Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+

Contractor's Voice: Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) Systems

Originally published: 02.01.15 by HVACR Business Staff

Editor’s Note: Each month, we’ll feature business opportunities from HVACR contractor owners in a featured product category, followed by a short roundup of some of the latest and greatest products in that category. This month, our focus is on variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems and our business lesson comes from W. Theodore (Theo) Etzel of Conditioned Air in Naples, Fla.

W. Theodore (Theo) Etzel
Title: CEO
Company: Conditioned Air
Size: $40 million in revenue
Average No. VRF Jobs: 18/year
Website: www.conditionedair.com

Expanding from solely residential work to include commercial projects can be challenging. When W. Theodore (Theo) Etzel and Conditioned Air, Naples, Fla., decided to make the leap, they were committed to keeping pace with industry innovations and improved methods. One way they created a strong, competitive position was to offer variable refrigerant flow (VRF) zoning systems.

“In our service area, there is a fair share of

large homes that end up needing, essentially, a commercial HVACR solution,” Etzel says. “Because of the unique challenges involved with trying to provide adequate comfort in such a large, residential space, we felt VRF systems offered us a huge advantage.”

In one such project, Etzel recalls, the architect and engineer had specified a water source chiller for a large home.

“The home presented some interesting challenges,” he says. “The owners liked to entertain a lot, so there was a need for flexibility in the use of the space with various heat loads.”

The homeowners also owned a lot of high-end art, and weren’t thrilled with the thought of a lot of pipes moving water throughout the house.

“It was more a museum than a house,” Etzel says. “I understood their concern, and that’s when I suggested using a VRF system instead.”

VRF zoning technology is also more discreet in terms of noise and design. The space allocated in the walls and ceiling of the home lent itself well to a smaller VRF lineset.

Etzel’s suggestion certainly won a favorable response from the homeowners and, after meeting with the architect and engineer, Conditioned Air was awarded the contract.

In fact, Etzel believes his company’s expertise with VRF systems sets them apart from the competition and is a game-changer when bidding on projects.

“We believe we’ve found a better mousetrap and, a lot of times, it’s the best solution,” he says. “The business that offers the best solutions, and the business that inspires the most confidence will win the customer.”



Lennox VRF combines the adaptability of zoning features and energy advantages of variable refrigerant flow with the knowledge and expertise of Lennox. All systems include smart features throughout, such as motors that use up to 45 percent less electricity than traditional systems, inverter technology for maximum efficiency and individual temperature controls.

Lennox VRF also offers easy configuration for a wide range of buildings and workplaces. It adjusts capacity by continually altering the compressor speed according to the demand of each indoor unit, decreasing energy usage and lowering utility bills. The technology, design and unobtrusive installation of the system within the building walls allow engineers, contractors and owners flexibility in design, while maximizing energy savings.

Visit LennoxVRF.com for additional information.



The LG Multi V IV brings energy efficiency to commercial office buildings, schools and hotels. With AHRI certified efficiency of up to 36 IEER and VRF technology, Multi V IV delivers energy savings and enables occupants to cool or heat only the zones in use.

In Spring 2015, Multi V IV’s lineup will expand to include nominal 38, 40 and 42-ton models with continuous operation guaranteed from -13F to 122F, where the heating capacity will not be compromised by long pipe lengths and will not change as the outdoor air temperatures fluctuate down to 15F. Cooling capacity is also not impacted by fluctuations in the outdoor air temperatures up to 105F. VRF technology requires less piping that significantly reduces the costs associated with traditional HVAC systems and lowers long-term cost of ownership.

Visit www.lghvac.com for additional information.


Mitsubishi Electric US

Mitsubishi Electric US Cooling & Heating Division introduces the Hyper-Heating INVERTER (H2i) R2-Series VRF zoning system. It can operate at up to 100 percent of its rated heating capacity at temperatures down to 0F — the highest performance heating capacity at the lowest temperature in its field.

The patented flash injection technology allows the H2i R2-Series to simultaneously cool and heat down to minus 4F and operate at 85 percent heating capacity down to -13F. Its two-pipe configuration allows for efficient design and installation, while the compact system components allow for convenient application to historic retrofit and new building construction. Available up to 16 tons, one outdoor unit can connect to 48 indoor units.

Visit www.mitsubishicomfort.com for additional information.



With the addition of water-source VRF, Trane is now able to offer exceptional performance and flexibility for a variety of buildings. Trane VRF systems are thoroughly researched, tested and proven to offer exceptional value.

This growing portfolio of commercial and residential VRF products makes Trane the ideal choice for energy-efficient, comfortable environments. With the most comprehensive equipment, controls and tools — and the people and expertise to deliver customized solutions — Trane is an intelligent choice to provide value for your application.

Visit www.trane.com for additional information.


If you’re a contractor owner and you have a business lesson you’d like to share, please email info@hvacrbusiness.com. To have your company’s product considered for inclusion in an upcoming Contractor’s Voice feature, please fill out the form below.




About HVACR Business Staff

HVACR Business Staff

Articles by HVACR Business Staff

Eddie McDonald, owner of Zen Air Heating & Cooling in Suwanee, Ga.

Eddie McDonald, owner of Zen Air Heating & Cooling in Suwanee, Ga., discusses moving away from the franchise model, the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on business and working with KickCharge Creative on his winning fleet design.
View article.


Lanny Huffman, president of Hickory Sheet Metal

Lanny Huffman, president of Hickory Sheet Metal in Hickory, N.C. and newly installed chairman of ACCA, discusses the evolution of his company, giving people responsibility and the importance of industry associations.
View article.


Mike Grassle, GM of Hetter Heating & Cooling

Mike Graessle discusses recruiting retirees, checking financials every day and being thankful.
View article.


• Sponsored Content •

Safer. Faster. Cleaner.

Save 60-90 percent on labor and stay on schedule with MegaPressG fast, flameless connections
View article.


Rob Minnick, president and CEO of Minnick’s

Rob Minnick, president and CEO of Minnick’s, discusses reinventing the business after 2008, learning to run a business and the value of home performance.
View article.