Energy Management and Programming Your AGA
Originally the AGA was designed to be on, at full normal cooking temperature, all day every day.
In an old, poorly insulated, sometimes draughty and 'cold' property the AGA is ideal - providing warmth and cooking facilities in the kitchen - the most used room in the house. Its efficiency and suitability for the job was perfect.
Times change though - newer and renovated houses are better insulated, more families are out during the day and are only really at home in an evening meaning the house needs less heat to maintain a comfortable temperature, and for a shorter time.
To match the change in lifestyles the AGA has changed too. No longer does it have to be on and at full heat '24/7'; there are options to programme it to lower its temperature whilst you don't need it, and heat up when you do.
1. The AGA R7
(and Dual Control AGA which preceded it):
The hot-plates are separately controlled - only turning them on when needed means about a third less heat to the room and a third lower fuel consumption. You can turn one or both on or off as required and they only take 8-12 minutes to heat up from cold.
There are four temperature settings for the ovens on the AGA R7 (Slumber, Low, Normal and High [boost]).
(The three cast-iron ovens are heated 'as one' (by one element) and achieve their different temperatures by the clever arrangement of cast iron conduction plates within the cooker to direct the correct amount of heat to each. Consequently, when you turn the setting up or down the ovens are heated proportionally to each other.)
The selection is made manually - it can't be automated or programmed; you need to switch the control to the setting you'd like and wait for it to change in temperature.See the AGA R7 page for more info.
Dual Control AGA
The Dual Control AGA is similar to the AGA R7 (it has separately controlled hotplates too) and has two heat settings for the ovens - Normal (full) heat and a slightly reduced '3/4' heat setting for the ovens (roughly 200 degrees in the top oven with the other ovens proportionally lower in temperature).
In this mode the AGA is still useable; you just need to factor in the slightly reduced oven temperature and increase cooking times accordingly. The when you do need full heat in the ovens (for roasting, bread-making or other things that need temperatures over 200 degrees) - just turn it up manually a couple or three hours in advance it and it'll heat up ready to use.
Both the AGA R7 and Dual Control models are a simple, easy to use way of managing your AGA, lowering its fuel consumption and lowering its heat to the room.
The AGA eR7 has an 'Auto' mode that can be programmed to bring any or all of the ovens up to full heat as and when you choose on a 7-day rotation. You select which (one, two or all of them) of the ovens you'd like to come up to full heat on the cooker's control panel, then using the separate wireless timer you choose the days and time of day you'd like them to be at temperature.
Note: the hot-plates (and extra two ovens for the five oven version) are always controlled manually.
AGA Total Control
The Total Control AGA also has an 'Auto' mode that can be programmed. It's pretty much the same as the eR7 but you don't get the choice of temperature for the Roasting and Baking ovens; you can only decide which ovens heat up on a 7-day rotation. You select which (one, two or all of them) of the ovens you'd like to come up to full heat on the cooker's control panel, then using the separate wireless timer you choose the days and time of day you'd like them to be at temperature.
Note: like the AGA eR7 the hot-plates (and extra two ovens for the five oven version) are always controlled manually.
No longer available but previously an option for 'Traditional' 13amp Electric and some Gas AGAs.
An automated system that turns the AGA up and down to follow your daily routine.
Think of AIMS as being very similar to a central heating control; it can bring the AGA up to full heat once or twice per day for as long as you choose. Then turn it down to one of two pre-set levels when it's not in use. It is a '7-day' programmer - each day can be different.
It's important to note that AIMS does not turn the AGA off - if you're used to the constant warmth from the AGA you will still get this, but it will be slightly less than with the cooker at full heat.
AIMS is 'intelligent' and learns how long it takes the AGA to warm up. When you program it you set the time you'd like the AGA to reach temperature and it does the rest, calculating when to switch on to be at full heat in time.
The lower levels are:
Low - approximately 3/4 of full temperature (about 200 degrees C in the top oven). The AGA will still cook most things and boil the kettle, just a little slower than at full heat.
Slumber - just over 'half heat' (about 150 degrees C in the top oven). It will be warm and will still help warm the room but isn't really at a high enough temperature to cook with, the kettle will still boil, but very slowly.
The AIMS equipped AGAs are heat storage AGAs heated by a single heat-source - this means all parts of the cooker (hot-plates and ovens) will be on, and all parts will be reduced when a lower setting is used. (As opposed to the Dual Control and Total Control models that have separate heat-sources and controls for ovens and hot-plates.)
It's important to note that any AGA, when set at full temperature, will emit roughly the same warmth to the room. It's only when you use a lower setting that you reduce the cooker's temperature, its warmth to the room and its fuel consumption.
In order from 'warmest first' (in our opinion based on knowledge, experience and 'feel') this is a summary of what you might expect in terms of warmth from the AGA:
1. Any AGA at full temperature.
2. AIMS AGA at 'Low'.
3. AIMS AGA at 'Slumber'.
4= AGA eR7 or Total Control AGA with all three ovens on at full temperature.
4= AGA R7 at Low, Normal or High (or Dual Control AGA at three-quarter heat).
6. AGA eR7, AGA R7 or Total Control AGA at 'Slumber'
For more information on Heat output see the AGA and Everhot heat output comparison page.