The Tan's Residence: House Maintenance

Monday, September 12, 2016

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls.

This is a story that I always love to tell, whenever we talk about our house. If I get a dollar every time I repeat this story, I think I may have earned enough to pay off our remaining HDB loan.

Are you ready to hear it (again, perhaps)?

Ok here goes.

Once upon a time, we decided that it was time for them to get a flat of our own to start a family. So we went on the traditional route of paying $10 to apply for a HDB flat, get the flat some 4 years later (because last time Mah Bow Tan refused to build flats and houses are crazy expensive) and started on renovations.

During renovation, we met one of the worst contractors. Here's a checklist of the brainest stuff they have done:

* Building a tv console/vanity table too low + ridiculously ugly mirror fixing

*Cupboard doors that cannot open fully

* Wobbly towel hangers (we just got this rectified recently & we realised they used a long screw on one end and a short screw on the other. I DUNNO WHY????? -_-)

No electrical point for my ovens shelf wtf

* Patchy paint work (which, when we had the Dulux team over for a round of inspections last year, they concluded that our contractor has conveniently skipped the sealant part.)

* Spider nest in one of our wardrobes

Haunting us to pay him from our own pockets first before our renovation loan is approved in the next few days (this is an epic post I wrote! Very proud of this one)

After the renovation nightmare came to a closure, I thought we would move on happily with our lives. Except that I learned that bad workmanship haunts the house. We've moved into the house for about 4 years now, and what I can tell you is that the workmanship of my contractor sucked so bad, it couldn't even sustain past 3 years. So far...

* 70% of our soft-closing hinges had fallen off. So they are no longer soft closing wtf

* Bad weight distribution to the tv console, causing cracks to appear at the joints

And notice how ugly they patched the joints. Allllllll of the residual silicone stuck to my table top! Thankfully, the guys from Dulux helped me patch up the gap (but it has since reappeared). They did such a great job, they even scraped off these silicone off for me!

* The threads for the sliding door of our cupboards are also coming off. Our doors now wobbles when we slide it open and close wtf

* Case in point of the disgusting patchy paintwork as provided by my contractor. Thankfully this was also sorted out by the Dulux team. I have nothing but gratefulness towards them!

Recently, we finally decided that it was time for us to do a maintenance for our 4-year-old System 3 air-conditioners because it was getting difficult to cool the kids' room. We usually set the temperature at 28 degrees celcius and it will be a nice winter wonderland for us, but these days, a 26 degree celcius setting is barely enough for the kids to stop perspiring.


Being the "maintenance manager" of the house means that I would be required to:

* Source for air-conditioning servicing companies
* Narrow them down to 5 based on their reviews
* Call / Email them one by one to request for quotes
* Propose to the husband for quotation approval
* Book an appointment

Honestly, the first four steps are ridiculously time consuming because...

#1. There are so many servicing companies in Singapore!!! How many should I browse through before I shortlist 5!?

#2. The servicing package isn't standardized across the board. Some companies do more and charge more, some do less and charge less. Some jialat ones, charge more but do less wtf. And how would I know, since I am a layman? How would I know what should be included in a complete chemical wash package?

Some of my friends suggested going for referrals. Recommendations from friends and family members.

Well... if you must know, my lousy contractor was introduced by one of my family members. -_-

So as luck would have it, I received a press kit from FIX8, getting me to try their home concierge services.

Who's FIX8?

Simply put, if you are looking for any home related services - air-con servicing, carpentry, painting, laundry, electrical, plumbing, home cleaning, house moving or even lifestyle services like manicures, make-up, piano or tuition lessons etc. but you have no experience on where to start looking, FIX8 may be a quick fix for you.

No more scouring the web, comparing prices, service and quality

The easy-to-use website basically only requires 3 steps to get everything confirmed:

1. Click and choose the service you need
2. Fill up a simple form
3. The staff from FIX8 will give you a call to understand your needs further and then allocate a suitable contractor to you, with your preferred date and time

Then how will I know if the contractor they sent is good or not right????

Unlike your friend/family referrals, FIX8 provides you a three-month 100% money-back warranty. So if the contractors were to come and give you a shit job, FIX8 has got your back. Doubt your family/friends will return you the money you paid if you get a job badly done lol. How I wish I have a warranty against my shit contractor now.

FIX8 assigned the guys from ACIS for a thorough chemical wash for my units and first thing that impressed me was... they were punctual!!

I have worked with a lot of contractors and most of the time, they are hardly punctual. Some would be 15 minutes late, some would be half-an-hour late with no calls, leaving you wondering what the hell happened, whether they would eventually be coming? Or have they forgotten about the appointment? Or what?

