How much does it cost to install or replace ductwork?
$1,400 – $5,600 average ductwork replacement
$270 – $500 per duct run (replacement)
$25 – $55 per linear foot (replacement)
$270 – $500 per duct run (replacement)
$25 – $55 per linear foot (replacement)
New ductwork costs $1,400 to $5,600 to install or replace. Air duct replacement costs $25 to $55 per linear foot or $270 to $500 per duct. Adding a vent to existing ductwork costs $250 to $500. HVAC ductwork repair costs $200 to $700 for minor leaks. Duct sealing costs $400 to $2,700.
Get free estimates from duct installers near you or view our cost guide below.
Cost to replace ductwork
The average cost to replace ductwork is $1,400 to $5,600, depending on the home's size. Air duct replacement costs $25 to $55 per linear foot or $270 to $500 per duct for a crawl space, attic, or basement. New ductwork installation costs $2,400 to $6,600 for a house without HVAC ducts.
|Home size (square feet)||Average cost|
|1,000 – 1,500||$1,400 – $3,400|
|1,500 – 2,000||$2,100 – $4,500|
|2,000 – 2,500||$2,800 – $5,600|
|2,500 – 3,000||$3,500 – $6,700|
|3,000 – 3,500||$4,200 – $7,800|
|3,500 – 4,000||$4,900 – $9,000|
- Initial duct inspections cost $40 to $100 for duct replacement quotes.
- Ductwork lasts 10 to 20 years on average.
- Installing new ducts takes 1 to 2 days.
- Homeowners who replace leaky ducts save 10% to 40% on energy bills.
Ductwork cost calculator
The following table shows the average cost to replace ductwork.
|National average cost||$3,500|
|Average range||$1,400 to $5,600|
Cost data is based on 399 project costs reported by HomeGuide members.
New ductwork installation cost
New ductwork installation costs $2,400 to $6,600 on average to retrofit an existing home without ducts. A new duct system includes the fittings, plenum, air distribution boxes, duct runs, dampers, and insulated register boots.
|Install type||Cost per linear foot||Average cost|
|Ductwork replacement||$25 – $55||$1,400 – $5,600|
|New duct installation / retrofit||$40 – $65||$2,400 – $6,600|
Commercial ductwork cost per square foot
Installing commercial ductwork costs $15 to $35 per linear foot on average, depending on the ductwork size, location, and access. Commercial jobs require customized, large-scale duct designs.
Air duct replacement cost
Residential ductwork installation costs $25 to $55 per linear foot on average to remove the existing ducts and install new ductwork. The average home has 100 linear feet of ductwork.
|Interior location||Average cost|
|Crawl space||$3,000 – $7,300|
|Attic||$2,200 – $5,600|
|Basement||$1,800 – $3,100|
|Mobile home||$1,000 – $3,300|
*Includes materials and labor.
Cost to replace ductwork in a crawl space
Replacing ductwork in a crawl space costs $3,000 to $7,300 on average, depending on the size, condition, and accessibility. Duct contractors recommend cleaning, repairing, or encapsulating the crawl space before installing new ducts for maximum system efficiency and longevity:
- Crawl space cleaning costs $500 to $4,000 on average.
- Crawl space repair costs $2,500 to $8,000, and typically includes cleaning.
- Crawl space encapsulation costs $3,000 to $8,000 on average.
Cost to replace air ducts in an attic
Replacing ductwork in an attic costs $2,200 to $5,600 on average, depending on the accessibility and system size. Adding attic insulation costs $800 to $1,500. Attic duct insulation improves energy efficiency in unconditioned attics and prevents AC units from overworking.
Cost to replace ductwork in basement
The cost to replace ductwork in a basement is $1,800 to $3,100 on average. Basement ductwork replacements are typically the cheapest since the ducts are easy to access.
Exposed ductwork cost
Exposed ductwork costs $10 to $33 per linear foot installed. Exposed ducts are easier to access than concealed ductwork. However, ductwork prices increase for open ceilings because of the more expensive materials, painting, and longer install time.
