I have had a few queries about this recently so thought I would address it properly in a blog post! So should you turn your Aga off while you go away or are on holiday? The answer, as ever with Aga's, is that it depends! It depends on how well insulated your cooker is, what fuel supply it uses and maybe even the time of year (how cold it is!).
Firstly it does no harm at all to turn any Aga on and off. The only reason not to is that 1. it's more efficient to leave it on or 2. it's a bugger to relight (all to possible!).
Assuming your cooker restarts/relights easily I've addressed each fuel type below.
- Traditional oil Aga cooker...As a rule of thumb I'd turn one of these off if you are going away for more than 3 days. Testing this is very difficult as measuring the amount of fuel used is tricky and vague for oil Aga's.
- Traditional gas Aga cooker...These guys heat up quicker than oil cookers and can respond to heat loss quicker (ie heat up quicker) so I'd say they are worth turning off if you are away for more than 2 days. You can actually test this. On a 'normal' weekday day check your gas meter first thing and then just before you go to bed and note your gas usage. The next day turn your Aga off so that it is cold by morning of the following day. Note the gas meter and relight it checking again that evening to see your total usage. By comparing the two figures you should be able to get a good idea of how much 'extra' gas it takes to warm your cooker up vs just maintaining a temperature.
- Electric Aga cookers...There are lots of different types so this is tricky. If it's an older type or conversion then I'd say the 3 day rule applies but with a modern cooker it's much less, maybe even 1 day. They are so easy to turn on and off so it makes the decision much easier! As with gas you can test this quite easily using the method above, just check your electric meter not your gas ;)
Why might I leave my Aga on while I go away?
- Your kitchen is a little damp. You probably thought it wasn't while the Aga was on, and then you turned it off :/
- It's not worth the hassle. Fumbling with matches on a cold kitchen floor is not much fun!
- You like coming home to a warm house. If you turn everything else off and leave the Aga on it'll stop most houses from freezing in winter so may be worth the investment!
Matthew is from a farming family near Bath and a graduate of King's College London who decided not to follow the 'standard' path into banking or the law. He has been working with Aga's in some form or another since 2003. Matthew runs Blake and Bull from beautiful Bradford on Avon, near Bath. Alf the golden retriever makes sure the working day finishes at 6pm sharp - dog walk time!