Most folks have considered installing your standard furnace and air conditioning system, or maybe even a heat pump. You might have even heard of geothermal heating systems. However, there’s one type of HVAC system that you should still consider: a VRF System. But now you’re probably asking, “What is a VRF System?”

“VRF” is short for variable refrigerant flow system. It’s a relatively recent development in terms of HVAC technology, only having been available for roughly the last 20 years or so. But, we know that there’s a lot more to know about VRF systems than how long they’ve been around.

In this article, we’ll answer your question, “What is a VRF system?” We’ll also provide you with some other must-know info, so you can decide if a VRF system is right for you.

How a VRF System Works

One way to look at a VRF system is as a, essentially, ductless system that offers powerful heating and cooling. But in this brief article, we want to break down how this system works a bit more for you.

To reiterate, “VRF” stands for “variable refrigerant flow,” which provides a hint as to how this system operates. Generally, VRF systems will use a heat pump or heat recovery system to provide heating and cooling. With this in mind, these systems use refrigerant to carry the heat through your system, instead of water. 

Basic VRF systems include two refrigerant lines, one for supply and another for return. This technology makes it possible to have multiple indoor units that operate under one system. This more basic version of a VRF system, however, doesn’t allow for the dual heating and cooling that more complex VRF systems offer. 

For this benefit, you’ll need a VRF system that includes a two-pipe system, which also allows for the potential to expand the capacity your system can handle. Your other option is to install a three-pipe system. But, it should be noted that this option is most ideal for commercial buildings with the plan to make significant expansions.

The Types of VRF Systems

In addition to the variations in VRF systems mentioned above, there are two main types to consider: 1) air-cooled systems and 2) water-cooled systems.

Air-cooled systems call for the system’s multiple compressors to be connected to a refrigerant-piping loop. Water-cooled-systems, on the other hand, call for these compressors to be connected to a water-source loup. 

For buildings with ample space, air-cooled VRF systems will work. However, for those with limited space, water-cooled VRF systems are the preferred choice. Water-cooled systems also make it possible to take advantage of geothermal heating, if that is something you are interested in. 

For a more detailed look into VRF systems, check out this detailed article.

The Benefits of a VRF System

A VRF system isn’t for everyone, but they certainly have their fair share of benefits to offer. Here are just five benefits that VRF systems can provide:

1. They’re easy to install. 

First and foremost, one of the greatest benefits of a VRF system is that it’s easy to install in your home. In other words, even if you have a different system, it will be easy to make the switch. In fact, these systems are much lighter and more compact than others. 

2. Save money with energy-efficiency. 

Not only are they easy to install, but they are much more energy-efficient than some systems. In fact, VRF systems are said to be as much as 30% more efficient than traditional HVAC systems.  

3. You can heat and cool your house at the same time.

If you decide to install a heat recovery system specifically, you’ll receive the added benefit of simultaneous heating and cooling. In this way, you can set some zones of a building to be heated by your system, while you can set other zones for cooling.

4. You can better customize your climate.

If you have a traditional HVAC system and aren’t achieving the comfort you deserve, a VRF system may be for you. VRF systems allow you to do more than just turn on your heat or turn on your cooling system. As noted, some of these systems can provide heating and cooling simultaneously, although most allow for greater temperature customization.

5. If you want a quiet system, VRFs are the way to go.

Some HVAC units can be noisy, making it difficult to stay focused on your tasks during the day and to sleep at night. VRF systems, however, operate at a low volume, which means you won’t have to hear your HVAC system running as much during the day or night.

Interested in Installing a VRF system? 

Now that we’ve answered the question, “What is a VRF system?,” you may be wondering how you can install this system in your own home. A great way to determine if a system like this will work for you is by contacting your local service technician. By visiting your home, he or she will be able to assess your existing system and confirm if this system will work for you.

If you live in Murrieta, Temecula, or the surrounding areas, our team at Edge Heating & Air can help meet your HVAC repair and installation needs. From fixing your AC to installing a brand new HVAC system, our service technicians are on stand-by and ready to help!

Call us at (951) 304-9658 or schedule your service online today


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