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Monday, May 04, 2015

Chp 556. AC installation pains

As most of you may know, finding an apartment to rent is a big pain in the ass. Different housing societies have different rules. Some don’t accept tenants because of various reasons ranging from nationality and religion, to their place of origin or eating habits or even their marital status or profession.

Nothing is more frustrating than finding the perfect apartment owned by an awesome landlord, and after all the legal agreement and deposit had been done, the building society president refused to give an NOC (No Objection Certificate) just because you happened to be a bachelor. My colleagues (who moved with me from Mumbai to Pune) experienced just that, and I really feel sorry for them.

I on the other hand, had a lucky run. After looking at more than 20 apartments with my broker, I finally zeroed in on a nice pad located at a prime area on Lane no 6, Koregaon Park. It was a tough decision and I had to weigh in a lot of pros and cons among all the apartments I shortlisted. One of them was right on the banks of a river, with a very good view cum refreshing breeze and a wine shop at the ground floor, while another was fully furnished with internal air conditioning and huge balcony, but I had to consider a lot of other factors, like convenience, and accessibility to autorikshaws since I don’t own a vehicle.

The apartment I chose had one drawback - it didn’t have an AC. And since it was on the top floor, the harsh Pune summer heat wasn’t kind to it. I managed to sleep only one night in my new apartment… I mean, “sleep” would be an understatement - I was lying awake the entire night while taking a shower for the umpteenth time. The next morning, I moved back into our Company’s guesthouse :D

And so I spent two more weeks at our guesthouse (which had nice AC) while I tried to figure out how to solve the heat situation at my apartment. I finally decided to buy my own AC instead of renting one, and looked up at various e-com sites and also visited a couple of stores like Vijay Sales and Croma.

(Remember I had just moved in to a new apartment, which meant not just the first month rental but also the deposit and brokerage, not to mention the cost of shifting all my stuff from Mumbai to Pune. I was almost on the tip of being broke-ass).

Finally I found the ideal AC from Flipkart - An Onida S123PBL 1 Ton 3 Star split AC. It was available at an offer of Rs. 21990/- on Flipkart with an EMI option. I looked up the price of the same model at various other outlets and they were all in the range of 26k to 30k from other vendors. And the best part was, the Flipkart seller was WS Retail, Flipkart’s unofficial official seller (quora). It took around a week to deliver, and I continued sleeping in the guesthouse till then.

After my new AC was delivered (yay my first ever personally owned AC!), the technicians from Onida came a few hours later to install it. That was when the nightmare began.

Flipkart mentioned that the installation charge would cost around Rs. 1500/- only, plus extra. I was happy because it wasn’t that much. I just didn’t realize the “plus extra” was going to be so high!

Now I’m not pointing fingers at either Flipkart or Onida, but somewhere deep inside my stomach, I have that unpleasant feeling of being screwed over.

As mentioned earlier, that so called 1500 installation charge was only for setting up the split AC and the output unit outside my window. For the “extra charge”, I was bracing myself for, say 500 to 1000 bucks extra at the most. Oh how wrong I was!

First of all, there was the “core drilling” that was required. For that, they went and got some guys who specialized in doing that. A 3 inch diameter hole needed to be drilled through my bedroom wall, and here’s how it was done -

It was already around 10 in the night and I had to keep telling them again and again to keep the noise down. I definitely didn’t want to be kicked out of the building for disturbing my new neighbors. Finally the hole was drilled and that cost me Rs. 2760/- I wasn’t really expecting it to be that expensive!

And then came the wiring.

Apparently my bedroom didn’t have any AC point, so they had to make a new wiring connection from my bedroom to the fuse box situated outside. They gave me two types of wires to choose from, one that cost Rs. 195/- per feet (with 6 months warranty) and Rs. 225/- per feet (with 1 year warranty). They also said I have to put up an ELCB (Earth Leakage Circuit Breaker) to prevent shock and dangerous voltage, and they gave me the option of choosing one that cost Rs. 1775/- (6 months warranty) and another that cost Rs. 2250/- (1 year warranty). Here is their estimate, in their own handwriting -

The total cost of the wiring came to Rs. 5250/- and ELCB was Rs. 1775/- Man I’ve never spend that much on a few feet of wires in my life.

Yeah that long piece of black wire you see above cost a freaking 5k. Seriously? Finally by midnight, they were able to install the AC correctly with the right connection. It took 12 people in total to set it up. And of course there's poor Ronaldo above, who fell on such bad times after winning both the Ballon d'Or and Ballon d'Floor that he had to moonlight as an AC service guy :)

I paid another 300 bucks for the switchboard (which the Onida guy broke the outer plastic while banging in the plug and they said they’d replace it the next day with no additional cost but till now nobody had contacted me), and so the total amount I spent on an AC installation came to this –

Installation - 1500
Core drilling - 2760
Wiring - 5250
ELCB - 1775
Switch - 300

TOTAL = Rs. 11585/-

Dayyym, that’s more than half the cost of the AC itself!

Yeah, it had been an utter shocker for me. Is this the amount one usually pays for a new AC installation? It’s my first personally owned AC so I really have no idea about it. But I really hope I wasn’t ripped off. Flipkart and Onida are reputed brands and I’m just blindly trusting them, but please do let me know if I was overcharged.

And of course, yes it had been wonderful once the AC was set up. Good sleep and refreshing mornings. I'd give a 5 star rating to the AC model, and for 22k I think it's a really good value for money. But I still can’t fathom if the installation cost was appropriate or not.

I’m not an expert or a person with experience when it comes to this matter, maybe you’ll have a better understanding of this, do let me know if it was worth it.



Anonymous said...

We also recently bought a 2T split AC. One reason we went for a particular dealer was because he said they would install it for free. But we still ended up paying around Rs. 6000 for the stabiliser, MCB, extra wires, etc. But then, they didn't have to use the 'bazooka' ;)

Daniel D'Mello said...

W.r.t the installation and drilling, you weren't ripped off. If you bought the AC direct from Onida, you would pay more upfront (say Rs. 4000 more), but the installation and drilling (which cost you Rs. 4000 extra after you bought the AC through Flipkart) would have been included in the package. So either way, it costs about the same.

W.r.t the wiring, it all depends on how far the AC is from the mains. In my case, the electrician found an extension in the bedroom itself, so it was cheaper. 5K sounds about right but for that price I would have had them cover the extended wire up with putty so it doesn't look ugly.

No one uses extra ELCBs to my knowledge unless they have voltage fluctuations. It should already be built into the AC or your switchboard.

girlfromthebluemountain said...

I like the pink walls ��

benjamin rualthanzauva said...

Most modern apartments already have the hole and wiring. Plug and play. Actually Chura would the drilling for free.

Mizohican said...

@ Pu John: Hehe even I was shocked when they brought in the bazooka. I was just expecting them to drilla tiny hole, I didn't know it was going to be so heavy-duty.

@ Daniel: Yeah its an old building so it didn't have any ELCBs in the switchboard, and since I don't know how it is here, I guess it is good precaution to prevent oneself from voltage fluctuation.

@ Lily: Pink is the new black :P

@ Benjamin: Yeah, unfortunately this apartment I rented is more than 15 years old :(

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