After working with AGAs for 15 years, Altrincham-born Steve Whittle has recently set up his own company providing specialist services for owners of the oven often regarded as the ‘Rolls Royce of cookers’.
Here he tells us all about his new venture, AGA Steve.
ALTRINCHAM TODAY: Can you give us a bit of an introduction to AGA Steve?
STEVE WHITTLE: I was born in Wythenshawe Hospital in the hot summer of 1976. I’ve always lived, worked and socialised in the Timperley and Altrincham area, attending St Hugh’s and Blessed Thomas Holford schools before attaining my Mechanical and Electrical qualification at North Trafford College.
My initial AGA training was undertaken at the AGA Training HQ in Telford and I’ve subsequently attained further gas qualifications. I am now also OFTEC registered to work on oil-fired AGAs, which are very popular with the farming community. I am constantly looking to add to my skill set, with additional training and qualifications to be the best engineer I can be.
AT: How long have you been an AGA specialist and why did you decide to specialise in AGAs?
SW: I have been involved with AGA cookers for approximately 15 years. I have recently set up self-employed in February 2022 after a period of furlough gave me the opportunity to reflect on my previous employment and contemplate a new direction for myself.
I have been involved in engineering all my life, firstly as a draughtsman for a local trailer manufacturer (S Cartwrights & Sons Coach Builders Ltd). Then I had a big career change – still in engineering, but this time back on the tools. I began working for an AGA cooker reconditioning company approximately 15 years ago, gaining my Gas Safe qualification and discovering a passion that I relished the challenge of, albeit with often long hours and plenty of travelling.
AT: What services do you offer?
SW: Everything to do with installations, removals, annual servicing and repairs, as well as conversions to controllable electric, re-installation of AGAs and cosmetic upgrades.
I cover natural gas, LPG, 13amp electric and now oil AGAs. I’m also qualified and available to fit all kinds of cookers and ranges, not just AGAs.
AT: Where are you based and what areas do you cover?
SW: I am based next to Manchester Airport but cover Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Peak District, Yorkshire, North Wales, Wirral and Staffordshire. I’ll travel further sometimes by arrangement.
AT: AGAs seem to have retained their popularity – what is it about them that customers particularly like?
SW: You often hear AGA owners refer to them as the Rolls Royce of cookers. Not only are they very aesthetically pleasing, a real statement piece in the kitchen. They are also much more than an excellent cooker, emitting heat throughout the home. They truly make the kitchen “the heart of the home” and is also a great place to dry and air clothes. It’s becoming more frequent now for me to receive enquiries on conversion of traditional AGAs to the more controllable ElectricKit or EControl versions, due to the ever present energy crisis worries, which I’m happy to offer advice on.
AT: What’s the most common reason you get called out?
SW: The most common reason for a call-out is usually a breakdown or for a service or maintenance. Due to the current energy situation, more and more people are checking insulation levels inside the AGA and having them re-packed with insulation, so this now more than ever is an important part of AGA maintenance. It’s really important to make sure the AGA isn’t losing heat unnecessarily and is running efficiently and as originally designed.
For more information, visit agasteve.co.uk or contact Steve direct on 07773332545 or email@example.com. He’s also on Facebook @wa14agasteve.co.uk and Instagram @aga_steve1.
Photography: Karen Herman-Wright