How Much Does it Cost to Install Ductwork in 2024?

The national average cost to install ductwork ranges from $2,000 and $5,000.

The national average cost to install ductwork is $3,000, with most homeowners spending between $2,000 and $5,000, including materials, labor, and other necessary supplies. However, the actual cost will vary based on home size and the job’s complexity.

Installing ductwork is no easy task and should always be handled by an experienced HVAC professional. A complex installation involving special materials or intricate metal bends can cost up to $8,200 in total. On the other hand, a smaller project, such as replacing a single section of your home’s ductwork, can cost as little as $550.

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Ductwork spiral
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Average Ductwork Installation Costs

National Average Cost$3,000
Typical Price Range$2,000 – $5,000
Extreme Low-End Cost$550
Extreme High-End Cost$8,200

Ductwork installation is a complex process that requires an experienced contractor. Typically, a standard ductwork installation costs from $15 to $40 per linear foot. The most common cost factors include:

  • The system’s size and complexity
  • The type of materials used
  • The number of access points or rooms involved
  • The labor rate of the contractor
  • Any additional services offered

The national average cost to install ductwork is approximately $3,000, with most homeowners spending between $2,000 and $5,000, including materials and labor. More significant projects will have a higher price tag. For instance, if you are installing a full-home heating and cooling system with multiple zones or rooms, costs could be upward of $8,200 or more.

For a smaller project, such as installing a single air duct in an existing system, the cost could be as low as $550 in total. DIYers should also note that professional ductwork installation is highly recommended due to the complexity of the process and the safety risks involved.

Ductwork Cost Estimator by Home Size

When determining how much it will cost to install ductwork, consider the size of your home and the number of access points or rooms that need connecting. Generally, professional ductwork installation costs from $15 to $40 per linear foot or roughly $0.60 to $2.50 per square foot.

The exact cost could be higher or lower depending on the size of the job, special requirements, and installation difficulty. For example, a 1,000-square-foot home requires approximately 80 to 150 linear feet of ductwork and could cost between $1,200 and $6,000 to install.

In the table below, you can see the average cost of ductwork installation depending on the size of your home.

Home Size (​​Square Footage)Linear Feet of Ducts NeededAverage Overall Cost 
1,000 sq. ft.80 – 150  $1,200 – $6,000 
1,500 sq. ft.120 – 225$1,800 – $9,000
2,000 sq. ft.160 – 300 $2,400 – $12,000
3,000 sq. ft.240 – 350$3,600 – $14,000

Other Factors That Affect Cost

A ductwork installation project can vary in price depending on several factors. These include the material used for the ductwork, the type of ducts required, the complexity of the installation, and how accessible the project site is.

Type of Project

The total cost of your ductwork project can vary significantly depending on its scope. For instance, if you’re carrying out a smaller job, such as adding one vent to an existing system, you can expect to pay just a few hundred dollars. But the cost can increase exponentially if you’re undertaking a large project like installing a new heating and cooling system without any existing ducts.

Adding a Vent to Existing Ductwork

Adding a new vent or additional ductwork to your HVAC system can be costly, but not as much as installing a whole new system. Depending on the size and complexity of the job, prices can range from $200 to $350 per vent. Keep in mind that extra vents can also mean increased energy bills. 

Additionally, checking if your HVAC system has sufficient airflow before adding additional vents is essential, as too much ventilation can be counter-productive and cause your system to be less efficient.

Ductwork Installation Cost in a New Home

Installing ductwork during the early stages of your home construction can ensure that your home is properly sealed and insulated, saving you time and money in the long run. Depending on the scope of work, this process can range from $1,800 to $5,800 in total.

Ductwork Replacement Cost

On average, ductwork replacement can cost anywhere from $1,300 to $4,500 for a standard-sized home, including removing the old ducts and installing new ones.

Replacing old, damaged, or inefficient ductwork can be a great way to improve the performance of your home’s HVAC system. Not only will it reduce energy costs and wear and tear on the system, but it will also improve indoor air quality.

Cost by Material

The type of material used for ductwork can significantly affect the overall cost of installation. Metal, fiberglass, and flexible polyester are the top three materials commonly used to manufacture ductwork. Generally, you can expect to spend from $4.50 to $9 per linear foot, regardless of which material you select.

Here is a breakdown of the average costs associated with the most common materials:

  • Flexible polyester ducts are the most affordable material for ductwork installation and start at about $1 to $5 per linear foot
  • Flexible aluminum, which is better suited to long runs, costs about $4 to $7 per linear foot.
  • Fiberglass ducts are lightweight, non-corrosive, and cost-effective. They are easy to install and require minimal maintenance. On average, fiberglass ducts can cost anywhere from $5 to $10 per linear foot.
  • Sheet metal is the most commonly used material for ducts. Sheet metal ducts are strong, durable, and relatively easy to install. On average, sheet metal ducts range from $8 to $15 per linear foot, depending on the complexity of your project.

