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Thread: Fitting a timer to an AGA

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    Default Fitting a timer to an AGA

    Very off topic but here goes.. I'm fitting a kitchen for someone and they've had a reconditioned 4 oven gas AGA fitted at huge cost. (This is just an oven ie no water or central heating) It's very nice and all that but I was surprised to find it has no timer, so it runs day and night at whatever temp it's set at. It can be turned right down when leaving the house in the morning but then on arriving home on a cold night it's a long wait till it comes back up to temp so the room is cold. This defeats the object of having an AGA. The alternative is to leave it running hot all day so the house is all cosy for home time, but what a waste of expensive gas.(the house is empty weekdays from 7.30 am till 6.30 pm)
    At home we have a gas Redfyre, much the same thing as the AGA. (but without the prestige) it does however heat the water, it runs the central heating, and of course it's also a cooker. We can set the heating and hot water independently from the oven, and have total control of every last drip of oil that passes through it. I've googled 'AGA timer' and can't really find any useful info on timers for gas AGAs. Can any one shed any light on this one. Any one got a Gas AGA with a timer?. Or have my customers just bought a very expensive fuel guzzling status symbol.
    Paul.

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    Default 6 Ways To Reduce The Running Costs Of The AGA Cooker

    Try here..... http://www.theovencleaningbusiness.c...ga-cooker.html ..
    ..you could try Gimballing it though

    Vik

    Quote Originally Posted by paulsmith View Post
    Very off topic but here goes.. I'm fitting a kitchen for someone and they've had a reconditioned 4 oven gas AGA fitted at huge cost. (This is just an oven ie no water or central heating) It's very nice and all that but I was surprised to find it has no timer, so it runs day and night at whatever temp it's set at. It can be turned right down when leaving the house in the morning but then on arriving home on a cold night it's a long wait till it comes back up to temp so the room is cold. This defeats the object of having an AGA. The alternative is to leave it running hot all day so the house is all cosy for home time, but what a waste of expensive gas.(the house is empty weekdays from 7.30 am till 6.30 pm)
    At home we have a gas Redfyre, much the same thing as the AGA. (but without the prestige) it does however heat the water, it runs the central heating, and of course it's also a cooker. We can set the heating and hot water independently from the oven, and have total control of every last drip of oil that passes through it. I've googled 'AGA timer' and can't really find any useful info on timers for gas AGAs. Can any one shed any light on this one. Any one got a Gas AGA with a timer?. Or have my customers just bought a very expensive fuel guzzling status symbol.
    Paul.
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    Cheers for the link Eddie,
    Looks like they'll have to fork out even more dosh for the AIMS gizmo conversion.(another £1500 or thereabouts) My Redfyre comes with this as standard and it's half the cost of an AGA. Re gimbals.. don't think so. but there might be a nice secondhand 4 oven AGA for sale soon. It would go lovely in your 'canoe'.
    Paul

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    Interesting. I had never heard of one and now that I have, I wonder what the advantage is to have one that is soley a cooker. Especially with its gas consumption. Wiki said that a regular oven uses only 2.6% the fuel. In this day and age it seems like switching to a more modern cooker would be no brainer unless it has some advantage that escapes me. What am I missing?
    Regards,
    Mike

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    Am I right in thinking that there's no straight-forward way to retrospectively fit a boiler into a 4 oven gas Aga?

    If so it may not [even] be easy to get it to double up to supply domestic hot water either ...

    My parents have a gas 2 oven Aga. They turn it off in the summer, but that's the only 'timing' control theirs has. That one takes a while to get back upto useful temperature once it's back on / turned up too. They do at least use theirs for heating that part of the house, and as they are in and out quite a bit during the day, it kinda makes sense to run it like they do (plus it's also proved to be extremely handy for drying out the horses rugs overnight in the kitchen).

    4 oven versions are huge: sadly (for your clients) I think your last sentence is probably going to be true ...

