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?

TallGiraffe Sat 11-Jan-14 22:12:23

Good luck with your house buying then!

Roussette Sat 11-Jan-14 22:15:33

There is nothing in the world so delicious as roast or jacket potatoes cooked in an Aga. Yum! (I grew up with one)

Belize Sat 11-Jan-14 22:17:04

Do not sell the AGA!!!!! You will learn to love it!

Good luck with the house smile

Fresh01 Sat 11-Jan-14 22:20:40

We have a 3 oven gas AGA and love it. I did one of the AGA evening cookery demos when we got it which was great in learning how to move things between the plates and ovens. We use it for toast and the kettle as well as drying clothes. DS's preschool teacher was very amused when he recently got his top wet and he told the student teacher he would need to put it on the AGA - the student teacher didn't know what one was : )

I asked the demonstrator how long it would take me to learn how to use, he said a month if cooking for a family. Then every so often you go back and try new things.

With 4 kids and a husband all eating at different times, I can cook bolognaise sauce or a stew at lunchtime put in the bottom oven and it is perfect for the kids at 5pm and still perfect for DH at 8pm.

MrsC, do you cook your turkey overnight into Xmas day? We cooked for 21 this year. I put turkey on at half past midnight and took out at 1pm and covered in tin foil and towels and it was perfect at 3pm. It also meant I had all ovens free to cook the roasties and everything else.

jonicomelately Sat 11-Jan-14 22:21:26

They are actually easy to cook on (I have no problem stir frying or cooking steak using my boiling plate), they warm the kitchen so no need for a radiator and I also dry and iron washing on it.

Three oven oil aga here and we wouldn't be without it. Cakes and oven bakes taste fab as does turkey which we slow cook for about twenty hours.

We also have an electric range though with a gas hob for things that need more temperature control on a hob, but to be honest I would say we only use it 2-3 times a year as the aga is so versatile.

LtEveDallas Sun 12-Jan-14 08:21:43

Its not great for a lot of cooking - steaks/stir frys and christmas lunch is a pain as the gas pressure and temperature plummet

Why would gas pressure and temp plummet? That sounds irritating.

Wow to some of the prices on the Aga website. Think I may chat to house owner about buying some of her stuff. Maybe I'll be asking for 'double roasters' instead of jewellery this birthday!

mateysmum Sun 12-Jan-14 08:40:23

Temp can plummet because the AGA is a heat storage device, so if it loses/uses heat it takes time to regenerate.

Having said that, if it is working properly and you use it properly you shouldn't have problems. I never have. When I put the turkey into the roasting oven for 30min to brown, the temp dropped, but came back really quickly.

All part of the magic art of AGA cooking.

Yeah AGA cookware prices are scary. Put aga in front of any name and inflate the price. If you look around, you can save a bit. I sneak an item of cookware onto the credit card when DH isn't looking.

willyoulistentome Sun 12-Jan-14 08:48:13

Ooooh. All very interesting. I am also vaguely house hunting and have also been put off Agas, but mainly due to running costs. My brother and SIL have a large electric one and I agree that it's lovey to stand by. Cos beautifully, Keeps them warm etc. I don't think it runs their v water or heats anything other than their kitchen though.it stays on all the time. My bro (minted) tells me his electric bills are over £ 10 k a year. I notice nobody has put a figure on their bills. Ball park figures please folks?

Dunwhingin Sun 12-Jan-14 08:51:37

will £10k!? Really?
I have the same aga and we don't have gas or oil so everything is on the bill. We have a 4 bed house and our bill is just over £3k

willyoulistentome Sun 12-Jan-14 08:55:16

Phew. £3k sounds a lot more reasonable. I think bro and SIL are a bit spendthrift and leave everything on all the time. Have a huge house too. Thanks for that info. Not so put off now.

Mamab33 Sun 12-Jan-14 09:42:46

Ironing on the Aga confused please tell us how that works. Intrigued.

Atavistic Sun 12-Jan-14 10:15:39

I've a 2 door aga, and a DH and 4 DC. I have a pulley for drying, over the AGa (11 foot ceiling), and another pulley in the adjoining utility. I have a clothes horse for infront of the aga, for overnight drying.
I dry all the washing there. All jeans, t shirts, school uniform, all kids clothes, duvet covers, pillow cases etc are folded well, and stacked on the 2 lids. I rotate the piles, and this is what is known as Aga ironing. Only DH's shirts, and the odd item, are actually ironed.
We are in a 3 story, 5 bed, 1880s, high ceilinged house, and pay a gas standing order of £300 a month. You can order all lengths of pulley online.
I very rarely use my tumble dryer, I boil the kettle on it, and make toast on it. The bake o glide stuff is brilliant. I use Le Crueset casseroles- It is handy to have all metal pots- no plastic handles etc, so they can be used in the ovens. Yes, the equipment is expensive, but the slow cooking abilities give you delicious results, with inexpensive cuts of meat.

It took me a good 6 months to learn to love my Aga, - It was in a rented house, and was the only cooking method available. We then bought a house with an Aga but the kitchen also has a 4 ring hob and electic oven to fall back on- I don't bake in the Aga- your 4 door would be better for that.

If I moved, I would want an Aga again- I never want to go back to hang out washing, and ironing again!

Northernmonkeys Sun 12-Jan-14 10:30:07

I'd say keep the Aga!
We inherited an Aga with the house we bought nearly 5yrs ago and I'd never get rid of it...well, only for another Aga!
Ours is a 4oven gas with an 2plate electric hob incase you turn it off in the summer -we never have-haven't another cooker and don't need one really.

