Variable Refrigerant Flow Heating and Cooling
Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) is an air-condition system configuration where there is one outdoor condensing unit and multiple indoor units. The term VRF refers to the ability of the system to control the amount of refrigerant flowing to each of the evaporators, enabling the use of many evaporators of differing capacities and configurations, individualized comfort control, simultaneous heating and cooling in different zones, and heat recovery from one zone to another. The arrangement provides an individualized comfort control, and simultaneous heating and cooling in different zones.
VRF systems operate on the direct expansion (DX) principle meaning that heat is transferred to or from the space directly by circulating refrigerant to evaporators located near or within the conditioned space. Refrigerant flow control is the key to many advantages as well as the major technical challenge of VRF systems.
VRF systems are similar to the multi-split systems which connect one outdoor section to several evaporators. However, multi-split systems turn OFF or ON completely in response to one master controller, whereas VRF systems continually adjust the flow of refrigerant to each indoor evaporator. The control is achieved by continually varying the flow of refrigerant through a pulse modulating valve (PMV) whose opening is determined by the microprocessor receiving information from the thermistor sensors in each indoor unit. The indoor units are linked by a control wire to the outdoor unit which responds to the demand from the indoor units by varying its compressor speed to match the total cooling and/or heating requirements.
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