The heating and cooling technology have evolved significantly over the last thirty years. In today’s technology, homeowners can choose from a variety of heating and cooling systems that will best fit their needs. One of these systems is the VRF system.
VRF is the short term for variable refrigerant flow. A VRF system is a heating and cooling system that does not rely on ductwork. VRF systems are a great alternative for homes where installing ductwork will not be possible or is not desired by the homeowner.
The VRF system is also called the mini-split heat pump or ductless air conditioner. The system uses a single outdoor condenser that connects with one or more indoor air handler units. The outdoor condenser acts as a pump which pushes the refrigerant through pipes towards the different indoor air handler units and back.
The air handler units may be installed by mounting them on walls or ceiling and may come in a variety of styles. Each area of the home may have separate air handler units which are all connected to the outdoor condenser. Each handler unit comes with its thermostat and may be programmed independently from one another. This means that you can set different temperature settings for each indoor unit and the VRF system can handle it. However, simultaneous heating and cooling are only possible if a heat recovery type of VRF is installed.
There are three common types of VRF systems. Cooling only systems do what their name implies, which is to provide cooled air to living areas. These cooling only systems have no way of providing heated air. On the other hand, a heat pump system can provide cooling and heating but can only provide one at a time. The third type of VRF system is the heat recovery system which may allow for simultaneous heating and cooling. This system is capable of heating one part of the house while cooling another part.
VRF or heat pump systems are usually installed in restaurants and facilities that require either a cooling or heating mode of operation. However, all the indoor units can only choose between heating or cooling at a time.
VRF systems that belong to the heat recovery type may be installed in schools, office buildings, hotels, and other facilities that may require simultaneous heating and cooling mode of operations.
Heat pump systems are energy efficient. However, VRF systems have minimal energy loss as compared to the 30 to 40 per cent energy loss with the traditional forced-air systems that use ductworks in unconditioned places such as attics. Likewise, VRF systems may not require a backup heat source. VRF systems are highly efficient because they can vary the flow of the refrigerant to the indoor air handler units according to the demands of the individual areas. This ability of VRF systems allows for different areas within the same building to have precise temperature control without compromising the comfort of occupants of other areas. The sophisticated controls of the VRF system allow users to have complete control of their area concerning the temperature without affecting the other areas, which are also connected to the same system.
VRF systems may be expensive to install; however, the energy efficiency and the ability to have full control over your area without affecting the rest of the building or home will be worth the investment.