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Servicing our oil fired Aga.......

Discussion in 'off topic' started by foxwelljsly, Sep 11, 2019.

  1. foxwelljsly

    foxwelljsly Keep Music Vile

    I've just been quoted £150 for the annual service and switch on for our Aga.

    Looks to be just cleaning the burner and oil supply and checking and, possibly, replacing the wick. The rest is just giving it a good clean.

    I'm seriously tempted to do it myself.

    Anyone here service their own aga or oil fired range? Is it as much of a doddle as it appears?

  2. Vinny

    Vinny pfm Member

    Nope, but friends have, although I have taken little notice. there ought to be a flue check from a smoke pellet too, but otherwise you appear to have covered everything, so far as I recall, second-hand.
  3. doctorf

    doctorf left footed right winger

    I’ve often been tempted to service our gas Aga but I think it’s better to be able to blame someone else if the house burns down as a result.
    foxwelljsly and Ponty like this.
  4. steve watkins

    steve watkins pfm Member

    Are you going to change the thermocouple and burner nozzle/level, how do you propose to carry out the combustion check?
    Do you have a pot burner or pressurised?
    Do you know how to correctly remove clean and install any baffle plates and the burner body?
    If pressurised, burner nozzles are very easy to damage, never try and clean one, the result is poor atomisation and combustion due to incorrect spray pattern.
    I'm not saying it is difficult but without the knowledge and tools it is possible to end up making it unreliable, probably at the most inconvenient time and ultimately cost you more.
    Many would recommend servicing twice a year so I don't think they are being too costly for an annual service.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
    matt j, Snufkin and doctorf like this.
  5. Ponty

    Ponty pfm Member

    Sounds OTT but check your insurance. We’ve got a solid fuel Rayburn. I could sweep and clean it myself but get a chimney sweep to do it. If it burns the house down, I can prove it’s professionally cleaned, swept and checked twice a year.
    doctorf likes this.
  6. neilm

    neilm pfm Member

    Many years ago, my Dad used to do his own services.

    In principal it was fine, but I was never convinced it was a sensible thing to do, but I was quite young and not as gung ho as him. Saying that, nothing ever went wrong.
  7. SteveS1

    SteveS1 I heard that, pardon?

    That £150 sounds cheap to me.
    Tony Lockhart likes this.
  8. Rockmeister

    Rockmeister pfm Member

    Its an average price but I did ours and it costs NOUGHT bar a new wick. However, my suggestion is you pay this year, watch VERY closely and DIY next year, because straightford it IS, when you know how.
  9. MikeMA

    MikeMA pfm Member

    Working on gas appliances if you are not Gas Safe registered could lay you open to prosecution, and would almost certainly invalidate any house insurance policies you may have.
  10. ks.234

    ks.234 pfm Member

    If you don’t know what needs to be done or how to do it, pay the £150 and sleep a little easier.
  11. dweezil

    dweezil pfm Member

    Booked in to get one serviced a few years ago in a let house and the engineer said it would use 50p worth of oil every hour on minimum, did I really want it done?

    Was going to scrap it but sold it to a refurber for £600, good move.
  12. scotty38

    scotty38 pfm Member

    That's about a litre of oil every hour, give or take.... I'd have to refill my 1000 litre tank at least every 6 weeks. Jeez I knew they were expensive to run but that's madness....
  13. peterm

    peterm pfm Member

    None of this applies to a vapourising burner in an oil fired AGA!

    It's a simple burner that only needs servicing when the oil feed pipes get blocked with carbonised oil. You don't even need new wicks, they only serve to get the flame started and once burning correctly the wicks serve no further purpose.

    There used to be online "e-books" that, for a small charge showed you how to do it yourself.

