Ventilation Installation Cost Guide
Updated: 26 Aug 2022
Updated: Jul 29, 2021
Reviewed by Cristina Miguelez remodeling expert. Written by Fixr.com.
Having a home ventilation system keeps the air quality in your home where it should be for a healthy atmosphere. This is a vital part of keeping your family and yourself well and your home comfortable and safe. A ventilation system is necessary to keep harmful gasses, pollen, dust, and humidity under control. Homeowners with the correct ventilation system save money on electricity and still keep the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
The national average cost for installing a ventilation system ranges from $2,400 to $8,000. Most people spend $4,000 on installing a demand control ventilation system. At the low end of the price range, you could spend as little as $120 for an attic exhaust fan replacement with installation included. At the high end, some people pay as much as $10,000 to install a brand new hybrid ventilation system in their home.
Ventilation System Price
|Ventilation Installation Cost|
|National average cost||$4,000|
Ventilation System Cost by Type
Ventilation systems cost from $120 to $10,000. A ventilation system can be one of several types. Unlike a mechanical system, a natural ventilation system uses natural forces such as wind to provide fresh breathing air into the home. Mechanical ventilation systems use fans to push the air into the house. The best type of ventilation system depends on the climate, availability of resources, home design, and human needs.
|System Type||Ventilation Cost (Installed)|
|Natural||$120 - $8,500|
|Mechanical||$500 - $8,000|
|Hybrid||$700 - $10,000|
|Smart||$2,750 - $15,000|
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Natural Ventilation Price by Type
The cost of Natural ventilation systems varies significantly according to the type of ventilation method you choose, but typical costs are $120 to $8,500. The method is achieved with energy-saving systems built into a home in windows, doors, wind towers, solar chimneys, and trickle ventilators. Although natural ventilation is a reliable form of airflow, it has some disadvantages. It relies on climate but may still be a good choice, especially when used with mechanical ventilation or other mixed-mode systems. If installed, maintained, and managed correctly, the cost savings are high with a natural ventilation system.
|Natural Ventilation Type||System Cost (Installed)|
|Single-Sided||$120 - $400|
|Cross||$700 - $3,000|
|Stack||$1,000 - $8,500|
The cost for single-sided ventilation is $120 to $400. Single-sided natural ventilation is where there are one or more openings but only on one side of a home or building. It is a method that is driven by wind speed and temperature. This is the type of natural ventilation you often see in apartments or condominiums because multiple units share the same building. It is not nearly as effective as other forms of ventilation due to the lack of cross ventilation. It is more energy-efficient than a mechanical ventilation choice.
Cross Ventilation System
A cross ventilation system costs $700 to $3,000. Cross ventilation, otherwise known as wind-based ventilation, is accomplished by placing envelope openings within a building in at least two separate facades. Most modern buildings take into consideration a form of cross ventilation design. The concept is that cool air will be drawn in through one side of the building and the warm air pushed out the openings on the other side.
Stack Ventilation System
The cost for stack ventilation is $1,000 to $8,500. Stack ventilation systems are buoyancy-driven ventilation. As the wind dies down, the system uses air pressure, temperature, and density levels from both internal and external air to ventilate. This is achieved by using a variable height for the openings that allow air in and out. Chimneys, atriums, and ventilation shafts assist with ventilation.
Mechanical Ventilation Cost by Type
Mechanical air exchange systems cost $500 to $8,000. They use fans installed into windows, walls, or air ducts to remove or add air to the home. When warm air touches a cold surface, it creates condensation. This can be prevented with fans that either suck the air out or adds air to balance the air quality inside the room. A balanced mechanical ventilation system occurs when the air quality meets certain design specifications.
|Mechanical Ventilation Type||System Cost (Installed)|
|Energy Recovery||$500 - $1,700|
|Whole-House||$700 - $2,700|
|Supply||$1,200 - $2,400|
|Heat Recovery||$1,300 - $2,400|
|Exhaust||$1,500 - $2,200|
|Balanced||$2,400 - $4,600|
|Demand Controlled||$2,400 - $8,000|
Energy recovery ventilation installation runs $500 to $1,700. This system can be operated by a timer or humidity sensor in the home. This system differs from a heat recovery system in that it exchanges heat energy and water vapor. This prevents humidity fluctuations within the home. Although you can save money with this system, ERVs are more suitable for locations prone to long, humid, and hot summers.
Whole-House Ventilation System
Whole-house ventilation system costs $700 to $2,700. This mechanical ventilation system uses a series of fans or a whole-house fan and ducts to cool, heat, and improve the home’s air quality. All of the mechanical ventilation systems can be used to achieve whole-house ventilation. A combination of a couple of different systems makes an even better whole-house ventilation system. This type of ventilation utilizes both exhaust and supply systems.
