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Air Duct Replacement Cost in an HVAC System

Every now and then, it becomes necessary to replace the air ducts in a house or building. While there are many different reasons for this, it always leaves people scrambling to determine the cost to replace their HVAC ductwork.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the costs involved with replacing your air ducts. We’ll also look at the different aspects affecting the cost and give you some useful hints and tips.

Ductwork Repair Cost: Key Takeaways

  • The HVAC duct replacement cost is the sum of the labor costs and material costs.
  • Typically, for an average house, the average cost for ductwork replacement is between $1,400 and $8,000.
  • Smaller homes generally require less ductwork, leading to lower costs.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace Ductwork?

When trying to determine the cost to replace your HVAC ductwork, there are many things you need to consider. There are several different aspects that can contribute to the cost of the project, which we’ll discuss below.

How Much Does Ductwork Cost?

How much is it to replace ductwork? The first consideration is the price of the ductwork itself. Depending on the type and quality of the air duct, the price may vary significantly. Naturally, part of the cost differential also comes from the required length.

Construction Ducting Tubing

Here are some of the different types of ductwork and the pricing you can expect to accompany them (for an average project):

Type of Ductwork Pricing
Duct (Sheet Metal) $2,900 to $8,000
Duct (Flexible) $1,800 to $4,600
Duct (Board) $1,500 to $4,300

Duct (Sheet Metal)

Sheet metal duct systems can be large and bulky, and many companies and technicians have come to consider them old-fashioned. This raises the question, why would anyone buy sheet metal ducts today? For decades now, these ducts have proven their capability in terms of durability, longevity, and effectiveness.

Why is the AC duct replacement cost so much higher for sheet metal ducts than for many other types of air ducts? The difference is that sheet metal ducts don’t arrive pre-assembled. Instead, there’s a whole process involving intricate measurements and complex fabrication.

On average, you can expect to pay anything from $2,900 to $8,000 for a sheet metal duct system.

Duct (Flexible)

Flexible ducting is one of the most popular choices for modern HVAC installations. The labor cost for this kind of ducting is usually considerably lower than for something like sheet metal. This is mainly because installing this kind of duct eliminates the need for measuring and fabrication.

Flexible ducts are pre-fabricated, which cuts down on the amount of labor time and makes the product faster and easier to install. They’re also pre-insulated and have greater flexibility and versatility than other types of duct.

You can expect to pay an average of between $1,800 and $4,600 for this type of duct installation.

Duct (Board)

In areas with higher humidity levels, you may encounter fiberglass duct boards. These boards are particularly useful in hot-humid areas where insulation is mandatory. That’s because fiberglass duct boards have natural insulative properties rather than needing an external insulation installation.

As with flexible ducts, these ducts are pre-fabricated. This means that you eliminate the need for fabrication before installation and also reduce the number of labor hours needed.

On average, you can generally expect to pay anywhere between $1,500 and $4,300 for the installation.

Ductwork Replacement Cost: Labor

Another serious consideration when discussing the air duct replacement cost is the cost of labour. This is a major part of the process and will have a significant impact on the overall pricing.

On average, workmen may charge an hourly rate of between $83 and $151. Depending on the size and complexity of the project, a proper air duct service can take anywhere between one and four days. With eight-hour workdays, you can expect to pay for anything between 8 and 32 hours.

Therefore, the labor portion of the HVAC duct replacement cost will come to anything from around $600 to around $4,000, depending on the laborer’s hourly rate.

Factors Influencing Ductwork Replacement Cost

When working out how to answer the question, “How much does it cost to replace air ducts,” there are a few factors to consider apart from the basic pricing. Let’s take a look at some of these and how they can affect the final amount.


When you’re considering both the location of your home and the positioning of the ductwork in your home, the overall pricing can be impacted. For instance, when you’re replacing ductwork in an attic, the cost may be significantly less than the cost of replacing ductwork in a crawl space. The reason for this is that attics are generally far easier to access than crawl spaces, making it easier for the workmen to complete the replacement process.

