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Firing Up the Cooker

Firing up the cooker

After almost four months living off microwave meals, we can finally eat real food again and oh boy am I beyond excited about it! It all started some months ago when we ripped out the kitchen leaving no where to cook or prepare food. I had been searching eBay for several weeks waiting for the right cooker, listed in the right way and at the right time to bag myself a serious bargain. And I struck gold when I managed to win a bid on this Toledo Rangemaster at just £350. It had even barely been used, as the previous owner said she didn't even like cooking and had just bought it for show!


secondhand rangemaster toledo 90

For a few months it had been sat in our hallway, safely out of the way whilst we had the walls knocked through. But with all the brick-flying building work out of the way, we were desperate to have the cooker hooked and up as soon as possible. Annoyingly the kitchen did not have an existing gas supply and the cable for a cooker was in the wrong location, so it wasn't quite as simple as just connecting everything up.

To make things even more hard work, I was absolutely adamant the new gas feed must be laid underneath the floorboards so it wasn't visible - and since I have zero trust for tradesmen not damaging our beautiful Victorian floorboards, it was another arduous job for ourselves. As our gas meter and kitchen are total opposite ends of the house, this meant a lot of floorboards needed lifting up. In fact, it actually meant almost all of them! To say we could have saved much time and effort just by running the gas pipe above floor level, is a total understatement. But I felt a little effort now would be well and truly worth it in the long run.

To speed things up a little (and save our backs!) we purchased a new tool for the job: a lifting bar. It's basically a giant two pronged crowbar with a very long handle. It means you can use your whole weight to lift the floorboards with better leverage and you don't need to be bending over all day long. It was amazing!

roughneck lifting bar

We did still have to be careful not to damage the boards, so we made sure to use an old length of wood underneath the bar to ensure we weren't digging into the floorboards underneath the bar. Whilst this tool made the job infinitely easier, we still had to leverage the boards quite slowly to make sure we recognised any weak spots that would be prone to splitting. The boards themselves had actually never been cut or lifted ever before, which yes - made it a real shame that we were doing so and did leave me feeling really very guilty.

how to lift up victorian floorboards

Ideally, had we not had any furniture in any of the rooms, we wouldn't have had to cut the boards at all - but this just wasn't possible with so many large objects and no where to move them to. I did however make sure to stagger any cuts so they looked as natural as possible.

lifting floorboards using a lifting bar
lifting up old floorboards

After one very long evening, we had eventually removed a whole stack of floorboards. I always number the boards on the underside and stack them accordingly so it's easier to put them back in the right order and location. Then, a few days later the gas guy turned up to do his bit. We actually asked him to disconnect the existing pipe from the meter, which would mean every other gas appliance would now be safely disconnected (this would also mean we could finally remove the old back boiler!) and he could start afresh with a new pipe just feeding the cooker only.

cost of new gas pipe to kitchen

The pipe we had installed is a 22mm pipe - which is major overkill for a range cooker which only has gas hobs, but stupidly we had got quotes for this job before we actually bought the oven. We had gone on the assumption that our cooker would potentially have both a gas hob and oven, which obviously means it would require a higher supply of gas. I obviously forgot about this minor detail and completely hadn't thought about the fact we no longer needed this size pipe! So yes, we now we have a majorly oversized pipe for just five hobs. But at least it's better to have too much supply, than less supply... right?

22mm gas pipe for range cooker
new gas pipe laid

The gas work took less than two hours to complete and was fully tested and certified upon completion. We used Freeman Heating & Plumbing in the Nottinghamshire area and paid £275 for the work.

As for the electrical part, this was much more easily completed. We already had a separate 6mm feed into the kitchen for the cooker (it had previously been used as a socket) but it was too short in length for where we wanted the cooker to be located. It was a very simple job of extending the cable, connecting it up and testing it all. The whole job took less than an hour and we paid £80.

cost of wiring up range cooker

Whilst I've loved having a cooker again, it isn't quite as practical or exciting as it sounds just yet! Having no sink still means limited meals that are easy to prepare and require very little washing up. We do now have a temporary workspace, which we managed to salvage from going into a skip at our work, but it's still really not that practical for proper cooked meals, particularly as it ends up covered in dust every single day (as does the cooker!).

makeshift temporary kitchen
dusty rangemaster

For the most part, we've been eating one-pot kind of meals, lots of toast (oh it has been SO long!!) and a ridiculous amount of oven chips. I'm yet to have more than one hob going and just one oven in use, but I am just excited to be eating something other than microwave meals.

We're still quite far off that finished kitchen, but it certainly feels more like a kitchen now that it's got a cooker in it. Progress is progress, right? ;)

costs of installing a range cooker

Costs:

New Tools Purchased:
Lifting Bar £19

Materials Used:
None

Tradesmen Costs:
Gas Work £275
Electrical Work £80

Appliance:
Rangemaster Toledo 90 (secondhand) £350

Total: £724

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