    I've just turned ours back on, we treat it as a heater that you can cook on but use another cooker in the summer when we don't need the heat. Used like that I consider it quite economical, we use about 2000 litres of oil a year for the AGA PLUS the central heating.
  14. gintonic

    gintonic 50 shades of grey pussy cats

    You would be privileged to be stalked by me. I consider bastardization of a username to be overt bullying.
  15. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    The AGA is a strange thing. It is not a very functional cooker, nor an efficient heater. Apart from being very expensive to run on fuel, there are much better cookers [for example gas or electric], and heating systems that modulate their output according to ambient temperature and time of day.

    No doubt that the AGA represented a great advance on the solid fuel Range Cookers of the Victorian era, but it seems a strange survivor of a much earlier era when the cost of fuelling and servicing them would not have been a high priority in the grand country houses that had them fitted in their earlier days.

    If you can afford to fuel it, then surely the cost of professional servicing is not significant.

    Best wishes from George
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
    Linds likes this.
  16. steve watkins

    steve watkins pfm Member

    Many people use AGA as a generic. The Aga might be a Rayburn. As it was not specified which I tried to cover both.
    However I would argue some of it does apply to a vapourising (pot burner).
    The burner being installed level after being removed, the correct cutting, height and fitting of the wicks avoiding any spillage/wicking, the oil level within the burner, the correct placement of the baffles (shells), top spacer and top cover are as fundamental to correct operation as is the quality of combustion, which, with a clean and fully functioning burner is the domain of the control valve for both high and low settings and everything in between.
    That is what I meant by combustion check and if you don't know what you are looking for and how to correct it if necessary, when assessing the combustion, then it is quite likely that the appliance will not be operating at its best and possibly unsafely.
    I would agree that it is a simple burner but it is still potentially dangerous.
    Things should not change much in the normal course of events but if you have not assessed or do not know how things are supposed to be in the first place then there is probably a higher chance of missing something or making an error. Despite how simple it may appear.
    When dealing with a flammable liquid that spreads, if the safety fails for any reason because it has not been correctly checked, it could be disastrous.
  17. doctorf

    doctorf left footed right winger

    Our Aga also does the hot water but AIUI there is no model which also does the heating.
  18. peterm

    peterm pfm Member

    Agreed that there may be a bit more to it! That's why I didn't attempt to give detailed instructions.

    One of the e-books I've seen covered all the points you make above and that was my starting point many years ago when I realised that the chap servicing our AGA knew less about it than I did (I inspected oil fired industrial boilers for a living).

    I think many people who service AGAs like to pretend that it's all a bit of black magic, and they all have their own quirks to setting up which must be kept secret from their customers!

    As you say you're dealing with a flammable liquid so best not to be too gung ho if unsure how to do it!
    steve watkins likes this.
  19. Rockmeister

    Rockmeister pfm Member

    No...privilege means gaining an improvement in ones situation surely? And as for bullying?? I was taking the p.... That's different I think.
    OK I was over reacting to your apparent over interest in all I do and say. If you really felt threatened by my typing, then I apologise. never is my intention. Quite keen on self defence however so?
  20. peterm

    peterm pfm Member

    On "low fire", which should maintain full oven temperature, an Aga burner should consume 4 ccs of oil per minute or about a quarter of a litre an hour. If your Aga heats the water as well it uses a little more oil.
    You can heat a towel rail or 1 small radiator from an Aga but not central heating - for that you need a Rayburn which uses a similar but larger burner and does use rather more oil!

    We only use ours when the weather is cold enough to need some heating on and the Aga gives off enough constant background heat to bring a surprisingly large proportion of the house to a comfortable temperature when it's not cold enough outside to warrant having the central heating on.

    I set my low and high burner rates somewhat lower than Aga suggest and let the thermostat control the proportion of "high fire" operation to maintain the required oven temperature (often slightly lower than "by the book" but turned up on Sunday morning if we want a Sunday roast).

    We have a pressure jet burner in the central heating boiler and between that and the Aga we find 2000litres of oil ususally lasts us a year. Last time we filled the tank it cost under 50 pence per litre so I think that's not bad for a year's heating and (most of) cooking.
    scotty38 likes this.

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