Here in the NYC area, it’s that frustrating in-between season again, where you don’t know how to dress from one day to the next. Having to changing your clothes several times a day can be annoying, but keeping your space consistently comfortable in this weather is another challenge altogether. Some areas wind up too cold while others are too warm. Did you know that you can get an HVAC system that provides simultaneous heating and cooling?
Read on to learn more about VRF technology, a sophisticated type of HVAC system that provides simultaneous heating and cooling (as well as other advantages over conventional systems). We’ll also identify as the types of spaces that can benefit most from this technology.
Where and why you may need simultaneous heating and cooling
Large residential spaces, especially NYC brownstones and penthouse apartments, can be challenging to keep consistently comfortable. That’s why an HVAC system offering simultaneous heating and cooling can be very useful. Areas within the space differ in their heating and cooling requirements, such as:
- Upper floors and lower floors. Heat rises, so upper floors can need cooling on a warm fall day, while the downstairs needs heat in the chilly evening.
- Interior spaces (or basements) versus the perimeter. Rooms with many windows get warm with a lot of sun, while interior rooms (such as bathrooms) can be chilly and require heating.
- Areas being used by different people for different purposes. Living space may need cooling during a party, while bedroom areas where children are sleeping may need heat.
Just like residences, different areas within an office space can have a wide variety of requirements for simultaneous heating and cooling:
- Computer rooms need cooling to keep equipment from overheating, while the rest of the space needs heat.
- Corner offices with windows need heat on a cool day, while interior conference rooms packed with people need cooling.
- Or the opposite: window offices need cooling while the open cubicle areas need heat.
VRF technology can address all these needs with a single system.
Restaurant owners and managers understand how critical it is to keep dining spaces at a comfortable temperature. And with good reason: if diners are too hot or cold, they will simply choose to eat elsewhere (and possibly post negative comments online). This time of year dining spaces can get chilly, especially with exterior doors constantly opening and closing as customers go in and out.
The problem is, while you need heat in the dining room, the kitchen is hot as blazes! The last thing you need is kitchen staff passing out from the heat, or making mistakes that make customers unhappy.
That’s one reason why VRF technology that offers simultaneous heating and cooling is quickly becoming the HVAC system of choice for restaurants.
Here’s another reason: traditional HVAC systems (such as split systems) often have noisy blowers and air handlers that generate a lot of mechanical noise that can interfere with a pleasant dining experience. In addition to simultaneous heating and cooling, VRF technology offers extremely quiet operation.
Retail stores, like restaurants, face the challenge of keeping the space comfortable as customers are constantly letting in outside air as they go in and out. When it’s a chilly day, the front of the store can be uncomfortably cool while the back is toasty. And the opposite: the sun beating in can make the front too warm while the back is cool. That’s why simultaneous heating and cooling is a great option to have.
Back-of-house storage areas are another reason that retail spaces need simultaneous heating and cooling. These areas must be kept at consistent temperature and humidity conditions, which is often different than the comfort conditions needed for customer service areas.
In suburban areas, retail establishments often have rooftop HVAC systems that can provide heat OR cooling, but not both at the same time. But in NYC’s tall buildings, rooftop units are impractical. That’s due to the length of pipe that would be required to reach the roof, as well as the difficulty of installing and maintaining a system 20 stories or higher in the air.
For retail spaces like this, VRF systems are the HVAC system of choice. Find out more: Is a VRF HVAC System the Right Choice for Your Business?
VRF technology: the ideal HVAC solution for simultaneous heating and cooling
You may not have heard much about VRF technology yet, but it’s actually not that new. In fact, VRF systems are the HVAC system of choice in Europe, Japan, China and other parts of the world, and the technology is now becoming popular in the US.
Like traditional split systems, VRF systems have outdoor condenser units and indoor fan coil units. They are typically air-cooled and use refrigerant as the cooling medium. But the similarity stops there. This technology is capable of providing both cooling and heat, by capturing and redirecting the residual heat that’s removed during the cooling process. That’s why the system can provide simultaneous heating and cooling to different areas within the space. The use of multiple indoor units provides the ability to create zones that can be individually controlled.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? VRF technology for HVAC also provides even more benefits beyond simultaneous heating and cooling for NYC residences and businesses:
- The quiet operation is ideal for both business environments and residences.
- The VRF HVAC system is designed to provide precise comfort control across multiple zones. That means each area of your space is consistently comfortable with well-controlled humidity and no hot or cold spots.
- The efficient operation of VRF technology means they use considerably less energy.
- VRF air handlers are smaller and the system does not usually require ducts. That means you don’t have to give up ceiling height to install equipment.
- The VRF HVAC system has modern, built-in controls that may allow businesses to skip purchasing expensive building management software.
One important caveat about choosing VRF technology
You can’t hire just any contractor to install VRF HVAC equipment. These systems are extremely sophisticated and require a highly trained and experienced professional to install and configure. Choosing an installer that doesn’t understand the unique requirements of this technology can be a serious mistake. Instead of the benefits you’re expecting, you can end up with sub-par performance. Then you will be forced to pay more in the end to have an expert come in to fix it.
Thinking about a new HVAC system for your NYC business? Learn more about your options from our helpful reference: The Ultimate Guide to NYC Light Commercial Air Conditioning.