Guide to buying air-cons in Singapore
For as long as I can remember, the air-conditioner has been a much-needed instrument in my being able to comfortably drift off into dreamland. In fact, my air-con temperature has to be at a precise 22 degrees, and if it isn’t, I’ll wake up feeling - I know it sounds a lil’ crazy - hot.
Singapore is all about humidity, and I shudder at how sticky and matted with sweat we’d be every single day without these machines installed at every corner anywhere indoors. The air-con business is definitely thriving, and this year, a survey by Influential Brands found Gain City to be Singapore's top air-con and home appliance retailer.
Mr. Alvin Teo, Assistant Sales Manager
With their good rep in mind, we took a trip down to Gain City to talk to Alvin Teo, a top Gain City air-con salesperson, on his best tips when purchasing air-cons.
1. Make sure the person who installs your air-con is certified to minimise future malfunctions
Air-con installations shouldn’t be done by run-of-the-mill characters. After all, you’re spending a reasonably large sum of money on them, and you’re going to be using them almost daily.
Make sure that your air-con is installed by Building and Construction Authority (BCA)-approved companies and/or people. Established companies like Gain City make sure every technician they employ is BCA-certified, and all of them are recruited in-house - meaning they're trusted to do their jobs with the company name on the line.
PLUS: Make sure they use industry-quality materials and ensure installation costs are included
The materials they use for the installation are equally important, so don’t stinge on installation costs - you’ll be thankful when your air-con doesn’t start giving you problems months after buying it.
2. More expensive doesn't mean better. A typical HDB room only needs 9,000 BTU to power it
BTU stands for British Thermal Capacity, and it refers to the cooling "power" of your air-con. A typical bedroom in a HDB flat requires about 9,000 BTU of power to drive one air-con. Larger rooms like your living room will, of course, need a higher BTU to cool down the area.
This is where your condensers come in. Air-con condensers are those large-as-your-TV units that are placed outside your flat on the ledge, and they are what help your air-con to cool the air in your room.
Ranked from Systems 1 to 5, they simply mean the number of air-con units that the condenser can operate; System 3 = 3 air-cons of the same BTU being driven by that one condenser. If you’re not looking to have your rooms feel like an icebox, get a condenser that can power 2-3 aircons! This is much cheaper than getting one condenser per air-con unit.
3. Look out for ‘smart’ air-cons that have motion-detector sensors
Buying energy-efficient air-cons aside, there are other ways to reduce energy usage, and by extension, your electricity bills.
Panasonic’s Econavi seems like the start of a new generation of air-cons - it has motion-detector sensors! The Econavi will reduce the power consumption according to the amount of movement in the room. Of course, you can always turn this function off if you want to be comfortably cool when in dreamland.
Wifi-enabled air-cons exist too!
Alternatively, if you’ve forgotten to turn off your air-con before leaving your house in the past, maybe these wifi-enabled air-cons from Samsung are what you need.
Download the Samsung Smart Home app (iOS/Android) and connect the air-con’s remote to your phone. You won’t waste a ton of electricity if you forget to turn off the air-con before rushing out of home ever again!
4. Prolong your air-con’s lifespan by servicing it twice a year
Like most devices and machines, air-cons need to be given a little TLC to continue running smoothly for as long as possible. They should ideally be serviced at least twice a year. Ask your salesman about air-con maintenance packages for regular cleaning, and ad-hoc cleaning for the units you use less often.
Regular DIY cleaning helps too
Air-cons use up more power if the filters are dust-ladened, so you could try looking for air-cons with easy access to the filters so that you can clean them yourself when need be. Mitsubishi, for one, manufactures air-cons with easily removable filters.
Easily removable filters
So instead of waiting 6 months or so for the next round of maintenance, you can do your bit to save money in the long run.
5. Get the best value for money: check prices across all retailers
This might come as a surprise - the prices of air-cons are dynamic and fluctuate often! Check the prices across retailers when you’re looking to make a purchase, because retailers regularly adjust prices according to their competitors.
But although price may be one thing, but quality is a whole other thing altogether. Sometimes going with a brand which has products with good workmanship and durability is a better bet than one that’s cheaper but doesn’t take the cake for quality.
Trusty service from Gain City
When we’re looking to buy these necessary big-ticket items for our homes, we usually turn to known and reputable sellers. After all, you need the best of quality and service assurance. Gain City has been around for more than 30 years in Singapore, and they’ve built themselves up over the years to strive to give customers good service.
Quality may be tough to get all the time, but Gain City ensures you get top-notch service from the get-go: if the work isn’t done properly, they’ll guarantee you your money back. To make your air-con buying journey a smooth-sailing one, installation costs are included so that you won’t be stranded having to find a separate installer.
Their showroom gives live demos of all air-cons, so you get the whole experience when considering your options.
They may be one of the biggest retailers for air-cons, but they’ve got a huge showroom full of other big household appliances too. So if you’re already buying huge items like an air-con, there’s no harm in checking out other household items Gain City retails too - TVs, washing machines, etc - their megastore in Sungei Kadut is 11 storeys tall!
Gain City Megastore
Address: 71 Sungei Kadut Drive, Singapore 729577
Opening Hours: 11AM - 10PM, Daily
This post is part of Influential Brands 2017, where we highlight the most influential brands in Singapore.