VRV and VRF Air Conditioning System

Hello Everyone. What’s up? Welcome to Queries Shadow.

Today I’m here after a long while with a brand new article on VRV and VRF air-conditioning system. I’ve seen many people get confused between these two terms- VRV & VRF. Are they really different? Well, let’s find out.

What is the difference between VRV & VRF?

Well, friends, let me tell you that there is absolutely no difference in both terms.

In the early 1980s, Daikin, a Japanese multinational air conditioning manufacturing company, invented the first VRV HVAC systems. Before that individual zone control was considered to be a huge challenge. But in spite of technology leader in the HVAC industry, Daikin failed to make VRF an official trademark, and later they had registered the VRV term as an official trademark. The term VRV stands for Variable Refrigerant Volume.

Other companies use the term VRF (Variable Refrigerant Flow) for their similar HVAC systems. Eventually, VRF is the more common term for these types of systems, and in the rest of the article, I’ll use the term VRF.

VRF systems can either be a heat pump system or a heat recovery system.

  • Heat Pump VRF: Heat pump systems are used in applications that require heating or cooling, but not simultaneously. To make it work as a heat pump, a 2-pipe system is used. A 2-pipe system is used to distribute either hot or cold water or alternate between the two.
  • Heat Recovery VRF: Heat recovery systems are used where you need both simultaneous heating and cooling. In heat recovery systems, for simultaneous heating and cooling, 3-pipe systems are used. 3-pipe systems have the ability to supply hot or cold water at any time.
Note: ASHRAE 90.1 doesn’t recommend using a 3-pipe system because there is a common return pipe for both- hot & cold water, due to which this system requires excess energy.

Advantages & Disadvantages of VRF System:-

1. Higher Energy Efficiency:-

VRF systems use inverter technology, variable speed compressors, and these systems vary the refrigerant flow rate as per the need, so they are known for higher energy efficiency. The rate at which the VRF air conditioning system works will largely depend on the desired cooling comfort as well as the outdoor temperature. This is why VRF units are considered to be extremely energy efficient.

According to the Department of Energy (DOE), VRF systems can have an estimated 30% energy savings over baseline conventional HVAC systems, but this will vary by building application.”
2. Precise Yet Controlled Zone-wise Heating and Cooling:-

VRF technology provides the ability for multiple indoor units or zones to operate on the same system. Individualized and consistent comfort is another benefit of VRF systems. This is also one of many reasons why VRF is such a popular choice in dormitories and hotels, for instance.

3. Improved Reliability:-

If one indoor air conditioning unit malfunctions or breakdowns, this failure does not affect the entire system. So occupants in other zones relying on other air conditioning units can continue on with their day. In this sense, VRF systems are quite reliable.

4. Reduced Noise Level/Quiet Operation:-

VRF systems are also very quiet and operate at low decibels because the noisier condensing units are located outside the building. Indoor units are attached to the outdoor using longer refrigerant pipes.

This is why the noise generated by the condenser and fans will not be noticeable indoors. Also, noise generated from a VRF system is comparatively less than the split or any other AC outdoor unit.

5. Cost Saving:-

VRF HVAC systems may cost more initially but this cost can be offset by lower energy bills and maintenance expenses over time. Also, you don’t need to install ducts.

6. Installation Flexibility:-

VRF outdoor condenser units are extremely compact to allow for limited installation space. Also, only one outdoor unit is used for several indoor units. First of all, it saves you space. Secondly, installation charges will be more affordable. An additional point is your house looks aesthetically good. 

7. Fewer Breakdowns Demand Less Maintenance:-

Like other HVAC systems, VRF HVAC systems do need to be regularly inspected and maintained by a professional but system performance and energy efficiency are better with regular maintenance.

8. Refrigerant Leakage Issue with VRF Systems:-

Refrigerant leakage has a direct effect on the environment through the release of global warming gases and an indirect effect through system inefficiencies. There are some concerns with VRF systems, particularly when it comes to refrigerant leakage.

That’s why to protect the occupants from this issue, one should consider applying refrigerant leak detection.

So, guys, this was all about VRV and VRF Air Conditioning System. If you’ve any queries, please comment in the comment section below.

Thanks for your precious time.

Stay Home! Stay Safe!


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