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 cooker off while you go away or are on holiday?
The answer 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 range cooker on and off. The only reason not to is that it's more efficient to leave it on or it's a bugger to relight (all too possible!).
Assuming your cooker restarts/relights easily I've addressed each fuel type below.
Traditional oil range 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 cookers.
Traditional gas range 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 range cooker 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 range 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 ;)
Our 'Electrikit' converted Aga range cookers... This one is easy - turn it off if going away at all, even if just for one night. Its a flick of a switch to turn back on when you return. The hotplates warm up to a useful heat in 20mins and the ovens in a few hours!
Why might I leave my range cooker on while I go away?
Your kitchen is a little damp. You probably thought it wasn't while the cooker 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 range cooker on it'll stop most houses from freezing in winter so may be worth the investment!