Following the European Union's insistence on lower sulphur levels in domestic kerosine, oil-fired Agas are said to be caking up with soot, and in some cases breaking down completely. This has been heightened in the recent cold weather as people rely on their Aga to heat their homes. “We have to literally drill out the carbon build-up from the burner every six to eight weeks, and relight the Aga,” complains Catherine Lewis, who runs a thatching business in Hertfordshire.
The full extent of the problem became apparent when Peter Anslow, director of the Listed Property Owners Club, sent an email to members asking if they were having the same problems with their Aga as him. “The response has been instant and sizeable. Agas are going out all over the country," he reports.
Fixing the problem does not come cheap but many owners seem prepared to dig deep, rather than abandon their oven: “My Aga has dried out sodden rugs, shivering ducks and damp dogs on numerous occasions,” says architectural salvage dealer Amanda Garrett, from Oxfordshire. “I’m having to get it serviced at least four times a year now, but I’m still prepared to persevere. A true Aga owner never gives up.”
Aga ambassador said "Sometimes, problems can be down to people having their oven serviced by someone who’s not an accredited Aga engineer. Sometimes, too, the Agas can be a little old. After all, a car from the Thirties wouldn’t run on today’s fuel.”