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CostHelper > Home and Garden  > Electrical, HVAC & Energy Efficiency > Ductwork

Ductwork Cost


How Much Does Ductwork Cost?

 
low costDIY Installation: $100-$2,000+average costProfessional Duct Replacement: $1,000-$5,000+high costAdding New Ducts: $5,000-$15,000+
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Ductwork is a branching network of tubes in the walls, floors and ceilings. It takes air from throughout the house and delivers it to the heater/air conditioner, where the air is heated or cooled, then delivers the heated or cooled air back into the living space. Both intake and output of air is important to a balanced, climate-controlled system. To operate efficiently, ducts must be sized to match the heater and air conditioner, and designed so the correct amount of air reaches each room.

Typical costs:

  • Replacing aging, leaking or inadequate ductwork typically costs about $35-$55 a linear foot for labor and materials, or $1,000-$5,000 or more for a single-family home, depending on the length and type of ducts used (sheet metal, fiberduct or round flexible ductwork) and local rates. (The linear footage of ductwork varies widely depending on the type of heating and cooling system, when and how it was installed and the layout and construction of the house.) Factors affecting the cost include whether the home is one- or two-story; the total number of intake and output vents needed to create comfortable temperatures in the house; the number of separate temperature-control zones; the extent of repairs needed to floors, walls and ceilings after the ducts are installed; and accessibility -- whether new ducts can be easily run through an attic or crawlspace, or if there are places where there is no room for new ductwork and the old ducts snake in and around trusses.
  • If the home's layout makes installation particularly challenging, replacing existing ductwork or adding it to a house that never had ducts can cost $5,000-$15,000 or more. In some cases adding ductwork can be cost-prohibitive, and homeowners may instead choose to use a ductless air conditioner ($2,000-$5,000, installed) and/or a ductless mini-split heat pump ($4,500-$6,000, installed).
  • Do-it-yourself installation is possible, particularly when installing or replacing ductwork to a specific area, like a basement or a new addition. Follow all local building codes and make sure all connections and seams are properly sealed, with no leakage. DIY materials can cost $100-$2,000 or more, depending on the type of materials and total length. For example, DIYNetwork[1] estimates it takes a weekend and $100-$250 to replace a section of ductwork with flexible ducting and install a return vent, rating the project difficulty at moderate to hard. And a Virginia homeowner[2] reports spending $450 for DIY installation of modern ductwork in a basement (the least expensive bid for professional installation was $2,500).
Related articles: Ductless Air Conditioner, Air Heat Pump, Central Air Conditioner, Central Heating

What should be included:
  • Poorly designed or inadequately installed ductwork can decrease the efficiency of the heating or cooling system by as much as 40%. HGTV Pro explains duct system design and installation. The U.S. Department of Energy provides an overview of the best practices[3] for installing duct systems in new and retrofit homes.
  • A video by DIY retailer Ductworks.net explains installation procedures[4] for sheet metal, fiberduct and flexible ducting, noting that the gas and electrical connections should be installed by a licensed professional.
Additional costs:
  • Check with the local building or planning department; a permit is typically required. (Most air conditioning contractors will be aware of permit requirements and will obtain the proper paperwork). For residential projects, permit fees are usually nominal ($10-$100), but can cost more depending on location and the size of the project.
Shopping for ductwork:
  • Get recommendations for concrete resurfacing contractors from family, friends, or the staff at local home improvement or hardware stores. Or search for local companies through the Air Conditioning Contractors of America[5] .
  • Ask for and contact references; verify that the company is properly licensed[6] , bonded and insured; search for complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau[7] . A written contract should include a detailed outline of the work required and materials to be used, and dates within which the project will be done.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.diynetwork.com/how-to/how-to-replace-ductwork-and-install-a-return-vent/index.html
  2.  www.epinions.com/msg/show_~threads/cat_id_~17/id_~2216/forum_id_~404
  3.  apps1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/publications/pdfs/building_america/ns/b21_duct_systems.pdf
  4.  www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZv8nOIsNAs
  5.  www.acca.org/consumer/find-a-contractor/
  6.  www.contractors-license.org/
  7.  www.bbb.org/us/Find-Business-Reviews/
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