Mobile home ductwork cost
Mobile home ductwork replacement costs $1,000 to $3,300 on average. Ductwork in mobile homes is typically under the floor with the insulation, which makes replacement difficult. Total costs depend on the mobile home size, duct material, and accessibility.
Cost factors to replace ductwork in a house
The total cost to replace ductwork depends on the house size, duct location, number of ducts, duct type, and insulation. Labor costs increase for rerouting ductwork, cutting into the floor or ceiling, or installing ducts in older homes.
|Home energy audit||$200 – $500|
|Adding a vent to existing ductwork||$250 – $500|
|Duct insulation||$800 – $2,000|
|Asbestos inspection & testing||$250 – $700|
|Asbestos removal||$700 – $2,200|
|Mold inspection & testing||$200 – $650|
|Mold remediation||$450 – $6,000|
|Permits||$50 – $250|
Additional fees may apply for:
- Drywall repair costs $150 to $325.
- Ceiling repair costs $300 to $1,200 on average or $50 to $100 per square foot.
- Drop ceiling tile replacement costs $2 to $4 per square foot.
- Installing a new ceiling grid and tiles costs $3 to $7 per square foot.
Cost to add a vent to existing ductwork
Adding a vent to existing ductwork costs $250 to $500, depending on duct locations and the home layout. Adding additional HVAC air vents lowers the overall system efficiency and raises utility bills. HVAC installers advise only adding vents when upgrading to a more powerful HVAC system.
Ductwork material costs
Ductwork material costs depend on the material, size, and shape. Duct installers use different duct types depending on the location, building codes, and HVAC system requirements.
|Duct type||Material cost per linear foot||Facts|
|Flexible non-insulated||$1 – $3||
|Flexible insulated||$2 – $4||
|Fiberglass / fiberboard||$4 – $6||
|Sheet metal||$7 – $13||
*Not including installation or contractor mark-up.
Cost to insulate ductwork
Duct wrap insulation costs $800 to $2,000 on average for materials and labor. Duct insulation costs $1 to $8 per square foot installed, depending on the home’s size, insulation type, location, and accessibility.
|Insulation type||Total cost installed per square foot|
|Fiberglass (flexible)||$1 – $4|
|Fiberglass (rigid / foam board)||$4 – $8|
|Mineral wool (flexible)||$2 – $4|
Cost to move ductwork
Relocating or moving ductwork costs $25 to $55 per linear foot. Moving ductwork requires ripping out the old ducts and installing new ducts in the new location.
Asbestos and mold in air ducts
Installing ductwork in an older home may require removing hazardous materials like asbestos or mold first. Homes built during or before the 1970s often have asbestos duct insulation.
- Asbestos inspections and testing costs $250 to $700.
- Asbestos removal costs $700 to $2,200 for removing asbestos-filled ducts.
- Mold inspection and testing costs $200 to $650.
- Mold remediation costs $450 to $6,000, depending on the contamination level.
Ductwork permits and regulations
A building permit costs $50 to $250 for installing new ductwork. Permits for replacing ducts as part of a full HVAC system install cost $250 to $1,500. Fees depend on local code regulations and other HVAC connections. Contractors typically pull all permits and manage inspections.
HVAC ductwork installation cost
The average cost to install an HVAC system with ductwork is $7,000 to $16,000 for retrofits in existing homes. Installing new heating and cooling units with existing ducts costs $5,000 to $11,000 on average. New HVAC ductwork installation costs $2,400 to $6,600 on average.
|HVAC unit type||HVAC unit cost installed||HVAC unit with ductwork cost|
|Central air conditioner||$3,300 – $5,900||$4,700 – $11,500|
|Furnace||$2,000 – $5,400||$3,400 – $11,000|
|Heat pump||$3,800 – $8,200||$5,200 – $13,800|
|Geothermal heat pump||$15,000 – $35,000||$16,400 – $40,600|
Adding central air conditioning
Installing a new air conditioning unit costs $3,300 to $5,900 with existing ductwork. AC duct replacement costs $1,400 to $5,600 more for upgrading old ductwork that’s damaged or too small for the new unit.
