After the long-awaited (4 years) and much anticipated collecting of the keys to my new BTO HDB (Build To Order Housing and Development Board) flat, I went to the nearest Singapore Power centre to set up my utilities account. I then brought 2 standing fans over to my new BTO HDB flat, and with those switched on, I started checking for defects on the tiles (floor and wall), the windows, the doors, the gate, the showers, the toilet bowls, the pipes, and listed them on the “Defects Feedback Form” and submitted it to the nearby Building Service Centre (BSC).
The market average to hire a “defect inspector” to check for defects within a BTO HDB is $300. Checking for defects & listing them all out is time-consuming, but definitely do-able to save $300.
After the defects were rectified, I started renovation works on my new BTO HDB flat. I invested time and effort into researching and comparing before deciding on an energy-efficient and quiet split system air-conditioner that has good after sales support. I chose the brand and model of air-conditioner, compared prices of the exact same brand and model I had short-listed, and learned the hard way that buying a split system air-conditioner is not simply about the lowest price for the brand and model.
2 weeks after the air-conditioner was installed, I noticed a difference in shade of colour on the newly painted wall in the areas right beside one of the air-conditioner units. Condensation from the “budget” piping and insulation materials used when installing the air-conditioners was causing water stains on the newly painted wall! I didn’t know that the difference in prices for the exact same brand and model was not mere profiteering, but had to do with the materials used when installing the air-conditioner.
None of the sellers of the air-conditioning system had informed me that: (1) With copper being the most expensive material in the air-conditioner installation, many installers use 23g Standard Wire Gauge (SWG) copper piping as the industry standard. SWG is an industrial term for copper thickness. The copper pipes carry the coolant gas between the outdoor unit (compressor) and the indoor units. 22g SWG copper pipes are better able to withstand high gas pressure, are more resistant to gas leaks, and ensure a longer lifespan of the air conditioner. (2) The thickness of the thermal insulation foam used around the copper pipes to prevent condensation issues from occurring range from 3mm (used to install my air-conditioner) to the recommended 3/8 inch (9.5mm). The insulation foam absorbs water formed due to condensation on the pipes. If water is not absorbed properly, “sweating” /leakage of the pipes will result.
I ended up paying an additional $1100 to “upgrade” all the copper pipes and insulation. That was one full day’s work, followed by touching up of the painting works.