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VRF Heat Pump Installation - In Progress!!

Allison Friedman MA, United States 0 Ratings 102 Discussions 131 Group posts

Posted by: Allison Friedman // Rate It Green Admin

VRF Heat Pump Installation - In Progress!! - 1

Hi everyone - 

I've mentioned in our newsletters about how we are going to be intalling VRF heat pumps in the future, and.... the future is here!  I look forward to sharing more information as we finish the project and also as I collect performance data in the future, but for now I can share some early photos and also explain why I am excited. 

Why am I excited about the VRF units in particular? In the past, HVAC systems were basically either on or off.  When off, HVAC systems aren't working for building occupants, meaning that they aren't filtering or ventilating at all. Additionally, the constant turning on and off isn't great for the motors, as they need to work harder to meet set temperatures.  This also means the air isn't as evenly mixed, which affects comfort.  The newer VRF systems can have longer run times with variable fan speeds to smoothly meet occupants goals.  This type of system is better for comfort, energy efficiency, and also for the life of the equipment.  

This installation is part of a big HVAC project for us.  We've been in the house for 17 years, and we knew we would have to o a major HVAC project at some point.  We thought about completely electrifying and getting rid of natural gas, but it doesn't entirely make sense here for a few reasons.  One is that our electric equipment will be less efficient (but still very efficient!) in colder weather, but we're going to rely on it all we can. We also have a gas-fired generator, and we don't have a suitable alternative at this time.  So we did replace our boilers with highly efficient gas boilers, and we're installing the heat pumps and mini splits.  We're also going to get an induction stove when we replace our stove, and I'll soon be purchasing a ventless drye, as our washer and dryer aren't working well at this point.  We all do what we can and what makes the most sense for our proprties.  Key is to evaluate your home and your situation and to have a plan, so you don't get stuck in an emergency with something that isn't ideal for you now and into the future, and so you don't also spend more than you are prepared for.  Fortunately, we knew this project was coming.

Our goal was to reduce consumption and increase energy efficiency as mucyh as we reasomably can.  As I mentione, we knew long ago we'd have to replace the boilers at some point, and we got a lot of advice to keep gas in the property, particularly due to the generators but also because of our climate zone. Actually, the home inspector told us when we moved in that the boilers might last a few months or a few years, so after this long I have been anxious every winter that they were going to fail in an emergency situation - which was honestly fairly stressful.  Our old boiler also may have had pre and post combustion gas leaks, so that made me ven more anxious!  In addition to the boilers, we wanted to leverage heat pump technology through heat pumps and smaller mini split units where needed.  The boilers might br 95% efficient, but above about 30 degrees farenheit, the heat pumps can be 300-400% efficient! 

In the end, we will have two VRF heat pumps, 2 mini splits, and one older compressor we will replace with a heat pump when it nears the end of its useful life (It's not old enough to really make sense to replace at this time.)  We also have another very old single-compressor system we will replace with another mini when the time comes.  That should be ideally replaced any time now, but it's just a cooling need in a single space, and we will wait for it to need repair as it's not often used and it's sure nice to control some costs. 

Step 1: Concrete pad!

Step 2: creating bases and starting to install the equipment!


This area was already an HVAC compressor location for us, but it was a bit messy from past retrofits.  Also, as I shared in an earlier piece, our first mini split compressor was too exposed to snow in this area.  That's ok for a mini split that had one zone and was a bit of an extra for that zone only, but we don't want to be shoveling out our main HVC equipment.  So we're putting the heat pumps and all compressors on higher stands, and we're going to build a small roof overhand over the equipment, to match the garage look.  I'll share that when we're all done! 

Here are a couple of past images - It's going to be tons better now, but you can see why we thought to redo this area.  If nothing else, we needed to get the snow off this equipment,  

Even without snow, this area isn't attractive and doesn' tmake a lot of sense.  A major project gave us the opportunity to rethink!  




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