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Variable Refrigerant Volume (VRV) and Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) Systems
Cool Services’ team of air conditioning specialists have been installing large scale systems in businesses from every sector since 1978. Our team provides high quality design, specification, installation and maintenance services tailored to your air conditioning needs. Our focus on quality, reliability and energy efficiency has earned us many high-profile, blue-chip clients that we have serviced for many years.
What is the difference between a VRV System and a VRF System?
These are essentially two different names for the same type of air conditioning system. Variable Refrigerant Volume (VRV) is a trademark of Daikin Industries Ltd. and as a result other manufacturers use the term Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) to describe their systems, however they are essentially the same. There are a number of VRV and VRF systems offered by different manufacturers, however the term VRV/VRF applies to these large-scale, often ductless systems that can perform efficiently at a higher capacity. VRV/VRF technology is capable of providing both heating and cooling to different areas within one general space.
How does a VRV/VRF system work?
VRV/VRF systems work by using a refrigerant to transfer heat from one location to another.
The system consists of an outdoor unit and multiple indoor units. The outdoor unit contains a compressor, a fan, and a heat exchanger, while the indoor units contain a heat exchanger and a fan.
The VRV/VRF system uses electronic controls to vary the refrigerant flow rate and temperature to each indoor unit based on the desired heating or cooling load. This allows very precise temperature control and high energy efficiency.
Additionally, the VRV/VRF system can provide simultaneous heating and cooling to different areas of the building, making it a versatile and efficient solution for many types of buildings.
VRV/VRF systems can operate many more indoor units for each outdoor unit than a multi-split air conditioning system, the actual number varies by manufacturer. Indoor units also vary by size and type allowing for flexibility in installation.
What are the benefits of VRV/VRF air conditioning in commercial buildings?
- Highly energy efficient
- Precise and individual temperature control to individual areas
- Flexibility – offers heating and cooling at the same time.
- Heat recovery options reduce energy use even further.
- Systems can be easily expanded in the future.
- Easy to use and link to smart technology including Building Management Software.
How does a VRV/VRF system differ from multi-split air conditioning system?
Multi-split systems are ideal for areas with very similar heat gains and losses. They do not have the ability to heat and cool areas at the same time. Unlike multi-split, VRV/VRF systems can manage a wide range of different thermal loads, heating one area whilst cooling another. This is done by automatically adjusting the flow of the refrigerant to each indoor unit.
Which buildings are best suited to VRV/VRF air conditioning?
Buildings with multiple zones and wide variations in heating and cooling loads, in many different spaces or zones are suitable for these systems because each zone can have individual control.
Building types such as hotels, schools, and offices are ideal for VRV/VRF.
What are the drawbacks of a VRV/VRF system?
VRV/VRF systems have many benefits for use in a large commercial building with differing heating and cooling requirements and cannot be readily compared to other systems. They are not better or worse than split systems, they are simply a different type of air conditioning system. However, the higher initial cost of installation is an important consideration.
Do VRV/VRF systems require maintenance?
Yes, VRV/VRF systems require regular maintenance to ensure they operate efficiently and effectively over their lifespan. These systems consist of complex components, such as compressors, heat exchangers, and refrigerant lines, that require routine upkeep to function correctly. Filters and coils must also be cleaned on a regular basis.
By performing regular maintenance on VRV/VRF systems, building owners can maximise the system’s lifespan, optimise energy efficiency, and performance. It’s recommended that building operators and owners appoint a HVAC company with REFCOM, F-Gas accreditation to perform regular maintenance for your specific system and to comply with the regulations.