Living in Singapore’s iconic Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats is a unique experience as it integrates you into the rich tapestry of urban life.
That said, with Singapore’s tropical climate, it is imperative for you to have ways to cool your flats. As such, air conditioning units are not just a luxury, it’s a necessity.
An aircon means comfort and health! So, make sure you have one.
However, in HBD flats, before you can have an aircon, you have to follow certain guidelines.
This article will inform you about HDB’s aircon installation guidelines and impart some tried and tested tips to ensure a smooth setup. There’s also a short and quick question-and-answer section at the end, answering all your burning questions about this topic,
Understanding the Guidelines
Before considering which aircon model to purchase, you must first be acquainted with specific regulations set by the HDB. Here are the most important ones:
- Load Restrictions
Every HDB flat has an electrical load limit. This is designed to ensure the safety of the building’s infrastructure.
Typically, the maximum electrical loading is 40 amps. In addition, your appliances should have an electrical rating not exceeding 15 amps.
If you have an aircon that goes beyond the designated power limit or is using the new 15-amp power point or new 20-amp isolator, you need to apply for an electrical permit before you can get your aircon installed.
If you need help deciding which aircon, here is a handy guide:
- Position of Compressors:
Predominantly, the compressor unit of your aircon system should find its home in the designated area, which is usually on the air-conditioner ledge adjacent to the household shelter.
That said, HDB flats usually don’t have an aircon ledge. So, you need to pay extra for a bracket.
So, make sure you follow these guidelines as any violations could mean getting penalties from the HDB and risking the building’s structural integrity.
Based on the Building Control Act, with an improper installation of an air conditioner, a homeowner can face a penalty of up to S$5,000 or jailed for up to six months.
In addition, under the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act (BMSMA), a flat owner can face a fine of up to S$10,000 or a jail term of up to a year if the air conditioner falls due to lack of maintenance.
Tips for Seamless HDB Aircon Installation
With those guidelines in mind, here are some actionable tips you can take to make the installation of your aircon seamless:
Choose the Right Type of Aircon
While split-type air conditioners are common nowadays given their efficiency and silent operation, in some older HDB flats, window units might be better.
So, analyse the structure and layout of your place so you can decide on the ideal type.
Choose the Right Cooling Capacity
Once you know the type of aircon you want, you should now consider its cooling capacity.
This is important to know because placing an aircon with a small cooling capacity in a big room would cause inadequate cooking, and longer cooling times, and would increase your energy consumption.
On the other hand, if you place an aircon with a higher cooling capacity in a small room can cause “short cycling” which can damage its compressor. Also, this can also reduce the energy efficiency of your unit.
So, to gauge the cooling capacity, you should consider the following:
- 9,000 BTU, suitable for 15sqm to 18sqm (common size of a bedroom)
- 12,000 BTU, suitable for 20sqm to 24sqm (common size of the master bedroom)
- 8,000 BTU, suitable for 30sqm to 36sqm (common size of living room in 4-room flat)
- 24,000 BTU, suitable for 40sqm to 44sqm (common size of living room in 5-room flat)
For context, BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. It’s the unit used for measuring the cooling capacity of aircon units in Singapore.
Consult an Accredited Installer
To guarantee that your installation is safe and correct, consult a Building and Construction Authority (BCA) accredited installer. With their intimate knowledge of HDB regulations, you can rest assured that your installation complies with HDB regulations. Thus, ensuring efficiency and safety during the installation.
Ensure Maintenance Access
A vital yet often overlooked aspect of installation is the ease of maintenance.
With this, you should position your units where technicians can easily access them for regular cleaning and maintenance. This ensures the longevity and optimum performance of your unit. It also guarantees that you don’t violate any HDB regulations regarding aircon safety and maintenance.
Consider Possible Noise Issues
Though HDB flats are constructed to minimise noise from various sources within the building, it is advisable to be mindful of where you place your compressor to avoid disturbing your neighbours.
As such, you need to consider where you place your unit as proper positioning of your aircon compressor can foster good relationships and a harmonious living environment.
Embrace Energy Efficiency
With rising global concerns about energy consumption, opting for energy-efficient aircon models isn’t just environmentally responsible but also economical in the long run.
Choose brands that display their National Environment Agency (NEA) Energy Ratings through their NEA Tick Labels. Units that have high NEA Tick Ratings are the most energy efficient.
That said, apart from the NEA Tick Rating, you should also take note of your room’s BTU needs to ensure you are maximising your energy consumption.
Future-Proof Your Installation
Since life continues to evolve, your cooling system should too. So, try your best to future-proof your unit.
Whether it’s growing a family or an emerging need for a home office, your future requirements may demand enhanced cooling.
You can future-proof your space by, for example, installing a multi-split system as this can simplify adding more cooling units later on.
Seek Peer Recommendations
In the close-knit communities of Singapore’s HDB flats, shared experiences can be as valuable as expert advice, if not more. While technical guidelines and professional consultations are indispensable, real-life stories and advice from those who have already navigated the maze of HDB aircon installation can provide a unique perspective.
With their help, you’ll be able to learn from their mistakes and make the installation process easier as they can provide references for trusted installers or promotions they’ve taken advantage of.
This could lead to cost savings, better deals, or additional post-installation support.
Quick FAQs About HDB Aircon Installation
Q: Can I install more than one aircon unit in my HDB flat?
A: Yes, you can but you must ensure that the combined electrical load doesn’t exceed the stipulated limit of the HDB.
Q: Are there specific brands or models of aircon that HDB recommends?
A: HDB doesn’t endorse any specific brands. However, it’s advisable to choose brands that are energy efficient, as indicated by the National Environment Agency (NEA) Energy Ratings.
Q: I live in an older HDB block. Can I still install a modern aircon system?
A: While older HDB flats might have certain structural and electrical limitations, modern aircon systems can usually be installed with some adjustments. It’s crucial to hire an experienced installer familiar with older HDB structures to evaluate the best options.
Q: How often do I need to service my aircon unit?
A: Regular maintenance ensures the longevity and efficiency of your unit. It’s recommended to service your aircon every 3-4 months, but the frequency can vary based on usage and environmental factors.
Q: Can I DIY my aircon installation?
A: While some homeowners might be tempted to save costs with a DIY approach, HDB aircon installations have specific guidelines that need adherence for safety and compliance reasons. It’s always best to engage with a BCA-accredited installer to ensure proper setup.
Navigating the intricate maze of HDB regulations can seem daunting. Yet, with thorough research and strategic planning, ensuring your HDB flat remains a refreshing oasis in Singapore’s humid landscape becomes a walk in the park.
Hopefully, this short guide was able to help you learn the important guidelines you need to know and the tips that can help make the installation of your aircon easier.