What’s the difference between VRV and VRF?

Many people who ask this question, mistakenly interpret it as 2 different HVAC technologies. Actually, those are two different terms for the same type of HVAC technology. Based on Inverter technology compressors, the first VRV HVAC systems were invented by Daikin during the early 1980’s. As a technology leader in the HVAC industry, Daikin had registered the VRV term (which stands for Variable Refrigerant Volume) as an official trademark. All other companies use VRF (Variable Refrigerant Flow) for their similar HVAC systems. Eventually, VRF is the more common term for these types of systems, and this is the term that will be used for the rest of the article.

So what is VRF?

VRF can easily be related to as the “Rolls Royce” of Air Conditioning Systems. It’s a very sophisticated technological air conditioning system, based on several principles:

  1. Refrigerant only – where refrigerant is the only coolant material in the system (in contrary to the chilled water systems, where refrigerant is used for cooling/heating the water that is circulated throughout the whole system).
  2. Inverter compressors that allow lowering power consumption with partial cooling/heating loads.
  3. Several air handlers (indoor units) on the same refrigerant loop / circuit.
  4. Ability of modular expansion (especially applicable for large projects, that can grow in stages)

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Tags: hvac, vrf, vrv

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Difference Between VRV and VRF Air Conditioning Systems.

They are essentially the SAME , but the term VRV is copyrighted by Daikin. for example a system by Daikin may be called a VRV, but a similar system made by Fujitsu is a VRF.

VRV = Variable Refrigerant Volume, VRF = Variable Refrigerant Flow.

VRV (Variable Refrigerant Volume) and VRF (Variable Refrigerant Flow) are innovative climate control technologies that allow for changes in temperature in different parts of a building at different times of day.

The basic idea is that a large outdoor unit serves multiple indoor units. Each indoor unit uses an LEV (electronic liquid expansionvalve) to control its refrigerant supply to match the demand of the space it serves.

The outdoor unit also varies its output to match the communal demands of the indoor units it serves.

Thus, at any point in a system there will be a variable volume of refrigerant flowing. Various strategies are used to vary the output of the outdoor units including;• Modulating fan/s• Heat exchanger valved in sections• Variable speed inverter drive compressor/s• Multiple compressors• Twin or multiple modular outdoor unitsOutdoor unit capacities range from around 14 kW to over 100 kW. Indoor units cover the full range of DXmodels normally available.

System types VRV/VRF systems can be used for cooling only, heat pumping and heat recovery. On heat pump models indoor units can be in either mode but all must be in the same mode if served by the same outdoor unit. The cooling only and heat pump models are basically large, sophisticated, efficient multi-splits. The heat recovery or simultaneous mode systems provide both heating and cooling from the same outdoor unit and thus exploit this technology most effectively. They offer considerable potential for energy savings in many applications.

Energy saving: The most sophisticated VRV/VRF systems can have indoor units, served by a single outdoor unit, in both heating and cooling modes simultaneously. This mixed mode operation leads to energy savings as both ends of the thermodynamic cycle are delivering useful heat exchange. If a system has a cooling COP (Coefficient of Performance) of 3, and a heating COP of 4, then heat recovery operation could yield a COP as high as 7. It should be noted that this perfect balance of heating and cooling demand is unlikely to occur for many hours each year, but whenever mixed mode is used energy is saved. In mixed mode the energy consumption is dictated by the larger demand, heating or cooling, and the lesser demand, cooling or heating is delivered free. Units are now available to deliver the heat removed from space cooling into hot water for space heating, domestic hot water or leisure applications, so that mixed mode is utilised for more of the year.

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