Searching for an air purifier can be somewhat confusing at first as there are endless choices. The best way of controlling contaminants is by getting a good particulate filter. Three kinds of air filters are popular right now – HEPA, HEGA, and iFD. Many people mix up HEPA and HEGA because from the names they do seem interchangeable. But, they are rather different because they are used to strain out different irritants in the air.
Picture this – after a stressful day, you return to the comforts of your home for relaxation and security. You want a break from the noise, chaos, and hectic schedule that’s taken up the majority of your brain.
However, not only are you not getting the soothing environment you had hoped for but your senses are being aggressively attacked by a plethora of allergy and asthma-related culprits.
- HEPA vs. HEGA vs. iFD: The Comparison
- What is a HEPA filter?
- What is a HEGA filter?
- What is an iFD Filter?
- HEPA vs. HEGA
- HEPA vs. iFD
- HEGA vs. iFD
- Bottom Line
HEPA vs. HEGA vs. iFD: The Comparison
The EPA or The Environmental Protection Agency has repeatedly warned people about the harms of bad indoor air quality. Sadly, even the biggest clean freak’s home could be teeming with contaminants.
In general, indoor particulates roam around in every home – that’s normal. This condition is stronger for homes built in the last two decades since energy-conservation acts implemented in the ‘70s needed homes to be constructed keeping air-tightness in mind.
Common indoor air pollutant sources include household cleaning products, carpets, furnishings, cigarettes, and even pet smoke; not to mention the rising levels of dust. Exposure to these pollutants can cause various diseases like allergies, asthma, respiratory problems, and cancer too!
One way to deal with these annoying airborne irritants is using a top-notch air purifier. These nifty devices can also effectively remove vapors from textiles and carpets, cleaning equipment, and a range of other pollutants that can damage your health.
Why should you be concerned about the air condition, you ask? Studies have concluded that clean air contributes to better sleep and respiratory functions.
We are here to clear the air of confusion and help you distinguish between these three in the easiest ways possible. In this HEPA vs HEGA vs iFD filter piece, we will mention the characteristics of each unit before drawing a clear line between them. Let’s start!
Related reading – Do Air Purifiers Use a Lot of Electricity?
What is a HEPA filter?
HEPA, short for High Efficiency Particulate Air Delivery is at the heart of regular air purifiers. These mechanical filters are used to remove particular pollutants from the air. HEPA is considered an international standard.
HEPA technology was introduced around the ‘30s and is basically a kind of filter media allowing air to move through. In general, these systems are highly efficient. HEPA filters should take out at least 99.7% of contaminants in the air (ideally) of about 0.3 micrometers diameter. What falls in the category?
Dust, dander, pet hair, and pollen out of many. Additionally, HEPA filters have shown effectiveness in removing viruses and bacteria from the air. A study from NASA also found that the filters were able to capture about 100% of the particles of sizes 0.01 micrometer.
HEPA technology was first created by the Atomic Energy Commission with a view to creating a safe and clean environment for researchers, scientists, and troops. Due to HEPA’s strong filtration powers, it’s the most commonly used system in air purifiers.
When buying a unit with this filtration system, keep an eye out for True HEPA filters since these have to perform at a particular standard and pass independent tests to receive the distinction.
One more thing to consider while getting a HEPA air purifier is the unit’s construction. Warm-rolled HEPA filters reign superior since these aren’t vulnerable to cracks. Moreover, warm-tolls and pleated HEPA filters add to filtration efficiency.
What is a HEGA filter?
HEGA is the abbreviated form of High Efficiency Gas Absorption. When talking in a home air purifier context, HEGA stands for a knitted or woven cloth featuring a microporous structure. This cloth is filled up with numerous small Activated Carbon particles.
Similar to granulated Activated Carbon filters that are used in most air purifiers, HEGA carbon cloth removes gases, odors, and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) from the air.
Thanks to its easy installation and lightweight, HEGA style filters are a popular choice for air purifiers today. All units of this style filter have to be designed, built, packaged, and filled in alignment with the Environmental Science Recommendations.
HEGA filters came into being about two decades ago when the British Army planned to make it a defensive action against chemical warfare. These filters are much more efficient in comparison to granulated activated carbon when it comes to absorbing gaseous chemicals.
So, if a home needs chemical, allergy, odor, or gas control, HEGA systems will be a winner. In fact, a few brands will use a combination of HEGA and HEPA filters in their air purifiers to provide all-round air purification.
What is an iFD Filter?
iFD filter is more of a one-dimensional filter. In simpler terms, it only removes the solid airborne pollutants but doesn’t do anything for the gaseous contaminants. iFD is short for “Intense Field Dielectric.”
Consider it an improved version of an Air Ionizer which is powered up by electrical currents to remove impurities from the air. The dielectric bit is what gives iFD filters their special color, making them much more effective than their ionizer counterparts.
Since iFD is a much newer concept, here’s a brief description of how it works:
Firstly, the air is infused with an electrical charge. When that happens, the floating pollutants in the air pick it up and become ions (because they are carrying either a positive or negative charge).
