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How Much Does HVAC Duct Replacement Cost?

Last Updated on February 4, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Replacing your home or business’ HVAC ductwork is a major yet extremely worthwhile investment for both comfort and energy savings. This guide will provide a detailed overview of average duct replacement costs, what impacts pricing, and tips to save money on this crucial home improvement project.

How Much Does HVAC Duct Replacement Cost?

The average total cost to replace HVAC ductwork ranges from $2,500 to $10,000 for most residential properties. However, prices vary greatly based on the home’s size, duct layout complexity, materials used, and local labor rates.

Breakdown of Typical Air Duct Replacement Costs

  • Materials – The ductwork itself costs between $3 to $15 per linear foot depending on the type. Total duct material costs often range from $1,000 to $4,000 for most homes.
  • Labor – Installation cost is roughly $3 to $15 per linear foot. Labor for a full duct replacement project averages $2,000 to $5,000.
  • Other Charges – Permits, duct removal, tax, and other fees add $200 to $2,000 typically.

Price Range for Residential vs Commercial

  • For a residential home, expect to pay between $3,000 and $8,000 for a complete duct replacement.
  • Commercial buildings cost $8,000 to $25,000+ depending on size and complexity.

According to Today’s Homeowner, for example, the average cost range for sheet metal duct systems is between $2,900 and $8,000, while the average cost range for duct board systems is between $1,400 and $4,200. The total cost for new HVAC sheet metal duct systems can range from $5,540 to $10,980 per unit, depending on the size of the home.

This Old House writes that the national average cost of replacing ductwork is $1,450–$8,000, with the cost ranging anywhere from $250–$12,000 depending on home size and the system.

According to Attic Construction, experts estimate that the average air duct replacement cost is between $454 and $2,058 or more, depending on the home’s size, breaking down to around $10 to $35 per linear foot. The cost to install ductwork is estimated to be around $1,500 to $7,000 for 150 to 350 square feet.

Homewyse notes that the HVAC duct line repair cost starts at $491 – $600 per repair, with the price varying based on the specific repair needed.

Properly functioning HVAC ductwork is absolutely crucial for providing indoor comfort, healthy air quality, and energy efficiency. Over years of use, ducts accumulate dirt and debris, lose insulation, and develop leaks or disconnects.

Replacing degraded ductwork is essential for ensuring optimal airflow and ventilation throughout your home’s heating and cooling system.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Duct Replacement

Many factors influence the total pricing for replacing a home’s existing ductwork system. The main elements that affect the overall project cost include:

Type of New Ductwork Material

  • Metal – The most affordable option at $3 to $8 per linear foot of ductwork installed. Sturdy and energy efficient.
  • Flexible duct – Slightly more expensive at $4 to $12 per foot installed. Easier to install in tight spaces.
  • Fiberglass – The most expensive material at $10 to $15 per foot installed. Excellent insulation.

Size and Layout of the Home or Building

Larger square footage and complex duct layouts require more materials and longer installation time, increasing costs. Simple, compact ductwork is most affordable.

Complexity of the Installation

Accessing difficult areas like attics, crawlspaces, and ceilings adds labor time and challenges that make the project costlier. Straightforward duct layouts minimize costs.

You might also like our articles about the cost of block foundation repairtape and mud drywall installation, and galvanized pipes replacement.

Labor Costs and Geographic Location

Hourly rates for qualified HVAC technicians range from $70 to $120 per hour depending on the local market. Higher wages increase the total duct replacement price.

Benefits of Replacing Your HVAC Ductwork

Investing in a ductwork replacement brings severalvaluable benefits:

  • Greatly improved energy efficiency – Properly functioning ducts save 20-30% on monthly bills by optimizing HVAC performance.
  • Enhanced indoor air quality – Fresh, clean airflow improves air circulation throughout the home.
  • More effective heating and cooling – Even air distribution means fewer hot/cold spots.
  • Greater comfort and air quality for better health and productivity.
  • Avoiding expensive HVAC repairs by preventing issues from duct leaks.
  • Increased home resale value from necessary system upgrades.

Getting an Accurate Duct Replacement Cost Estimate

Visible HVAC ductsReceiving quotes from multiple HVAC contractors allows you to compare pricing and find the best value. When meeting with contractors, be sure to:

  • Provide detailed dimensions of your home or building’s layout.
  • Point out any difficult ductwork access areas.
  • Ask about their design approach, materials, timeline, and warranty coverage.
  • Request at least 3 written estimates to compare costs.
  • Verify the contractor’s licensing, insurance, and experience.

Tips for Saving Money on Duct Replacement

If your budget is tight, consider these options to reduce your duct replacement costs:

  • Only replace damaged or disconnected duct sections instead of the entire system.
  • Research available rebates, tax credits, and financing options in your area.
  • Carefully compare multiple reputable HVAC contractors to find the best value.
  • Consider completing the project during a season with lower demand to possibly save 10-20%.
  • Use a flexible or fiberglass material for difficult access areas and metal ductwork for easier sections.
  • Purchase HVAC components like air handlers yourself at wholesale prices.


While duct replacement requires a significant upfront investment, properly functioning ductwork is absolutely essential for energy efficiency, comfort, and indoor air quality in your home or business.

Prioritizing quality materials and skilled installation provides maximum long-term savings and peace of mind. Continuous air conditioning care and proper air duct cleaning ensures you don’t have to do this job too often.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it worth it to replace ductwork?

Yes, replacing worn or damaged ductwork is usually well worth the investment. Properly functioning ducts provide much better comfort, indoor air quality, and energy efficiency.

While duct replacement costs may seem high, it pays off through significantly lower monthly bills and reduced repairs over time. Investing in quality materials and installation now prevents more expensive issues down the road.

How hard is it to replace HVAC ductwork?

Ductwork replacement requires extensive labor and advanced HVAC skills. The process involves safely removing old ducts, custom designing a new efficient system, properly installing the ducts, and integrating them with the rest of the HVAC system.

There are also building codes for correct duct sizing, materials, and ventilation. Unless you have professional experience, duct replacement is not a DIY project. Hiring qualified technicians ensures it’s done right the first time.

Should ductwork be replaced after 20 years?

It’s strongly recommended to replace ductwork after 15-20 years of use. Over time, temperature fluctuations, dirt, pests, and wear cause ducts to degrade.

Older ducts commonly accumulate leaks, airflow blockages, and lost insulation leading to dysfunction. As a duct system ages past 10-15 years, replacement becomes necessary for optimal HVAC performance and indoor air quality.

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