Is a VRF/VRV System the Right Solution for You?
If you’re planning to install a new HVAC system for your business, have you considered using a VRF/VRV system? This guide will walk you through the basics of this type of HVAC system, and help you understand whether it’s the right option for you.
VRF and VRV (which stands for Variable Refrigerant Flow and Variable Refrigerant Volume, respectively) are two terms for the same type of system. Both names are commonly used, but VRV is essentially a registered trademark and VRF is the more general term. For the sake of clarity, we’ll use the most common name and acronym – VRF – throughout this guide.
VRF is a high quality and technologically advanced system – sometimes VRF is called the Rolls Royce of HVAC. A VRF consists of multiple interior fan units and a compressor on the roof or exterior of a building. The term “variable refrigerant flow” describes how these systems can supply different levels of cooling or heating to the interior fan units. A VRF allows you to cool and heat a space via different fan units. They can also capture hot or cool air from one area of a building and reuse it to heat or cool another area.
This requires advanced technology in the compressor unit, more so than you’ll find in traditional systems. For that reason, VRF systems are a significant initial investment. However, VRF systems are also more efficient and offer a great deal of flexibility for a multi-use space.
To help you understand whether a VRF HVAC is worth the investment, we recommend asking the following questions:
Does your current system make a lot of noise?
As important as air quality and comfort are, a noisy unit can cause problems such as distraction and noise pollution in your home or office. One of the benefits of VRF technology is that it offers a quieter alternative to traditional systems. Typically, the condensing unit – the main source of noise – is located outside your building. The VRF features air handlers that are smaller and quieter, and they replace large ductwork that other air conditioning systems use.
Do you have employees or tenants that constantly fiddle with the thermostat?
If so, this is a sign that your current system is not providing consistent temperature control. VRF systems have the ability to send varying levels of refrigerant from the compressor to different interior fan units. This helps to maintain consistent comfort by neutralizing hot and cold spots, and eliminating problems with humidity.
Do you want a new system but are unsure where it will go?
VRF is ideal for small spaces, because it takes up less room and is more flexible than traditional AC components. The interior fan units can be placed according to your heating and cooling needs, and don’t require ductwork. Because the central unit uses only refrigerant, you do not need water pumps and piping, nor a maintenance room. This can be a huge benefit to business and building owners, letting you maximize your usable office or commercial space.
Is there a need to simultaneously heat and cool different areas of your building?
Some commercial spaces need the ability to heat and cool different areas of a building at the same time, and advanced technology of a VRF system makes this possible. The variable flow technology allows the system to send hot or cool air to the different interior fan units. It’s unique capabilities include capturing hot air that is created during the cooling process, and sending it to another part of the building for heating.
Is your current utility bill through the roof?
The VRF supplies each fan unit with the precise amount of refrigerant needed to cool the room, based on current conditions. This allows the system to run at a lower capacity for shorter amounts of time, which maximizes energy efficiency. Improving the energy efficiency and using less power to cool a space is the key to keeping your utility bills down.
Does your current system have traditional thermostats?
When installing a VRF system, you can easily set up the control software on your smartphone or tablet. That means you can control and monitor temperature from anywhere, without having to install physical thermostats or purchase costly management software. The VRF also has self-monitoring built-in. The system will automatically send you maintenance alerts and can track conditions. This way you are never caught off guard if there is an issue with your system, and it can be addressed quickly.
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then a VRF system may be the right choice for you. The advanced technology of a VRF system can provide many benefits for your office or commercial space, from energy savings to more usable space. If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about installing a VRF system, please contact Fiat Incorporated today to learn more.