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November 2018

VRF HVAC Technology: The Basics

VRF HVAC Technology: The Basics 528 350 Amy Gasca

 

VRF Technology: The Basics

 

Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems have been becoming increasingly popular over the years. With their many advantages, more offices and accommodation business have been replacing their standard heating and cooling air conditioning units with a VRF system. Although they have a higher up-front cost than many standard units, facility managers and building owners have been making the investment due to the ROI on this recent technology.

 

 

What exactly is a VRF HVAC system?

Generally speaking, VRF HVAC systems function just like traditional central air units. They continue to be refrigerant based with indoor fan coil units and outdoor condensers. A VRF HVAC system consists of an air or water source outdoor unit and several smaller air handling units rather than a traditional system of just one. Variable refrigerant flow (VRF), also known as variable refrigerant volume (VRV), is an HVAC technology invented by Daikin Industries, Ltd. in 1982.[1] Like ductless minisplits, VRFs use refrigerant as the cooling and heating medium. This refrigerant is conditioned by a single outdoor condensing unit, and is circulated within the building to multiple indoor units.

 

Is a VRF HVAC system something you should consider?

If you own an apartment complex, an office building, or a building where inside business operations require custom heating and cooling, you will greatly benefit from a VRF system. Here are some advantages:

 

  • Noise
    • Unlike a traditional split system, a VRF is much quieter. This is perfect for a hotel or apartment complex where people wouldn’t want to hear systems running.

 

  • Consistency in comfort
    • Because a VRF unit can detect accurate requirements for each air handler, each area of a building receives the appropriate heating/cooling without any inconsistency.

 

  • Reduced downtime
    • VRF HVAC systems only run when they are needed, so this leads to less wear on parts, which in turn leads to few breakdowns, which results in less repairs.

 

  • Controlling
    • Each indoor unit is controlled by its own panel. Also, built in controls can save you from buying building management software.

 

  • Simultaneous heating and cooling
    • Probably the best advantage of a VRF HVAC system is the ability to control temperatures in different areas. Offices with windows can be kept cooler, while other areas can be heated at the same time.

 

  • Efficiency
    • Because they are so accurate in their amount of cooling needed, VRF systems run at a lower capacity. Also, the system is designed to capture heat and then distribute it to where it is needed.

 

 

 

Variable refrigerant flow HVAC units are great cost-effective units that have several advantages. If you decide a VRF system is the best option for you, be sure to get in touch with a trusted commercial HVAC contractor. They will be able to lead in the right direction on what’s best for you and your building.

 

Top HVAC Unit Brands and Which is Best for You

Top HVAC Unit Brands and Which is Best for You 526 350 Amy Gasca
As a building owner or facilities manager, you want the best air conditioning unit for your building. You want something that will work hard at a good price and that will last for a long time. Choosing a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning unit is an important process as it is an investment for at least 10 years. There are several brands to choose from but determining the right one for your building within your budget will take some time and research. So, take your time, do your research, and choose wisely.

Here are some of the most recognized HVAC brands:

  • Carrier
  • Trane
  • Lennox

 

While all HVAC units do the same thing- remove warm air and circulate the remaining cool air that’s left-each different brand does this at different levels of efficiency. This translates into varying prices among brands throughout the industry. Here’s a quick overview on some brands we feel are great:

Carrier

Carrier is regarded as a top of the line HVAC brand. Carrier uses the best quality material to manufacture their materials under strict quality standards. Even the Sistine Chapel uses Carrier units to preserve their artwork! Of course, there is a higher price tag to compensate for their top-notch quality. If you want something efficient with a longer life span, you’ll be happy with a Carrier unit.

 

 

Trane

Trane has a solid reputation in the industry and is often regarded as the “Cadillac of HVAC systems”. New York’s Grand Central Station relies on Trane to provide cool air for them. Trane systems are durable and provide vigorous heating and cooling. They uphold warranties and offer up to 10-year warranties for their parts. While they are on the pricier side, it is worth it due to their durability and efficiency.

 

Lennox

Lennox is mostly known for their efficiency. They work hard every year to create more efficient units. Lennox takes pride in creating units that will reduce users’ operating costs. Many of their units show case high SEER levels- as high as 23.5. While you will pay more upfront, these high SEER levels on their units can cut your energy costs by 60%. If you want an innovative, reliable, and efficient unit, you’ll be happy with a Lennox system.

 

 

While brand is important while deciding on a new heating and cooling system for your building, there are other things to take into account like unit type, distribution, and capacity. Do you need a rooftop unit or a ductless air conditioner? Make sure your vendor calculates your cooling capacity correctly.  Also, distribution is key. Your commercial unit’s placement will determine how air gets distributed in your building. A poor design will lead to your system not working properly and will not meet your needs.

 

Among these things, the most important thing to consider is installation.