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    Interesting. I had never heard of one and now that I have, I wonder what the advantage is to have one that is soley a cooker. Especially with its gas consumption. Wiki said that a regular oven uses only 2.6% the fuel. In this day and age it seems like switching to a more modern cooker would be no brainer unless it has some advantage that escapes me. What am I missing?
    You're not missing anything you've spotted the fatal flaw. As Monkeypork says if you're in all day, or in days gone by when the wife was at home all day cooking and housewifing while hubby was out earning the money they (AGAs) made some sense. In modern times when both are out all day earning enough to pay more taxes To me they seem like a huge extravagance. It's amazing what folks will pay just to have that special name on the front.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MotoMike View Post
    ...In this day and age it seems like switching to a more modern cooker would be no brainer unless it has some advantage that escapes me. What am I missing?
    The only thing you're missing, is that some people think that having an AGA means they are of the moneyed in-crowd. This might have been so 15 years ago but there's still those people, who feel they need a 4x4 to drive around the city. Owning an AGA can be the same sort of thing.

    To my mind:
    If you want to cook and only need to to heat a small tank of hot water once a day, plus warm one room, get an AGA.

    If you want to occasionally slow cook/boil the kettle, slowly heat water all day and heat the house via radiators, get a Rayburn.

    Both are now owned by the same company but the former is for cooking and the latter for heating. But to my mind, there are stoves of a more modern design, that will not only do the same job but also do it in a more fuel efficient manner and are cheaper. But if the name is all you desire, then get an AGA.

    TGB
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    I know what you're saying TGB I just didn't want to offend any members who might have one and start another heated debate.
    It could end up like the J stroke thread

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    I have got one, but it came with the house. It is oil fired, so it does cost a lot to run. It is the most fantastic thing to cook with (roasting is particularly good) and to warm your bum on a cold morning.

    In an old stone house, it can almost make sense for it to run constantly. There is a lot of stored heat retained in stonework, eg our house based on an old Welsh longhouse has a lot of stone in the middle that forms the fireplace, old staircase and ovens. The Aga keeps the centre of the house warm, a log burner keeps the lounge warm so we only have the central heating on for an hour in the morning and 2 hours in the evening.

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    Default Sidetracking a little...

    On the subject of keeping warm (topical ) I have a modern house with gas central heating and no fireplace or chimney. This is okay, but a power cut would stop the gas boiler working. I had vague thoughts about installing a wood-burner against an exterior wall, piercing the wall for a flue. I don't plan on getting a fire that would replace the gas boiler, just heat one room, and maybe have a hotplate on top so I could at least boil a kettle if without power.

    Does anyone have experience of this kind of set-up? I've browsed web-sites, but it's always better to learn from people who have tried it.

    Mary

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    I just had a quote for exactly this arrangement. It involves a double walled Stainless steel chimney being attached to the exterior wall of the house. If I go for it it will be quite expensive. On the other hand I'll cut my fuel bill significantly as the fire is 8kw. I'm planning a pellet burner, but phew the whole set up is about €4500 ! Thats a lot of fuel oil.
    Wilf
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    Thanks, Wilf. Let us know how it goes if you get it done.

    I was planning a log burner, for the aesthetics. I realise this needs outside sheltered storage for the logs - ideally, buy your first year's worth of seasoned wood, ready to burn. But also buy another year's worth of green wood (cheaper) which can be drying out in the store while you burn the first lot.

    There's some hassle involved, but to get partial independence of fossil fuel would be very nice. I'm a long way from the point of getting quotes, but in my head, I'm thinking I'd want to have about £5000 available to do this properly.

    Mary

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    I'm not sure I understand the reason behind not having a chimney in a house - I know a lot of people really can't be bothered with a woodburner / open fire, but at least having the chimney gives one the option ...

    Quote Originally Posted by maryinoxford View Post
    I had vague thoughts about installing a wood-burner against an exterior wall ...
    I dunno if this is covered by planning / building regs these days... I'd expect there will be some requirement about height above the roof / distance from neighbours in there somewhere.

    Wood storage / management is fine once you get on top of it - If I've not cut anything myself during the winter and have to order it in, I try to get mine in during May, so if it's not quite as dry as ideal then, it's got the summer months to dry out a bit more. You'll always use the space you have available in a woodshed, and still wish you had more.

    I've not run a seperate chimney/liner (as I didn't need to), but the principle is sound - if you had a single storey, I'd suggest thinking about running the liner up inside the house to wring that last bit of heat out of the wood, but going through an upstairs room might be a bit odd perhaps.



    Had you asked this in 12 months time, I might have been able to give you a "I've done it" kinda answer, as I do need to replace an aged gas boiler 'soon', (and coincidentally get a new cooker) and I'm very seriously looking at a solid fuel storage cooker / back-boiler combination for both jobs - and that will require exactly the same kinda set up as you are considering - I'll need a double insulated liner as it's too far from the existing chimney.

