How Much Does It Cost to Install Ductwork?

National Average Range:
$1,436 - $17,149

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Updated: January 11, 2024

Reviewed by Carol J Alexander remodeling expert. Written by

To provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date cost figures, we gather information from a variety of pricing databases, licensed contractors, and industry experts.

A series of ducts carries warmed or cooled air from your central HVAC unit to all the rooms of your house. Sometimes, those air ducts spring leaks from cracks or damage, resulting in energy loss and poor indoor air quality. Typically, the cost to replace ductwork costs between $1,856 and $17,149 on average.

Some older homes have no central heating or cooling system and require adding a new ductwork system throughout. Depending on the size of the house and the duct placement and material, adding new HVAC ductwork typically costs between $1,436 to $16,211.

These figures are based on an average 2,500 square-foot home requiring 275 linear feet of ducts. However, on the low end, ductwork installation costs for a 1,200-square-foot house range from $689 to $8,232. On the high end, installing ductwork in a 3,500-square-foot house could cost from $2,009 to $24,008.

This cost guide looks at other factors that influence the cost of installing ductwork.

Costs to install ductwork

National average cost


Average range

$1,436 to $17,149





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Cost factors affecting ductwork installation

Size and layout of the home

When measuring for duct replacement, the size of your home matters. Typically, the larger the home, the more ductwork it needs. However, ductwork is priced by linear foot. And estimating how many linear feet you need depends more on the home’s layout than its square footage. For instance, a 2,500-square-foot ranch-style home could need more linear feet of ductwork than a two-story home the same size. A square-shaped home could require fewer linear feet of duct than a long, rectangular-shaped house.

The number of vents also adds to the cost of the ductwork. Each vent requires a separate duct run off the main trunk. And each run requires more labor and material.

Location of the ducts

In most homes, the ductwork is hidden in the attic, crawl space, basement, or walls. So, the ease of access to the duct’s location affects the duct replacement costs. Typically, the attic or basement is the most accessible. However, sometimes crawl spaces are so cramped the contractor needs to employ special tools. Depending on the space's depth, replacing ducts in this area may increase labor costs.

However, suppose your ductwork is located in the walls, soffits, or between the floors of a multi-story home. In that case, you’ll probably pay more for the project. Replacing the ductwork in these areas often requires cutting into a finished wall to access the ducts, installing the new ducts, and then replacing and finishing the damaged drywall.

Replacement or retrofitting

Typically, the cost to replace existing ductwork with new is about 25 percent more than retrofitting new ductwork into an older home.

The cost of installing ductwork will vary depending on if you have existing ductwork that needs to be removed or if you’re retrofitting an older home with no existing ductwork. Increased labor costs demonstrate the cost difference. However, if you’re including an HVAC unit with ductwork, you may encounter different challenges, like where to put the ducts. 


There are several different material options available for residential ductwork. They include galvanized sheet metal, galvanized spiral, and flexible fiberglass.

Galvanized sheet metal

The cost to replace old ductwork with galvanized sheet metal ductwork ranges from $21.38 to $62.36 per linear foot, depending on your geographic region and the job’s complexity.

The cost to retrofit an older home with galvanized sheet metal ductwork where no ductwork existed before ranges from $19.51 to $58.95.

An HVAC professional uses a sheet metal brake to form the material into a rectangular-shaped duct. The duct size varies from six to 10 inches, depending on how much air needs to be moved. For instance, the main trunk is larger than the smaller runs that go from the trunk to the vents. Sheet metal ducts have the longest lifespan of all types of ducts.

Galvanized spiral

The cost to remove old ductwork and replace it with galvanized spiral ductwork ranges from $9.06 to $37.14 per linear foot, depending on your geographic region and the job's complexity.

The cost to retrofit an older home with galvanized spiral ductwork where no ductwork existed before ranges from $6.81 to $30.33.

Pre-formed in a tube, galvanized spiral ductwork is lighter than sheet metal. It also requires fewer supports and less labor.

Flexible fiberglass

The cost to remove old ductwork and replace it with flexible fiberglass ductwork ranges from $6.95 to $28.95 per linear foot uninsulated and from $6.75 to $34.19 per linear foot insulated, depending on your geographic region and the complexity of the job.

The cost to retrofit an older home with flexible fiberglass ductwork where no ductwork existed before ranges from $5.22 to $20.76 per linear foot uninsulated and from $5.43 to $26 per linear foot insulated.