 

It does not matter how much you spend on a high-quality unit if it is not adequately installed. You will not reap the benefits from a poorly installed system. Always hire a professional commercial HVAC contractor to perform your unit installation. There are too many mistakes that can be made that will greatly affect your unit’s performance and lifespan.

 

 

Once you decide on which brand to go with, be sure to license your system that way you can take advantage of any warranties offered. Most brands offer a 10+ year warranty on their parts, so make sure you are fully aware of what you are getting along with your commercial unit. It is also important to get into touch with a commercial HVAC contractor about getting your new system on a preventive maintenance plan. If you have your equipment regularly maintained, it’ll keep it running as efficiently and smoothly as possible.

 

Choosing the Right Sized HVAC Unit for Your Building

Choosing the Right Sized HVAC Unit for Your Building 640 438 Amy Gasca

When it comes to choosing the correct HVAC unit for your building, there are multiple things you should consider. Size matters, and there is such thing as too big. Taking the time to calculate what size unit your building needs is important to get your needs satisfied effectively and can even save you money in the long run.

A unit that is too small will be not be able to condition your building properly and break down faster, while a unit that is too large will waste energy and cost you more in energy bills.

Comfort, energy usage, and expenses are the three main factors effected by your unit’s size. The perfect sized system will comfortably manage temperatures at peak efficiency at the lowest cost. To accurately choose a system for you, a HVAC contractor can do a commercial load calculation to help you.

So, what goes into consideration when determining the perfect size?

Square footage is the most obvious factor considered when determining the size unit you need. A 900 square foot open concept office suite is not going to need a 5 ton unit, and a massive 2000 square foot warehouse is going to need more than a 3 ton unit to proper regulate the temperature. Climate also plays a role in which size unit you’d need. A hot, humid climate is going to require a system that can efficiently remove heat and humidity. A system that is too small will underperform, and an oversized system will short cycle.

The construction of the building also plays a factor in your decision. Is your building made out of concrete, brick, or wood? A concrete building will require __________________________, while a wood building is going to need ______________________________________. Insulation also something you should consider. A poorly insulated building is going to need a system large enough to sustain its temperatures.

The amount of sun exposure your building gets is also important to take into account. If a building is exposed to the suns rays and never gets any shade, it’s going to require more cooling. A shaded building is going to remain cooler

 

How to Choose the Best HVAC Contractor for your Business

How to Choose the Best HVAC Contractor for your Business 2250 1500 Amy Gasca

How to Choose the Best HVAC Contractor for Your Business

The commercial HVAC industry is always booming with demand. Businesses always need their units repaired and replaced. Naturally, a HVAC contractor is always within arm’s reach. But how do you know which one is the right one for you? One size does not fit all in the HVAC industry. Choosing the right contractor to take care of you and your HVAC unit’s needs isn’t something you should take lightly. Here are some things for you to consider during your hunt for the right contractor:

·         Reputation:

o   Ask around and find how other business peers feel about their contractor. Find out if they are satisfied with their work, costs, and timeliness. Do they come when they say they will? Do they give them the run around? Are they sending knowledgeable techs to their business? A good company will not tolerate a bad reputation. Ask for references and check Google ratings to find out what people have to say about them.

·         Certifications and licensing

o   The state of Georgia requires licensing for HVAC contractors. Be sure that the company you are considering only hires licensed and certified techs to work for them. Also keep an eye out for any other credentials that may add value to the company. Technicians should also be certified through brands to help maintain your equipment warranties. A warranty becomes void if it is serviced by an unlicensed technician.

·         Communication

o   Make sure the company you are considering has an open line of communication. It is impossible to get a human on the other line? Do you have to sit through an automated phone list? Do they not respond to emails? These are sure signs of lack of accessibility show you that their company doesn’t care about your business. Also consider how they treat you once you are in communication with one another. A good company will take the time to sit down with you and discuss any concerns you may have. Avoid getting the run around and make sure whomever you speak with is clear and concise. Poor communication from the start means issues along the road that can cost you.

·         Insurance

o   Always ask for proof of insurance. A reputable company will make sure to be insured just in case one of their employees gets hurt on your property. Protect yourself and do not be afraid to ask for verification of insurance before you consider to hire them. Do not ever hire a company that refuses to show you any sort of credentials. If you are signing a contract and paying them for work, they owe it to you.

·         Values and Consciousness

o   Choose a company that shares the same values as you. If energy conservation is priority, hire a company that feels the same way. If your business benefits best from the most up to date services and technologies, don’t hire a company with a more traditional way of business. A HVAC contractor that puts its values forward is more likely to be honest and give you exactly what you need.

When you begin your hunt for a commercial HVAC contractor, keep these things in mind. Make sure all your questions are answered to your satisfaction to avoid any problems in the future. Do not hesitate in asking to review any sort of paperwork you may need before you make your decision. HVAC maintenance and repairs are expensive and should be taken seriously, so always make sure you are making the best choice for your company.