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Residents of Tengah’s Built-to-Order Estate Face Persistent Water Leaks from Centralised Cooling System

According to a news report by Asiaone, several residents of Tengah’s new Built-to-Order (BTO) estate are facing persistent issues with their centralised cooling system (CCS), installed by Daikin, causing considerable inconvenience and concern. Including a report by Shin Min Daily News on Friday, May 17, the problems include significant water leaks from the system, leading to damage in their homes.

What is a Centralised Cooling Systsem?

The centralised cooling system is a sustainable alternative to conventional air-conditioners and is being pioneered in Tengah.

A centralised cooling system employs large refrigeration units called chillers to chill water, which is then circulated through a network of insulated pipes to provide cooling to multiple buildings or residential units from a central location.

The chilled water is delivered to individual units where it exchanges heat with indoor air through cooling coils or air handling units. Once the water has absorbed heat, it returns to the central chillers for re-chilling in a closed-loop system.

Monitoring and control systems regulate the flow and temperature of the chilled water, optimizing energy usage and ensuring consistent cooling performance. Centralised cooling systems offer advantages such as improved energy efficiency and centralized maintenance but require significant upfront infrastructure investment.

Potential Causes of the Water Leakage/Condensation

Experts suggest that the persistent leaks could stem from several factors, including faulty installation, inadequate maintenance, or design flaws in the CCS. Issues with the drainage system or improper sealing of the pipes may also contribute to the recurring leaks.

First Signs of Trouble

One affected resident, a 47-year-old kindergarten teacher surnamed Chen, moved into her flat on Tengah Garden Avenue last September. Opting for the CCS for its purported efficiency, Chen and her family encountered problems shortly after moving in. “A week later, we found that the ceiling on the door frame closest to the living room began to drip,” she reported. “The air conditioner in another room was also dripping. We immediately reported the issue to Daikin.”

Attempts to Fix the Issue

Despite multiple repair visits from Daikin, the leaks persisted. Workers first attended to the issue in March, but the problem recurred. The excessive water caused paint on the walls to bulge and blister. “We had no choice but to break these blisters because we were afraid they would damage the wires,” Chen said. The family had to continue using the air conditioner due to the hot and humid weather, exacerbating the problem.

Technicians returned in April and again on May 9, but Chen remains worried. A video she shared on TikTok showed a repairman holding a bucket to catch water from the leaking pipe.

‘Waterfall’ in Another Unit

Chen is not alone in her troubles. Another resident, Ye, who moved into a five-room unit in 111A Plantation Crescent, experienced a similar issue. On the evening of March 3, Ye discovered a significant leak forming a pool of water between his bedroom and living room. “I had heard about this potential problem, so I was on the alert,” Ye said. “When the pipe was leaking, I thought the sound made was from my fan. I didn’t expect to find water everywhere.”

Ye shared his experience on TikTok, capturing the extent of the leak with videos showing the floor drenched and a bucket catching the dripping water. “Relaxing water-flowing sound at the wrong location,” he captioned one clip.

Ongoing Concerns

The repeated issues with the CCS have left residents frustrated and anxious. The financial and emotional toll of dealing with ongoing leaks and potential damage to their newly renovated homes is significant. With the warranty period for repairs being limited, residents like Chen and Ye worry about future leaks and the costs they might incur.

As Tengah’s BTO estate continues to grow, the recurring problems with the CCS highlight the need for reliable solutions and better support from manufacturers like Daikin. The experiences of residents underscore the importance of thorough quality checks and responsive customer service in ensuring a satisfactory living environment in new developments.

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