Supply Ventilation System
A supply ventilation system costs $150 to $300 per unit or around $1,200 to $2,400 for a typical three-bedroom, two-bath home. Building codes state that a unit must be installed in each room used by humans over an extended period. For example, a closet does not need a unit. A supply-only ventilation system is somewhat similar to an exhaust ventilation system, only it pressurizes the home, pushing outside air into it. The difference is that a supply ventilation system also uses fan ducts, vents, and a filtering system to remove pollutants. Although this type of system is inexpensive and easy to install, it carries some concerns for moisture retention.
Heat Recovery Ventilation System Cost (HRVs)
Heat recovery ventilators cost $1,300 to $2,400. Despite its name, the HRV also cools the home. During the winter, it takes cold outside air and heats it to a comfortable level before releasing it into the home. In hot weather, this system works hard to cool the hot air before it is blown into the home. It is an energy-efficient method but is more suited to northern climates.
Exhaust Ventilation System
Exhaust ventilation systems cost $1,500 to $2,200. An exhaust-only ventilation system is achieved by depressurizing the structure. The drawback to this type of system is that it should only be used in a colder climate. In warmer areas, depressurization can cause moisture to build up within the walls of the home. It is fairly easy and inexpensive to purchase and install because it only uses exhaust fans. However, there is also some concern about pollutants being drawn in from a crawlspace, attic, or garage. Fumes, molds, gases, and dust can be released into the home when using an exhaust-only ventilation method.
Balanced Ventilation System
The cost for a balanced ventilation system is $2,400 to $4,600. A properly installed balanced ventilation system is just that, balanced. It uses two duct systems and two fans to push equal amounts of fresh air inside and polluted air outside. Appropriate for all types of climates, this method uses filters to remove dust and pollen. A more expensive system to install, this method carries some risk of moisture. A balanced ventilation system keeps your home air safe and comfortable.
Demand Controlled Ventilation
Demand controlled ventilation costs $300 to $1,000 per room or $2,400 to $8,000 for a three-bedroom, two-bath home. The concept is that the DCV system contains a CO2 sensor that adjusts the air quality based on the number of people in the room. As more people enter a room, the amount of CO2 increases. The sensor kicks on the system when the air quality changes and needs to be corrected to an acceptable proportion. The wide range of costs per unit depends on the technology you choose.
Hybrid Ventilation System Price
The cost of a hybrid ventilation system varies depending on what you have installed. The costs range from $700 to $10,000. Mixed mode or hybrid ventilation combines natural and mechanical ventilation systems for an energy-efficient, occupant comfort-centered air quality. This results in a healthier environment inside the home and saves on utility bills. Having both systems requires a smaller mechanical system and offers savings on maintenance. It also allows for choices as the system automatically decides the best course of action.
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Smart Ventilation System Price
A smart ventilation system with vents, zoning sensors, smart thermostat, climate control hub, remote install, and climate control app costs $2,750 to $15,000. Smart home ventilation systems take information from several different sources to determine the best course of action for ventilation. These factors include temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, and pollutants in the outdoor air. Additionally, the number of occupants, humidity level, pollutants, and pressure inside the home influence ventilation regulation. Smart systems allow for predetermined schedules for HVAC, exhaust fans, and dryers or equipment that exchanges outside air and manages peak time electricity demand. Energy smart ventilation considers the price and demand of electricity and how to use energy to achieve the lowest costs. These systems are becoming quite common to save energy and money for homeowners and business owners.
Ventilation Installation Cost
Airflow requirements are a delicate balance between comfort, health, and energy efficiency. A trained, licensed professional should always carry out a ventilation installation. There are so many factors that change and must be regulated for all involved. Most professional HVAC contractors can install a ventilation system within a few hours. Prices vary from state to state, ranging from $1,000 to $6,000 for an entire system installation. The hourly rate is usually $50 to $150 per hour, and it generally takes one to two people to install. Cost factors include the type of system you have installed, the area in which you live, and the size of your home’s needs. Natural, mechanical, and hybrid systems can be combined with an air conditioning and heating system.
The installation process involves installing any fans or vents that connect to the outside of the home (or the mechanical ventilation system) and then installing the necessary ventilation ducting (if required) to go along with them. Installing a simple exhaust fan in a bathroom may be relatively cheap compared to installing a whole-home ventilation system with extensive ducting and vents. The type of system, its size, and the design of your home impacts the installation costs.