Upgrading a forced-air heating system
Installing a new furnace and ductwork costs $3,400 to $11,000. Furnace ductwork prices alone are $1,400 to $5,600 for replacements, or $2,400 to $6,600 for new installations in existing homes.
- Furnace replacement or installation costs $2,000 to $5,400.
- Heat pump replacement costs $3,800 to $8,200.
- Geothermal heat pumps cost $15,000 to $35,000.
Ductwork repair cost
Ductwork repair costs $200 to $700 on average for minor jobs, depending on the service, duct size, and accessibility. Basic repairs include fixing a leak, replacing a vent, or replacing small duct sections or insulation. Larger damages need a full sealant application or duct replacements.
|Minor repairs||$200 – $700|
|Air duct cleaning||$300 – $700|
|Aeroseal sealing||$1,300 – $2,700|
|Manual sealing||$400 – $1,900|
|Duct Armor||$5,000 – $30,000|
Air duct cleaning
Air duct cleaning costs $300 to $700 on average or $25 to $45 per vent. Professional duct cleaning includes all supply and return air ducts, dryer vents, grills, and the furnace or AC blower. Contractors advise cleaning the air ducts every 3 to 7 years, or with duct repairs.
Duct sealing cost
Air duct sealing costs $400 to $1,900 for manual sealing with mastic sealer or tape. Aerosol duct sealing costs $1,300 to $2,700 for injecting hot polymer glue inside the air ducts. Total costs depend on the home’s size, duct’s condition, and accessibility.
|Manual||$400 – $1,900||
|Aerosol||$1,300 – $2,700||
Benefits of duct sealing:
- Raises energy efficiency by 10% to 40% by repairing all leaks
- Improves indoor air quality
- Distributes heating evenly throughout the home
Duct Armor cost
Duct Armor costs $5,000 to $30,000, depending on the ductwork size, type, condition, accessibility, and prep work. Installers spray this sealant inside ducts to create a ¼” thick rubberized duct liner that completely coats, seals, and restores old ductwork.
Duct Armor uses and benefits:
- Prevents pest infestations
- Stops air leaks
- Seals cracks, rust, and water damage
- Encapsulates asbestos
- Stabilizes old fiberglass ductwork
- Eliminates smoke odors after a fire
- Not suitable for flex ducts with holes larger than 0.5 inch
Frequently asked questions
What is ductwork?
Ductwork is a large piping system that sends heated or cooled air from HVAC units throughout the home. Duct vents are long tubes or rectangular sheet-metal channels made of fiberglass, steel, PVC, or aluminum. These rigid or flexible ducts are in ceilings, attics, basements, and crawl spaces.
How long does it take to replace ductwork?
Replacing ductwork takes 1 to 2 days on average or up to 4 days for larger homes or complex projects. Installation time depends on the home’s size, age, number of HVAC units, duct type, and crew size. Allow more time when wall or ceiling repairs are necessary.
How often should ductwork be replaced?
Ductwork lasts 10 to 20 years on average before it needs replacing. Most ducts need work when replacing HVAC systems more than 15 years old or when upgrading to bigger or higher-efficiency units.
Signs to repair or replace ductwork:
- Unbalanced heating or cooling
- Rising energy bills
- Reduced airflow
- Noisy HVAC system with vibrating ducts
- Consistently dusty home
- Mold, odors, or moisture damage in air ducts
- Pest infestations in the ductwork
- Collapsed, loosened, torn, or rusted duct sections
Does ductwork need to be insulated?
Ductwork in unconditioned spaces needs insulation. Duct insulation reduces energy bills by 10% to 40%, prevents condensation, and makes the ducts last longer. Very cold, hot, and humid climates benefit most from duct insulation.
Can you use flex ducts in a crawl space?
You can use flex ducts in a crawl space that stays dry with full encapsulation that blocks out all pests. Flex ducts always need insulation in unconditioned crawl spaces, and they should hang above the ground. Especially in humid climates, rigid metal ducts last longer in unconditioned crawl spaces.
Do you need to replace ductwork when replacing an AC unit?
You should replace ductwork when replacing an AC unit if the ducts are moldy, more than 20 years old, or cracked. AC upgrades often require new ductwork to fit bigger systems properly. HVAC installers inspect ducts first and recommend cleaning, repairing, or replacing ducts as needed.
