HDB apparently told flat owner to remove air-con condenser tray then demands that he re-install it post-removal

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A homeowner has alleged that Housing Development Board told him to remove a condenser tray underneath an air-conditioner hanging outside his flat in 2014, to reduce the chance of mosquitoes breeding.

The resident, Yip Wai Hon, acceded but has now been instructed to re-install the tray – at the price of hundreds of dollars – since one of his neighbours apparently complained about water dripping from his air-conditioner onto his items.

Frustrated, Yip wrote to HDB and posted his letter and their alleged reply online. In his letter, Yip questioned the “backpedaling of policy” and wrote:

“In 2014, government agencies set a regulation that the condenser tray from outdoor air-conditioning units must be removed to reduce the chance of mosquitoes breeding. Most residents complied.
Recently, however, I received a HDB notice instructing me to reinstall a “HDB recommended” condenser tray from an “authorised contractor”, as my neighbour downstairs had complained about being disturbed by water dripping from my air-con.
I called the contractor and was told it would cost S$350 to reinstall the tray. When I asked if it was HDB approved, the contractor said yes. When I asked if the National Environment Agency had also approved it, he kept silent.
I then checked with the HDB, which confirmed that it was issuing such notices when residents complained about dripping water. But it warned that I would be fined if mosquitoes were found breeding in my tray if I did not maintain it.
Why is there a backpedalling of policy now?
Residents paid hundreds of dollars to remove the trays to comply with the national policy. Now, we are asked to pay hundreds more to put the tray back just because of some complaints that the dripping water is noisy.
It is shocking that the HDB expects residents to ensure the condenser trays are mosquito-free.
In high-rise flats, it is dangerous just to peer out the windows to check on the trays.
Maintenance can be done quarterly, but that does not prevent mosquitoes from breeding, as eggs can hatch in less than a day. Given the frequency of rain in Singapore, it is not just condenser water that residents need to worry about flooding the tray.
It is wiser to deal with a virus that can kill us than to be bothered by the noise caused by a dripping condenser.
Simply securing a rubber mat or cloth on the top of an air-con unit would absorb the dripping water and noise, while preventing mosquito breeding.”

Instead of adequately answering Yip’s questions, HDB just directed him to where he can buy a new condenser tray “at a cost”:

“Under the National Environment Agency’s Code of Practice on Environmental Health, the placement of air-conditioning trays or receptacles beneath or on top of any air-con unit is discouraged, as the accumulation of stagnant water on such trays could result in mosquito breeding.
If water is found to be dripping from outdoor air-con units in HDB blocks, flat owners should check if the air-con has been properly installed and maintained. This includes checking if proper water discharge measures like affixing a pipe into an internal floor trap have been adopted, and engaging a contractor to service the air-con.
Flat owners who still encounter issues with dripping water from their air-con could consider installing an HDB patented air-con tray to collect the condensate.
Designed with a gradient , this tray has been tested to effectively channel the condensation from the air-con into a discharge pipe.
There was no problem of stagnant water or debris. The trays are in use in several homes and effectively solve the dripping problem. Still, these trays have to be checked regularly to ensure that they are functioning properly.
The tray is available for purchase through a vendor and the installation can be carried out by an air-con installer at a cost.”

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20 comments

  1. Patrick Ee says:

    Erm the old tray trap water, breeding mosquitoes, hence removed. But due to drippings issue, something have to be done as it disturb neighbour. Hence, HDB advise owner to install a tray that solve both mozzie issue and drippings issue. HDB didn’t insist on this solution though, just a suggestion.

  2. John Ng says:

    I’m facing the same problem too.
    Years back my old aircon I installed condenser tray and was told to be removed by TC to prevent mosquitoe breeding.
    Then 2 years ago my old aircon spoiled I replaced a new one without installing condenser tray went on for days after the installation my neighbour below called TC complaint that my new aircon dripping water on their aircon condenser making so much noise during the night giving whole family sleepless nights.
    So TC decided to sent officer down to my house confronted me about the complaint and to my surprise the officer question me why I never inform the contractor to install condenser tray before the installation schedule.
    I explained to him about my previous experience I’d came across with my old aircon when I installed condenser tray and was told be removed by TC.
    And… again to my surprise he replied to me it’s case by case, it is compulsory that I have to install the tray when complaint already taken place and they have to take into account.
    So, without thought I took out a piece of paper told him that I don’t mind to install condenser tray unless he agree to sign a piece black and white with his particular and signature on it just for in case. Then he started to shows sign of hesitation telling me stop worrying about just in case as long it is approved by him.
    At that very moment I got pissed off by his lack of sureness and told him if he don’t sign no way I’m not going to install the tray. When he knew I got pissed off then he agree to signed that piece of black and white with his particular and signature on it.
    We are actually living in a society full of doubts.
    In other words…flip Prata society.

  3. As you can see the Government will always try to sucker us into doing what ever they want n we follow like sheep. SOME TIME WE MUST BE A WOLF. N plush them back show them enough is enough.

  4. David Wee says:

    Agree with Huey Yap, Cindy Angelique. Simple solution. Not a political problem. But Singapore its education and meritocracy is base on how well you score in school. School, civil service, even top government post are selected base on academics, not performance, experience and school do not encourage our young to think beyond or outside the aged text books.

    1. Agree. They have not replied why their EPS contractor refused me entry to the car park, ‘to go home”. They are still living in the past like “we need them”. Little do they know . . . time have changing.

  5. Tony Lim says:

    What nonsense!! If its anti mossies so be it…why backpaddle…neighbours complain can FO..or move out!!! Water dripping outside just like rain….

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