Ductwork Cost

In this guide

Installation
Materials
Other materials
Vents
Labor
Enhancements
Additional Considerations

How much does it cost to install ductwork?

Ductwork is the network of tubes that is connected to your HVAC system and runs throughout your home. Its purpose is to distribute air to and from your HVAC appliances. If you are planning on installing an HVAC system in your home, you’ll need to install accompanying ductwork. You may also need to install new ductwork if your home’s existing network is in poor condition.

Factors affecting the cost of ductwork installation include the type of HVAC system it’s going to be connected to the material, and the shape and length of the ducts. This guide looks at the average cost of installing ductwork.

Installation

Ductwork installation will almost always take place in your attic. Contractors will plan the lines of ductwork needed according to your lighting, then cut the ducting to fit the planned lengths. Joints 1 are attached, and the ducting is connected to vents and your HVAC system.

Expect to pay $35-$55 per linear foot (including labor and materials). This amounts to an average of $1,000-$5,000 for a typical home. An average single-family home needs anywhere from 30 to 90 linear feet of ducting, but the specific total length depends on your home’s unique layout. You need to replace your old ductwork if it has leaks, cracks, or is generally in poor condition.

The following are the most common home HVAC systems that require ductwork:

The same ductwork installed for heating systems can also be used for air-conditioning.

Materials

The average cost of ducting is $16-$19 per 10 linear feet. It’s recommended that you buy a few more linear feet than you need. General guidelines are:

  • 10 linear feet - 2 extra
  • 30 linear feet - 3 extra
  • 50 linear feet - 4 extra
  • 70 linear feet - 5 extra
  • 100 linear feet - 7 extra

The material type of your ducting has an effect on the total materials cost. Common material types and their uses are laid out in the table below:

MaterialInformationPrice per linear foot
Flexible non-metallic

Good for winding through complex spaces

Lightweight

 Can be prone to tearing

$1-$2
Flexible aluminum

Good for winding through complex spaces

Lightweight

$1-$4
Sheet metal

Strong but not easily insulated

Rigid

Best for straight lines.

$1.50-$6
Fiberglass duct board

Easy to cut and make rectangle or square shapes

Pre-insulated

Best for straight lines where temperature control is needed

$4.50-$6


Shapes: There are several shapes you can find ducting in: round, oval, spiral, rectangular. Shape choice depends on the nature of the space you are installing the ductwork in and what will fit best there.

Other materials

Elbows 2, joints 1, and other minor attachments for ducting generally cost $5-$25, with larger pieces having prices at the higher end of that range. Duct fans can cost $30 or more. Return air drops can cost over $300. Foil sealing tape costs $25 per 60’ roll.

Insulated duct wrap costs $40 per 60’ roll. Flexible ducting with built-in 3 insulation typically costs $1.30-$2.50 per linear foot.

Vents

Your ductwork installation will likely entail the addition or replacement of connected air vents in your walls. This is where the air will be distributed into and out of the rooms. Vents can cost $6-$25, with large and decorative vents costing more. Vent filters cost $3-$4 for 12-packs.

Labor

Installing ductwork is labor intensive. HVAC technicians generally charge $50-$70 per hour. An average ductwork installation project lasts 2-3 workdays ($800-$1680).

Enhancement and improvement costs

Maintenance

Air duct cleaning should be done every 3-5 years to keep your HVAC system safe, clean, and energy efficient. If you notice that the vent filters or air returns are dusty, and can spot debris in your vent, your air ducts are in need of cleaning. A professional air duct cleaning service for a 1500 sq. ft. home typically costs $300-$500.

Additional considerations and costs

DIY

DIY can be done, but it’s recommended that you hire an HVAC professional to handle the installation. Poor installation can have a bad effect on the system’s efficiency. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, systems can lose between 25%-40% of performance efficiency as a result of poor installation.

Layout

Homes with strange or complex layouts can cost more, around $5,000-$15,000. The same goes for homes that have no existing ductwork system and weren’t designed to contain one. In such a scenario, it may be less expensive to install a ductless HVAC system ($2,500).

Regulations and permits

Check your local building codes to see what requirements there are for ductwork. Also, check your homeowner’s insurance policy to make sure your project doesn’t void your contract.

Your local authorities may require a permit before work can begin. Many HVAC contractors will take care of permit acquisition for you. Permit fees are $100 or (often) less. Keep in mind that specific fees vary by location; some counties or states may charge more.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Joints: A fold, line, or groove where two pieces of material join together
2 Elbows: An L-shaped fitting used to connect two straight pipes to enable their flow to go around a corner
3 Built-in: An item of furniture, such as a bookcase or set of cabinets, that is built directly into the structure of the room. Built-ins are therefore customized to the room and not detachable

Cost to install ductwork varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Arlington, VA
+38%
Astoria, NY
+93%
Aurora, CO
+10%
Austin, TX
+13%
Bakersfield, CA
-6%
Baltimore, MD
+12%
Bethlehem, PA
+12%
Birmingham, AL
+6%
Boston, MA
+40%
Bronx, NY
+32%
Brooklyn, NY
+16%
Buffalo, NY
-1%
Charlotte, NC
+6%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Cleveland, OH
+7%
Colorado Springs, CO
-3%
Columbus, GA
-20%
Columbus, OH
+5%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Denver, CO
+1%
Detroit, MI
+16%
El Paso, TX
-28%
Farmington, MI
+32%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Fresno, CA
-6%
Frisco, TX
+23%
Fullerton, CA
+22%
Garland, TX
+8%
Hampton, VA
-18%
Hollywood, FL
0%
Houston, TX
+24%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Kansas City, MO
+4%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Little Rock, AR
0%
Long Beach, CA
+16%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Los Gatos, CA
+36%
Lusby, MD
-20%
Mercer, PA
-21%
Miami, FL
+1%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
Nashville, TN
+21%
New York, NY
+77%
Norfolk, VA
-6%
North Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Oklahoma City, OK
-12%
Omaha, NE
-10%

Labor cost in your zip code

Methodology and sources