    Don't think you'll only use it occasionally tho' - once you get a woodburner, there's no going back.

    Keeping your paddling / 'camping' stove in the house is useful if you get power cuts - you can still get drinks, boil water for a hot-water-bottle and the like.

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    Quote Originally Posted by maryinoxford View Post
    ...I had vague thoughts about installing a wood-burner against an exterior wall, piercing the wall for a flue...
    Ideally, you need a flue height of at least 15'/4.57m to provide enough draw. If there is any reasonably practical way of having more of the flue inside, this would not wwaste quite so much of the heat. - Also, try to stay clear of burning resinous wood, as your flue will tar-up. And never burn plywood, as the glue/varnish may combust at a much greater temp., than the stove is rated for.

    TGB
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    Woodburners are great. I'm sitting next to mine as we speak. I have never bought any wood, I do a lot of joinery work and use the offcuts, save old floorboards and always keep an eye and ear out for anything going free that might burn. I also go on wood collecting missions on the river/estuary and get some good quality logs often swan into convenient canoe sized lengths but it's very hard work and an all year round job In recent years it's noticeable how much less comes my way because now everyone else has got one. Spot a nice big fallen branch by the roadside a few years ago,and I could pick it up sometime over the next few days. No longer. The old floorboards I used to be able to throw in the van are now kept by my customer for their bother/uncle/friend who's just bought a woodburner. So what I'm saying is,many people have the idea that owning a woodburner means free heat and therefore lower bills but it doesn't work that way if the fuel/wood has to be bought. The cost of logs (round here anyway) closely follows the cost of conventional fuels. ie oil goes up and a pickup load of logs goes up. So installing a woodburner isn't going to save money unless a continuous supply of free quality logs is available. That said there is nothing like lighting and relaxing next to a woodburner on a cold winters night. So much nicer than a radiator. There's some fairly strict rules regarding flues but if something can be sorted it's a nice feature to have in your house.If you're ever in North Devon there's a couple of places who sell woodburners The one in Winkleigh has them in a huge barn type building many of them fired up and running.
    with every style and type on show including pellet a chip burners. ' a cracking place to go on a cold day cause it's always cosy.
    Cheers,
    Paul.
    Last edited by paulsmith; 29th-November-2010 at 08:55 PM.

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    Thanks for all the input.

    Clarifying a bit, the house I own is in Scotland, and is currently rented out. I'll move into it when I retire in a couple of years. It's not in a smokeless zone. Planning permission and building regs definitely apply, and I would get the work done by a reputable professional. It's a 2-storey building, so I've got enough height for a flue. I think it would be simpler to run it up the outside wall, rather than have to pierce the living room ceiling, the bedroom ceiling, and the roof.

    I don't expect free or even cheap fuel. My motives are:
    a) I think a living fire is absolutely beautiful. I grew up with them. Gives a wonderful heart to a room.
    b) It would be a low-tech heat source in the event of a prolonged power cut.
    c) Wood, though not cheap, is carbon-neutral. I'm not obsessive about that, but it's nice to save burning a little fossil fuel.

    Monkey-pork, I think low-budget houses don't have chimneys simply because it makes them cheaper to build, and the assumption is that everybody will use central heating. I certainly want central heating - I like having the place warm before I get up. But you can't beat a real fire.

    Mary

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    Just another thought about woodburners. We have an oil fired range that provides central heating. This comes on around the time we get in from work and goes off an hour or so later. We then after tea and move into the lounge and light the woodburner all nice and cosy but the rest of the house cools down. Come bedtime the bedroom is freezing. I always thought it would be a good system to have just one radiator in the bedroom (independant of the main sytem) that works from the woodburner so when retiring to bed a nice warm room would await. mmmmmmm

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulsmith View Post
    I always thought it would be a good system to have just one radiator in the bedroom (independant of the main sytem) that works from the woodburner
    Hmm, that's an interesting idea ... fitting a backboiler in my woodburner would usefully boost the capacity of the system if/once I install the storage cooker/boiler - I can run about 8k BTU in there I think, and fitting it really would only take me five minutes - the rest of the plumbing would take as long as it takes of course, but at least the woodburner bit would be quick.

