VRV or VRF is an aircon system created for commercial building and large residential houses. It is also known Variable Refrigerant Volume or Flow and has sophisticated individual zone control.
So what is the difference between VRV or VRF and split aircon system?
In split aircon system, one external (outdoor) unit is linked to one or more internal (indoor) units. Only one of the indoor units acts as master in temperature control or sensing (while the other indoor units act as slaves). The master-slave arrangement is suitable for single room or multiple rooms with very similar heat gains or losses. However, this arrangement is not ideal for areas or rooms which have different heat gains or losses.
The improved split aircon system comes with zone control ability where each indoor unit has its own temperature control but the limitation is that the system is not able to cool one area and heat another area at the same time because the outdoor unit (i.e. compressor/condenser unit) can only function in its cooling mode or heating mode at any one time.
A VRV or VRF system would overcome the limitation of split unit aircon such that it is flexible and adaptable enough to cool or heat a different area at the same time independently. Moreover, it is able to do so very efficiently by harnessing the heat from an area which requires cooling to provide it to another area which requires heating.
VRV or VRF is becoming more popular in large residential housing because of the following reasons:
- A large residential housing may need several outdoor units if split aircon system is used but it only needs one outdoor unit if VRV system is used. Aesthetically, having 8 to 12 outdoor units on the walls of a residential house can look rather ugly. With VRV system, it can be placed at a single location and kept out of sight.
- VRV system is more energy efficiency as compared to split aircon system. Though capital outlay of a VRV system is higher, the monetary returns from energy efficiency (i.e. cost savings from electricity savings) should eventually make up for the capital outlay in the long run.
- VRV system can have pipework length extended to several hundred of feet while the the maximum pipework length for a split aircon system is usually 100 to 150 feet.
For other types of aircon system typically found in Singapore, please read here.