How Much Does It Cost To Replace The Ductwork?

Vital to a comfortable home or workplace is the good ventilation, ideal temperature, and proper distribution of air. A properly installed and well-maintained air duct is a key component of excellent indoor air quality.

How much does it cost to replace the ductwork? Ductwork replacement typically costs about $35-$55 per linear foot (or about $1,000-$5,000 for a single-family home) or $175 – $400 per duct. It depends on different factors such as length and type of ducts used, labor costs, and local costs.

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You probably already know that replacing ductwork is a significant investment. But just how big is it? This article tackles the factors that affect duct replacement cost, which provides an idea of how much it will likely cost.

When To Replace Ductwork

Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems are intended to provide just the right amount of air to an individual room to match the heat gain and heat loss of each room.

If it fails to achieve this task and your energy bills increase dramatically over a short period, a faulty and malfunctioning ductwork may be the culprit.

Ductwork refers to the system of ducts used to transport air from HVAC equipment throughout your home. Here are some signs you need to replace your ductwork.

  • If the hot or cold central air is escaping through holes, cracks or damaged connections as it moves from the HVAC unit through the ductwork.

  • If there’s an excess of dirt or dust inside your home and your family members or employees show more frequent sneezing and heavier allergies than usual.

  • If the house or building won’t seem to stay warm or cold.

  • If the temperatures are different in each room or zone of the house/building.

  • If your HVAC unit is too noisy.

  • If the old ductwork is in such poor condition that it leaks as much as 35% of the treated air, leading to higher waste and energy costs.

  • If the old HVAC system was too large for the home and upgrades, creating temperature fluctuations and can’t adequately cool a home during summer.

Factors That Affect Ductwork Replace Cost

Ductwork installation costs vary based on the amount of work needed, your home’s layout, and your specific heating and cooling needs. Here are some of the key factors that affect the cost of ductwork replacement:

Estimated Calculations

Professionals calculate ductwork installations by the following:

  • Linear Foot

The average cost of ductwork replacement per linear foot is $35-$55. An average home will need 30-90 linear feet of ductwork, bringing the average price between $1,000 and $5,000 for a full-home installation.

  • Duct

The average cost of replacement per duct is $150-$250. The total cost varies by the number of ducts your home needs. If a home needs 6-10 ducts, the average installation will range from $900-$2,500.

The Complexity Of The Ducting

The ductwork replacement cost depends on how complex the ducting is. It includes factors such as house size and layout, age of the house and ducts, and the accessibility of the ductwork.

It would be more difficult and hazardous for the crew to replace ductwork located in an attic crawl space, thus affecting the cost of replacement. If there is drywall or disruption in the drop-ceiling system, it should be removed and replaced, thus having an addition to the cost.

Duct Type/Materials

The type of materials you choose for ductwork installation will significantly affect the cost.

  • Flexible non-metallic ducting is the most affordable material available. On average, it costs $1-$2 per linear foot. Installers often prefer this material because it can easily bend and snake through attics and flooring.

  • Flexible aluminum ducting is less prone to tearing and is a good choice if you have had problems with cracks or holes. But the problem is that it is slightly costlier than the previous.

  • Sheet metal is the strongest material available but costs more than the others. It also requires additional labor costs for multiple turns.

Geographical Area

Replacement costs can vary significantly by your location, that is why it’s essential to know the local costs too. Costs are highest on the coasts, especially in the northeast and northwest. The national average is found in large metro areas like Chicagoland and the rural regions of the Midwest, Plains and the South have the lowest costs.


Always consult an HVAC professional in designing your new ductwork. Many homeowners think they can simply add new ductwork into an existing system. According to experts, that may not do the right job. Every home is unique, and the ductwork system needs to be based on the unique needs of your home.

Whether you are building a relatively small add-on or remodel in your home or a whole new home, it can affect the coverage you need. It is why you should have an HVAC pro review your structure and help you design the right ductwork.

Related Questions

How long does ductwork installation take?

Installing ductwork may take 1–4 days, depending on the situation. Installation in a multistory home will take longer than in a single-story home. The labor will take 2-4 days for a typical 2,000–2,500 square foot two-story house.

Can you DIY ductwork installation?

Yes, but you have to be diligent and know the right sizes of ducts. You can have an HVAC pro assist you with sizing before installing it yourself since duct installation is complicated. You should be meticulous about the process, and you have to make it right. Otherwise, you will be wasting money.


Replacing malfunctioning ductwork is a short-term and pricey investment, but it also has its long-term returns. Proper ductwork will help your house or building become more energy-efficient, and you will have better air quality while saving money on utility bills.

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