Loved it from the day we moved in. Put some jacket potatoes in, popped out for some essentials and when we cr back they were cooked to perfection!

I'd recommend subscribing to Aga living magazine. I have the Aga Book by Mary Berry and a few little book of Aga tips by Richard Maggs. Very useful. Never went on a course and have had hardly any issues with cooking on it. We use ours for toast, boil the kettle on it etc so no need for extra appliances unless you want to. Keeps the kitchen cosy so we hardly need any other heating unless its very cold.
Very useful for drying washing as others have said.

I have noticed the dropping temp when doing Christmas dinner but you just need to put roast bird or meat in early and use the simmering oven for cooking veg etc. the more you use the hot plates the more heat you loose. Ok when cooking a normal meal but just needs extra care for big meals with a few dishes. I'm sure I'll get it just right next year!

If you love the house I'd go for it. I'd be surprised if you don't like it.
G

MrsCampbellBlack Sun 12-Jan-14 18:10:31

I know some people love agas and god if I'd spent £10k on one - I'd force myself to love it.

But you know if you inherit one - you get to try it and if its not for you trade it in for another in the aga range - I may go for the S series.

Thing is - as soon as you lift the lid on the boiling plate the temp starts to go down so for me stir frying isn't brilliant.

Re. gas pressure - everyone on Christmas day does lunch at a similar time or thereabouts so for me I find the temp goes down despite me following saint mary of the berry to the letter. Oh the hours I've spent angsting over my roast potatoes.

But then on the plus side it reminds me of my granny and her aga (I'm not a novice aga cook) and it does make the kitchen lovely and cosy. And I hardly use my tumble drier because I use the aga.

I don't know - I will think long and hard about what to replace mine with.

MrsCampbellBlack Sun 12-Jan-14 18:15:08

I also wouldn't choose to have it run your hot water. We now need to stop ours doing this and its another massive hassle/expense.

Also check how old the aga is - ours is 30+ years old so I had to have a new burner as soon as we moved in which was about £550 before aga would let it go onto their service/repair plan.

MrsCampbellBlack Sun 12-Jan-14 18:17:41

Sorry me again - the previous owner of our house left the aga roasting trays and toast cooker thingy [technical term]

I've then bought some of the aga saucepans in the sales.

Thing is once you've had an aga you go and look at falcons/lacanche etc and they feel really flimsy and not very big.

See, I'm talking myself back into keeping mine wink Its such an emotional cooker - not sure you could say the same about any other range.

LtEveDallas Mon 13-Jan-14 11:20:48

Thanks smile

Well I've put an offer in on the house shock so I may be an Aga owner yet.....

hinkyhonk Mon 13-Jan-14 11:37:49

i inherited an oil one this summer when we moved in and tbh it is going.

it is lovely right now and is keeping the kitchen lovely and warm but it is a pain in the arse to cook on as whenever we put anything into it the temperature drops, it is filthy as the previous owners clearly thought they had fairies to clean and so it has 10 years worth of burnt on crap onto it and it is bright yellow. and we had to light it this summer in 30 deg heat so it was literally unpleasant to sit in our kitchen anywhere near the thing. the oil bills are frightening and i'm really annoyed at the lack of precision with the temperature of the ovens/hobs.

i know its not a popular opinion and i see everyone else above disagrees with me but ours is going this spring

WhiteHairReally Tue 14-Jan-14 21:55:09

Hinky and MrsC. Thank you for your words of caution. I too am about to move into a house with an Aga. But, it's only a two door version and I am expecting to do 'dos' - dinner parties for 12, buffets for 30. There is no back up electric cooker and I am not an instinctive cook. I currently have two Neff fan ovens, side by side and a five ring hob. The children are in the process of leaving the nest, the new house's kitchen is not a farm house style kitchen at all - but smallish and L shaped. The house actually comes with DH's new job and they have offered to take Aga out. if that happened, I could have a new kitchen.... So, keep 2 door Aga and previous kitchen, or ditch Aga and get new kitchen? ..... What would you do? Same but different query from OP, sorry for piggybacking.

MoreBeta Tue 14-Jan-14 22:00:35

I had a small AGA in the house I bought last year.

I got £100 scrap for it from a main AGA dealer but only if I bought a Falcon induction cooker. They are not worth much second hand unless totally refurbished. Mine was badly scratched and needed a total refurb that would have cost thousands.

The AGA made the kitchen very very hot. I know people like them in big farmhouse kitchens (may parensst have one) and some people like cooking on them but frankly it had to go.

LtEveDallas Wed 15-Jan-14 06:26:55

I now own an Aga! Offer was accepted, so I'd better learn to use the bloody thing!

DH has agreed that we are going to keep the Range in his shed (he wants a really big shed) for 6 months or so in case I just can't get on with it. I think DH is worried about using it too, and I know we'll be looking at fuel costs closely.

The kitchen in huge, and I don't remember seeing a radiator in it, so that's probably part of the reason she has one. It's new though, rather than refurbished.

TallGiraffe Wed 15-Jan-14 07:21:17

Congratulations flowers

In 6 months you'll have forgotten how to cook on a normal cooker! Good luck with the move.

willyoulistentome Wed 15-Jan-14 07:28:05

Ooooh. Curious now. I want to see the house. Sounds nice.

LtEveDallas Wed 15-Jan-14 13:25:36

Thank you. DH keeps saying that we have bought a kitchen with a house attached - he's probably right smile.

Don't want to jinx it yet, but once contracts are exchanged I might post some pics.

I'm excited/nervous and can't wait.

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