Renovating a luxury residential property comes with a lot of tough decisions: about the design and layout of the space, and all the interior furnishings and finishes that make the home perfect for you. You probably didn’t expect to have to decide on an HVAC system. Yet when it comes to luxury homes, comfort is essential, and that means you need the right luxury HVAC system. That’s why so many high end homeowners (especially in New York City) are choosing VRF technology. What’s more, according to a report by Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration News, equipment manufacturers are introducing VRF systems specifically designed for luxury residential homes.
What is VRF technology? It’s an HVAC system that works differently than the traditional split system that has one big outdoor condenser and one large (noisy!) air handler inside. Those older-type systems run at only one speed- full blast. Instead, a VRF system has multiple smaller air handlers that run at the exact capacity needed for the current conditions. “VRF” stands for “Variable Refrigerant Flow,” meaning that the system precisely controls the amount of cooling refrigerant required to provide the perfect comfort conditions.
Why is that better for your luxury residence? Read on to find out.
VRF technology is quiet
Have you had to put up with an air conditioning system that keeps you awake at night? Or wakes up the baby when it turns on? Or operates so loudly that you can’t hear the TV?
You should not have to listen to all that racket to have a cool and comfortable home for your family. The best HVAC system is the one that quietly does its job without you even realizing it’s running. That’s what you get with VRF technology. Because it runs consistently at a lower capacity, you won’t hear the unit turning on and off constantly, or a loud fan blasting in your ears and disrupting your activities.
VRF technology offers both heating and cooling
In a large home, it can be tricky to keep everyone comfortable. The members of your family and your guests will have different needs. For example, you want more cooling for working out on your treadmill, while an elderly family member might actually need heat in another room. Or, you need cooling for a party happening in the living and dining rooms, while you need heat for the baby sleeping in the nursery.
A VRF system can accommodate all of these requirements simultaneously. That’s because it can redirect residual heat from the cooling process to warm another space. The result: everyone stays comfortable no matter what their needs or what they are doing.
VRF technology eliminates hot and cold spots and drafts
Because the VRF HVAC system includes multiple air handling units, it’s much better equipped to keep your entire home consistently comfortable. You’ve probably noticed that (just like your family members) different parts of your home have different heating and cooling needs. For example, upper floors tend to get hotter. Also, spaces with a lot of windows can lose heat and cooling to the outside. That means they get hotter in the summer and colder in the winter. VRF technology can keep your entire space consistently comfortable, because it can direct more cooling power to the specific zones that need it most.
Drafts can be another big problem with a traditional HVAC system, when large powerful fans are running at full blast. With a VRF system, the fans run longer at a lower speed, to there’s none of that annoying wind.
VRF technology works with modern controls
Today’s luxury homeowners want the convenience of modern controls. For example, the ability to control your HVAC system from your smartphone or tablet on the go.
- Want to set your weekly schedule so you don’t have to think about turning the thermostat up and down? Set your preferences once and it’s a done deal.
- Forget to turn down the AC before heading out on vacation? Simply adjust your settings for the time you’ll be away with a mobile app (in seconds from wherever you are).
- Coming home earlier than expected? Turn on the AC when you head home so you arrive home to a cool house.
Learn more: What’s New With Smart Home Thermostat Technology
VRF technology won’t ruin your interior design
Here’s another problem with traditional HVAC systems in luxury homes: they can sometimes compromise your design plans. For example, with ductless split systems you might need unattractive AC boxes hanging from the ceiling or wall in each room. Or even with traditional ducted systems, the air handler units can be quite large, forcing you to give up the beautiful high ceilings (or closets!) in your brownstone to make room for AC equipment.
With VRF technology (and certain brands in particular) the air handlers are smaller and easier to fit into ceilings and walls without having to give up precious space.
Concerned about aesthetics on the outside? Read this for some fun ways to camouflage your outdoor AC unit: 15 Creative Ways to Hide Your Outside Air Conditioner.
VRF technology is energy efficient
Who wants to pay more than they need to on energy bills? Because it’s designed to run at partial-load conditions, VRF technology is much more energy efficient than a traditional air conditioning system.
What’s more, you can feel good about doing your part to reduce your energy footprint and preserve natural resources. Your grandchildren will thank you!
What you need to know about choosing a VRF HVAC system
VRF technology is highly sophisticated, and requires a trained and experienced installer and service team who understand the unique requirements. If not installed and configured correctly, you may experience sub-par performance and then have to pay an expert to come in a reconfigure your system.
For the best results, make sure your builder or contractor brings in an experienced HVAC team early on in the design process.
Read more about choosing HVAC experts for luxury homes:
Residential HVAC Services Innovation Improved Cooling in NYC Luxury Homes
Learn more about luxury HVAC systems: The Ultimate Guide to Air Conditioning for NYC Luxury Residential Spaces.