Make Renovations During Occupancy a Breeze With Two-pipe VRF

Replacing an HVAC system or updating an outdated one doesn’t have to be a hindrance to a building or its occupants. Two-pipe systems, like Mitsubishi Electric VRF, are not only cheaper and easier to install, but energy-efficient, and provide superior levels of control and comfort for occupants. Most importantly, two-pipe systems are minimally disruptive. Benefits such as these have left three-pipe systems struggling to keep up.

Here are three reasons why APG has chosen to use two-pipe technology for renovations:

Control. Two-pipe architecture allows the indoor units to change the temperature quickly from cooling to heating or heating to cooling, allowing occupants to experience personalized comfort at any time. The cooler/hotter refrigerant from one indoor unit moves to the branch controller and gets redistributed right there to another indoor unit. In a three-pipe system, the redistribution happens in the condenser, and the refrigerant has to be moved farther to undergo the process. This means the system responds more slowly, losing some energy along the way, costing more money to operate and not providing immediate comfort to occupants.


Simplified installations. Two-pipe VRF is less invasive to the structure of a building because it requires less piping and duct space. A two-pipe system with four indoor units would have 20 connections; a three-pipe system would have 58. Each additional connection requires more materials, labor and time, extending the renovation process and making it more of an inconvenience for occupants. VRF’s small footprint also allows for easier transportation, as it can be transported in an elevator. A smaller footprint also means fewer disturbances to the occupants — no cranes outside the window and no rooftop space suddenly lost to a condenser farm.


Flexible installations. Even building interiors enjoy a smooth retrofit experience with two-pipe VRF. For example with Mitsubishi Electric VRF, building owners have the ability to mix and match indoor unit styles, which means each office, apartment, classroom or other space can be cooled and heated by the unit that works best for that space. There’s also no need for ductwork when a floor-standing ductless unit will work, and no need to take up visual space with a wall-mount when a ceiling-recessed unit will work. Occupants will barely notice their new unit — also because it operates nearly silently. In comparison to three-pipe VRF, two-pipe VRF also makes future servicing simpler, increasing lifetime cost savings for building owners. If additions are needed in the future, new units can be engineered and added while the original system is still in operation — all without disrupting the occupants.


In comparison to the complexity of a three-pipe system, the streamlined two-pipe VRF system ultimately eases the renovation experience for not only the building and its occupants but also the project team.

Our Favorite Resources

Every once in a while, we all need to take a moment to remember the resources we have available to us. This is true even during the busiest of times! Whether it’s product information or quick and easy facts to share with customers, here at the Advanced Products Group (APG), a division of Aireco Supply, Inc., we’ve used two specific Mitsubishi Electric websites ‒ MitsubishiPro and MyLinkDrive ‒ in addition to our own website, during times of need. We recommend the same websites to you.

MitsubishiPro is Mitsubishi Electric’s new and improved, professional-facing website. It is user-friendly, interactive, and most importantly ‒ filled with useful information. The website is compatible with iPads and other mobile devices, allowing users to access the site easily from anywhere, at any time. The site offers intuitive search functions, such as Project Help. The Project Help search function allows users to fill out a form and receive immediate help or advice on an active or future project. If users are looking for more product-specific information, they can head to the Technology page where they can interact with animated graphics, or the Our Product Lines page to access brochures and manuals. The website also features marketing materials such as case studies and newsletters, offering users insight into installing Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) in various applications.

MyLinkDrive is Mitsubishi Electric’s technical information website. This website houses technical documents such as application notes, warranty information, technology tips and product information. If users want specific product and/or software information, each product has attached data sheets, submittals, engineering manuals, installation manuals, compatibility matrices and more for users to refer to. Watch the video below for a sneak peek from the Tech Tips section.


Project Profile: Young Life’s Springs Center Club Room


Rockbridge Alum Springs (Rockbridge), Goshen, Virginia, is a campground that’s owned and operated by Young Life, a non-denominational Christian ministry that dedicates its time to bringing adolescents together during the summertime. During the campers’ time at Rockbridge, they spend many hours hanging out and relaxing in the recreational building, The Springs Center Club Room (Springs Center). The Springs Center houses a snack bar, coffee shop, game room and club room. After many seasons in operation, the building’s direct expansion (DX) and boiler system was no longer able to keep the campers comfortable. To solve this problem, Young Life selected CITY MULTI™ Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) from Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating (Mitsubishi Electric) to serve the building.