Cost to Install Ventilation by Location
Installing ventilation costs from $150 to $8,500, based on where the installation is and what type of ventilation is needed. For example, you will spend less on a simple attic fan than on a full ventilation system for a damp basement with allergen filters. In the table and subsections below, you will see the average costs of installation by location and what ventilation in each area usually entails so that you know what to expect.
|Ventilation Location||System Cost (Installed)|
|Attic||$120 - $850|
|Basement||$150 - $8,500|
|Room||$200 - $1,000|
|Roof||$300 - $550|
|Whole-House||$700 - $2,700|
Attic Ventilation Installation
You will spend between $120 and $850 for attic ventilation, which usually includes the installation of an attic exhaust fan, vents, and other components. The total cost depends on how much ventilation you need and whether existing materials need to be removed before installing new fans and vents. This may also tie in with roof ventilation and be done at the same time, but that is something you should discuss with your contractor.
Basement Ventilation System
Ventilating a basement costs between $150 and $8,500. This can be done in several ways. Therefore, it has a wider range of costs. A simple basement vent could be less expensive, but a full ventilation system that includes moisture control and other features could get quite costly. However, it delivers premium air quality for the home. The size and type of the basement, where you live, and the various components impact this project cost.
The cost to ventilate a single room ranges from $200 to $1,000, depending on the type of ventilation being installed. The size of the room impacts the costs. Bathroom ventilation, for example, could be as cheap as a simple exhaust fan, while ventilating a large room where chemicals are used could cost much more. Talk to your installer to determine the exact cost and the variables involved in your ventilation installation.
Roof ventilation costs around $300 to $550, including the installation of roof vents, roof exhaust fans, and other ventilation products that can be used on the roof of the home. If you are installing multiple fans or vents, the cost may increase. Several types of vents are available, ranging in cost from $10 to $500 for the parts alone, with labor making up the rest of the project cost.
Home Ventilation System
A whole-house ventilation system costs between $700 and $2,700, depending on the size and type of system you choose. Often, it is easier to install ventilation systems with new construction. You may pay more to have a system retrofitted into your existing home because of the work involved. Several types of ventilation systems are available. The one you select impacts the cost of your project. Some systems include a whole-house fan installation with ducts to create airflow.
Ventilation Cleaning Cost
A maintenance cleaning costs $75 to $150. Ventilation system cleaning is an important part of home ownership. Changing the filter is just the beginning of ventilation system maintenance. Cleaning vents, exhaust fans, intakes, and ductwork and proper lubrication will keep your system working more efficiently and free of dust, mold, and mildew. Many companies offer ventilation system cleaning services. This may be a wise route to take to ensure that your system gets the deep cleaning it needs. This service can help flush out any upcoming issues within the system and avoid future problems.
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The standard ventilation system inspection should be done in the spring and the fall or at least annually to keep the system working at a maximum level. An inspection costs $100 to $300. This involves cleaning, changing filters, lubricating, repairing any broken or worn parts, and testing for air quality and safety. If the homeowner notices any concerns such as condensation forming, any malfunctioning or noises that indicate a problem, or a drop in comfort of the temperature in the home, a professional should be called. This helps alleviate damage to the system or expensive weekend or holiday repair calls. Additionally, new systems may need to be inspected by a state or city official after installation, depending on government requirements.
Proper ventilation between inside and outside air is vital to the health, safety, and well-being of the occupants of a home or building. Using a proper ventilation system with a heating and air conditioning unit ensures your home is a safe and pleasant place to live. Additionally, damage can occur to the home’s interior without adequate airflow. A home that lacks an operating, calibrated ventilation system results in harmful gases that emit from combustible appliances being locked inside the house.
Obviously, this isn’t good for humans or pets. An unventilated area can lead to moisture build-up, mold, and mildew. These contaminants can cause allergies in the occupants of the home and damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and the contents of the home. Moisture also causes structural weakness. Poor ventilation can cause an illness called sick building syndrome. This is where dwellers inside of a home or office experience symptoms such as headaches, irritation of the eyes, nose, or throat, dry cough, dizziness and nausea, itchy skin, issues with concentration, fatigue, and other discomforts.
Although home ventilation requirements are not set in stone, there are recommendations and new home building code ventilation requirements. A residential home’s ventilation system should offer safe, fresh air with comfortable temperature levels. Older homes may have unsafe proportions of gases, mold, or other contaminants if left properly unventilated. New homes must meet the current state or local requirements for each area, and these vary. Most locations require answers to the following questions about the ventilation system:
- How much outside air is necessary?
- How should it be distributed within the home?
- How is the air cleaned or filtered?
- How much moisture should be added or subtracted?
Builders should take care to answer these questions accurately and with professionally trained personnel. A home purchase should include information on the safety levels of the air in the home. This should consist of collaboration between engineers, ventilation install companies, and electrical companies.
