How Much Does Ductwork Cost? (Pricing Guide)

ductwork cost

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There are plenty of good reasons to replace faulty ductwork in your home. But the primary prompt is usually a drastic increase in energy bills caused by hot or cold central air escaping through holes or cracks.

Alternatively, you might be experiencing heavier allergies as a result of a boost in dust and dirt buildup inside your home. 

Other signs of deteriorating ductwork include different temperatures across the house, or the HVAC unit being too noisy.

Whatever issues you’re experiencing, don’t let the potential ductwork costs put you off getting them fixed. Once you’ve decided to replace your current ductwork, it’s time to research various contractors and compare their quotes.

So, if you’re wondering how much ductwork costs, you’re in the right place. We’ve put together a guide with everything you need to know.

Let’s dive in!

How Much Does Ductwork Cost? (Pricing Guide) 1

How Do HVAC Systems Work?

If you’re replacing or installing a HAVC system with ductwork for the first time, you might not be familiar with the system. 

HVAC systems work by delivering warm or cool air to each room through a system of connected ducts and vents.

The air ducts for central HVAC systems are usually located towards the top of the home – either in the attic or upper crawl space. Or underneath, between the foundation and the floor. They’re usually not visible unless you have cause to replace them. 

If your home doesn’t currently have a HAVC System, you’ll need to have new ductwork installed.

When Is it Time to Replace the Ductwork in Your Home?

There are several signs you might need new air ducts in your home. Picture them as the lungs of your house – you won’t notice them unless something is wrong, but they’ll give you clear signs when there’s a problem.

For instance, your ductwork might be faulty if the house is extra dusty. Dust can be pulled through holes or cracks in your air ducts and pushed out of the vents into your rooms. Consequently, your family might experience more severe allergy symptoms than usual.

Another sign there’s a problem is if the temperature is no longer changing as intended when you set your heating system or air conditioner. Cracked or damaged ducts allow cold or hot air to escape before it flows into your rooms. As a result, the temperature in the room won’t reflect your desired setting. 

Other indicators are:

  • Your energy bill has shot up
  • The temperatures differ in rooms around the house (even though everything is set to the same temperature) 
  • Your HVAC unit burns out too soon or operates poorly


Faulty ductwork causes the HVAC unit to overcompensate for the damage, reducing its lifespan.

Estimating Ductwork Cost

To determine the cost of installing ductwork in your home, contractors will want to know about several factors that tie into the final quote.

This may be based on the number of ducts that will be installed, with each duct run ranging from $150 to $250.

Typical family homes may need 6-10 duct runs. Replacing existing ductwork is considerably cheaper than installing a new system. This is primarily because replacement usually only requires one or two installers and the cost of materials.

Sometimes the fault may also only lie in one duct run, and single replacement could fix the whole system.

Accessibility

One major factor in ductwork cost is the accessibility to the system.  Different locations prove challenging in different ways and may require additional hours or equipment to get the job done.

For example, ductwork in an attic crawlspace may be challenging to get to and can be a hot and hazardous environment for the work crew. The crawlspace beneath a home, on the other hand, limits movement and poses a lighting challenge. 

Materials / Type of Duct

As with all construction work, the material has an immediate impact on the cost of a project. The most affordable ducting is non-metallic and flexible at $1 – $2 per linear foot on average.

Installers often actually prefer this type because it can be more easily snaked through attics and floorings and is therefore often easier to install. 

Flexible aluminum ducting is slightly more expensive but less prone to tearing. This might be the right call if you’ve had issues with holes or cracks in the past. Flexible aluminum costs $1 – $4 per linear foot. 

The most robust material is sheet metal and costs more than non-metallic or flexible aluminum ducting. It may also bring additional labor costs for multiple turns. You can get sheet metal for $1.50 – $6 per linear foot on average.

Other material costs you’ll need to think about include the following. 

