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Your Guide to Understanding Furnace Filter Ratings

Every blog or article you read that has to do with the upkeep, efficiency, lifespan and effectiveness of your furnace tells you to change the filter frequently. At the time, this seems simple enough, but one trip to the hardware store and you’ll be left standing staring at the endless furnace filter options for hours.

Most articles don’t talk about MERV ratings or an MPR. What do these mean and what do they have to do with your furnace? You might be tempted to quickly just pick one in a panic, but depending on the health and furry residents in your home, you can use these helpful furnace filter ratings to your advantage.

MERVE (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value)The MERVE rating of a filter informs you of its efficiency of trapping particles and pollutants. The MERVE rating functions on a scale rating from 1 to 16, the higher the MERVE rating number is, the more efficient it is at capturing and holding airborne particles. Depending on the MERVE scale, it will also determine how often the filter needs to be changed.

MPR (Micro-Particle Performance Rating)This rates manufacturer’s filters and their efficiency in capturing airborne particles. This rating operates on a rating scale from 300 to 2200, again, the higher the rating, the smaller the airborne particles the filter is capable in trapping.

FPR (Filter Performance Rating)Some manufacturers use a color and number scale from 4 to 10 that is similar to the MERVE value, to be safe, stick with a 7 red or a 10 blue.

Which rating is best for your home?A home that is not used often such as a winter or summer home will have a much different rating than a home with four children and a dog. Follow the chart below to help pick the best filter for your home.

Guide to understanding furnace filter ratings