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My HVAC Filter has a MERV Rating: What Is That?

Date: March 9, 2020

what is a MERV rating? greater bostonIf your home is heated with a forced-air heating system, you know that one of the essential maintenance tasks that come with it is checking the air filters often and changing them as needed.

During heating and cooling (if you also have central air conditioning) seasons, you should be checking your air filters at least once a month. If you have someone in your home with allergies, or a respiratory condition like asthma or COPD, or if you have pets, you need to check even more frequently.

Forgetting this task and letting your air filters get dirty and clogged can cause problems. First, it can make your HVAC system overwork. That leads to higher energy costs, possible breakdowns and the repair costs that go with them, and a shorter life for your system.

So here’s a reminder to check your air filter, and be ready to replace it. And we’ll help you understand what you’ll find at the local home improvement store.

Home filter acronyms

As you’re in the air filters aisle, it may look like an alphabet soup of acronyms. But once you know what the acronyms mean, you can choose the right one for your home.


MERV is short for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. It is a measure developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers. The ratings range is 1-20.


MPR is short for Micro-particle Performance Raging. This is specific only to products developed by the 3M Corporation. The ratings range is 300-2200.


FPR is short for Filter Performance Rating. This ratings system was created by Home Depot for the brands of filters sold in its stores. The rating scale is 1-10.

What the numbers mean

This table gives you what the ratings translate to in terms of common residential usage.

6 300 N/A Pollen, dust, lint
8 600 5 Lint, pollen, dust, dust mites, mold spores
11 1000-2000 7 Lint, pollen, dust, dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, smog, smoke
13 1500-1900 10 Dust, lint, pollen, mold spores, dust mites, smog, pet dander, smoke, bacteria, virus carriers

The trained and experienced equipment service experts at Cubby Oil can help you figure out which one is right for your home, and your system. Contact us today, we’ll be happy to help!

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