Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Aircon replacement

So today is the day my old Daikin system 4 air conditioner was replaced with a Midea system 3.

The price I paid for the Midea includes new installation material like piping, insulation,wiring and trunking etc and removal of the old system. However, I decided to reuse my existing trunking to save me the hassle of having to repaint if replaced. Everything else were replaced though.

The 4th indoor unit at the living room removed and the installers did the necessary patch up work on the walls.

No issues for most part of the trunking except for one portion where it is built into a partition. For this, a new trunking was installed beside the existing one.

I had to have my outdoor unit bracket replaced as it is too large for new unit. That is another $150 on top of the $1799 I paid for the Midea.

All of the new indoor units was installed at the same existing location and the installers did a great job that I do not need to repaint the walls even though the old and new units were not exactly of the same size.

All in all it took approximately 5 hrs.

This is my 2nd purchase from Gain City and they didn't disappoint me.

Midea System 3 Multi Split Aircon

This is a review of the Midea Oasis aircon range which is one generation before the latest Opal range by Midea.


Indoor unit

3 x Oasis 9K BTU MS11MI-09

Outdoor unit

21K BTU M3OA-21CDN1-QC4 (2 ticks from NEA)


Midea provides 2 years warranty on parts including labour and 6 years on compressor which means it covers only the compressor from the 3rd year onward.

As I purchased this unit from Gain City during a promotional period, it comes with an extended 5 years installation warranty which effectively means an extra 4 years on top of Midea’s 1 year installation warranty.

Warranty however do not cover the remote and filters


WiFi Control

The system can be connected to an existing wireless network or set up as a separate wireless network (WiFi Direct) and can be controlled through a mobile phone app. It can also be remotely controlled on mobile networks (3G/LTE) through Midea servers.

Note: Midea has stop producing Oasis range with WiFi support so if the dealer says the unit they are selling are WiFi enabled/ready, get that written in black and white.

High Density Filter

A piece of additional high density filter that is placed on the wire mesh filter. It can be removed and cleaned just as a normal filter.

Self Cleaning

A hydrophilic fin evaporator that washes away dust and grease on the evaporator through condensed water.

The louver will remain open with fan mode to dry out the coil and pipes up to 15 minutes to prevent mould formation for better unit life span after the unit is turned off. It is activated by default.

It can be overridden by pressing the power off button twice. However, take note of the following statement by Midea

Manual overriding (by pressing “power off” twice) of the self-cleaning function may have unfavorable consequences and promote mould formation that requires maintenance servicing not covered under the original product warranty.

Plasma Electron+

Ionizer than removes airborne germs, bacteria, dust, haze particle, pollen, smoke viruses from indoor air. To activate, press and hold the 'Sleep/Fresh' button on the remote each time you turn the unit on.

Will only be able to confirm if this actually works after using it for a while.

3D Air Flow

Both the vertical and horizontal louvers can swing automatically.

Follow Me

When activated the temperature sensor on the remote controller will replace the blower’s. Hence it is important where the remote is placed to provide a more accurate reading for the system to match the set temperature 

This is another function that needs to manually activated each time you turn the unit on.

Blower / Fan Coil / Indoor Unit

In terms of quality, the units are very much on par with any branded aircon that I have purchased before. Although the previous Luna range from Midea do have quality issues this Oasis range is of a much better quality.

Lifting up the cover to change the filter don’t feel as flimsy as the Luna and so do the filters itself.

It has a white LED indicator which shows the set temperature as well as the indicator for the following functions - Fresh, Defrost, Run, Timer

I find the ‘Defrost’ status on the blower pointless as it will hardly ever lit up in Singapore. I also find the ‘Run’ indicator to be redundant as the temperature indicator is already sufficient to show that the unit is running.

It is also disappointing that position of the horizontal louvers are not 'remembered' and will swing to its default position each time the unit is turned on.

Remote Controller

The remote however do feels cheap. It looks different from the conventional squarish design that most aircon comes with.

It is light and very plasticy. Although the display screen is LED back lit, the buttons however are not and are flushed with the bezel so it makes it harder to fiddle in the dark.

The remote has a built in temperature sensor which will be activated when the 'Follow Me' feature is activated therefore where the remote is placed matters as the system depends on the reading on the remote in regards to the set temperature. This is a very useful feature. However, do take note that the remote needs to be within range else it will not be able to send the info required by the blower so you could end up with a room too cold or too warm. How you place the remote matters too as the remote IR transmitter is design in such a way that it was meant to work with you holding the remote up pointing to the blower. Therefore placing it flat down facing up may cause it not be able to transmit the signal over to the blower. To overcome this, place the remote facing down instead.

The on/off timer on the remote can be set up to 24 hrs in an increment of 1/2 hr. There is no cancel button though, so if you have already set the timer, you have to either take a pin to press the 'Reset' button or pressing the timer button repeatedly until it reverts back to '0'. Good thing is, you can simply press and hold the button will increment automatically.

Some button has dual role in where pressing and holding the button for 2 seconds will activate the other function. 

One thing I find the remote is lacking in remembering some of the common features that I believe many would use like 'Fresh'.