Active vs Passive Ventilation
There are two types of ventilation: active and passive. As you may have guessed, active ventilation is mechanical, and passive ventilation is natural. Active ventilation is the best option to avoid moisture build-up in high heat areas such as an attic or garage. Passive ventilation uses more natural methods such as windows, doors, vents, wind towers, or other envelope openings.
When comparing the two methods, it is important to remember the pros and cons of each. Passive, while less effective, is a more affordable option. It uses thermal buoyancy and air current to push stale air out and fresh air in. However, as it depends on wind and cooler air, it can be difficult to gauge how well it will work. Active ventilation is more expensive and requires more maintenance but is often the best choice to avoid questionable results.
Ventilation vs Air Conditioning
The average cost for air conditioning is between $2,000 to $9,000 compared to a ventilation system's average range of $1,000 to $6,000. Air conditioning and ventilation boost the quality of indoor air. However, they are two different things. Air conditioning simply blows cool air into the house, while ventilation removes the stale air and replaces it with fresh air. Ventilation is better for breathing purposes, while air conditioning keeps it at a more optimal temperature if it is particularly hot or humid. Air conditioning is considered recycled air that is cooled and dehumidified.
|Type||System Cost (Installed)|
|Air Conditioning||$2,000 - $9,000|
|Ventilation||$2,400 - $8,000|
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Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Filter installation costs between $500 and $2,500, which includes professional installation of a HEPA filter or filtration system. A high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter uses mesh screens to filter out dust, mites, and other air particles from the air as it passes through your ventilation system. However, you cannot simply install a HEPA filter and expect the results needed to clean up the air in your home. A high-quality air purifier with a HEPA filter is installed within the home’s ductwork to provide cleaner, purer air.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Permits. A permit may or may not be required for a ventilation system. State and local governments have different permit requirements. It is always best to use a licensed, insured contractor for any home improvements.
- DIY. You could certainly try this as a DIY project. However, a wide variety of skills are needed, such as engineering, construction, and electrical. It is a wise decision to pay a professional.
- Home value. Anything that makes a home more comfortable and safe adds home value. Homeowners should look at the cost of a ventilation system as an investment.
- Building orientation and location. Many ventilation systems are either dependent or influenced by the building orientation and location. This is due to natural occurrences such as wind, heat, and airflow.
- External elements. Trees or adjacent buildings may obstruct the wind and hinder natural ventilation. Pollutants in the outside air can also be a deciding factor in the best ventilation system to create fresh, clean air inside the home.
- Climate. Climate plays a part in choosing the right ventilation system. Colder climates are better suited for a heat recovery system, while hot, humid areas will want an energy recovery system. This is due to various nuances in each system that control moisture.
- HVAC. If your mechanical ventilation system includes heating, cooling, and humidity control, it is considered a Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system. It typically costs $2,000 to $9,000 to professionally install an HVAC central air conditioning system.
- Building Management Systems. Commercial buildings are generally equipped with a Building Management System or BMS. Building Automation System or BAS is a computerized method of controlling and monitoring the heating, air conditioning, ventilation, hot and cold water, electrical, steam, and sprinkler system for fire safety. This control system constantly monitors and adjusts for variations in the building on a case-by-case basis.
- What is the purpose of an effective ventilation system?
A ventilation system improves air quality and airflow within the home. This provides cleaner air, reduced allergens, and other benefits.
- What is a whole-house air ventilation system?
A whole-house air ventilation system means that every area where humans or pets reside for any length of time is ventilated. This includes pushing stale and polluted air outside and bringing clean air into the home in a uniform method. This is accomplished through fans, ducts, and vents.
- What are the different types of ventilation?
The basic types of ventilation are natural, mechanical, smart, and hybrid. From mechanical branches exhaust, supply, energy recovery, heat energy recovery, balanced, hybrid, and demand control. The branches of natural include single-sided, cross, and stack ventilation. Smart systems use information from different sources to regulate ventilation. Hybrid is a combination of natural and mechanical systems.
- What is a ventilation system?
A ventilation system is a way to keep your home or office free of stale air and replace it with fresh air to benefit the health of the occupants. This can be accomplished through natural or mechanical means or a combination of both.
- Why is ventilation needed?
People and the appliances in your home emit certain gases that can become trapped. Along with moisture and humidity, these gases become a recipe for illness, discomfort, and damage to the walls, ceiling, insulation, and structure of your home. Ventilation ensures that air quality levels are safe and reasonable for the well-being of all.
- How much does a basement ventilation system cost?
Basement ventilation systems cost from $150 to $8,500 or more, depending on the type of system, its location, and components involved.
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