The cost of living crisis in the UK is dragging another “victim”. People in the UK are gradually ditching the classic Aga stoves to manage their energy bills. Many people even shed tears when they were no longer able to use them.
Cast iron furnaces are becoming more expensive in times of energy price storms. Many homes in the UK are phasing out Aga stoves because they can’t stand rising energy prices.
Aga’s original design was a coal-fired stove and operated 24/7. Aga stove is an appliance that consumes a lot of energy. Now, even owners of more modern kitchen models find them still too expensive.
Blackpool oven dismantler Jack O’Dwyer has removed 35 Aga ovens so far this year. He also received at least 100 phone calls from customers across the country wanting to sell these ovens. Others are looking to have them removed at no cost, as they are unable to pay the £500 ($579) fee to remove the furnace.
O’Dwyer says he won’t buy the Aga ovens again because he’s not confident he can find a buyer. A customer recently paid £10 a day for a brand new electric Aga oven and had it removed after just 6 months.
O’Dwyer says: “Owning an Aga stove is everyone’s dream, but the hard truth is that they just can’t keep it. £70 a week for a stove is too high.”
Aga was originally designed in Sweden but has a large following in the UK. Some people buy them, name their ovens, and consider them part of the family. The stoves come in a variety of colors. An Aga stove can have up to 5 ovens at different temperatures.
The strange function of the stove is always on. This allows the oven to use indirect radiant heat to cook food, meaning the user does not need to wait for the oven to preheat. They have been produced in Telford, England, since the 1940s and are a status symbol among rural families.
A group on Facebook called I love my Aga! (roughly translated: I love my Aga!) has 16,800 members. Currently, this community is sharing the best tips for saving energy when using the stove. O’Dwyer has watched emotional owners shed tears as he unloads their beloved Aga stove.
Julie Bradbury is a mother of two from Aberdeenshire, Scotland. She is figuring out how much energy her Aga electric stove uses to decide whether to keep it or not. Even with a new package of support for households from the government of new Prime Minister Liz Truss, her energy costs have doubled since this date last year. This amount is not small, she said.
Bradbury calls his oven ‘The Blue Baby’ and even uses it to dry and iron clothes. “It’s not just an oven,” she said. Kitchen has become an important part of life. That would be a great loss.”
While expensive, the owners of thousands of pounds of Aga stoves are certainly not the biggest victims of the cost-of-living crisis that is sweeping everything from gas to basic goods. .
Some cash-strapped people are turning to food banks and using buy-now-pay later to buy needed items. Many people in the coming winter will likely have to choose between heating the house or eating three meals a day.
Aga was invented 100 years ago and was manufactured by American kitchen appliance manufacturer Middleby Corp. acquired in 2015. The classic stove has become a design icon compared to the Coca-Cola bottle or the VW Beetle.
The company now mainly sells electric versions of its stoves after its kerosene and gas stoves drew criticism for adding to global warming. A new Aga stove costs around £15,000. Some people would rather buy a car than an oven. The old stove can still be sold for £5,000.
Glenn Bing, an independent engineer at Aga in Kent, has been removing the stoves at a rate of about once a week this year. That’s about the same speed as when he switched gas and oil-powered Aga stoves to electric ones. The trend “certainly has to do with the cost of living,” says Bing. Bing now has 30 used Aga stoves piled up in his warehouse and he plans to sell them.
Even the electric versions of the Aga are not energy efficient. Unlike stoves that use kerosene or gas, electric stoves can be turned on to cook but take up to 70 minutes to reach full temperature. Bing recommends turning off the oven only after using it for more than 3 hours.
Those who stick with the Aga stove are looking at other coping methods. Some people use them less during the winter months after a summer of dormancy. Andy Cook, an engineer in Hertfordshire, is advising customers to use the Aga stove at a lower temperature and cook a little longer. Cook convinces users to buy replacement stoves for temporary use.
“Every week I get a call asking how much the dismantling will cost,” Cook said. If you’re a young family with an Aga stove and costs are on the rise, you can understand that, but as a brand, the Aga is still essential in the kitchen.”