Aircon with Gain City (Review): Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
This review of Gain City and our air-conditioner (“air-con”) is a long time coming. However, I have learned that for most household appliances, especially big ticket items, it takes a while for true colours to show. Same for big companies.
At the time of our purchase, Mitsubishi Starmex was a popular choice because of heavy advertisement. We supposed their prices were super marked up to buy so much advertising airtime. Hence we went with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries instead.
Half a year was all it took for the air-con unit in our master bedroom to stop being cooling. We are low usage users as in we don’t switch on the air-con every night. The air/wind that came out from air-con was not cold for a few times, when eventually no air came out when we turned on. In times of “error”, the run or timer light flash will flash for a certain number of times. Count and refer to the manual to get an indicative idea of the error you are having.
This made Mitsubishi Heavy Industries sounds like a bad brand to buy. However, the break-down could also be due to Gain City’s installation gone wrong. So should you still consider this air-con brand? Yes, look at the ‘Useful Tips‘ section below to understand why.
We got Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (“Mitsubishi”) for S$4,513, which comprises of:
- Inverter Split System 4 (S$4,239),
- 16mm drainage pipe
- 1/2″ Insulation/22SWG Copper (FOC upgrade)
- 2 times installation (S$85), and
- Extended Warranty (1+4 years*) (S$189).
*1 year warranty from Mitsubishi and the extended warranty of another 4 years was to be fulfilled by Gain City.
Ordered on Feb 2017, and delivered on May 2017.
Our contractor recommended two times installation for the painting of walls. That meant installing the air-con trunking before the painting. When all the painting was done, the air-con units would go up. In this way, the painters could paint over the trunking “boxes” first and also not accidentally brush on the edges of the air-con units.
Extended warranty was also a good buy. More on it in ‘Useful Tips‘ section.
Part 1: Preliminary Check
10 October 2018: With no cool air, we thought our air-con unit needed cleaning. Called Gain City to clean but the air-con guy said our unit was very clean. He only topped up our gas and left. According to him, there was no need to top up so fast because our usage was low. Moreover, if the non-cooling problem returned soon enough, it meant there might be a possibility of gas leak.
7 February 2019: No cool air again, and so called Gain City. The same guy came and checked. He then arranged for further inspection by the installers.
Part 2: Installers’ Check
12 February 2019: The installers checked the air-con installation, and claimed there was no problem, no leak. They simply topped up the gas and told us to arrange with Gain City for a pressure test if the problem returned.
Super bad experience with Gain City’s installers.
Without permission, they used my water faucets, in both toilets, to wash their hands and some of their stuff. I’m okay with them using, but it is only courteous to ask. And thing was, they made my soap dispenser, taps and sinks dirty with dirt marks. My floors throughout the house, toilet included, are not spared of dirt and debris too.
Okay, I still could close one eye on these. I just suck thumb and clean up the house again.
But the straw that set my volcano on eruption was a Bangladeshi worker (I’m not sure if I got his country right) who used my toilet without permission. I’ll even asked my friends if I used their toilets. He didn’t flush the toilet and pee-ed over my toilet seat and floor! To make matters worse, my baby’s shower stuff is very near the toilet bowl! 🙁 I would have shifted them if I had known he was going to use my toilet.
On the work front, they pried open my false ceiling to check on the installation. I was looking at it and thought they did a terrible job and destroyed the box, leaving an ugly hole near the air-con unit. Good thing I asked one of the workers, a PRC guy, about it and he said he FORGOT to plaster it back! And then he went on to mend the hole in a haphazard way. There’s a white patch at that corner (see if you can spot it in the first photo of this post).
It was as if they came on purpose to mess up the house. They checked and said nothing was wrong. Told us to arrange with Gain City customer service for a pressure test if the problem returns. But you know what, the team who did the pressure test at a later date said (paraphrased), “The installers should have put in request for pressure test during their check that time. Because they can see the “spoilage” with naked eye.”
ARGH. Simply not doing their job and wasting our time.
Part 3: Aircon Pressure Test & Results
7 March 2019: Problem came back again. Called Gain City again to arrange for pressure test.
11 March 2019: BAD review alert!
Hubby took leave for the pressure test, so that I would be free to take care of the active toddler. He opened the door and WAS shocked to see the same guy who first came on 10 October 2018. The guy was also perplexed when he saw that he’s coming to our place. He knew that we should be doing pressure test instead of having him. So he did nothing and had us call Gain City to arrange for pressure test (which we did!) AGAIN.
We called in again and demanded an explanation. The manager explained that the customer service guy who took our call previously didn’t book pressure test because he was new and could not understand well because of his poor command of English! So he just assumed and book the wrong test for us. What an excuse.
Anyway, they arranged for that air-con guy who did nothing and left earlier on to return and help us to top up gas. This is so that our air-con could sustain until 19 March 2019 for our first pressure test, 21 March would be the second. So if you are arranging for pressure test, make sure you are given two dates.
19 March 2019: Installed pressure test equipment to all air-con units and condenser.
21 March 2019: Check the results from pressure test and remove the equipment.
With such a bad experience with the installers, I was pleasantly surprised with the team who came to do the pressure test. Made up of 2 Malaysian Chinese, they seem very professional and efficient in what they do. As they removed all the air-con units to check, they even requested for newspaper and laid them on the floor to collect falling debris. And at least they asked permission to use the toilet.
What’s Wrong with our Air-Con?
Apparently, the installers didn’t do a good installation job for two air-con units the first time round. Hence, during the first pressure test, the guys helped to cut the “spoiled” parts away (which I think the installer team should have done when they came to check).
Moreover, for the units in our master bedroom and living room, there’s the fan coil problem. Good thing, it’s not the problem of the condenser, otherwise all units could not be used. We also avoided the worst case scenario, where the pipes are the problem. In that case, the false ceiling to conceal the living room’s air-con trunking, along with all the trunking, have to be removed.
The guys brought back the two spoiled air-con units to see what’s defective and order the spare parts accordingly. If the Singapore agent has those parts, then the repair time would be fast, around one week. If not, it will be around one month as the spare parts are shipped from overseas.
Keep calling Gain City if it’s taking too long, so that they might in turn pressure the agent who might just get the parts from new units instead of waiting for the shipment.
Which Air-Con Brand?
Since the air-con pressure test guys are experienced, I asked them which brand is recommended based on break down frequency. He said nowadays all the brands are not made in Singapore and thus every brand has its own fair share of problems. Last time, he would have specific brands to recommend but it’s hard to say now which is better.
I asked about Daikin, because they were running a lot of advertisement. He said they ran a superb promotion last year (2016) and hence many ordered from them. He did say Daikin only does air-con, unlike some other brands. I assumed it means Daikin is slightly better than the rest, since it’s specialised.
Warranty is very important. The staff from Gain City who sold us a fridge (and not air-con) told us he got extended warranty for his air-con too. He has heard a lot from his fellow air-con colleagues and realise air-con these days are not as sturdy as before. So it’s highly likely we would utilise the extended warranty. And his words ring so true now.
Gain City and Other Companies
To maintain a good working horse, be sure to service your air-con regularly. I’m not sure if I recommend buying air-con from Gain City. Their installation standards and service don’t really warrant a significant mark up in their prices. It really depends on the team assigned to you.
For air-con servicing and repairs, you can easily find many companies doing so these days, such as my friend’s or from a portal: 2fivedegrees.com, sghomeneeds.com/services/aircon-maintenance-or-repair.