They came in a team of three guys and they work very fast. It was like each of them knew exactly what to do when they come in. One of them would lay the newspapers, another would be in the yard to get access to the compressors while the third man would be busy taking down the air-conditioning casings.

Once the first worker took down the first unit, the second man will be in the toilet, all ready to wash it.

I honestly didn't think that my air-conditioning unit is soooooo dirty, since we don't even use it regularly? All three sets gave us these amount of black foam peeling off the units.. and while one of them is working on cleaning the units, we have the third worker busy cleaning out the air-con coils and stuff.

I learned that for air-conditioning maintenance, you can actually choose between a chemical wash or a general cleaning. Chemical washes are more thorough, involving the following steps:

1. Dismantling the air conditioning fan coil unit
2. Chemical wash the evaporator coils, condenser coils and parts
3. Cleaning of the air-conditioning external front covers and condensation drainage pan
4. Chemical washing of the air conditioning air filters, blower wheels and fan blades
5. Checking and flushing of air conditioning condensation water drainage pipe
6. Checking on the operating condition of the air conditioning blower fan motor (grease lubricant will be applied if required)
7. Checking of the compressor suction and discharge pressure (refrigerant system check)
8. Checking for uncommon noises generated by air conditioning units
9. Check the operation of major electrical connections for any loose wires

You can also opt for a simple general cleaning if you are already regularly servicing your air-conditioning units.

How my air-con servicing guy went the distance:

Honestly, before the ACIS guys came along, we thought the air-con trunking did by our lousy contractor was the most acceptable thing he has done for the entire house... only to be told that it is not. 

If you had realised by now, almost everything this Ranger Decorations and Designs has done for us seems to be problematic. From the carpentry work to painting.. and now air-con trunking as well.

Let me elaborate. When a contractor mounts an air-con trunking to the wall, they must always consider the fact that they have to be removed during servicing. Therefore, the trunking should always be fixed in a way where there are minimal damage when servicing is required.

So obviously our contractor didn't do that. They went on the easy way out and just mounted it in the most convenient way for them, and when the ACIS guys came along for servicing and had to remove the trunking, all the paintwork chipped.

They could have left it as it is because... It is not their fault. They merely came and did what they are supposed to do.. Yet, they volunteered to fix my trunking for me.

It is impossible to remove the entire trunking now since it has been mounted, but the guys from ACIS actually went a mile further to help me paint back the chipped parts so that it looks good as new!

All in all, I am very impressed with the service that ACIS has provided for me. The air-con is back to its optimal working standard, cooling the room efficiently at a mere 28 degree celcius. The kids get to sleep well again without burning through a hole in our wallets.

With so many contractors in Singapore, I doubt I would be able to find ACIS online because since I last checked, they have neither a website nor Facebook page (and they still use pacific net!?)  So I am very thankful that FIX8 has sourced them out for me. And what is the cherry on the icing? You don't have to pay FIX8 for the concierge service as they will be borne by the vendor! (Think about it like a tuition agency kinda thing)

I look forward to engaging FIX8's services again - my washing machine has been leaking for the past week, so we really, really need it to get sorted out. You really need a lot of effort in upkeeping a house, and why would we say no to all the help we can get, right?

{Disclaimer: Our air-conditioning service is fully sponsored by FIX8, but opinions are honest and completely our own. You may be assigned to other contractors in FIX8's vast network list, but if you would like to specifically engage ACIS, you can inform FIX8 and they will be able to do the necessary arrangements for you.}

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  1. Renovating is not an easy task in itself what more when you get a bad job done!!! On a side note, I super love the idea of fix8 having a 3 mth money back guarantee...

  2. Sorry to hear about your lousy contractor. And wow, what a great find with FIX8. I have a reliable aircon servicing contractor who comes in quarterly, but I'm also tempted to give FIX8 a try. Because only by comparison, I would know if mine had been doing a good job or not, right? :)

  3. Home renovation and maintenance can be a big headache. I have gone through this stage also. Will try Fix8 next time.

  4. Wow! Didn't know you went through so much, can really feel the anger and pain but good to know that you have found FIX8. Time for me to get my air con maintained too.

  5. That is terrible and seriously a pain, me too.have to get my air conditioner fixed. Will try their services.

  6. Grrrrrr horrible experience you had! And glad you found someone to rectify certain stuff. For sure, I'm gonna keep this for future use :). Thanks for sharing!

  7. Your ex-contractor really did a bad job!
    Fortunately FIX8 help to rectify most of the issues.

    cheers, Andy

  8. Yikes sorry to hear about your ex-contractor but glad you found that handy FIX8!

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

  9. This is GREAT! Yes...sometimes its not only the money as long as quality is assured. Looks like they've got quite a good portal there. Will definitely check it out next time things need fixing! Thanks!


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