Do heat pumps require ductwork?
Heat pumps can have mini-split systems with or without ductwork. Conventional air-source heat pumps need ducts to move air through the home. Ductless systems circulate refrigerant through small conduit lines from outdoor compressors to indoor blower units.
Can I install my own ductwork?
DIY ductwork replacement is illegal in most states without a license. Hire certified HVAC contractors for duct installation and repairs.
Risks of DIY ducting include:
- Failing home inspections
- Forfeiting home insurance and HVAC warranties
- Leaky ducts that raise utility bills
- Damage to the home and HVAC units
Hiring a professional duct installer
Hire ductwork contractors who install ductwork properly to meet all building code standards.
When choosing an air duct contractor:
- Make sure they are licensed, bonded, and insured.
- Ask to see their certifications from:
- Seek out contractors with at least 2 to 5 years of work experience.
- Collect project bids from three different companies to compare estimates.
- Avoid choosing the lowest estimates that lead to low-quality work.
- Compare past reviews on HomeGuide, Google, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
- Don’t sign contracts until you understand the total project cost.
- Make a payment schedule instead of paying in full upfront to avoid scams.
Questions to ask duct installers
- Which duct type is best for my home?
- How many duct installations have you done?
- Can I see photos of your past work?
- Can you provide references from previous ductwork projects?
- What does your labor warranty cover?
- If installing flex ducts, will you add supports every 4 feet?
- Can you install ducts in air-conditioned areas to reduce energy losses?
- Will you insulate the entire length of all supply lines?
- Do you use rigid connectors and sealant on flex-duct connections?
- Will you test for duct leaks after installation?
- Do you use Manual D duct-design calculation software to size the ducts?
- Can you also make Manual J and Manual T calculations to check the supply-register sizes?
- Do your prices include a home energy audit to prevent leaks and optimize airflow?
- Will you pull permits for this duct installation, and how much do they cost?
- Does this estimate include all labor, materials, and cleanup costs?
- How long will this duct installation take?
Get free estimates on HomeGuide from trusted ductwork installers:
- Pray, Richard. "2020 National Construction Estimator." PDF file. (2020).
- Russell, Jonathan. "2020 National Renovation & Insurance Repair Estimator." PDF file. (2020).
- Hicks, Ray F. "2020 National Home Improvement Estimator." PDF file. (2020).
- Paxton, Albert S. "2020 National Repair & Remodeling Estimator." PDF file. (2020).
- Thomson, James A. "2020 National Plumbing & HVAC Estimator." PDF file. (2020).
- Gleason, Dennis D., CPE. "2020 National Painting Cost Estimator." PDF file. (2020).
- Tyler, Mark C. "2020 National Electrical Estimator." PDF file. (2020).
- Moselle, Ben. "2021 National Building Cost Manual." PDF file. (2020).
- Paul Matthews, Intelligent design. Personal communication. (2021).
- Domingo Evans, Top Tech Mechanical Services. Personal communication. (2021).
- Sean Mckinney, Maintenance Unlimited Heating & Cooling. Personal communication. (2021).
- Monster Air LLC. Personal communication. (2021).
- Curt Wellendorf, Clear Air Conditioning. Personal communication. (2021).
- Alan Eubank, Duct Armor. Personal communication. (2021).
- Western States Home Services Representative, Air Conditioning & Plumbing Services - Tucson, Arizona. Personal communication. (2021).
- Tailored Mechanical, LLC representative, Tucson, AZ. Personal communication. (2021).
- California Heat Air Conditioning representative, Los Angeles, CA. Personal communication. (2021).
- James Beard, Family Air, LLC. Personal communication. (2021).
- Jesse Villarreal, Adon Complete, Air Conditioning and Heating. Personal communication. (2021).
Cost to Install Ductwork. (2021).
- Global Heating & Cooling LLC. Personal communication. (2021).
Budgeting for HVAC: How much does ductwork installation cost? (2021).
Duct replacement. (2019).
When do you need air duct replacement or repair? (2021).
How much does HVAC installation or replacement cost? (2020).
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