Pricing for Elbows, Joints, and Attachments

These generally cost $5 – $25, with larger pieces settling at the higher end of the price range. Ducts fans can cost over $30. Return airdrops can cost over $300, and foil sealing tape costs $25 per 60’ roll.

Flexible ducting with built-in insulation costs $1.30 to $2.50 per linear foot, with insulated duct wrap costing $40 per 60’ roll.

Vent Costs

Ductwork installation commonly entails the attachment or replacement of connected air vents in your walls.

Vents can cost between $6 and $25, but large and decorative vents may cost more.

Labor

As ductwork installation is labor-intensive, this is where you are likely to spend the most money.

Expect to pay HVAC technicians $50-$70 per hour.

An average duct installation lasts 2-3 workdays.

This brings the labor estimate to $800 – $1680. This price depends on the accessibility of the ductwork in your home, as well as the material you have chosen to work with.

If your house has a complicated layout or was never designed to fit ductwork before, you may find prices spiking.

Some households may be better off installing a ductless HVAC System. This averages at $2,500.

Regulations and Permits

Before you can install ductwork, you may need a permit for the project. Check local building codes to see what requirements there are for ductwork, and look at your homeowner’s insurance policy to ensure the work doesn’t void your contract.

Many HVAC Contractors can take care of the permit for you. Fees are often under $100 and vary by location.

Ductwork Maintenance Costs

Once you’ve installed ductwork, there are some costs associated with maintaining it.

You’ll need to purchase vent filters ($3 – $4 for a 12-pack).

Plus, the air ducts should be cleaned every 3-5 years to keep your HVAC system safe, clean, and energy-efficient. There are also benefits to cleaning air ducts annually.

If your vent filters are dusty or you find spot debris in your vent, you may need to get them cleaned—professional air duct cleaning services for a 1500 sq. Ft. a home typically ranges from $300-$500.

How Much Does Ductwork Cost? The Summary

In summary, you should expect to spend $35-$55 per linear foot on your ductwork. This includes labor and materials and amounts to an average of $1,000 to $5,000 for a typical home. Average single-family houses need anywhere from 30 to 90 linear feet of ducting. 

Hiring the Right Installers

With your newly gained knowledge around the costs of ductwork, you are well prepared to call up various duct replacement or installment professionals to fire a few questions at them and compare their quotes. 

Doing this bit of prior research will result in a positive experience and can ensure you get good value for your money. Here are a few tips for choosing the best HVAC contractors for your home. 

  1. Read reviews – this will help you to find out which companies provide a positive customer experience. A few negative reviews don’t necessarily rule out the pros, but watching how they respond to a problem can be insightful. You can follow up on references and speak to previous clients to get their honest opinion too.
  2. Verify the company is operating legally – many states require HVAC installers to have a contractor’s license. You can sometimes check a license number online, such as with the online portals of Alabama. The same goes for California
  3. Check the company’s history – confirm how long the HVAC Company has been in business under its current name. A substantial online presence and verifiable history are a good sign that the installers are there to last and know what they’re doing.
  4. Ask about permits – confirm that your contractor is complying with building permits and can help you with this process if necessary.
  5. Confirm the pricing – last but not least, discuss pricing! Some companies may be able to give you a quote over the phone or do an in-home estimate.

Always request your estimates in writing and ask for a breakdown of labor, materials, and miscellaneous costs so that you understand each element of the project and can compare it to other prices.

Ready to Get a Quote for Your Ductwork?

Now you know what to look for in your contractor’s pricing estimate, you can compare their breakdown of materials and labor costs. 

Installing or replacing ductwork is a great way of providing your family with a safer, more comfortable home, and you should avoid losing money longterm on energy bills. 

Aikenheating & Air Conditioning provides you and your family with the best HVAC Maintenance 24/7. If you have any questions or would like a quote for ductwork cost, get in touch today.

John Daner
John Daner

HVAC Technician with 12+ years experience in the field.