If you have central heating and/or air-conditioning in your home, the warm and cool air is delivered to vents in each room through a system of connected ducts. Ducts for a central heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) system are typically located above a home in the attic or upper crawl space, or underneath a home in the space between the foundation and the floor. If your home does not have an HVAC system and you plan to add one, you will need to have new ductwork installed. The cost to install ductwork is sometimes based on how many linear feet of ducting must be installed, typically $35-$55 per linear foot, including materials and labor.
Ed Mack, who owns Air Duct Professionals in Lake Elsinore, California, creates estimates based on the number of ducts to be installed, charging $150-$250 per duct run. A typical single-family home may need 6-10 duct runs. Jim Hoover, owner of HVAC2U in Warrenton, Virginia, specializes in new construction, but can also install new ductwork or replace ductwork for customers in his area. He charges $5,000-$6,000 for a typical new construction ductwork installation job, which takes 2-3 days and usually requires all 4 of his crew members onsite. The hourly labor rate for his full crew is $250, but replacing failed ductwork may require only one or two installers at a total cost of $500-$600, including materials. Replacing multiple duct runs may cost more than $1,000 — possibly as high as $2,500.
The accessibility of a home’s ductwork is a key factor in estimating the cost to replace it. Ductwork located in an attic crawl space may be difficult to get to and creates a hot and potentially hazardous environment for the crew. Installing ductwork in the crawl space beneath a home limits movement and poses a lighting challenge.
The type of materials you choose for ductwork affects the cost as well. Flexible non-metallic ducting is the most affordable at $1-$2 per linear foot, and installers often prefer it because it bends. Flexible aluminum ducting is slightly more expensive and less prone to tearing. Sheet metal, the strongest material, costs more than non-metallic or flexible aluminum ducting, with additional labor costs for multiple turns.