Monthly Archives: July 2011

Jul 29

5 Top Things To Go Wrong When You Start As a Professional Oven Cleaner

By Graham Rogers | Uncategorized

As we have recently taken on another employee here is a list of the top five things that are top of the things that might go wrong because of their inexperience of oven cleaning.

1. When cleaning inside the doors they accidently scrape off the paint – some doors have painted glass inside the door. For example some Zanussi ovens have a painted effect which if you put a scaper anywhere near it it comes off. So do AEG and the doors cost about £80 to replace.

2. When you get the door back on and the customer checks it they say there seems to be a problem with the door. With this it is a case of checking the oven before cleaning it to see if there is an existing problem with the door hinges. For example NEFF ovens hinges are the ones to look out for; you just check it by pushing the top of the door and see if it is already just off the seal, that is when you push the door it goes in a bit, there is 'give' in the door. Also some ovens have what I call a dog leg action and the problem with these is that the closing action of the door seems to stutter. When opening the door it is easy to notice – it is just a case of remembering to point out the problem to the customer before starting as you get bet they will notice it 'for the first time' when you have completed the job. Door hinges sometimes do have this wear and it is from normal useage. The solution is to replace the hinges. The cost is usually about £15 for each hinge and then the fitting time. If the customer mentions when they book in the oven for a clean that there is a problem with the hinge we suggest that they order a new set and we then fit them at no charge when we are cleaning the oven.

3. When they come to put the oven back together there seems to be bits missing but wherever they look, in the oven dipping tank, in the van, on the road, they can't find it however hard they look. There is a 90cm range which has a centre burner, like most 90cm ranges it has 5 burners with the largest in the middle, and when you take these burners apart and then put them back together it is very easy to put the bit that makes up the outer ring of the centre burner onto one of the other burner tops and heigh presto it is competely hidden. So when you come to put the centre burner back together the outer ring is missing. I think I spent an hour looking for this outer ring once taking all the stuff out of the van. In the end the customer found it which was embarrassing. Another cooker where I have had problems with 'missing parts' is a Belling Cuisine range cooker. On this on the right hand oven when you put the self cleaning sides back in  if you get them upside down the grill just hangs down. You think there is a missing bit but when you search your tank etc you can't find it. But it's just a case of putting the self cleaning sides back in the other way up. I've spent some time with this problem too. I think it has happened about three times to me over the years. You'd think I'd remember!!

4. When you take the doors apart you can't get them back together. On some ovens, again the Zanussi springs to mind, the doors have plastic lugs on the bits that keep them together and when you take them apart it is very easy to break them off and then the doors don't fix back together. To fix these is a bit more involved. I have found two ways to fix the problem: one – put in 2mm holes and then screw in a self taping screw into the hole to make a new pin which means the door can then go back together: two – put the door back together and then, using larger self taping screws, screw the door parts of the door together.

5. They don't clean it clean enough. Really sometimes, using our method, more elbow grease is required, and when you start there isn't enough strength in your fingers or hands – you quickly get it though. And also blade techinque with the scraper. With a few adjustments the blade can work a whole lot better and you can get a lot of grease and burnt on carbon off that much quicker and better, and it is these techniques I teach on our training. We also offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee to our customers and we just send one of the guys back to clean to the clients satisfaction – it doesn't happen that often though as we only let the guys out on their own once we feel that they are achieving the standard we demand in our business and also that they need to check themselves to make sure that they have cleaned everything.

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Jul 19

AGA Cost of Running one – Which one to choose?

By Graham Rogers | Uncategorized

If you are looking for a budget AGA here is some general advice for you:

I have owned an AGA since 1996 and cleaned a few hundred over the last seven years. I currently have three AGAs:

AGA number one is a gas powered flue in a house I renovated which I now let. This AGA I bought from new in 2000. It seems to work very well though as I haven't lived in the house for seven years I have lost track of house expensive it is to run but I've got an idea that the price of gas has doubled in the past seven years so a reasonable guess would be about £80 a month and a service once a year is about £120.

AGA number two is the AGA in my current home we have a 30 Amp AGA which I bought renovated from Mr Cooker for £5500 (total price including fitting) in Dec 2007, and it still looks like new. It seems to work fine though I have had to replace one element this year and two last year. Each element replacement costs £150. Cost to run is – I can be accurate with this as it heats on an off peak meter – is £10 a week.

