Variable Refrigerant Flow HVAC Systems (VRF)

Energy Efficient Cost Saving Solution

A variable refrigerant flow system (VRF) – sometimes called Variable Refrigerant Volume (VRV) — was developed by Daikin Industries, Ltd. in 1982 and arrived in the United States during the early 2000s. Since then, it has increased in popularity due to its cost saving efficiency and flexibility.

VRF HVAC systems come in three flavors: cooling-only systems, heat pump systems, and heat recovery systems. Cooling-only systems cool and do not heat. While heat pump systems can provide both heating and cooling, they can only do one of these at a time. Heat recovery systems, on the other hand, can provide simultaneous heating and cooling. These systems allow precise temperature control for different rooms or zones throughout a building by redistributing heat from areas that require more cooling to areas that need to be warmer. They also consider outdoor ambient temperatures and adjust for outdoor conditions, supplying only the amount of heating or cooling that is needed within a space. All of this maximizes energy efficiency while maintaining ideal temperature conditions.

How Do VRF Systems Work?

Unlike chilled water systems in which refrigerant is used for cooling/heating of circulating water, VRF systems utilize the refrigerant itself which circulates between multiple indoor air handling units. True to the name, the VRFs use variable motors, and refrigerant flow is adjusted according to the temperature needs of a space, thereby using less energy. This high level of efficiency can save over 50% in utility costs.

VRF systems consist of at least one outdoor unit, multiple indoor air handlers, refrigerant piping, and communication wiring. Each indoor unit is controlled by its own wired panel. Some systems offer wireless control option as well as centralized controllers that are able to operate all indoor units from a single location. All of the indoor air handlers exist on the same refrigerant loop.

Because the indoor and outdoor units are separated, the indoor units should have a source of fresh air. This can come from windows or a dedicated outside air system. (building codes?). The team at Spaeder can determine a well-suited ventilation method for your building.

What are the Benefits of a VRF System?

Other than significant energy cost savings, VRF Systems offer a number of additional benefits over traditional systems.

  • Variable motors. Traditional systems are either off or on. In VRF systems, the compressor load is increased according to demands, avoiding massive temperature fluctuations.
  • Ducted or ductless. You can choose to hide the or expose the indoor units depending on your preference and spatial restrictions.
  • Small Footprint. Outdoor units are conservatively sized, fitting into smaller spaces than the units in other HVAC systems, and usually do not require roof support.
  • Adaptable. Modular. Scalable. Indoor units can be added to the system as needed.
  • Quiet. Some VRF indoor units are as little as 27 decibels. (Normal conversation is about 60 decibels.) 
  • Temperature Zone Control. Users can set rooms to their ideal temperature.

Spaeder Team Installing VRF System at Citizens Bank
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Contact Our HVAC Team

At Wm. T. Spaeder Company, our skilled technicians have the capabilities to design, install, repair, and maintain VRF systems.
If you’re interested in learning more, do not hesitate to reach out and talk to us.

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