Following problems over 2 year or so with our AGA not getting close to its optimum temperature, no matter how high the control setting and having problems when relighting – including filling the house with fumes; I searched the internet for AGA lighting problems. I found that all had become a major issue since 2008, due to an EU oil specification change, causing 2 related issues. Coincidently and given oil stocks at oil companies and our tank, these problems became our problems about the time we joined the Oil Purchase Group and I had wondered if the new suppliers were delivering lower grade oil.
In 2008 the specification for fuel oils changed affecting diesel and domestic heating oil: • The sulphur content was all but eliminated – leading to poor combustion with AGA and Rayburn stoves but a great reduction in EU sulphur emissions. • An allowance was made to use up to 7% biofuel – which can cause water sludge in domestic tanks resulting in fuel line blockages and line icing in cold weather. •AGAs and Rayburns are particularly affected but as AGA sell few oil-fired units these days they apparently felt no obligation to highlight the problems and have just left us to think inferior fuel or stove deterioration. In some cases servicing intervals dropped to just 3-4 weeks.
I found an internet forum reference to ADERCO 5000, a green solution to this major problem. There are other additives on the market and these may be offered by some ‘more enlightened’ oil suppliers. They may seem cheaper but it all depends on the amount of oil a pack will treat and I have found little difference in cost per tank treated.
I trial ordered the 500ml pack, suitable for 2000 litres, which was delivered within two days and I waited for the end of August oil purchase to add it to our tank. Unfortunately and unusually Fuelcare did not notify the day of delivery, so Ihad not added the material in advance. As an industrial chemist I therefore adopted a technical approach – I added the ADERCO 5000 to the full tank and then used a special oil mixing tool (aka clean broom handle) to stir into the bulk oil, then sat back and waited…
Little happened for about 3 days, then we had a few days of high wind upon which the AGA temperature rose until it not only reached the optimum line but exceeded it! I turned the control down to drop it back to the optimum. Wind affects our AGA but not of late to reach optimum. I then expected the temperature to drop when the wind eased but, for the first time in nearly 3 years, it maintained the optimum. The best test was when our son, as in many AGA families before him, sat on the top of the AGA and suddenly said it was hot!
I had originally hoped to carry out the trial after an AGA service but due to external circumstances our service was at the beginning of October. We then had the sudden ‘summer’ spell during the week before the service so, we turned the AGA off until the service – my concern – would it return to optimum temperature after the service or would we be back to square one? The engineer relit the AGA at about midday and by mid-evening, it had reached half way between minimum and optimum. By next morning it had reached the optimum line and is continuing to perform as it was intended to do and as it historically did. ADERCO 5000 has proved, to date, to be the best thing for our AGA since 2008! We now get the full cooking heat, the hot water and the warm kitchen again and I will be placing my order for the 1 litre pack, giving a significant cost saving to treat 2 tank fills – I am sure it will save oil as we are running the AGA at the correct temperature with a lower setting and speed of cooking has increased significantly. Our central heating boiler may also give more heat on a lower setting, yet to be tested.