How to renovate your BTO HDB yourself: Part 3 – Aircon Installation

For a brand new HDB BTO premium flat, one of the first few renovation works that is to be carried out is aircon pipping works. I will be using my father’s premium HDB BTO 3 room flat as an example.

Where to buy your aircon?

Most homeowners in Singapore bought their aircon from local big electronic stores like Courts, Harvey Norman or Gain City. Among the 3 electronic stores, Gain City is the biggest aircon retailer with the cheapest pricing. I use to buy from Gain City too. However, I always end up paying more than the list price. What you see on the list price comes with basic pipping works without additional. There is nothing wrong with the basic pipping. Its just that the basic pipping materials are not the best and will not be lasting for our prolong usage. The sales person will try to convince the customers to buy the upgrade which can be another few hundreds depending on number of aircon blowers. Other additional like servicing packages, extended warranty and aircon ledge (for old HDB flats).

Aircon-4 Aircon-20

In the above 2 pictures, do take note of the Mitsubishi Electric System 3 model as comparison. Model: Mxy3a28va + Msyge10va x 3. Gain City is selling at $3049 while for the same model, Courts is selling at $3499.

In my father’s case, I bought my aircon from a aircon installer whom I knew from one of the Interior Designers I knew. He is a aircon subcontractor who specialised in installing aircons for IDs. Following are the reasons why I bought from him:

  • Trust and friendship: Its important because the aircon installer (who is the boss) will do a better job as compared to the workers from big electronic stores. The boss has a reputation to protect, a worker’s mentality is to do minimum work (no incentive to work harder). If I have any issues with the installations, he will always be back to rectify the problem.
  • Lower pricing: The price is slightly lower than Gain City’s list price with full pipping upgrade. In another words, it is a few hundreds cheaper than gain city. I will talk about the pipping upgrade later in the post.
  • 2 time installations: For a aircon works to be done nicely, the correct way is to install the pipping works first. The blowers will only be installed after the painting works are done. If you buy from big electronics stores, they will usually come once and installed everything. If you want to request for 2 time installations, the big electronics stores will usually add additional transport cost.

What does it means to you?

If you are financially tight, Gain City is still a better choice for you because they provide instalments plans. However, if you do have cash, you can look for smaller retailers or aircon installers to do the same job. The only thing to note is that you must try to find a more reliable aircon installer (especially those with referral).

Pipping upgrade

What my aircon installer provide me with:

  • 1/2 inch Armaflex CLASS 0 insulation
  • SG copper 4c40 and 3c70 copper wire
  • LHCT Thailand 22swg copper pipe
  • Active trunking

Aircon-11 Aircon-10 Aircon-12 Aircon-1

I was told that most aircon installers make marginal profit on the aircon itself due to competitive pricing. It is the materials used for pipping works that makes the difference. Therefore there are some unethical aircon installers who use substandard quality material in order to make high profit margin.

What it means to you?

If you plan to buy from Gain City or any other aircon retailers, do check their pipping materials using the above mentioned. It can really makes a difference in the pricing. And when the aircon installer install the pipping, do take a look at the wires, pipes and insulation that they bought up to your house. The printing on the materials will display their names and material types.

Mitsubishi Electric V Mitsubishi Heavy Industries

Many homeowners get confused over this 2 aircon brands. The 2 brands have no link at all except that both parent companies happen to be Mitsubishi. You can treat Mitsubishi Heavy Industries just like any other competitors (Samsung, LG, Toshiba, etc) to Mitsubishi Electric. Most homeowners actually bought Mitsubishi Electric as they are highly recommended by most aircon installers and IDs. They also did a great advertising campaign by having local director Jack Neo as their brand ambassador. Therefore, do not be confused by some aircon installers that they can sell you Mitsubishi aircon at a lower price. Do ask whether its Mitsubishi Electric or Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The latter is always slightly cheaper.



Something to take note of

If you have a big living room, no door between kitchen to living room or a frequent user of the living room aircon, do install a bigger blower for your living room. Normal bedroom uses 9000BTU blower while a very big living room (example 5 room HDB) uses 18000BTU.

Which aircon did my father bought for his HDB 3 room flat?