    There's quite a big woodburner / storage cooker place out South Molton way too isn't there? If you ever find yourself on this side of the Moor, going up the A38 past Buckfastleigh, Dean Forge are worth popping into for a look (as I'll be doing next week).

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    When we fitted our woodburner I did look into the idea of running rads via a backboiler. The drawback according to the experts is that the boiler and radiators rust out quickly. This is caused by condensation created in the system due to the highly variable temperatures that a woodburner runs at. It would still need an expansion tank etc. The only way round the condensation problem is to have copper boiler and radiators,and that gets pricey. Another way (but I don't think it's been invented yet) would be to sleeve the flue pipe, and then draw out the heated air in the cavity between the flue and the sleeve. This could be ducted around the house as required and seems to make use of heat that otherwise is totally wasted.
    Paul.

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulsmith View Post
    and then draw out the heated air in the cavity between the flue and the sleeve. This could be ducted around the house as required and seems to make use of heat that otherwise is totally wasted.
    When I first got interested in wood burners, I wondered about something like this. (I was actually thinking of a water-sleeve heat exchanger, so that incoming water gets warmed by the heat going up the flue.) But my reading suggests that you need to keep the flue hot all the way to the exit, or else you can get tarry deposits on the inside.

    Mary

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    Forty years ago we had a wonderful thing called a "Baxi Burnall" a sort of flush mounted open fire - these burned just about anything solid, were throttled for easy control, used outside air for combustion and would go a whole week before needing to empty the ash-pan.

    This heated one lounge directly and ran about half a dozen radiators - good thing

    Quote Originally Posted by paulsmith View Post
    . Another way (but I don't think it's been invented yet) would be to sleeve the flue pipe, and then draw out the heated air in the cavity between the flue and the sleeve. This could be ducted around the house as required and seems to make use of heat that otherwise is totally wasted.
    Paul.
    My grandfather patented a flue based air to air heating system during the 1930s - and made not a penny from it.

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    Interesting thread for an outsider....

    Here you will find electrical 6.5Kw point-of-use showers fitting most small/medium sized houses and electrical central water heating boilers on larger homes.

    Central air-heating is not common of course, but air-conditioning (hot and cold) is quite normal.

    Gas auto-ignition-water-boilers are getting more and more common as the gas price goes down when compared to electricity.

    Now I just can´t believe you don´t have easy/common access to dual chamber woodburning room heaters.... Probably we´re not talking about the same thing but, in case yes, they are quite simple, beautiful and extremely efficient!!! Here is the one I have at our shop-home (guess Crow and the Smurfs had a look at it)...



    BTW, you will see that we own the representative office for them in our area.... Delivery to UK may be expensive though....

    The burning chamber is conected to the chimney while de second heating chamber colects cold air in the bottom and deliver ultra hot air through the openings on the sides and back.

    OBS: the picture above was not taken at my shop-home....unfortunatelly!
    Tony BR
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    That's a nice looking piece of kit. So is the air in the chamber blown out mechanically or does it flow out naturally?
    Paul.

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulsmith View Post
    ...and then draw out the heated air in the cavity between the flue and the sleeve. This could be ducted around the house as required and seems to make use of heat that otherwise is totally wasted.
    Quote Originally Posted by maryinoxford View Post
    ...But my reading suggests that you need to keep the flue hot all the way to the exit, or else you can get tarry deposits on the inside.
    Sounds a good idea but I reckon tarring could become a problem. Perhaps it would depend on what one was burning and how hot the flue was running.

    Quote Originally Posted by DougR View Post
    Forty years ago we had a wonderful thing called a "Baxi Burnall"...
    And when it came to repair, there was a real mess to clear up afterwards.

    Quote Originally Posted by TonyBR View Post
    ...
    ...!
    Yep. You can easily come by these type of stove. I'd say 65% of new stoves now come with a secondary ignition chamber. Which enables them to burn more efficiently, produce less smoke for more useable heat and there's very little ash as an end product. The one downside, is the price UK purchasers have to pay. A small stove that combusts only 60-70% of the fuel and produces 2.6 to 3Kw, will set you back £350+ just for the stove. Get to 4-5Kw and the price goes up to £750+ just for the stove. 6Kw and greater and prices start at £1200+. Add to this a modern swanky number like the one in the picture and regardless of the output, you'll not be getting any change from £1000 and it goes up to £3000 for some models by certain makers.

