Turning on your gas Aga range cooker?

The temperature has dropped in recent days and maybe you are starting to think about turning your AGA range cooker on for the winter (if indeed you turned it off!). I'm not going to go through the whole process, your AGA range cooker's manual or the instruction plate inside the door should walk you through it, but I want to re-iterate a couple of important safety issues. 

Lets start with the basics, servicing. Your AGA range cooker is a gas appliance like any other. It's slightly more esoteric than your normal boiler but still needs a service every year. Don't be tempted to skip this. Any GasSafe registered engineer should be able to help although in practice some faint hearted engineers may baulk! Firstly you don't want gas leaks but secondly you also want to be sure your flue is operating properly and removing combustion gases from your kitchen. Don't be silly, get it done!

Now for an important aspect of your gas AGA range cooker's start up instructions that is easily missed. You'll notice that the instructions are to run the cooker on low for some time. DO NOT IGNORE THIS! The reason is that you need to warm the flue, and the the air in it, slowly. If you don't then you create a big chunk of warm air that gets stuck below the cold, heavy, air already in the flue. Eventually of course this cold air does swoosh past the warm and as it descends down the flue (imagine a lava lamp movement speeded up!) and out the bottom of the AGA range cooker this cold air passes the burners and blows them out. The gas will continue to flow and build up inside the cooker. This, as you may imagine, is bad. Were you to try and re-light the cooker at this point the ignition spark will ignite all this gas at once and this also, as you may have imagined once more, is bad (yes I have done this *gulp). Instead if you notice your cooker has gone off after it has been lit you should turn the gas off and leave it for a long long time for any gas build ups to clear before you try again. 

By following the instructions properly you shouldn't have the slightest problem relighting a gas AGA range cooker but do remember to let it warm up slowly! 



Matthew Bates
Matthew Bates


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 these fabulous cookers 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!