Bill Warner, sales engineer, APG, and Robert Morck, Comfort Systems USA (Bristol), Inc., Roanoke, Virginia, helped Young Life choose Mitsubishi Electric VRF because of the cost savings and cooling and heating capabilities. Warner said, “There were other systems but none that showed the same energy savings that we’d have with Mitsubishi Electric VRF. They selected VRF primarily for cooling but they also never had much heating for the building, even when the boiler worked. The camp is at high elevation in the mountains and it can get very cold. Since VRF has an inherent controls system, it allows them to schedule the cooling and heating in advance to keep everyone comfortable.”


Warner and Morck also presented Young Life with VRF technology because it would also allow them to salvage the boiler system. “They thought they’d have to replace the entire system but we were able to compromise with them and leave the boiler in place. With VRF, we were able to let the boiler have a few more years of operation and let them use it as a backup heat source,” said Warner.

With quality products from Mitsubishi Electric and reliable support from APG, the renovation ran smoothly. According to Warner, Young Life has appreciated the system’s ability to provide instantaneous, superior comfort. “What I’ve heard from the owners and contractors is how everyone is surprised about the heating capabilities with the heat pump and how it can heat spaces the boiler couldn’t. Even in the winter months, they rely on heating to provide comfort to guests. Now they have a cool and comfortable space with no hot or cold spots.”

Welcome to the APG Family, AbsolutAire!

At the Advanced Products Group (APG), a division of Aireco Supply, Inc., we proudly represent the highest-quality manufacturers and latest technologies. We’re pleased to announce that we’ve recently added another name to that list ‒ AbsolutAire. As a leader in total air management based in Kalamazoo, Michigan, AbsolutAire provides cost-effective systems and solutions for direct and indirect fired air and make-up heating and ventilating.

AbsolutAire’s advanced systems offer solutions for all types of projects and are easy to install and maintain in multiple applications, such as commercial office buildings, heavy and light industrial settings, and warehouses; water, wastewater and biosolids treatment facilities; and food service. These advanced systems are industry leaders in efficiency, design flexibility and operation, providing optimal solutions for green building design and construction.

Through the addition of AbsolutAire, we can provide more ventilation options and solutions to our customers. If you’re interested in learning more about the company and products, check out their website here.


The Two-pipe Takeover

For any commercial application, two-pipe Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) zoning systems – like that from Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating (Mitsubishi Electric) – provide a solution that leaves three-pipe systems struggling to keep up. Proven in the field, two-pipe technology is not only more economical to install but reliable, energy-efficient and able to provide superior levels of control and comfort for occupants.

If you’re still designing and/or installing three-pipe systems, here are a few reasons why we here at the Advanced Products Group (APG), a division of Aireco Supply, Inc., have chosen to move toward two-pipe, and why you should consider making the move to two-pipe.



Electrical Connections
Two-pipe VRF has significantly fewer electrical termination points than three-pipe systems. Having fewer electrical connection sites reduces the complexity of the wiring process will reduce any potential connectivity issues. Ultimately, fewer components in the system means less chance of the system failing in the future.


Two-pipe architecture allows the indoor units to change temperature quickly from cooling to heating, or heating to cooling. The cooler/hotter refrigerant from one indoor unit moves to the branch controller and gets redistributed right there to another indoor unit. In a three-pipe system, the redistribution happens out in the condenser, not locally in the branch controller. Since a three-pipe system’s refrigerant has to be moved farther to undergo the same redistribution process, the system responds more slowly, loses energy along the way and costs more money to operate. 

Future Servicing, Alteration Ease
A VRF system with a two-pipe design makes future servicing simpler, increasing lifetime cost savings. Plus if additions are needed in the future, the new components can be engineered and added while the system remains in operation.


In comparison to the complexity of a three-pipe system, the streamlined two-pipe offers more design capabilities, an easier installation and project cost savings. As El-Abd said, “For any commercial project, you can reduce significantly the amount of damage to a building with a two-pipe system. A two-pipe system will also save money because you don’t have to spend on a third pipe or extra branch controller boxes.”