Buying an electrical item? Keep an eye on the installers

“I opened my water and electric bills at the same time. I was shocked!”

That old joke popped into my head on Monday when an electrician came over to look at my busted air-conditioner and water heater.

As he inspected the wiring, we learnt a valuable lesson – no matter how reputable the electrical store, as consumers, we should keep an eye on its installers, as some cut corners. And we end up paying the price – literally (more on this later).

Let’s rewind to a few years back. The home minister and I caved in and got an air-conditioner for the bedroom.

We bought it at a great price as it was on sale from a big franchise store at a mall in Subang Jaya.

Unfortunately, neither the home minister nor I were present during the installation, and my sister did not notice that the workers had installed it too close to the wall. So, when it was time to service it a year later, the workers could not open it fully.

A few phone calls, several visits, and many days later, a more experienced technician from the store came over, cursed his younger colleagues for doing a horrible job, moved the unit about a foot away from the wall, and ‘solved’ our problem.

Or, so we thought.

Then, last October, we heard a ‘click’ and discovered that neither the water heater, nor the air-conditioning worked.

We also noticed a perpetual red flickering glow on the water heater switch – even though it was off.

We called a few electricians – highly recommended by friends – who promised to come, but always cancelled at the last minute.

That was until we finally found a chargeman who runs an electrical company (Thanks, Julia).

The first thing he said after opening up the sockets was: “Who installed the aircond? They used the wrong type of wires. It should be the thick, four-cord types, not these thin, three-cord ones.

“Your electric bill must be high, as these smaller wires need extra power.”

Remember me mentioning that we “pay the price for not keeping an eye on installers”? Well, our monthly electric bill before October was more than RM500.

The total bills from November until February was just over RM1,100!

After fixing the water heater, we made another appointment for him to change the wiring for the whole apartment, as we have been living here for nearly 20 years.

It will cost us a bomb to redo the wiring, but when you add up the potential savings from the electric bills, it will pay for itself in the long run.

So, the next time you buy an electrical item, keep an eye on the installer. It might save you a whole lot of grief and money.


Arts On The Move brings culture to the forefront of Kuala Lumpur’s transit system to inspire and stimulate city dwellers and visitors with a touch of art in their daily routines.

Happening every fortnight from February to June, between 5pm-6pm, the programme will feature curated quality performances, art installations, and workshops for commuters.

The launch on Feb 14 at the Pasar Seni MRT station featured weaving workshops, performances by the Mah Meri Cultural Village and Sunnyside Up, and an art installation by Pamela Tan of Poh Sin Studio.


These sea salt and olive oil chocolate dishes are incredibly creamy and decadent. They are easy to prepare, and make a great dessert for dinner parties.


To honour the chargeman/electrician who saved me a fortune in electric bills, here is Electric Black with ‘Our love is smoking’.

I have several of their songs on my playlist, although if you search YouTube, you might find a band with a similar name.

How do you identify the right one? The lead singer is a Sideshow Bob look-a-like!

Until next week, stay safe.

Tagged with: