VRV Variable Refrigerant Volume / VRF Variable Refrigerant Flow
What do you do when only half your offices are occupied, and you need air conditioning? Usually, the only solution is to keep the centralized air conditioning running and cool down the whole building. That leaves you with cool but empty rooms and the same utility bill as a full property. Clearly, not the most energy-efficient or financially responsible option. Luckily, thanks to Daikin Industries, you no longer need to wait for the last person to leave the office before shutting off the air conditioners.
Introducing VRV, the latest in heating and cooling technology! VRV/VRF systems use variable refrigerant flow to provide efficient, customized comfort for your home or office. Whether you're looking to beat the heat or keep things cozy during the winter, VRV has you covered. We have the perfect system for you with various models to choose from. So why wait?
What is VRV?
Variable Refrigerant Volume (VRV) is a multi-split HVAC technology invented and pioneered by Daikin. Other manufacturers refer to their versions as Variable Refrigerant Flow to avoid copyright infringement (Daikin trademarked VRV in 1982). Both rely on the same underlying technology: inverter compressors.
Inverter compressors allow the system to adjust the volume of refrigerant in the system meaning users can set individual climate zones (heating and cooling) for different areas on the same system simultaneously.
A Variable refrigerant volume air conditioning system is a split HVAC system consisting of:
- Indoor units
- Outdoor units
- Refrigerant pipe systems
- Inverter Compressors
- Communication Wiring
- Central Controller(s)
These parts come together to form a cutting-edge, highly customizable HVAC system that can handle multiple climate zones simultaneously. An entire complex's air conditioning systems can be controlled from a single location (and even remotely). Each manufacturer has its proprietary operation logic allowing the system to fulfill all your facility's cooling needs with maximum energy efficiency.
That’s why VRV is incredibly popular in commercial buildings, industrial and large residential properties.
How does VRV work?
VRV is split into two main components: air conditioning and heating. Here we'll break down how each works within a VRF system:
To cool an area, like a room or office space, the user activates either their zoning controller (heating and cooling) or your inverter remote (if you have both). Unlike a traditional AC unit, which has only one compressor to provide cooling all over the property, VRF splits the work up.
The compressor closest to where the user wants to cool is shut off, and that room now has reduced pressure. Coolant from the surrounding zones then streams into that space ("volume displacement"). As the room has increased pressure, another compressor elsewhere in the system turns on, and refrigerant begins to flow again through that new space.
This cycle continuously repeats itself, shutting off individual compressors as they reach pressure levels, so no single zone gets too cold or hot.
Heating works pretty much the same way as cooling. Once you set your desired temperature (and maybe the fan speed), the system selects the compressors to stop cooling and supply heat for that zone.
That means when it gets too hot in the living room, one bedroom could be nice and cool while another is warm if they're on separate heating zones. It also helps save energy by reducing the heat you use when needed in certain areas.
A VRV system usually relies on R410A refrigerant to do its job. When people hear about how "green" this system is, they're thinking of the reduced ozone depletion potential (ODP) that's achieved by using this refrigerant which has zero ODP (when compared to the older, less efficient R22). Through heat recovery systems and high-efficiency air handlers based on inverter technology, VRV systems can use only the minimum amount of refrigerant needed at any given time; hence the designation Variable Refrigerant Volume system.
How does VRV save energy?
VRV is a much more efficient way of cooling and heating your home or office, significantly impacting how much energy you're using to keep yourself comfortable.
The old method was simple: the outside air is sent through a massive air handler that blows air into every room. Then that old, stale air is sent through the system again and again to no end.
Without VRV, up to 30% of your energy bill is wasted on heat since the system constantly cycles hot air in with cool air (and vice versa). Those with VRF see a significant cut on their energy bills since the systems run on refrigerants alone.
What are the benefits of VRV?
There's a lot to like about how this system works, especially for people who live in temperate climates or have larger properties. Here's what we think makes it one of the best HVAC systems on the market:
What are the downsides of VRV?
We cannot complain about many things with this system, and we don't think it's any worse than traditional AC units in terms of installation. In fact, it outperforms them dramatically in energy usage.
The biggest drawback is that it can be costly upfront, especially when adding extra components like the outdoor unit and zoning panels. People sometimes opt for a split system that does similar things without climate zoning, which foregoes any long-term energy savings.
Is VRV better than split AC?
Short answer, yes.
Longer answer: VRF and split AC systems do a very similar thing, but there are a few ways they differ:
Split systems are simple to install as you only need to wire everything up and move the refrigerant lines from inside your walls.
With a VRV system, the install is very straightforward but may take a bit more time because multiple compressors need to be installed. On the other hand, VRV is more reliable since it doesn’t have a single point of compressor failure.
VRV becomes financially attractive when applied to large properties. The system is modular and easily customizable, making it the ideal choice for larger spaces. Where regular AC could struggle with providing uniform cooling across the property, VRV can modulate its air output across all zones to compensate for any variables. This makes it a more environmentally friendly solution with lower power bills.
Space is not an issue with VRV units; they can be mounted high up on the ceiling, whereas centralized AC units sometimes need floor and wall space access.
Since VRF has a dedicated compressor for each zone, they can reach their temperature much more efficiently, which means you get more control and comfort. Centralized controllers allow users to set individual zone control remotely and set point temperature for every room from one interface.
VRV vs. VRF
Daikin VRV systems are the Variable Refrigerant Flow market leaders for a reason, they invented the technology and have continued to perfect it since Daikin launched it in 1982. They are constantly implementing emerging technologies in heat recovery, temperature distribution, and individual control to ensure they remain leaders in the HVAC industry.
Their product line covers everything from indoor cooling to outdoor low-temperature units, which can be used for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Daikin VRV indoor units are compact, quiet, and energy-efficient.
Daikin Factory Trained Technicians
Our technicians are the only ones in the New York Metro city tri-state area factory trained by Daikin to work on Variable Refrigerant Volume systems with Daikin factory tools and equipment. Lightning Mechanical carries parts on board for the Daikin Variable Refrigerant Flow product line. With us, you won't have to wait for a new heat pump or refrigerant pipes to be ordered to get your Daikin VRV system running.
Our staff is also factory trained and certified by most VRF manufacturers and can offer the same level of service to your existing Variable Refrigerant Flow system.
Lightning Mechanical VRV/VRF services
We offer flexible installation for VRV and VRF systems in large commercial buildings and midsize office buildings; call us today to find out how a VRV system can give you a new perspective on energy savings and cost-effectiveness.
The beauty of a modular system is the ease with which it can be modified and customized. Whether you want to change out individual indoor units or set air conditioning zones for your outdoor unit, our staff and technicians have the expertise required to design a custom solution for your property.
Need something fixed quick? Or is your system simply not running at 100%? Either way, our teams are on standby with factory tools and training to get you up and running at lightning speed. We service indoor and outdoor units by Daikin or any other major Variable Refrigerant Flow manufacturers. Click here to see what brands we work with and if we serve your area code.
Lightning mechanical offers yearly maintenance and preventative repair for all major VRF system providers. We make sure to test and maintain every part of the system, including but not limited to:
Get your VRV System Today
If you are ready to transition to a VRV/VRF system, get in touch with us at (973) 763-0300
We're ready to take your calls from 8 AM to 6 PM on Mondays to Fridays.
You can also shoot us an email anytime at Craig@lightningmechanical.com