Increasingly, in premium business centers, you can find modern multi-zone systems, which are also called VRV and VRF air conditioners. They are designed for cooling and heating the air. The key feature of multi-zone systems is the ability to be used in dozens of rooms at the same time.
In this article, we will tell you in detail what it is, what is the difference between VRF and VRV systems, and what nuances should be considered before buying such an air conditioner.
Standard split systems and multi-split systems can be used in apartments, houses and small offices. They do an excellent job if you need to cool or heat the air in several rooms at once. However, such systems have a significant drawback: they are designed to work only in 2-8 rooms, no more.
What to do if you need to organize a large air conditioning system for use in dozens of rooms at the same time? Pay attention to VRV and VRF air conditioners, which are also called multi-zone.
The VRV / VRF system consists of one outdoor unit and several dozen indoor units. In this sense, it is similar to a conventional split system, but significantly modified and designed to cool a large number of rooms.
The founder of multi-zone systems was the Japanese company «Daikin». The devices were patented under the name VRV. Soon, other manufacturers began to launch multi-zone air conditioners on the market.
But, since the name VRV was patented, they had to come up with a new abbreviation — VRF. In general, a VRF and a VRV system are the same thing. They have some differences, but they are insignificant and almost invisible during operation. Therefore, in stores, these systems are often combined into one category, denoting them VRV/VRF.
VRV and VRF air conditioning systems consist of one outdoor unit and many indoor units.
To work with a large number of indoor units, one inverter compressor and at least one conventional compressor are installed in the outdoor unit. In the internal units, special expansion valves are provided, which are designed to track the amount of refrigerating agent needed to cool a particular room. These are the key differences between split and multi-split systems and VRV/VRF.
Otherwise, there are no differences. The external unit and the internal ones are connected by means of tubes through which the refrigerating agent, also known as freon, circulates. Cooling or heating of the air is carried out by constantly changing the state of the refrigerant from liquid to vaporous, and vice versa.
Freon plays a key role in the entire system, so it is important to perform maintenance on time and, if necessary, add the refrigerant to the existing VRV / VRF system.
Advantages and disadvantages of the system
VRV/VRF are technologically advanced air conditioning systems. The list of their advantages is long, but we will list only the main advantages:
The ability to connect up to 60 indoor units to the outdoor unit (and some models even more);
Temperature adjustment with degree accuracy;
High reliability (with timely maintenance).
For the high technology of the VRV / VRF system, you will have to pay a considerable amount. This is the main drawback of multi-zone air conditioners. At the moment, they are significantly more expensive than split and multi-split systems. Therefore, VRV/VRF can only be found in high-end hotels and business centers.
Also, the outdoor unit of the VRV/VRF system emits an increased noise level. Often it is installed on the roof, so that the noise does not interfere with rest or work. Do not forget about the complexity of installing a VRV/VRF air conditioner. It is necessary to attract professional installers who will quickly and correctly install the system.
However, despite the disadvantages, multi-zone air conditioners are becoming more popular. We are confident that in the future, manufacturers will find a way to reduce the cost of VRV / VRF systems. And then they will turn into a familiar attribute of comfort, as it once happened with split systems.
The market for multi-zone VRF systems and VRV systems is not very diverse, but it is not so important for the consumer. After all, multi-zone air conditioners are not designed for apartments or small houses, but for serious operation on large commercial facilities. The range is large enough to choose the best option. Of course, it is worth considering that such air conditioning systems are not cheap. But their advantages more than cover the high price tag.