AGA number three I bought an AGA on ebay about a month ago for £123 for my training kitchen in our office. It is a PRE 1974 which means it has a step at the back of the enamel top. Here is a photo of it on this blog AGA Cleaners AGA . Really it was a great buy as it looks like new and is a reconditioned one. It had a broken burner which I think contributed to the price. I have looked at kits to convert it to electricity. GB cookers  have quoted me £1800 to fit the kit they use, that is re build my AGA with the kit. It is made by Hytech Enamellers who with GB Cooker also make renovated electric AGAs with the same kit (about £5500). Hytech AGA conversion kit. Mr Cooker also quoted me the same price for a kit made by Midland Cookers. GB cookers have told me that their AGA would cost about £16 a week to run. Mr Cooker told me that they achieve this by putting lots of insulation in the AGA to keep the heat in. Hence on the Hytech page they mention it is safer for children. So the Hytech Eco Cuisine seems to cheap to run but there is a trade off with the amount of heat. Though at the moment my kitchen is at 40C so their AGA might not be a bad idea at all. Our AGA keeps all our house, except for our front room, warm though. 

When the AGA engineer replaced my element on my 30 Amp last month he mentioned the unreliability of 13 Amp AGA and mentioned that even though they have warranties the owners still have to pay for the call out and first half an hour. So this is £100 a time to get it fixed. The fault is normally in the PCB board and this is just replaced. Obviously when it is out of warranty you'd have to pay for a new PCB board too. So beware of not very old 13 amp AGAs on ebay as they be an unreliable one. The engineer also mentioned that one of the customers he has seen with a 13 amp had a proper meter fitted to her 13 amp AGA to get an accurate record of cost of running. The meter said £6 a day! Though saying this about 13 Amp AGAs my wife's good friend has had one from new (three years old now) and it hasn't gone wrong at all and she swears it only costs £20 a week to run – on AIMS. 
So from this you may want to think about getting an older AGA on ebay and getting it converted with a kit. Though you'd need to be aware that dismantling and assembly costs can be expensive. So ideally an AGA on ebay that has been dismantled. If it needs enamelling a company like Hytech can do it for you. Though it is going to cost about £1500 for the whole AGA to be renamelled. And then in addtion to this you'd need to pay for an electric conversion kit. Not sure how reliable these are but if you get a warranty perhaps they are okay. Alternatively you can get one that is renovated already from some one like Midland Cookers or GB Cookers or Twyford Cookers but the cost is about £5000.

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Jul 12

Daihatsu Extol Van as an Oven cleaning van review

By Graham Rogers | Uncategorized


 

Here is my video review of one of our Daihatsu Extol Vans (I know that I can't seem to pronounce Daihatsu but I have left it as it is!). I filmed this back in January when I filmed the others. I will be adding to the set of videos on the ovencleaning.tv site in the next few weeks. You'll see that I have lost a bit of weight.

The Daihatsu Extol van is a great van for oven cleaning as it is larger in side than you'd expect. As the engine is under the passenger's seat it means that space is freed up and the van area is big, that is once we have put the partition in to give the rear cleaning compatment the area in the centre of the van is nice and big and you can get lots of cleaning equipment in there(and junk as seen in this video though most of the stuff in the van was actually cloths). This area is a lot larger than say a our newer Citroen Berlingo. The modern equivalent in the way of space is the Nissan NV200, though as the Nissan has the engine in the front the overall dimensions are about a foot longer than the Daihatsu.

The good points about the van: it has five doors and it means that you don't get wet when it is pouring down with rain. The side door next to the driver's door makes it easy to throw in your kit when you have just finished a job. It is very nippy with its 1.3 Yaris engine. It is very reliable. We have had both our Daihatsu Extol vans from new and they are five years old now. We have done one repair on each vehicle. On one there was a filter problem and it was fixed and on the other we had to replace a pipe as it got 'holed' by a flying stone. It is great for going around town. So other than servicing (which is cheap at our local Peugeot Express Fit) and tyres that has been it for both vehicles. One has 60K on the clock and the other has 70K.

The bad points are: It is a bit light and gets blown around by the wind, especially on motorways, so really isn't ideal for long drives that involve motorway driving. The gearing isn't geared up for motorway driving – you want to change up but there isn't another gear to change to. The fuel consumption isn't that great with about 30 mpg (though I think the reason for this is that it is a light van and with our oven cleaning dip tank and rinse tank added the load it is carrying is quite large for a small van).

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