    Flues and the fittings are not cheap either. Think of a number, say £275 +VAT and you'll be on your way to a cheap self-fitting. Add in a professional fitter and in some areas, this may be mandatory and you can add another £600 plus +VAT. - On the plus side, there are plenty of stoves out there, by plenty of makers and you can even buy them online.

    Note. If you've decided on one from a local retailer and want to save on delivery by taking it home yourself. Bare in mind, that cast iron and steel stoves are very heavy. Though many will be in a kit form, each of the major pieces, can still weigh quite a bit. So if you have any problems lifting heavy weights and or have a dinky little car; do yourself a favour and pay for delivery.

    TGB
    Last edited by TGB; 1st-December-2010 at 06:50 PM.
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    When I first got interested in wood burners, I wondered about something like this. (I was actually thinking of a water-sleeve heat exchanger, so that incoming water gets warmed by the heat going up the flue.) But my reading suggests that you need to keep the flue hot all the way to the exit, or else you can get tarry deposits on the inside.
    As you say flues are sleeved about 10' above the fire to keep the gases inside hot enough to carry on up and out the top. otherwise cooling gasses would condense on the inside and would lead to deposits of unwelcome tarr on the inside of the flue. I'm sure though there must be some point at which some waste heat could be diverted into my bedroom. A far simpler system of course is to put a kettle on the woodburner and use the 'free' hot water to fill a hot water bottle.
    It seems my 'invention' has already been invented by DougRs' Grandfather.... Beginning to think I'll never get rich
    Paul

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    Jumping in a few years late on this thread, but ive just moved into a country house and had wondered the same thing about a timer. I had the saddle boiler decommissioned on the AGA as we had introduced gas for the hot water heating. The chap that undertook the work understood AGA's very, very well and had recommended to me, that in order to save oil, just to turn it down by one notch after dinner and back up again first thing. He reckoned that one notch. (I.e 4 to 3 would take about 45 minutes to get back to temperature but could save up to 40% on oil consumption). Firstly, removing the saddle boiler made halfa tank of oil last 3 months as opposed to 2 therefor this represents a 33% saving. We then tried the turning up and down method and quickly realised that this was giving us an extra 15-20% reduction on oil consumption.

    However, remebering to turn it up and down every day and night was becoming a pain and most nights we would forget so i started searching for a device to automate this process. None under £1,800 was found and they involved replacing the burner if they did exist so Myself and my father. (Me a programmer, Dad an electrical engineer) set to work and have nearly completed a low cost device based on an Arduino board and a few other components which will mechanically rotate the knob via a small belt up to 13 steps per day.

    This involves a small box mounted outside the AGA and a small heat resistant motor and belt drive mounted on top of the control box in the bottom left oven.

    Its in need of refinement, but effectively is now working and we intend to trial it for a while and then bring 'made to order' devices to market in the short term, for a fraction of the alternative costs with the view that the device would pay for itself in gas / oil in a few months!

    Ill keep you all posted!

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    We took an AGA out of our last house as it seemed a complete waste of time and money. We visited the AGA shop in Harrogate to find out if we could sell it. The horrified response to someone taking out an AGA was amusing. We sold it, bought a 6 burner range cooker from John Lewis and had change.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyro View Post
    We took an AGA out of our last house as it seemed a complete waste of time and money.
    We did the same with a Rayburn (poorer man's Aga). I contacted a specialist dealer who told me it was old and worthless and basically offered to take it away for me. So I put in on a certain auction site. It sold for £700. I quickly worked out that the person who bought it was the self same dealer. Cheeky sod! I didn't bother to tell him I knew as I wanted the money.

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    I guess an AGA is always going to be a bit of a lifestyle thing / luxury. However if i can make it more than 50% efficient with some small changes, i'm willing to live with it!! :-) DOg would hate us anyway as he loves lying bext to it in the winter!

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulsmith View Post
    just another thought about woodburners. We have an oil fired range that provides central heating. This comes on around the time we get in from work and goes off an hour or so later. We then after tea and move into the lounge and light the woodburner all nice and cosy but the rest of the house cools down. Come bedtime the bedroom is freezing. I always thought it would be a good system to have just one radiator in the bedroom (independant of the main sytem) that works from the woodburner so when retiring to bed a nice warm room would await. Mmmmmmm
    qft

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