Sunday, 8 March 2009

Zen and the Art of Aga Maintenance

Late last week our oil fired Aga went out following a very windy day. Sometimes happens as fumes back up and trigger the fire control valve. So I set to and relit it. Over the next couple of days it became obvious that something more fundamental was wrong. It would not get up to temperature. On Friday night I let it go out and spent sometime on the interweb researching all I could find on Aga issues. I found one very useful site here, which I recommend.

Saturday morning bright and early and full of no tea following a breakfast of bread and Marmite and water I set to get it sorted. Now, I am quite a capable tinkerer and taking it apart and carrying out all the checks and repairs was quite pleasurable. The fault turned out to be the usual oil Aga problem of carbon build up in the base of the crucible and the consequential restriction of the oil supply line. Once cleaned and properly reassembled the Aga lit easily and was up to full temperature this morning, despite being set at 3 and a bit on the thermostat as opposed to the 4 ish that I had been using.

Whilst engaged in this therapeutic exercise I was musing on the world and it seemed to me that in the saga of the Aga there was a lesson. Normally the Aga functions well. It just goes on in the background ready to take on any form of cooking, always hot. Quiet and efficient and providing a source of heat for drying clothes or comforting the dogs or guests as well as being ready to cook bacon or kippers with no smell. It has no external controls, it is only regulated for heat. By one simple control.

The supply of oil.

Too much oil and it overheats and shuts itself down. But the oversupply of oil cannot be fixed until it has cooled down, which will take hours. And once you have fixed it - reduced the supply of oil - and got it going again it will take hours to warm up. Too little oil and it signals that it needs a little maintenance. That a blockage has occurred and needs clearing. If you ignore it and do nothing it gradually it goes out and the cold returns. But at least you can attend to it immediately as it is already cold. And consequently the time it takes to get it going again is half the time it takes following overheating.

Aga's and Oil. Money and Markets. It's a Zen thing.

No comments: