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Budgeting for HVAC: How Much Does Ductwork Installation Cost?

ductwork installationInstalling central air conditioning, building an addition to your home, or replacing ductwork for any reason is a big investment. But just HOW big of an investment is it? We've crunched the numbers to provide our best estimate of how much it’s likely to cost to install ductwork — no matter what your project entails.

Start With the Right Design

Your home is unique, so is any ductwork system you already have. Any new ductwork or upgrades to your existing ductwork also need to be based on the unique needs of your home. “HVAC systems need to be customized to the home they’re installed in," says Keith Hill, resident HVAC expert for Stay Comfy. "They need to be designed to provide just the right amount of air to each room to match the heat loss and heat gain of the individual rooms or zones.”

Call in the Pros

If you’re building a new addition or a whole new home, you should definitely have an HVAC professional review your plans and help you design the right ductwork for your home’s needs. "The proper distribution of air through your home is key to your comfort, both for temperature and sound," Keith says.

That’s good advice, even if you have a fairly small remodel or add-on. A lot of homeowners think they can simply add new ductwork into the existing system. According to Keith, that may not do the right job. “Even for small remodels and additions with simple duct add-ons, it still should be evaluated by an HVAC Pro. Simply connecting a branch duct or two into the main trunkline may not work. Does the trunkline have the capacity to handle the extra airflow? Will it create trouble for the branch ducts further downstream?” These are questions you’ll want the pros to weigh in on.

The Costs Involved

As you may have already guessed, costs for installing ductwork vary based on the job, the layout of your home, and your specific heating and cooling needs. That said, there are a few ways the pros calculate ductwork installation costs.

By the Linear Foot

The average home will need 30-90 linear feet of ductwork at an average cost of $35-$55 per foot. That brings your average cost between $1,000 and $5,000 based on a full-home installation.

By the Duct

Some installers calculate costs by the duct, ranging from $150-$250 per duct. Figuring 6-10 ducts per home, an average installation will be $900-$2,500. Keep in mind that will vary by the number of ducts your project needs.

For New Construction

The cost of ductwork for new construction is averaging between $5,000 and $6,000. Depending on the home size, number of zones, and so on, that estimate can reach as high as $10,000.

Costs can also vary significantly by geography. Check out this calculator that shows the average national cost. You can enter your ZIP code to determine local costs, based on actual homeowner reports.

So, whether you're installing a few ducts to a home add-on or a full system for a new house, it's best to consult an HVAC pro. You’ll want to be sure you’re getting the coverage you need, at a cost that works for you. Use our convenient dealer locator to find a reliable HVAC pro near you.

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