Cost of New Ductwork by the Location of the Ducts

The national average cost of installing new ductwork is $3,000 in total. However, the cost can be significantly higher depending on where the ducts are located. If they are in a difficult-to-reach spot like an attic or crawlspace, the installation will likely be more expensive due to the extra labor involved.

Ductwork AreasAverage Cost
Exposed Ductwork$15 – $40
Mobile Home$1,250 – $3,400
Attic$1,400 – $3,000
Basement$1,500 – $4,200
Crawlspace$2,500 – $6,000

Ductwork Installation Cost by HVAC Unit

The cost of installing HVAC ductwork is dependent on the size and type of HVAC system you choose. Generally, the more intricate and larger the system, the higher the cost. The HVAC installation cost usually ranges from $5,000 to $9,000 nationwide. Nonetheless, each HVAC component has its own individual cost associated with it that, when combined, adds up.

For example, installing a furnace can cost from $2,000 to $4,500 without ductwork. If you have to install ducts as well, the total cost may increase to between $6,000 and $15,500. Likewise, the installation of a central air conditioning system can range from $7,800 to $14,800, including ductwork.

Here is a breakdown of the ductwork installation costs for each HVAC component:

HVAC UnitHVAC Unit Cost (without ductwork)HVAC Unit & Ductwork Cost 
Furnace$2,000 – $4,500$6,000 – $15,500
Central Air$3,600 – $8,000$7,800 – $14,800
Heat pump$4,000 – $8,000$6,200 – $14,000
Geothermal Heating$13,000 – 25,000$14,200 – $29,300

Labor Cost

Labor costs can vary significantly depending on the project’s complexity and how many ducts will be installed. Most HVAC contractors charge an hourly rate between $70 and $90 per hour.

If a flat fee is charged, the average cost for new ductwork projects ranges from $4.95 to $8.30 per linear foot, while retrofit projects typically cost around $12.50 to $18 per linear foot. For example, a 1,500-square-foot house with 150 linear feet of ducts would cost between $742 and $1,245 just for labor.

Related Services

In addition to installing new ductwork, many HVAC contractors also offer related services such as ductwork insulation, air sealing, and home energy audits. Depending on the scope of work, these services can add several hundred dollars in additional costs.

Ductwork Insulation Cost

The average cost to insulate your ductwork is between $1,300 and $3,000. This estimate includes materials, labor, and equipment. The total cost will depend on the type of insulation you need and the size of your duct system. Generally, you can expect to pay from $1 to $7 per square foot for insulation.

Ductwork insulation is designed to reduce energy loss and noise in ductwork systems, saving you money on utilities. You’ll also enjoy increased comfort in your home due to improved airflow. Ductwork insulation is constructed of lightweight, high-performance materials that resist heat and moisture for long-term use.

Duct Maintenance and Cleaning Cost

Duct cleaning and maintenance costs will vary depending on the size of your system but typically range from $300 to $500 in total. Duct cleaning and maintenance can help reduce energy costs and extend the life of your HVAC system.

Duct Sealing Cost

Duct sealing is an easy and cost-effective way to save money on your energy bills. By preventing air leakage, you can reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to 15%. On average, duct sealing costs between $330 and $1,500, including supplies and labor.

Duct Armor Cost

Duct armor is ideal for homeowners looking to protect their ductwork from corrosion and other damage. It’s a strong, durable material that can withstand extreme temperatures, moisture, and chemicals. The cost to install duct armor will depend on the size of your system but typically ranges from $3,000 to $16,500.

Ductwork Repair

Generally, ductwork is made of sheet metal, fiberglass, and insulation materials that eventually need to be repaired. Whether patching a duct hole or replacing an entire system section, repairs are an essential part of any HVAC maintenance program.

For small repairs, technicians can charge from $200 to $800 on average. If it’s a bigger repair, the price can rise up to several thousand dollars, depending on the scope of the job.

HVAC Maintenance and Repair Cost

In addition to installing new ductwork, it’s important to keep up with regular maintenance and repairs of your HVAC system. Without proper maintenance, your energy bills can skyrocket, and you may end up needing to replace the entire system.

To keep your HVAC system running optimally, it’s best to have an experienced technician inspect and service the system every year. On average, HVAC maintenance costs range from $85 to $170 per visit. This cost includes the technician’s time, travel expenses, and materials.