Next, this air is made to pass through the iFD filter – the physical model. The iFD filters resemble a sheet comprising of a honeycomb. The polymer honeycombs are specialized channels for the air to pass through.
There are thin electrode sheets between the multiple air channel rows of polymer. After that, they generate a powerful electric field that is capable of attracting the little charged pollutants. As the particulates are all charged now, they come running towards the electrodes. In the process, they get caught on the walls.
Technically, there is no use of physical filtration in the iFD process – everything is achieved through electricity.
HEPA vs. HEGA
Starting our segment on HEPA vs HEGA vs iFD filter, we first have the comparison between HEGA and HEPA. Don’t confuse them just because they have similar names – these two systems are much different. Both play crucial roles in air purifiers, simply in unique ways.
Type of Filtered Pollutants
The biggest difference between these two filtration processes is the kind of pollutants they filter. HEPA filters remove solid airborne contaminants while HEPA filters only remove gaseous irritants like volatile organic compounds or odors.
Preferred For of Filter Media
HEPA filters are equipped with synthetic fibers that behave like a physical sieve. They remove the solid pollutant particulates. On the other hand, HEGA filters rely on Activated Carbon to remove harmful gaseous pollutants from the air through a process termed adsorption.
HEPA filters are mostly used in home and commercial places to purify the air. In contrast, HEGA filters are better for specialized purposes such as industrial filtration. You wouldn’t usually find them in home air purifier units.
HEPA vs. iFD
There are quite a few dissimilarities between HEPA and iFD filtration processes.
iFD filters are permanent. You can clean the pollutant off them and they will return to their original state. You could vacuum it or run it under water. Once dry, the filter is good as new and you can reinstall it. It will be just as efficient.
However, HEPA filters cannot be washed or cleaned. They are formed of a cluster of synthetic fibers. When washed or vacuumed, the fibers can develop gaps, leading to reduced effectiveness in air filtration.
Standard of Filtration Efficacy
HEPA filters are known to remove about all PM10 and PM2.5 particulates. They have also been shown to be much useful against even smaller particles.
By contrast, iFD filters have differing air filtration properties based on the configuration. Products differ in standards. When configured, iFD technology can match or sometimes exceed the filtration standards of HEPA. The technology ensures that a rightly configured iFD filter will take out 99.99% particulates that are 0.3 micrometers in size.
In addition, HEPA filter only relies on physical filtration. In its most basic form, you can think of physical filtration as a sieve that catches particulate pollutants from the environment, releasing clean air.
Related reading – Can Air Purifier Cause Sore Throat?
It might sound surprising but HEPA filters actually consume more electricity than iFD filters that cover the same amount of area. As the filtration happens through electricity, a iFD filters is less dense. The fan doesn’t have to do as much work, leading to lower electricity consumption.
Only one safety and health concern has been raised in the case of iFD filters. The problem is that they produce a little amount of ozone all the time. In their purification process of which electricity a big part of, the oxygen molecule in the air transform into Ozone.
All iFD purifiers made have to comply with certain regulations so it’s not harmful. But, if used in a poorly ventilated room for an extended period, the Ozone buildup can be concerning. If you are using an iFD filtration system, we recommend ventilating the room once a day at the very minimum.
HEPA filters don’t release Ozone as they function on pure mechanical methods. However, if the HEPA filter-powered air purifier features an on-board air ionizer, it releases Ozone as well. In the majority of cases, the ionizer can be turned off and on separately so you can operate the air purifier without Ozone emission. This doesn’t happen with iFD filters.
Air purifiers running on HEPA filters can be quite noisy when operating at the highest speed. The fan is the primary source of the noise since the air moving through the air purifier faces resistance against the dense filters. A pressure drop is caused and that makes noise.
In comparison, iFD filters don’t have that much pressure drop, and the required fan speed is also lower. This means that iFD filters are less noisy than HEPA filter-based purifiers.
HEGA vs. iFD
Last but not the least, let’s compare HEGA filters and iFD filters.
It goes without saying that the most significant difference is the possibility of ozone emission. As mentioned before, iFD filter-based air purifiers will constantly produce ozone – no matter how small of an amount it is. While the little amount isn’t that big of a deal in general, if used continuously in a poorly ventilated zone, a serious problem could arise. Ozone is a known lung irritant.
By its very nature, HEGA filters don’t produce ozone.
Area of Use
iFD filters are the ideal choice for homes along with HEPA filters. HEGA filters only filter gaseous pollutants from the air. They are mostly used in large factories that produce large volumes of chemical gases. There is not much use for HEGA filters in a household.
An iFD filter is a sensible choice for you and your family since dust pollution is a raging problem right now.
iFD filters are closer to silent than producing low noise. HEGA filters are much noisier since they work in larger environments.
The key takeaway from this HEPA vs. HEGA vs. iFD filter was that all three systems have their unique way of functioning. They all differ in uses, mechanics, and prices as well. What works for you will depend on the environment, requirements, and unit size.
However, whichever you choose, you can be sure to get superior protection against air pollutants. The importance of clean air can’t be emphasized enough so it’s high time to be more careful.