How Much Should HVAC Ductwork Installation Cost?

The cost of HVAC ductwork installation can vary considerably on many factors. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost to install ductwork and vents is between $10 and $25 per square foot. The size of your ductwork is a significant factor in the overall amount you’ll spend. But costs are also influenced by the materials used, the type of ductwork, its purpose, your HVAC contractor’s labor charges, and the city you live in.

Average Ductwork Installation Cost

HomeAdvisor estimates the national average for HVAC ductwork installation in 2023 to be $1,400 to $5,600, depending on the size of the home. However, other sources have dramatically different figures.

For example, points to an average cost of $5,498 for ductwork installation. At the high end of the scale, these costs can reach upwards of $9,500. These figures are based on an average 2,500 square-foot home requiring 275 linear feet of ducts.

Generally, cost estimates do not include removal of or repairs or modifications to existing framing or HVAC, electrical, or plumbing systems. Work performed on these systems is often required to bring your home up to code. In addition, hazardous material testing and remediation, sales tax, and permit and inspection fees will add to the total cost.

6 Ductwork Installation Cost Factors

duct sealing with aluminum metal duct tape

As previously mentioned, there are a number of factors that determine the cost of duct installation. Let’s review a few of the most common.

1. Size of Home & Cost Per Square Foot

A 1,000 to 2,500-square-foot home typically has around 150 linear feet of ductwork, which ranges from $1,500 to $3,000 to install. A 2,000 to 3,500 home may have 250 linear feet, which costs between $2,500 and $5,000 to install, while a 3,000 to 4,500 square foot home has around 350 linear feet, costing between $3,500 and $7,000.

2. Material

Materials costs vary by location and with fluctuations in the market. That being said, sheet metal ductwork and fiberglass duct boards tend to be more expensive, with galvanized steel ducts ranging from $11.94 to $34.72 per linear foot and fiberglass ranging from $7.21 to $30.49 per linear foot uninsulated and $7.09 to $36.25 per linear foot insulated.

However, if installing flexible HVAC ductwork, flexible polyester tends to be the least expensive. Flexible aluminum is a little more costly than polyester but still less than galvanized steel. Rectangular sheet metal ducts run a little higher per linear foot than double-wall spiral ducts.

3. Type of Ductwork

There are three main types of ducting used for residential ventilation systems: rigid ducting, semi-rigid ducting, and flexible ducting.

Rigid ducting is available in both plastic and expanded Polypropylene and can be used as either a part of a larger ducting system or a single component of the ducting. This ductwork is ideal wherever possible in a ventilation system to minimize duct resistance and bends in the system.

Semi-rigid ducting is viewed as the best type of ventilation ducting available and offers various benefits. Good quality semi-rigid ducting helps a ventilation system operate at its optimal performance due to it being a zero-leakage system.

Flexible ducting is typically made of PVC, PVC-coated aluminum, aluminum, or insulated aluminum. This ductwork is commonly used when rigid ducting can’t be installed due to lack of space or due to an awkward installation.

The cost of installing exposed vs. hidden ductwork doesn’t vary that much, but throughout a full installation project, hidden ductwork may come at a slightly higher price than exposed ductwork costs.

4. Time of Ductwork Installation

Pricing for ductwork installation is also dependent on the state of the home in which it is being installed. Installing ducts for central air, a furnace, or a geothermal heating system for an existing home can run from $12,000 to $18,000, because the install team has to access the space by either cutting into walls and ceilings or getting in cramped areas of the home.

For an unfinished home, it’s a bit lower at $1,900 to $4,000. But numerous other factors can impact the cost regardless of purpose.

5. Location of Ductwork

Installing or replacing ductwork in an attic or basement generally costs less than doing so in a crawlspace. Expect to spend more for HVAC ductwork installation in the rest of your house, as it may require removing and replacing drywall and other materials. It’s a little less for a mobile home, but the investment will be larger for an older house.

6. City of Home

Homeowners in New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Houston pay some of the highest prices for ductwork installation. However, those in San Antonio, Phoenix, and Denver may see lower costs.

Materials and Labor

The cost of materials in your area and the labor charges set by your contractor can add thousands of dollars to the project. A ductwork installation job lasts two or three working days on average, at eight to ten hours each. Hourly rates are considerable when you figure about 30 hours of labor, so this is something to work into your budget.

HVAC mechanics typically charge $18.93 to $35.23 per hour to install ductwork, depending on the scope of work and where you live. According to Indeed, HVAC technicians in Olympia, Washington, make an average of $29.03 an hour, so for ductwork installation in Olympia, you should expect to budget at least that much, depending on the scope of the project and the square footage of your home.

Upgrade Your Ducts

Affordability is one of Black Hill’s top priorities. Therefore, we guarantee flat-rate pricing with no hidden fees, plus a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. We’re also trusted for high-quality AC and heating installation, repair, and maintenance in the Olympia, Washington, area. To request an appointment or learn about our financing options, contact us online or call us at 888-579-5905.