It also comes with a sleep mode where the temperature will be increased by 2 degrees after each hour and then turned off after 7 hours. Take note that pressing other button will cancel this off even though the remote is still showing that it is active. This to me is a defect.

Compressor / Outdoor Unit

With a rating of 2 ELS ticks, when used for 8 hours a day, it will cost approximately $859 annually.

I turned them on daily for 8 hours minimum and mostly 2 blowers at the same time and my whole electricity bill comes up to about $80/per month. This is inclusive of all other electrical devices including fridge, TV. washer and dryer etc.


I have been using the aircon close to a year and so far, no service calls needed.

In terms of cooling power, it does so very well even with 3 blowers turned on at the same time. Even with a set temperature of 26-C, the room still feels very cool. 

Both the blowers and compressor are very silent, even before the 'Silent' feature on the remote is turned on.


Cost. Easily 1/4 cheaper than competitors.
Quality is good for a China made product
Looks good.
As silent as it gets.


Some settings on the remote is not stored
Remote feels cheap.
Not enough information on the manual.
WiFi no longer supported.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Midea multi-split air conditioning

When I moved to my new place, it already has a system 4 air conditioning. Although working, it is an old non-inverter system and hence electrical consumption is pretty high.

With the haze greeting us again this year, the aircon is used more. And judging by recent days, it looks like it may get even worse and so will my pocket.

While looking for a replacement, I came across this offer from Gain City for the Midea system 3 for $1799 which consists of

Indoor unit - 3 x Oasis 9K BTU MS11MI-09
Outdoor unit - 21K BTU M3OA-21CDN1-QC4 (2 ticks from NEA)

It comes with a 2/5/6 years warranty (for parts/installation/compressor respectively) with the option to extend the warranty for parts to 5 years at $299. I thought it was attractive, considering that a similar package for other brands can cost as much as $600 more.

Both the indoor and outdoor units are one generation before. The latest indoor/outdoor units currently are the Opal SMKM-09/12/18-I-04 range and the SMKY-21/28/32-O-04 compressor range which attain 4 ticks under the ELS (Energy Labelling Scheme)

Cooling Capacity

For those who are clueless on what to look out for when purchasing an air conditioning system, apart from the ELS ticks (the higher the better) the main point to take note is the cooling capacity rated in BTUs.

It may seem that the higher BTUs equals better cooling. However, EnergyStar website states that
"an oversized air conditioner is actually less effective — and wastes energy at the same time. Air conditioners remove both heat and humidity from the air. If the unit is too large, it will cool the room quickly, but only remove some of the humidity. This leaves the room with a damp, clammy feeling. A properly sized unit will remove humidity effectively as it cools"
Having said that, getting an undersized air conditioner will overwork the outdoor unit (compressor) reducing its lifespan and at the same time unable to provide the cooling capacity needed. Therefore it is best to refer to the recommended BTU to room size chart below

Cooling capacity
Max room size

  • If the room is heavily shaded, reduce capacity by 10 percent.
  • If the room is very sunny, increase capacity by 10 percent.
  • If more than two people regularly occupy the room, add 600 BTUs for each additional person.
If you notice, most indoor unit (fan coil) is rated at 9K, 12K and 18K while the outdoor unit (compressor) is normally rated at 21K, 28K and 32K. These are the maximum cooling capacity of the units.

At the same time, a lot of packages will normally pair the fan coil and compressor as such as the total BTU of the fan coils exceeds the max BTU of the compressor. 

For the package I bought, the total BTU for the fan coil is 27K (3x9K) while the compressor can only generate 21K BTU. This means that if all the units are used at the same time, the max BTU the system can generate is still 21K. Therefore the fancoil will generate lesser BTU at 7K instead.

For a standard HDB bedroom, especially one that is with the curtains drawn, 7K BTU should be sufficient as it can cool a room up to 28 sqm in size. That is way bigger than any HDB bedroom that I know of, especially those newer BTOs.

Branded vs no-brand

Midea originates from China hence many consider it as a no-brand and inferior to the Japanese and Korean counterparts. However, some Japanese or even Korean brand products are not made from country of origin and actually made in China too.

Midea may not be as well known as Mitsubishi or Panasonic but Midea actually has a joint-venture with Toshiba/Carrier, a well know HVAC producer, sharing each other's technology. This is the reason why Midea is not unknown to other parts of the world where Carrier or Toshiba has made a mark.

If aesthetics and/or functions does not really matter to you, then getting a branded system may not make a difference. In terms of operating cost, the ELS rating is a good gauge therefore the cost will be the same to operate for systems with the same ELS ratings regardless of brand

Even if you purchased a branded aircon for reliability, you will still have to service it regularly for it to remain in working condition within the warranty period. This applies to any brand too.

Once the warranty period is over, the cost to maintain the system may just be as costly considering the parts and labour cost. It is also possible that after 5/6 years, aircon technology may have improved further warranting that you make a replacement hence negating the investment you have made earlier.

So if the Midea can last for 5 years, it is worth the lower cost after which you can replace it.

You can read my review of the system here