Can I afford an Aga? Running costs explained
Friday, 14th March 2014, Paul Dore
If you're planning to renovate your kitchen some time soon, you might be considering putting in an AGA - and why wouldn't you? They help keep the house warm, look stunning and do so much more than just cook great tasting food. However, AGAs haven't always received positive press in the past and have a reputation for being expensive to run. This isn't necessarily the case though and you might find that you can actually afford to have one.
In this article, we take a look at the positives and benefits of owning an AGA, how much they cost to run and how much money they could save you.
Benefits of having an AGA
AGAs are made from cast iron and are therefore extremely good at efficiently storing heat, making them lovely and warm at all times and always ready to cook. When you do come to use your AGA, the heat is transferred throughout its ovens and hotplates at a steady rate. You won't find any conventional dials or switches on an AGA, as it looks after itself, maintaining consistent temperatures. You have nothing to worry about – it's no wonder that so many owners claim that cooking on an AGA is much easier than on a regular oven.
You'll find that not only does food cook quicker in an AGA, it tastes better too. This is because AGAs cook food by radiating heat, which helps lock in the moisture, flavour and texture of whatever you're making. You can bake, fry, grill, toast, roast, stew, steam, simmer and stir-fry on your AGA, meaning you don't have to bother owning a lot of other kitchen appliances, as it pretty much does everything. Many people even use AGAs to help air out their clothes.
Disadvantages of having an AGA
For most, the biggest disadvantage of an AGA in the potential added cost – older models in particular can be expensive to run. This is partly down to the fact AGAs are designed to be left on all the time. In the winter, this means you have a warm, toasty home, but in the summer that heat might be unbearable, unless you have several fans to hand or air conditioning, which can also be costly to run. Many AGA owners have a second cooker for the summer months instead, but this is another added cost, plus you need to have room to be able to store both appliances in your kitchen.
Why are AGAs seen as expensive?
AGAs only really work properly if they're left turned on all the time, so it's only obvious that they should cost more to run than the average cooker. While this may be true in some instances, AGAs can actually be very economical and can help save you money. In fact, in the majority of cases there doesn't seem to be much difference between the average running cost of a conventional oven and an AGA.
Remember that it's likely that you'll keep your AGA on during summer, when you're at work and even when you're on holiday. However, modern AGAs claim to be economical and most have an AGA Intelligent Management System (AIMS) installed, so the AGA is powered down when it is not in use, which saves around 25 per cent of the energy it would normally use.
A good investment
The initial cost of an AGA depends on what sort of model you go for, but a new, two-oven model costs around £7,000 fitted. That may seem like quite a lot to spend, but if you're happy in your current home and plan to stay there for a while, it's a good investment - one which will likely add value to your property. Many AGAs last for more than 50 years, meaning you'll probably never have to replace it in your lifetime. Moreover, because AGAs are multifunctional, you'll save a lot of money on the cost of running and buying other kitchen appliances. Not to mention that there’ll be no need to turn on the radiators located near your kitchen ever again, as your AGA will keep the surrounding rooms nice and warm.
Average cost of running an AGA
As we’ve already mentioned, the cost of running an AGA largely depends on which model you buy. You have the choice of a two-oven, three-oven or four-oven AGA, which can run on electricity, gas or oil, depending on your preference. Whether you’re after two, three or four ovens, the 13-amp electric models cost the most to run. A two-oven 13-amp model will set you back £32.87 a week, a three-oven costs £37.35 a week and a four-oven is a whopping £40.34 a week!
In fact, unless you choose to opt for the smaller City 60, TC3 or Dual Electric models, the cheapest option is the 30-amp electric models. For a two-oven you can look to spend just £15.16 per week and a four-oven will consume around £18.48 of electricity a week. However, if you’re after a three-oven model, your cheapest option is actually natural gas at £17.33 a week.
Average savings you'll make
AGAs essentially make toasters, bread makers and electric kettles redundant, as they can do the job of all these things and more. With this in mind, you could look to save between £7.94 and £11.33 per week, simply by not using such appliances.
You'll also save on heating costs, as during the winter your always-on AGA will mean there's little point in turning on the heating in the rooms nearby. By not turning on two gas radiators, you could cut down your heating costs by between £4.92 and £9.85 a week. If you have underfloor heating instead of radiators, expect to save a lot more.
However, it is worth bearing in mind that the estimated costs and savings are provided by AGA itself, so you might want to take the figures with a pinch of salt.
Although the upfront cost is a bit daunting, there are many good reasons to buy an AGA. They're attractive, warm, improve the quality of your food and rarely cost more to run than the average cooker. Beware though, many AGA owners will tell you that once you've got one, you'll never want to cook on anything else ever AGAin.