HVAC repair costs are much higher and will depend on the specific problem and its complexity. Generally, you can expect to pay between $180 and $580 for basic repairs.

Ductwork Permits Cost

It’s important to ensure that your ductwork installations are up to code and properly permitted before you begin. Many municipalities require an HVAC inspection that includes all new ductwork to ensure it is properly installed and safe for use.

To ensure your installation meets the local building codes and regulations for installing ductwork, you’ll need to obtain the necessary permits before beginning. The national average for these permits is between $200 and $350.

If you need to replace your ducting system, the cost of a permit may be higher. Generally, replacing all ducts for an HVAC system can cost anywhere from $250 to $2,000.

Home Energy Audit

A home energy audit is an essential part of any HVAC maintenance program. An energy audit can help you identify areas where your home is losing energy and offer solutions to reduce energy consumption.

The cost of a home energy audit is typically between $200 and $600, on average. In addition to finding areas where you can reduce energy consumption, a home energy audit can also provide important information about your ductwork system and suggest ways to improve its efficiency.

Asbestos Inspection and Removal Cost

If you’re installing new ductwork in an older home, you should have your ducts inspected for asbestos. Asbestos is a hazardous material that can cause serious health problems if not handled properly. The cost to inspect for asbestos typically ranges from $235 to $700.

If asbestos is found in your home, it must be removed by a professional. The asbestos removal cost can range from $1,000 to $2,770, depending on the size and complexity of the job.

Mold Inspection and Removal

Mold can be dangerous if not removed properly. If you suspect mold in your ductwork, it’s important to have it inspected and removed. A mold inspection typically ranges from $265 to $900, and the mold remediation cost is usually between $1,373 and $3,325.

Mini-Split Ductless AC System vs. Central AC

Ductless air conditioning systems consist of an indoor unit connected to an outdoor compressor. They are often used in homes that don’t have existing ductwork, as they are more efficient and easier to install than central ac units.

Central AC units, meanwhile, rely on a network of ducts to distribute air throughout the home. Both systems can provide efficient cooling and heating, but central AC ductwork is usually better suited for larger spaces. 

A ductless system typically costs from $2,500 to 12,500 in total. Installing central air conditioning with ductwork usually costs between $7,800 and $14,800, including materials and labor.

Cost to Install Ductwork by Location

The cost of installing ductwork could range from $2,000 to $5,000 across the country. However, depending on your location, this range may be higher or lower. Rural areas may have lower prices due to the lower labor costs, while in bigger cities, building codes, contractor availability, and other factors might affect the final cost. It is also important to consider the cost of materials, which can vary widely depending on quality and availability.

No matter where you are, compare quotes from multiple contractors before making your ductwork decision. This way, you can be sure that you’re getting the best value for your money.

FAQ About Ductwork Installation

Can I install ductwork myself?

No, ductwork installation can be dangerous and should only be done by a professional. Furthermore, many local building codes require that all new ductwork must be inspected and permitted by a licensed professional.

Can you install ducts in an existing home?

Yes, you can install ducts in an existing home. However, it is important to ensure that the installation meets local building codes and regulations. Additionally, you may need to obtain special permits before beginning the installation.

Does new ductwork increase home value?

Homeowners who invest in new ductwork can see an increase in their property’s value, especially if they install a modern, energy-efficient system. New ductwork can also improve air quality, reduce allergens, and help regulate temperatures throughout the home.

What is the lifespan of ductwork?

The lifespan of ductwork depends on the materials used and the local climate. Generally, metal ducts are expected to last between 20 and 25 years, while flex ducts typically last 10 to 15 years. Additionally, all ducts should be inspected and cleaned regularly to ensure they function properly.

Hire an HVAC Pro to Install Your Ductwork

Ducts are an essential component of any home’s HVAC system and can significantly impact your overall energy costs. When planning your air conditioning system, research all your options and compare quotes from multiple contractors before making a decision.

Additionally, remember that DIY ductwork installation can be dangerous, and this kind of job should only be done by a professional. HVAC Gnome connects you to the best HVAC pros near you who will get the job done right and on time.

Note: HVAC Gnome may get a referral fee for matching you with contractors in your area.

Main Photo Credit: John Coley / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Luminita Toma

Luminita Toma is a nature-loving writer who simply adores anything pretty, from colorful flower gardens to chic interior design. After plenty of research on landscaping and home improvement, she’s got a keen eye for what makes a home beautiful. When she’s not sharing what she’s learned, there’s nothing she enjoys more than chilling with her friends, hitting the theatre, or traveling.