Duct Work Cost and Process

Getting Started with Duct Work for HVAC Installation

HVAC System

The time has come for installing a new HVAC system. It could be you’re installing a heating and cooling system for the first time, contemplating a replacement system, converting from baseboard or radiator heating, or you’re replacing damaged ductwork. Whatever the reason, understanding the process in hiring a professional HVAC technician and the estimated cost of the project gives you a head start on planning the project.

Installing Ductwork as a DIY Project

If you’re thinking about installing the ductwork as a DIY project, keep in mind it is a large and involved project. For installation in areas that are easily accessible such as a new room addition, a basement or even a crawl space, it will be a littler easier because you’ll have increased access to the area where the ductwork is being installed.

Whether it’s new ductwork or replacement ductwork, the material is installed in a network system meaning ducts will need to run throughout the ceiling and a vent will need to be installed in each room for complete heating and cooling circulation.

In this case, access to the ceiling is necessary for installation. For homes with drop ceilings, tiles can be removed along with the framework that holds the tiles. If rooms are accessible via the attic, you can install the ductwork and vents that way. If your home has a flat roof with no attic crawl space and no ceiling tiles, the drywall or plaster ceiling must be removed. This means an additional cost to have a hole cut to install the vent and to have the drywall, or other ceiling material, reinstalled.

While handling the project yourself can save you a significant amount of money in the installation cost, if not done properly, it can cost you more in the long run.

A basic estimate of how much you can save by DIYing a ductwork project is based on the per hour cost of a professional HVAC specialist. Prices vary from state to state, but typically a professional installer may charge at least $50 to $55 per hour for labor and materials. If you purchase the materials yourself, you can sometimes save a little money but keep in mind this can be a difficult project to complete on your own if you don’t have any experience in duct and vent installation.

Duct Return

Hiring an HVAC Professional

Installing ductwork is a big project unless you’re working with new construction where the ductwork will be installed prior to the ceiling.

One of the first things a professional installer will do is create a plan that will accommodate the addition of ducts and vents for the entire home including the costs of materials and labor.

Whether the entire home is being networked with new ducts or old ducts are being replaced, the size of the home will determine how long the project will take. Generally, you can expect 3-4 days for a professional HVAC specialist to complete the project and that’s if no unforeseen issues arise.

A professional will ensure the ducts are installed, sealed, and connected properly to promote energy efficiency. They’ll also be sure to comply with the building codes and permit requirements for your city.

Ductwork Cost

Determining the cost of ductwork installation is based on several factors. These include the size/square footage of the home, where the ductwork will be located for new installation, and the number of vents needed. In general, a basic minimum cost for installation can run anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000.

The cost of the duct material can vary by region and is subject to the type of material, it’s specifications such as inside diameter, the linear footage and whether it is insulated or non-insulated.

  • Flex duct – one of the most commonly used, prices range from $39.95 to $170.00 for 25 feet of R 4.2 insulated material with a 4-inch to 18-inch inside diameter.
  • Duct board – material can be made of fiberglass, polyester or foam. Pricing for 60 linear feet for a home located in zip code 33624 using R6, 8-inch diameter flexible polyester material ranges from $7.03 to $10.10 per linear foot.

The type of duct material your HVAC contractor chooses will depend on parameters specific to your installation. Most duct system installations require a combination of different duct materials to accommodate the structure.

Other factors to consider is if the home is one or two stories, the number of individual temperature controls, and the cost of repairs to walls, ceilings, or floors once the ductwork is installed.

For larger homes or homes where the network of ductwork may be more involved or challenging because the ducts must be networked around trusses, the installation cost can run between $5,000 to $15,000 or more.

Also include the cost of a permit for duct installation. Most cities require this to ensure a licensed professional will be responsible for the project. Costs vary from state to state and average between $10 to $100 but can be more. You can check out our local information page to find your city or state for information specific to HVAC installation in your area.

Having new or replacement ducts and vents is a big project and can be a big investment so it’s to your benefit to have it done right from the start. Not only will a new or updated duct system benefit your home’s value, a new system can also save you money on your energy bills. With proper care and maintenance of professionally installed ducts, the efficiency of your home’s heating and cooling system increases significantly.

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