil , converted to electric )
Yes , expensive to run , but ours does the hot water, warms the kitchen and dries the clothes as well as cook .
As mateysmum said above .
We considered taking ours out ( we moved in , the Aga was there )
BUT , we would have to replace it with something else and redo the kitchen .
There is NO resale value to an oil Aga , I doubt there's much value to a gas one . They're massive , heavy and how on earth difficult to move
Lovely to cook on . the best roast potatoes ever
Give it a go

Chlorinella Sat 11-Jan-14 20:55:36

Also ( this is good ) if everyone is out , and wanting dinner at different times ...
Cook the meal as you want , dish up .
Those that aren't there put cling film on and put in bottom oven .
When they are ready , peel off cling film and serve
Also , chuck out the microwave , you won't need it

LtEveDallas Sat 11-Jan-14 20:55:47

OK so if I buy this house (when) then I will try to find a course. That's great, didn't know there was such a thing.

Have wish-listed the books!

When you all say drying on it - do you have airers in front or above it? She has a shelf about that I could change to a pole. I use our tumble dryer far too much, so that would be good.

Is anyone willing to tell me how much extra my gas bill is likely to be (so sorry to be so nosy). If it helps, we currently pay £115 per month gas and electric, and we live in a very cold house.

I am actually starting to get quite excited here, whereas before I went to the house I was all "I'm not lighting a fire every time I want to cook something". When she said it was gas converted I was happier, and now can see how this might work.

I need to bookmark an Aga website!

MrsCampbellBlack Sat 11-Jan-14 20:59:02

I have inherited one in our house - I have very mixed feelings about it.

Ours is on all the time as provides our hot water and I have no other oven. This is not ideal.

Its running costs (gas) are high. Its not great for a lot of cooking - steaks/stir frys and christmas lunch is a pain as the gas pressure and temperature plummet.

I will probably replace when we do the kitchen.

Chlorinella Sat 11-Jan-14 20:59:47

Hang towels on the pole on the front of the Aga
Put undies on the simmering plate .
Stand a clothes airier in front of it overnight / all day if you're out
We had a Sheila Maid above it , but it got on my nerves , so it's gone
Finish in tumble dryer
Not on mains gas , so can't help with bills

LtEveDallas Sat 11-Jan-14 21:00:35

Oh god, I just discovered AgaLiving.com
grin

Chlorinella Sat 11-Jan-14 21:03:05

www.aga-ranges.com/aga-living/aga-cooking-demos.aspx I was just about to show you !
Mary Berry has an Aga cook book too

JapaneseMargaret Sat 11-Jan-14 21:10:26

We lived in a house with a two-oven one very briefly - I was overly excited and even bought a book.

I didn't get on with it, but I suspect because I just didn't have enough time with it, to get used to its foibles, etc. We were only there for about 2-3 months, pre-emigrating. We also had to get the technician out to re-light it which was, frankly, a hassle.

I still romanticise about living in a home with a huge, comfortable kitchen complete with aga, though.

TallGiraffe Sat 11-Jan-14 21:18:06

Aga ironing - you never need iron a duvet cover again! Fold it nicely when wet, put it on the li of the simmering plate and one ironed duvet cover (or anything else).

I love love love mine, but it is expensive.

TallGiraffe Sat 11-Jan-14 21:18:37

lid

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Sat 11-Jan-14 21:24:50

We have an electric Aga and I love it. You've had good info on this thread so all I will say is that for some reason food from the Aga just tastes nicer than any other food I've cooked (DH made a steak and Guinness pie to die for tonight).

Good luck with the house purchase smile

mateysmum Sat 11-Jan-14 21:29:41

MrsCampbell - are you using your AGA at its most efficient? I heat a cast iron grill pan in the roasting oven before cooking the steaks on the boiling plate and it works really well. You can stop the temp plummeting at Xmas dinner by staggering when you cook things and not using the simmering plate.

OP - shop around for any kit for the AGA as you can often get it cheaper. Try avec cookers, betty twyford, cookoo (all websites) as you will soon find yourself a couple of hundred quid out of pocket. Try and get the vendor to leave you as many bits and pieces as you can.

How old is the AGA you are inheriting? Ancient ones may not be quite as efficient as newer ones.

Like others have said, you can dry clothes on the rails/the warming plate or on the simmering plate lid. I don't have enough ceiling height to have a sheila maid above the AGA but I have one in the nearby utility room and the heat drifts through. If I'm not going to be around, I leave an airer in front of the AGA all day.It's also great for drying soggy trainers - essentially anything that needs a gentle constant heat.

No idea how much gas you'll use. Ask the AGA dealer and they will give you an idea.

Ask the vendor when the AGA was last serviced. You'll need it servicing once a year and it will cost about £75-100 (may be less for gas - mine's oil).

Pusspuss1 Sat 11-Jan-14 21:35:20

I grew up with one and they are the business. Keep it and don't worry, you'll get the hang of how if all works. It's mostly for heating really, with a bit of cooking thrown in. It's such a lovely thing to have!

LtEveDallas Sat 11-Jan-14 21:52:25

Umm, tallgiraffe, I've never ironed a duvet cover in my life! <<slattern>> grin

Well, I've discovered that there is an Aga Shop less than 5 miles from the possible new house. Could be dangerous. They've got a 'beginners' course next week, but I think that would be jumping the gun a bit.

This house feels very right. I am busy turning around my 'negatives', the main one was the Aga and the wasted £££s on the range. I get that the Aga is going to cost more to start off, but I am happier about the whole idea.

Oh God. Think I'm buying a house then.

springadorspringybum Sat 11-Jan-14 21:54:40

we actually pile our washing on the aga! it is VERY clean! we fold up jumpers or trousers and lie them on top of the aga. or hang then over the bar at the front. We also have a rack over the top when we hang hangers also!

springadorspringybum Sat 11-Jan-14 22:07:18

although do be careful, DH managed to lose the color from a woolen top after leaving it on top of the aga!

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