Pro tip: If your HVAC system is old and no longer meets modern standards, it may not function at full efficiency. Many people see a decrease of 25-30% in their energy bills after replacing their air ducts.

Why does your home’s location have an effect? Well, not all types of air ducts are equally suited to all environments. For this reason, some areas may be well suited to something like duct board (usually warm, humid areas), while others may be better suited to sheet metal ducts. Flexible duct works well in most regions, though it may require additional insulation in certain areas.

Corridor With Tiles on Floor and a False Ceiling

The short version is that your ducts may be situated in such a way that they’re hard to get to. Workers may have to remove and replace ceiling, drywall, or other structural elements. This can add anything from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars to the overall cost of replacing air ducts.

Health and Safety

When doing air duct cleaning, installations or replacements, technicians need to adhere to many different health and safety codes. Ensuring that these conditions are met is an essential part of the installation or replacement process. The technicians will review each part of your system, step-by-step, to ensure that current codes are being followed.

Black mold is easily hidden by air ducts

One of the most important things that they may encounter is the growth of mold or microbes. Both of these problems are significant health risks that will need to be eliminated if they are discovered. It’s worth noting that not all growth found within air ducts is harmful mold.

However, if harmful mold is present, you’ll likely need to pay for mold remediation.

If your ducts were installed more than 50 years ago, they may have been sealed with asbestos tape, which is another significant health risk. While asbestos is a brilliant insulator, it’s also highly toxic and can have long-term health effects, including death. If this is the case, special steps and equipment will be required to remove the old ducts.

Any health and safety considerations will add additional pricing to the cost of replacing your HVAC ductwork. The cost may be as little as $100, or it may exceed $3,000, depending on the severity of the problem.


In the event that your air conditioning or HVAC system isn’t functioning well, the technicians may have to look into the problem. Some of the common problems you may encounter include things like:

  • Certain rooms are not warming or cooling, while other rooms work perfectly.
  • Later home additions aren’t connected to the original HVAC system or aren’t working well.
  • The main portion of the HVAC system may not be strong enough for air to reach all the extremities well.

In the first case, this may mean that upgrades, modifications, or changes are required to ensure that air reaches all parts of the home equally well. For instance, some parts may require duct cleaning rather than full replacement.

In the case of home additions, the original system may need to be changed to ensure good airflow. If the addition has not been added in, that means adding an entire portion to the existing system. In the case of a weaker HVAC system, you may need to opt for some air duct sealing services, upgrade the system or install HVAC booster fans to ensure efficiency.

All in all, the cost to replace ductwork may go up by anything from around $100 to nearly $2,000, depending on the modifications needed.


When installing or replacing an HVAC system, insulation is one of the cornerstones that you need to consider. It helps to maintain a consistent air temperature as the air travels from the heart of the system to the rest of your home.


Non-insulated ducting may also lead to attic condensation, which can become a health risk. This is because, as the condensation gathers, it leads to damp areas. Damp areas can quickly give mold spores a place to establish, leading to more expensive mold remediation requirements later on.

In certain types of ductwork, specifically fiberglass duct board, the insulation is built in. This means you won’t have to pay for an additional form of insulation. However, in dry, warm areas, flexible ducting, and sheet metal ducting are the likelier choices. Neither of these duct types has built-in insulation and will, therefore, require external insulation.

Pro tip: While insulating your air ducts is essential, you can also decrease energy bills by ensuring that your entire home is well insulated (crawl space insulation, for instance). Doing so cuts down on the work that the HVAC system needs to put in.

When you’re installing a new duct system, the R-rating of the insulation is of cardinal importance. The R-value tells you how efficient the insulation is, with a higher R-rating having better insulative value and leading to lower energy costs.