Flexible ducts are ideal for hard-to-reach locations and complex layouts. They’re formed by sandwiching a layer of fiberglass between layers of plastic, foil, or Mylar. They come insulated and non-insulated.



Cost range per linear foot

Galvanized sheet metal

Heavy, must be formed on-site using a brake, labor-intensive, most durable and long-lasting option

Replacement: $21.38 to $62.36

Retrofit: $19.51 to $58.95

Galvanized spiral

Also long-lasting, more durable than flex-duct, lightweight

Replacement: $9.06 to $37.14

Retrofit: $6.81 to $30.33

Flexible fiberglass–uninsulated

Least expensive, lightweight, ideal for complex locations, not as durable, subject to tearing

Replacement: $6.95 to $28.95

Retrofit: $5.22 to $20.76

Flexible fiberglass–insulated

Least expensive, lightweight, ideal for complex locations, not as durable, subject to tearing

Replacement: $6.75 to $34.19

Retrofit: $5.43 to $26

Your system may be fine, but it probably could use a good duct cleaning.

The cost to install ductwork in your home

Budget-friendly ductwork installation

Small, one-story homes with an attic require the lowest budget. The average cost of a budget-friendly ductwork installation ranges from $574 to $7,146. This pricing tier would include:

  • One-story home
  • Attic or basement for easier installation
  • Under 2,000 square feet

Mid-range ductwork installation

For a moderate budget, you can install ductwork in an average-sized home with a few more access challenges. The average cost of a mid-range ductwork installation ranges from $1,096 to $10,009. This budget tier would include:

  • Average-sized home of 2,000 to 3,000 square feet
  • Access is through a crawl space, making it more challenging

High-end ductwork installation

Larger, multi-story homes require a larger budget when installing ductwork. The average cost of a high-end ductwork installation ranges from $13,338 to $19,419. This pricing tier would include:

  • Large home over 3,000 square feet
  • Multiple stories with ductwork between floors
  • Access requires cutting away walls or ceilings

Can I DIY ductwork installation?

HVAC mechanics typically charge $83 to $151 per hour to install ductwork, depending on the scope of work and where you live.

Old ducts can harbor mold. And until the 1980s, some were insulated with asbestos material. These toxic substances make replacing ductwork a hazardous job. But even if you’re installing an HVAC system where none previously existed, installing ductwork is a job best left to the professionals. HVAC mechanics already have all the necessary tools, know what hidden problems to look out for, and have the knowledge to best design a system of ducts that is the most energy efficient for your home. 

Paying for your ductwork installation

Whether you’re retrofitting an older home or replacing damaged and leaky ductwork, the project can cost a lot of money. Especially if you’re also including a heat pump or central air conditioning.

If your budget falls on the low end of the spectrum, you may have the cash to pay for the ductwork replacement. Or, you may choose to use a retailer credit card. Some big box stores frequently offer payment options that make using their cards attractive. They include cash-off incentives for opening a new account, 90 days, same as cash, or a percentage off the material costs. Taking advantage of one of these offers keeps money in your pocket. If hiring an HVAC contractor, ask them if you can purchase all the materials this way.

But, if you’re on the high end of the budget spectrum and cash is scarce, you could borrow against a HELOC. Now might be a good time if you haven’t opened a home equity line of credit. Homeowners appreciate these accounts because the money is ready and waiting when needed. 

Ways to save money on duct installation 

If you’re struggling to come up with the funds for the total cost of installing new ductwork in your home, here are a few ideas that might help you save a few more dollars.

  • Ask the contractor if using a less expensive material suits your needs.
  • Don’t do it. Maybe your existing ducts don’t need replacing; they need repairing. Ask your contractor if repairing the ducts is an option. Or, if you’re retrofitting an older home, consider installing a mini-split or ductless system instead.

Other things to consider

A couple of items that could incur additional costs when installing ductwork include

  • Location –  Material and prices vary by region of the country. Always check with local professionals for accurate pricing.
  • Warranties – Ask your contractor if they provide a warranty for workmanship. 

Improve your airflow

You know that replacing your ductwork will save on energy bills. So, what are you waiting for? Find an experienced pro to install your ductwork. You’ll have peace of mind that the job was done right so that you can breathe easier.

Get a cost estimate from a professional specializing in ductwork