  • Mitsubishi Electric
  • Compressor: Mxy3a28va
  • Blowers x 3: Msyge10va
  • My father seldom uses the living room aircon so a 9000BTU blower chosen.
  • Price: $3050 with full pipping upgrade (No GST)
  • Cash payment

Pipping installation pictures

Aircon-9 Aircon-8 Aircon-7 Aircon-6 Aircon-3 Aircon-2

Installation completed pictures

Aircon-2 Aircon-1 Aircon-4 Aircon-3 Aircon-7 Aircon-6 Aircon-5

Aircon warranty registration

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 5.50.08 pm

Latest aircon pricing

Updated 06 Jan 2015

For HDB installation only

System 2
Samsung (9000BTU x 2) $2120
York (9000BTU x 2) $1760
Panasonic (9000BTU x 2) $2140
Mitsubishi Electric (9000BTU x 2) $2240
Aircon bracket (for old HDB) $120

System 3
Mitsubishi Electric (9000BTU x 3) $3050
Mitsubishi Electric (9000BTU x 2 + 12000BTU x 1) $3100
Panasonic (9000BTU x 2 + 12000BTU x 1) $3000

System 4
Mitsubishi Electric (9000BTU x 3 + 12000BTU x 1) $4080
Mitsubishi Electric (9000BTU x 3 + 18000BTU x 1) $4180

For condominium pricing, please fill in the form below and I will get back to you asap.

Note: All include the upgraded pipping as mentioned above with 2 times installations (pipping works before painting and blower installation after painting). If you faced problem with aircon, all you have to do is to call the aircon installer. If problem is due to the pipping or installation, he will rectify it. It is the compressor or blower issues, the manufacturer will rectify it (with valid warranty).

After installation, do remember to register your warranty online.

If you wish to engage my aircon installer

You can fill in the form below to make an appointment. This special service is only available because I request it specially for my readers.

Blog about Interior Design, renovation and home improvement.


23 Responses to “How to renovate your BTO HDB yourself: Part 3 – Aircon Installation”

  1. Dave

    Dec 28. 2014

    Thanks for the detailed explanation.
    What’s the reason for installing the aircon unit above each room’s door?

    Reply to this comment
    • Vincent

      Dec 29. 2014

      Hi Dave,
      Thanks for asking. The location above the door is usually the best location. 1) It is usually the space you will not or cannot use for any other purpose. 2) The doors are usually nearer to the toilets (for drainage purpose) or the shortest route to the compressor (pipping purpose). It is usually the highly recommended route by the aircon installer. 3) It is preferred that the aircon blower is installed in the middle of the room (for a more even coolness in the room) and the door opening just happens to be in the middle. 4) At times when the aircon blower cannot be installed in the middle of the room because the space is to be used for something else like the wardrobe, the best place is still above the door. 5) Installing at certain location also helps to shorten the pipping. (Everyone wants less exposure of the pipes right?)

      There are few factors to consider on the location of the blowers. Usually the aircon installer will advise the homeowners on the pros and cons before installation.

      Reply to this comment
  2. hafiz

    Apr 05. 2015

    Question: may I know what are the difference between the two Mitsubishis besides price?

    Reply to this comment
  3. Mel

    Apr 08. 2015

    Would u recommend samsung? It’s said to be able to cool the room faster becaue of it’s wider air catchment area as the top to suck in air is 45deg unlike other aircon which usu faces the ceilng. On the tag it also claim to consume less electricity. But not sure how true. your thoughts?

    Reply to this comment
    • Vincent

      Apr 11. 2015

      Personally I have not experienced Samsung. So I cannot comment much on that. I really have not even seen anyone using Samsung at all so if I am you, I will not choose Samsung. In fact there are so many other brands out there to choose from. I will rather choose a brand that is more commonly used in the industry.

      Reply to this comment
  4. Ally

    Apr 20. 2015

    Hi there,

    I was wondering, am I wasting my money to use these materials for my HDB 4 rooms flat for a system 4?

    · G22 Copper Pipes (Made in Thailand) – Must use pipe bender to bend (which brand would you refer)

    · Armaflex ½ inch Class 0 Insulation (I have been told, class 1 is better, it is related to fire property and that it is not related to moist absorb?) If exposed to sunlight, it is better to use class 1. Can u clarify what is the difference to Class 1 to Class 0?

