A Christmas checklist for your cooker!

Dog by range cooker at ChristmasI love these cookers but somehow they always seem to conk out at crucial moments! My own parents 2 oven old dear died the week before Christmas once and required £1500 of remedial works on Christmas Eve (I pulled some strings!) to make sure the Christmas dinner was ready on time!

The following is a checklist of jobs to do in advance of the holiday period to make sure that nothing avoidable goes wrong at the crucial moment! 

  • Check your fuel supplies! Are you the proud owner of an oil or solid fuel cooker? Go check how much fuel you have now. Don't rely on your oil tank gauge if you have one. It's a pain but use a dipstick so you can see the evidence with your own eyes!
  • Vacuum behind the control panel! Unless you have an electric model your cooker needs to draw air into the burner under the control area door. Even in very clean houses this means dust and fluff collects behind the door. Over time this can build up and block the air flow. If you have dogs and cats this happens even quicker! Open the door and carefully vacuum the area clean. Be careful to check there are no parts of the burner floating around to be hoovered up - engineers often leave them here! 
  • Move pets beds away! The air flow to the burner can be blocked not only by the fluff and dust mentioned above but also by big comfy pet beds leaning against your cooker. Who can blame them for wanting to sleep near the warmth but just make sure there is room for air to flow. It's also worth mentioning that big dogs leaning on your cooker can have the same effect. I have heard tell of one lady who had terrible trouble with her cooker going out whenever it was wet outside. Eventually the engineer established that after wet dog walks their St Bernard leaned against her range cooker to dry off and in the process blocked the air intake entirely!
  • Check your accessories! Do you do a lot of baking at Christmas? You'll need your cold shelf, check where it is now before you need it! Christmas also tends to mean cooking in quantity; do you need more oven shelves to fit it all in?! 
  • Check your flue! You can remove most flue shrouds (this piece) easily; they just lift off. When you have removed it pop your hoover nozzle (use metal bit only; the flue is hot and will melt plastic hoover nozzles!) in there and vacuum out any deposits that have fallen from the flue. It should have a protective plate to stop it blocking air flow. If there is a lot of muck to vacuum out you may need to have your flue swept. For more info and pictures I did a blog post on this - 'Is your Aga range cooker's flue blocked?'
  • Buy those gifts in plenty of time! Our hob covers are gorgeous and ready to be delivered at a moments notice!
  • Fix any small problems! Don't ignore that seal hanging off the door or lid, fix it with high temperature glue! Are your lid liners dented or damaged? Replace them with a DIY kit.

 

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