In residential applications, you’re most likely to encounter insulation with the following R-ratings: R-4.2, R-6.0, and R-8.0. Naturally, the lower ratings are more affordable, but they’re also less efficient. Fortunately, mechanical codes have been put in place to dictate the minimum R-rating that a certain application may use.

The installation technician will review the codes and tell you which type of insulation you need to install, as a minimum. You’re free to choose a higher rating, improving your energy efficiency, but never a lower one.

Overall, insulation may cost you anywhere from a few hundred dollars to around $1,500.

$300 OFF On Insulation Removal Services + $350 OFF On Any New Insulation Installation

Which Is Better: Professional or DIY Air Duct Replacement?

Today, many people consider taking the DIY route. This is often for pricing reasons rather than any innate desire to replace the ductwork themselves. The real question is, is the duct replacement cost significantly lower when you do it yourself, and is it really worth it?

Most DIY enthusiasts are capable of a standard duct removal process, it’s fairly simple in most cases. However, when situations like asbestos tape arise, it’s not certain that DIYers will be able to detect the issue. Furthermore, the reinstallation process involves a complex set of codes, mathematical constructs, and sizing considerations.

Let’s discuss why you might want to consider paying for professional air duct installation.

DIY Air Duct Replacement

Is it possible to replace an air duct yourself? Yes, it is, but we wouldn’t recommend it. While you could probably manage the physical labor with relative ease, there are many other things that you won’t know you must look for.

replacement of the air duct

For instance, would you be able to identify asbestos tape? Would you know how to appropriately remove ducting and other elements that are contaminated with asbestos fiber? Would you recognize any mold or bacterial colonization that may cause a health risk to you and your family? Would you be able to practice mold remediation if needed?

It’s important to recognize that when you pay a professional, you aren’t just paying for their sweat and labor. You’re also paying for years of study, expertise, and experience passed down from one tradesman to another.

If you are going to do the vent replacement yourself, it’s essential to plan for air quality within your home. Air duct replacement can be dusty, messy, and downright dirty. Many of the dust, spores, and other contaminants disturbed during the process can be hazardous to your health. For this reason, you need to have systems in place to maintain air quality or relocate your family for the duration of the process.

Professional Air Duct Replacement

Paying for professional work may mean a higher air duct replacement cost. However, it also means safety, security, and peace of mind. This kind of project is a simply massive undertaking, with many underlying steps, considerations, and important codes to follow.

man replacing air duct

For this reason, as well as the experience and knowledge mentioned earlier, we’d strongly recommend getting a professional to replace your HVAC ductwork.

Air Duct Replacement Cost: Is It Worthwhile?

At this point, you may be wondering whether it’s truly worthwhile to have your air ducts replaced. After all, it’s a significant expenditure, and the benefits may not be immediately obvious.

There are many benefits, however, which make it absolutely worth it in the long run. For one thing, replacing the HVAC ducts allows technicians to look for problems like mold and asbestos, which pose a risk to your family’s health.

Secondly, many HVAC systems are old and no longer meet the criteria and coding required today. This can be a problem because it reduces your home’s value, and inadequate insulation leads to higher energy bills.

Finally, ensuring that your HVAC system is in peak condition will keep you and your family comfortable during both the coldest and the hottest seasons.

Pro tip: If your HVAC system is more than 50 years old, it’s time to consider replacing it. Consider combining this with air duct replacement for potentially lower rates.

If you hire a reputable HVAC company like Envirosmart Solution, they can look at your system, identify problems, and tell you whether a complete replacement is necessary. While faults in the system can lead to significant decreases in efficiency, some of these faults may be solved with simple air duct cleaning or modification rather than complete replacement.

If you’re ready to replace your air ducts, feel free to contact us for a quotation.


https://www.angi.com/articles/air-duct-replacement-cost.htm – Accessed 14/03/2024

https://www.forbes.com/home-improvement/hvac/air-duct-repair-cost/ – Accessed 14/03/2024

https://todayshomeowner.com/hvac/cost/air-ducts-replacement-cost/ – Accessed 14/03/2024

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