    · 16mm PVC Drainage pipes with ¼ thickness insulation

    · Wire Keystone cables – 4C40 & 3C70 (Made in Singapore) – Most people only use 3C40 (indoor/unit) and C370 for connection from compressor to powerpoint) Am I right? what’s the different in 4C40, extra wire??

    · Stainless Steel Bracket with Grade 304, PE Certifield, BCA & HDB approval

    Lastly, I have been told it is important to vacuum the system before releasing the gas as to remove all the moisture in the piping (if not done properly, this will affect the lift span of the compressor? Is this true.

    Hoping you could share your view on this….

    Reply to this comment
    • Vincent

      May 27. 2015

      Hi Ally,

      The things that you mentioned are best answered by the aircon installer themselves. I really cannot answer your questions because its too complicated for my level.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Cjj

    Aug 03. 2015

    Hi Vincent, do i do electrical or air con trunking first? Between the 2, which one come first? Thanks im advance.

    Reply to this comment
    • Vincent

      Aug 14. 2015

      Hi Cjj,

      For most situation, you can do the aircon trunking first followed by the electrical. They can actually be done together but the aircon installer and electrician will get into each others’ way which make their work very difficult. That is why they are usually done on different days.

      Reply to this comment
  6. Vian

    Oct 15. 2015

    Hi Vincent,

    I’m looking at installation only as will get my aircon from friend at staff rate. Which does not include installation charge.
    Whats the market rate or you have any recommendation?

    Reply to this comment
    • Vincent

      Oct 28. 2015

      Hi Vian, I have no idea about the market rate. If I am not wrong, my recommended aircon have already contacted you.

      Reply to this comment
  7. H

    Jan 06. 2016

    Hi Vincent,

    My unit is a typical 93sqm, 4 room bto hdb layout. I intend to hack away the entire bedroom wall nearest to the living room and also hack the L-shape kitchen entrance, making the former bedroom, living room and the kitchen space fully open concept. Would installing an aircon still be pratical given the amount of coverage it requires or can a system 3 or 4 solve the issue?

    Reply to this comment
    • Vincent

      Jan 10. 2016

      Hi Nizam, I think there will be a big blower with big compressor should do the job. Just seek the advise of the aircon installer.

      Reply to this comment
  8. ac installation

    Apr 11. 2016

    vincent, very good and detailed information on aircon installation. Good post!

    Reply to this comment
  9. AC Installation

    Apr 21. 2016

    Hi Vincent, good introduction and detailed explaination on the key points to look for during aircon installation. I am sure it will help many new homeowners that are looking to install their aircon for their home.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Winny Lim

    May 21. 2016

    Hi Vincent,

    We will be starting reno on our recently purchased resale EA soon. The unit is 20 years old. There are 4 bedrooms, a large elongated living room and a open concept dining area at the end of the living room.

    If I were to install air cons for all the bedrooms plus the living and dining rooms, will I have to install 2 systems with 2 compressors in order for all rooms to achieve optimum coolness? Like 2 system 3s?

    How should the configuration be like? 3 common bedrooms using the 9000BTU system 3 and the master bedroom, dining and living using another 9000BTUx2 + 12000/18000BTU system 3?

    Reply to this comment
  11. Henry Hemmerde

    May 26. 2016

    Hi, great articles on how to renovate a flat. Any chance you can me the aircon contractor’s details to my email? Thanks.

    Reply to this comment
  12. alex

    Jun 17. 2016

    Is there any difference between using 3C wire and 4C wire between indoor and outdoor unit? Most installer use only 3C …

    Reply to this comment
  13. Jan

    Jun 25. 2016

    Can u provide contact details for your air-con installer, please? Thanks.

    Reply to this comment
  14. Willson

    Jul 17. 2016

    Hi, I have filled the form but i didnt get any call back..can you provide contact details for your air con installer?Many thanks!

    Reply to this comment
  15. Nam Sun AC

    Oct 05. 2016

    Hi Vincent,

    Should I use central aircon at home?

    Reply to this comment
  16. naulium

    Nov 21. 2016

    Hi may i know what are the warranty information for your aircon?

    Like parts, blower and after service?

    Thank you.

    Reply to this comment

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