What are VRV/VRF HVAC Technologies & Their Differences?

10.27.2021 | News

VRF Systems

When people hear about VRV and VRF HVAC technologies, many believe that these are different HVAC technologies. In fact, these use the same HVAC system technology. The VRV HVAC systems were invented by Daikin in the early 1980’s and were based on inverter compressor technology.

Daikin registered the VRV (Variable Refrigerant Volume) as an official trademark, while all other companies use the VRF term meaning Variable Refrigerant Flow. Over time, VRF became the dominant and most used term to refer to these types of HVAC systems.

What is a Variable Refrigerant Flow HVAC System?

Variable Refrigerant Flow HVAC systems are the most modernized technology created for HVAC system efficiency which is based on several key features:

- Inverter Compressors which reduce power consumption with partial heating & cooling loads

- Ability to expand modularly for large-scale projects, or projects which will continue to expand and require additional units.

- Multiple indoor units functioning on the same refrigerant circuit

- Refrigerant is the only coolant within the system. This is opposing to chilled water HVAC systems, where refrigerant is leveraged for heating & cooling water that is being circulated and pumped throughout the entire HVAC system.

What Does a Complete VRF HVAC System Look Like?

Variable Refrigerant Flow systems are made up of an outdoor unit. This unit is comprised of one of more compressors, several indoor units, refrigerant linesets connecting the outdoor unit to the indoor units, and basic communication wiring. The communication wiring is setup using 2 cables connecting the outdoor unit to all indoor units, creating a closed loop network. This distinguishes VRF systems from other HVAC technologies.

How Do Variable Refrigerant Flow Systems Work?

As the system is fed inputs from the home user such as setting the temperature, the system will adjust itself based on the outdoor conditions. This differentiation separates VRF systems from a traditional water-cooled HVAC system which are made of fan coils and chillers. Once the unit is turned on by a local remote or wireless IR remote, the outdoor system will turn on and start operating. The system will analyze the weather conditions outdoors while the indoor unit will operate its compressor at the most efficient level to adhere to the users input temperate level. When multiple indoor units are functioning, the outdoor unit will reanalyze the input from all indoor units and will adjust the compressors outputs.

This creates an automated, intelligent, and efficient system which will regulate its own power consumption based on comfort level demands and outdoor conditions. Other than the system automating itself, a user can specify certain operational controls, turning the units on or off, setting the operation state for cooling, heating, fan, dry or automatic, setting the desired temperature, as well as specifying the fan speeds.

VRF systems use multiple linesets. Protecting the linesets is very important in order to maintain product efficiency and to protect them from weather and environmental damages. Slimdcut RD commercial lineset cover was designed to encase VRF system linesets not only to offer superior protection, but also to enhance the installation aesthetics.

Differing Types of VRF HVAC Systems

As everyone’s needs are different, manufacturers have created a few different varieties of HVAC systems. The most popular VRF system is a Heat Pump system, where all indoor units can cool or heat, with Fan and Dry operational modes being available for each independent indoor unit. A less popular system is a newer technology called Heat Recovery. Heat Recovery systems are highly sophisticated as each indoor unit can independently heat or cool at the same time, depending on the comfort level of people in each area that might be heated or cool. Lastly, another less common system is a Cooling Only VRF system which is self-explanatory, as this system can only provide cooling, though fan and dry operational modes are available for each individual indoor unit.

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