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The Ultimate Guide to Buying A Second Hand Aga Range Cooker
Aga range cookers are designed to last for decades and - thanks to their sturdy cast iron parts - they often do just that. This means they can remain a part of a home for generations, and may only be sold when the property changes hands.
If you’ve got your heart set on one of these classic pieces of British industrial history but don’t want to buy a new one or a Blake & Bull reconditioned ‘eCook’ model, there are quite a few second hand Aga range cookers available to buy privately – such as on sites like eBay or Gumtree
If you’ve got your heart set on buying a cooker with some ‘life experience’ read on!
What to Consider When Buying Privately?
When you have found your dream Aga range cooker with a private seller, hang your heart strings up for a short while, and think practical.
Behind the facade these beautiful machines are quite the can of worms! Treat it like buying a car, or even a house, do not lay any money down until you are fully prepared for every eventuality.
We'll be covering all the key things to look out for below:
Older cookers do contain parts that in turn contain asbestos. If you are having a second hand cooker dismantled and moved (see below) then the removal of these parts should be handled safely using the proper PPE, method of working and hazardous materials equipment.
Ask whomever is moving the cooker for you for specific details on the procedures they follow and which parts will be replaced. You should get an in depth and written reply.
You’ll need to have the cooker dismantled and removed by an engineer, transported to your home and possibly factor in having the seller’s kitchen cleaned as well.
Range cooker removal is a highly skilled job which should only be conducted by experienced engineers. Aga range cookers cannot be moved unless first dismantled.
Expect to pay around £350 - £1000 for this part of the process.
Installing the cooker to your home also has another set of costs. Aga range cookers usually sit on a plinth to raise them to the level of the worktop and protect the kitchen floor from the weight and heat of the cooker.
This can be built into the kitchen or an adjustable one, so you will need to consider which suits your needs and budget.
The cooker will then need to be carefully re-assembled by a qualified technician, hooking it up to the new fuel and power source and testing everything works as it should.
Expect to pay between £500 - £1500 for this stage of the process.
Where possible, you can attempt to save money doing repairs and cleaning tasks yourself, check out our Aga range cooker DIY improvement kits for inspiration.
Once a second hand cooker is up and running in your home you should consider what happens if you have a problem. Unlike a new cooker, or reconditioned eCook from Blake & Bull, you’ll get no warranty so check how much a return visit will cost from those who installed it (or even if they are willing to come back if not local!). How much will any problem solving cost from a local engineer is also worth looking into.
Whatever fuel source you choose, there will be certain requirements for installing your new cooker. Will the oil need to be gravity fed? Can your electrical supply cope with the cooker’s load? What additional sockets do you need?
If re-installing a solid fuel cooker, you need to know if your home is located in a ‘smokeless zone’, which means there may be restrictions or complete bans on the cooker’s emissions. It will also require HETAS certification.
Research the Cooker’s History
Aga range cookers live long and complex lives, so the more you can find out about the cooker’s history, the better!
Here are some key questions to ask the current owner:
What age is the cooker?
An old cooker is not necessarily a bad cooker (take a look at this beautiful cooker from 1946 we converted!), but knowing its age will help you enquire about pricing for restoration services if needed.
Why is the cooker being sold? Was it working as it should?
Although you can repair many of the elements of a range cooker, a fundamental issue – such as a crack in the cast iron barrel – may mean the repairs add up to more than you are willing to invest.
How much does it cost to run?
Try and find out the monthly costs for running the cooker and get hold of fuel bills if possible.
Different types of cooker require various servicing intervals, so it’s also worth calculating the long-term investment.
Do you have a regular servicing engineer? Can I speak to them?
Their Aga range cooker engineer should be able to give you an independent assessment of the cooker; how often it has been serviced; any issues it has been experiencing and any expected work needed in the future.
They may also be able to help you with the removal and re-installation process so get their contact details if possible.
Does the cooker heat water in the kitchen?
If the cooker provides hot water in the kitchen, you will need to ensure the safe removal of the boiler from the cooker.
Are any repairs needed to get it working as it should?
We love character, and a few scratches and wear and tear are expected. But some areas of wear can affect your cooker’s efficiency, for example ‘pitted’ cast hot plates will not cook as well, and there can be several issues which affect the cooker’s insulation.
Whilst almost all can be fixed, it’s good if you can approach a reputable company or engineer to price up these jobs before you dive straight into the purchase. Remember to ask if the engineer will put a warranty on parts replaced or repairs needed.
Is the seller the only owner or has it been moved before? Is it being sold with a warranty?
If they are the original owner, ask for receipts and history of any work undertaking.
If they sell the cooker to you with their original warranty, be aware that moving the cooker will almost certainly negate this.
Moving the Cooker
We have briefly mentioned the costs and potential difficulties with moving the cooker, but we can’t stress enough how much you need to think about this. Here is a list of things to think about for the big move:
We would not recommend moving the cooker in one single piece in any circumstances as this means stresses on the castings can cause cracks in transit. The steel panels will warp and twist, potentially the tie rods buckle. And you will almost certainly shed a whole load of vermiculite from the cooker. That is a messy business!
Check the condition of the cooker carefully before and after the move, if enamel or expensive heating elements are damaged, who will cover this?
Electric cookers do not like being moved! If buying a second hand electric cooker, particularly the ‘30amp’ model, you may well have some damage in transit, due to the fragility of the control panel and heating elements. Our recommendation would be to buy a ‘conventional’ Aga range cooker, then have it converted to electric.
Electric is increasing in popularity, with over a quarter of Aga range cookers now running on this fuel source thanks to their lower running costs and greener credentials.
If you are buying a second hand Aga range cooker running on a ‘traditional’ fuel source, you may want to have it converted to electric at some point, so check the model can be converted before you buy.
Good Luck with Purchasing your Second Hand Aga Range Cooker
As you can see there’s a lot to think about when purchasing a second hand Aga range cooker, but we hope this guide has helped you decide what’s best for you!