MERV, MPR, and FPR: Making Sense of Furnace Air Filter Acronyms

If you own a home HVAC system, it’s important to check your filters often – at least once a month during heating and cooling seasons – and to change disposable filters when they’re dirty.

That’s because a blocked air filter can cause your furnace or A/C to overwork, which will set you back far more than the replacement cost of a filter in the form of higher bills, more maintenance, and a shorter life for your equipment.

But when it comes time to buy your replacement filter, you may find yourself drowning in a sea of confusing acronyms. Don’t worry, they’re pretty easy to figure out once you read our quick guide.

The Carroll Quick Guide to home filter acronyms

Three common terms you might hear when shopping for a replacement filter for your HVAC system are MERV, MPR, FPR. Each term describes a filter system designed to clean your home air, and each uses a scale to define the size of the filter holes (higher numbers = finer filtration). The only difference among the three systems is who manufactured them:

  • MERV, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, is a measure developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE); MERV ratings range from 1-20.
  • MPR, or Micro-Particle Performance Rating, pertains only to products developed by the 3M company; typical MPR ratings range from 300 to 2200.
  • FPR, or Filter Performance Rating, is a filter rating system developed by Home Depot for the brands sold through its stores, including Honeywell; it uses a 1-10 rating scale.

Converting MERV, MPR and FPR values

Here’s a conversion table of MERV, MPR and FPR ratings for common residential usage (higher-valued filters are often used in hospitals and operating rooms, but are not necessary for home use):

MERV rating MPR rating FPR rating Removes
6 300 N/A Lint, dust, pollen
8 600 5 Dust mites, mold spores
11 1000-1200 7 Pet dander, smoke, smog
13 1500-1900 10 Bacteria, virus carriers

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