Variable refrigerant flow, or VRF, is a type of heating and cooling system for residential or commercial applications. In order to understand how VRF is unique, it’s helpful to understand the basics of common HVAC systems. Most heating and cooling systems fall within two broad categories: ducted split systems or ductless, mini-split systems (like the packaged terminal air conditioning found in many hotel rooms).
If you live in a residential home in the Myrtle Beach area, chances are you have a split system with a compressor unit outside and an evaporator in the garage or attic. These systems use refrigerant (older units used R-22, newer ones R-410A) and a water-based system to cool air. The coolant is used to change the temperature of the coils, which cycling air passes over.
Ductless systems like PTACs are similar, except they don’t use ducts. Instead they blow cold or warm air directly to the space they are housed in. For this reason, they are more popular in commercial applications like hotels or apartments where heating and cooling is focused on a smaller part of a larger structure. PTAC and ductless systems are also convenient for homeowners wishing to bring HVAC to a garage or add-on space without ducts and vents.
So what makes a VRF system unique?
Variable refrigerant flow systems operate a little differently than a split system.
The VRF system relies on refrigerant alone instead of a water-based cooling system. Without chillers or coils, a VRF system is quick, responsive, and adaptive to outdoor conditions.
VRF systems use inverter compressors. This allows the compressor motor to run at variable speeds to save energy. Like your car in “eco mode,” your HVAC system adjusts energy usage based on heating and cooling needs.
A VRF system allows for multiple air handlers within the same system. Since the VRF system doesn’t use ducts, different rooms or spaces are equipped with a wall or ceiling mounted indoor unit to distribute air. This lets users make more specific heating and cooling decisions based on the room or space.
Variable refrigerant flow systems are high-efficiency heating and cooling solutions for residential or commercial buildings. VRF is ideal for customers looking to trade a higher up-front cost for increased energy savings (up to 55%) and room-to-room HVAC customization.
If you’d like to learn more about heating and cooling options, call Cooper for reliable, expert advice.
There are always a handful of days between seasons that are wonderful in South Carolina. Neither too hot nor too cold, they are days we open the windows and relish the fresh air. These between season days are also a good time to inspect your HVAC system to identify issues that may need attention. Now that Fall and Winter are in sight, take a few minutes to inspect your thermostat, vents, and HVAC unit to see if you are prepared for days when home heating is required.
If you haven't run your HVAC in a while, take a moment to check and replace HVAC air filters around your house. As long as no one suffers from severe allergies, most homes are fine with a standard 1" pleated or non-pleated air filter. As long as they are changed when they are dirty, the standard air filter does a good job of separating impurities and particulates from the air you breeze.
It is important to stress that filters should be changed regularly. The frequency really depends on your home, its occupants, and your lifestyle (whether you have pets, kids, etc).
Now that your air filters are checked, take a look at your thermostat. Test your heat by turning the setting from Auto to Heat. See if your outdoor unit turns on and then if you notice warm air from the vents. If nothing happens within 30 minutes or an hour, you may need to call a professional to take a look at your system.
Around this time of year we get calls of a faint "burning smell." This can be a common experience when your heat is turned on after being unused for most of the year. Typically, this smell is just dust heating up after it has accumulated during the warmer months. The burning smell should go away. If it persists, or more importantly, if it smells like gas or oil, call a professional.
In Myrtle Beach, most residential HVAC condensers are located outside your home. Remove debris and dirt from around your HVAC unit. It's perfectly fine to use a hose to spray out anything lodged around the fan or housing.
As your HVAC runs, inspect it with all of your senses. Listen for unusual sounds and rattlings, observe the fan and visible parts, and take note of any sensory details that just don't seem right. These can provide clues to an HVAC professional and help them troubleshoot before they even arrive at your home.
Cooper Mechanical Services encourages homeowners to invest in their HVAC system with regular service and cleaning. Our Clean and Service agreements help homeowners avoid some of the large repair costs that can surprise homeowners in the middle of winter or summer. Regular maintenance also extends the life of your unit.
If you suffer from allergies, respiratory conditions, or an autoimmune disease, then you know the importance of high indoor air quality. While a high efficiency HVAC system coupled with a quality filter can help reduce particulates in the air, there may be some instances when an air purifying system may be needed.
Air purifying systems are installed within the duct of your HVAC system. The iWave is one such purification system that is able to eliminate particulates, pathogens, and allergens so you can breathe cleaner, fresher air.
If you are reading this post, you probably care about your indoor air quality. People that are susceptible to severe allergies, asthma, and virus-causing bacteria are those who benefit the most from an air purification system.
The iWave air system has made some headlines for what they claim is its ability to kill SARS-CoV-2, also known as COVID-19. Independent testing lab ALG conducted the tests with COVID-19 and Human Coronavirus. In both simulations, the virus was exposed to an ionization process mimicking the iWave air purifier. In the tests, the iWave ionization process killed up to 99.4% of COVID-19 pathogens.
Though the tests have not been verified by the EPA or other governmental agency, the ALG survey appears promising.
The iWave system attaches to your HVAC ductwork so all air must pass over it and a blast of positive and negatively-charged ions. When charged ions come in contact with pathogens, allergens and other particulates, they latch on and strip pollutants of the hydrogen the need to survive.
Lacking hydrogen, pathogens die, fall, and become trapped in your HVAC's filter.
If you are interested in the iWave or an in-duct air purification system like it, let's chat. Cooper Mechanical Services provides the Myrtle Beach area with the best heating, cooling, and ventilation services.
If you are susceptible to airborne contaminants and pathogens, take this step to make your home a healthy and safe place.