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Is There A Difference Between VRV And VRF Aircon Systems?

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]It is quite common for people to question the difference between the 2 Air Conditioning Systems: Variable Refrigerant Volume (VRV) & Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF). But do not worry, we will explain these systems and clarify any doubts. Though, they are the preferred commercial/industrial aircon options. These installed aircons are popular for different workspaces.

VRV and VRF air conditioning systems are technically the same. However, Daikin has copyrighted the term VRV, while other aircon brands use VRF to refer to their own Heating, Ventilating & Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems.

Daikin’s VRV systems were first made available in the 1980s and they pioneered the HVAC systems that are found today. Most other brands used the term VRF when they first produced their version and that term has caught on. VRF is the universally adopted term. These systems are typically office aircons.

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What Exactly Are VRV And VRF Systems?

After finding out that these two systems are essentially the same, let us take a deeper look at them from a technical standpoint. Here are some principles of this system:

  • Within these systems, the only material involved in cooling is the refrigerant. Therefore, the responsibility of cooling the water circulated throughout the system is placed solely on the refrigerant.
  • It is fully modular to allow for further expansions for future aircon installation.
  • Several air handling units are connected to the same refrigerant circuit.
  • There are inverter compressors that can reduce the cost of running the system due to their lower power consumption


How Do They Work?

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The specifics of how the VRV and VRF systems operate are largely decided by the manufacturers so this information is usually not made public. What we do know though is that the input in this aircon is influenced by two factors. They are the temperature of the surroundings outdoors and the desired temperature of the user. The system collects this data and processes it to provide the most suitable temperature for the area while ensuring optimal power consumption. Therefore, this system is perfect for aircon energy savings.

The VRV and VRF systems are renowned for their efficiency. This is mainly thanks to the system’s ability to change the temperature based on its surroundings VRF and VRV system installation is a popular option. This is not available for multi-split aircon systems typically found in homes.


Let Us See How A Typical VRV And VRF System Works:

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  1. The system remains at a standstill with everything turned off. The system only starts working when a user turns on one of the indoor units with a programmable thermostat.
  2. Once it has been powered on, the VRV or VRF air conditioning system retrieves the data it needs. They are the surrounding temperature of the outside as well as the input by the user. The compressor will start operating to match the desired temperature by the user.
  3. When another indoor unit is powered on, the system will repeat steps 1 and 2 automatically. With more indoor systems running, more power is needed but the system regulates the power consumption accordingly depending on the demand for energy.
  4. Users will be able to achieve their desired conditions by adjusting other settings such as fan speed, temperature, operating state, and not forgetting operating mode. The temperatures in different rooms can be adjusted with VRV and VRF systems. Though this is not possible for Variable Air Volume (VAV) systems used in central aircons. This could be a factor when choosing an office aircon.



  • With a VRV or VRF system. The temperature of the room will be automatically determined by the system. To ensure further comfort, air conditioners connected to the said system will then provide suitable temperatures.
  • VRV and VRF systems are preferred in places where there is constant change in the temperatures due to the weather conditions. This streamlines the process for the user as they will not have to frequently adjust the temperature manually.
  • Such systems are deemed to be very energy and cost efficient. This is because the compressor’s output is based on the temperature outside. This automatic feature as well as other control options are sought after as it reduces the cost of running the system.

These systems are typically commercial aircon due to the benefits such as it being fully modular. This is important for some projects with future expansion.

If you would like to learn more about the different systems, it is recommended that you engage a professional aircon servicing company. They can help clarify any further questions you may have regarding commercial aircon systems.


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This article was reproduced from DW Aircon Singapore.

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