VRF Vs. Split-System HVAC Solutions

So, you’ve decided to install a ductless HVAC system in your commercial facility. What’s the next step? Well, you have two main options to choose from: VRF or split systems. But what do these two systems do, and how do they differ from each other? Let’s find out!

Understanding Split-System HVAC

What is a split-system air conditioner? It’s a traditional form of ductless air conditioning. The components of a split-system air conditioner include a heat pump or an AC unit installed outdoors. This outdoor unit connects to indoor components,including the blower coil, furnace, compressor, and evaporator. Electric cables and copper tubes usually connect the outdoor and indoor units. A split system has only one thermostat to control the temperature of the facility it’s in.

A split system has two subtypes:

  • Single-Split System: This type of system works best for small commercial buildings. It has one compressor, condenser, and evaporator each, controlling temperatures for a specific area in the building. Some facilities have multiple single-split systems to control heating and cooling in individual spaces.
  • Multi-Split System: This system has one condenser and one compressor in the outdoor unit paired with multiple evaporators throughout the indoor unit. In this system, the outdoor and indoor components connect to each other through refrigerant lines. They have a smaller outdoor footprint than their single-split counterparts, and they’re often more energy efficient.

What Is a VRF System?

A VRF HVAC system is a newer innovation. VRF stands for variable refrigerant flow. This system is sometimes called a VRV or variable refrigerant volume system, but VRF is more common. Like multi-split systems, they have one compressor and one condenser in their outdoor unit that sends refrigerant and air to multiple evaporators in the indoor unit. However, this system’s two units connect to each other with control wires that regulate the refrigerant flow to each evaporator in the indoor unit. The control wires vary the speed of the compressor according to the evaporators’ refrigerant needs, hence the “variable” in the VRF system’s name. Also, unlike their multi-split counterparts, VRF systems simultaneously heat and cool different parts of commercial facilities.

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How Do You Choose Between Split-System and VRF HVAC Systems?

The ductless HVAC systems you install in your facility depend on your heating and cooling needs. If you need to heat and cool different areas simultaneously, a VRF system is your best bet. VRF systems work well for the following commercial buildings:

  • Apartment buildings
  • Hotels
  • Office buildings
  • Data centers
  • Hospitals
  • Dormitories
  • Assisted living
  • Manufacturing plants
  • Laboratories
  • Schools
  • Universities
  • Retail spaces

If your facility needs consistent temperatures, a split system is the best option. Consider how simple or complex your facility’s HVAC requirements are before you choose one of these systems.

How To Choose and Install Your Ductless HVAC System

Now that you understand the differences between split-system and VRF HVAC systems, how do you get one into your facility? If you want to take advantage of this HVAC technology, a professional contractor can help. An HVAC contractor can perform a split-system versus VRF cost comparison if you’re still on the fence about which one to choose. Your contractor can also customize your new ductless system to fit your facility’s design and meet its HVAC needs. Overall, a contractor makes sure that your ductless system performs as well as it can in a way that fits your budget.

Look for Your Ductless HVAC Solution With Service Unlimited

Need an answer to your VRF versus split-system dilemma? Service Unlimited is here to help. We’ve created HVAC solutions for commercial facilities since 1962. In that time, we’ve developed our knowledge of all the newest HVAC technologies. We use our resources and experience to develop the best HVAC solutions for your facility.

If you’re ready to invest in a ductless system, connect with us today.