Many people are under the impression that VRF and VRV are two separate HVAC systems. In reality, VRF and VRV are two different names for the same HVAC system. Daikin invented the first VRV HVAC systems in the early 1980s, relying on inverter technology compressors. Daikin established the VRV name (which refers to Variable Refrigerant Volume) as a registered trademark as a leader in technology in the HVAC industry. For similar HVAC systems, all other businesses employ VRF (Variable Refrigerant Flow). The VRF system became the more frequent moniker for these types of systems over time.
SO, WHAT EXACTLY IS VRF HVAC?
Consider VRF to be the “Lamborghini” of HVAC systems. It’s a high-tech air conditioning system that works on the following principles:
- Refrigerant only – where the refrigerant is the sole coolant component in the system (as opposed to chilled water systems, which employ refrigerant to cool/heat the water that circulates throughout the entire system)
- With partial cooling/heating loads, inverter compressors allow for lower power usage.
- On the same refrigerant loop/circuit, there are several air handlers (indoor units).
- Modular expansion capability (especially applicable for projects that can grow in ascending stages)
STRUCTURE OF A TYPICAL VRF SYSTEM
A typical system includes:
- An outdoor unit (comprising one or more compressors)
- Several indoor units (often referred to as “fan coils”)
- Refrigerant pipework flowing from the outdoor to the inside
- Communication wiring
The communication wiring consists of a two-wired cable linked from the outside to all interiors, forming an inner closed-loop network. This is a necessary component of every VRF system. In terms of control, each indoor has its wired control panel, with the option of using wireless remotes and centralised controllers to control all indoors from a single place.
HOW DOES VRF AIR CONDITIONING WORK?
The VRF’s operation logic is fully integrated into the system and is unique to each VRF manufacturer. The system receives information from the user (e.g., preferred comfort temperature) and the environment (outside ambient temperature). It uses that data to implement its algorithm to provide the required comfort conditions while consuming the least amount of energy.
Compared to traditional water-cooled systems based on coolers and fan coils, one of the primary characteristics that make these technologies so efficient is their flexibility to react to external circumstances.
THE ADVANTAGES OF A VRF HVAC SYSTEM
The efficiency of energy
For a variety of reasons, VRF HVAC systems utilise less energy. Because the system is designed to offer precisely the quantity of cooling required for the current conditions, it runs less often and at a reduced capacity. The VRF system is also built to capture heat generated during the cooling process and recycle it in regions that require warmth.
The louder condensing unit is usually outside in a VRF HVAC system, and the internal air handlers are smaller and less noisy than in a regular split system.
Less space is required
Because the air handlers take up less space and VRF HVAC systems don’t normally require ducts, the equipment takes up less wall and ceiling space. That means you can preserve your apartment’s beautiful high ceilings.
VRF HVAC systems, like all other HVAC systems, require professional inspection and maintenance regularly. With such a complex system, you have to be sure you hire a provider with the necessary knowledge and who can tailor a maintenance contract to your system’s specific requirements.
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