Installing a new HVAC system is an investment, but one that can last many years. Portland area homeowners also know the cost goes up significantly when ductwork is included, whether as part of an initial installation or retrofit.
According to HomeGuide, in 2022 it cost $5,000 to $11,000 to replace an HVAC system alone (with a new AC and furnace). But considering the cost of a new HVAC system and ductwork, installation ranges from $7,000 to $16,000. On the high end, it may cost up to $18,500 with add-ons.
About the Cost of Ductwork
Ductwork generally adds $2,000 to $5,000 to the cost of installing an HVAC system. For new construction, HVAC installation ranges from $1.75 to $2.50 per square foot. The rate varies depending on the type of system and its size.1 Installation costs are lower for new construction because the job doesn’t entail opening walls. They haven’t been built yet.
What Affects the Cost of Ductwork?
Many variables affect the cost of a new HVAC system and ductwork. Therefore, each project can have a different price estimate. To help you better understand the cost of ductwork, here are some factors that affect what it adds to the overall cost of a project:
- Linear Foot of Material: Flexible non-metallic duct costs from $6.50 to $10 per linear foot while flexible aluminum goes from $6.50 to $11.50. Fiberglass duct board can range up to $13.50 per linear foot while sheet metal can cost $11.50 to $19.50 per linear foot.2 A combination of materials may be used in a duct system, so calculating the full cost isn’t always straightforward.
- Square Footage: A 1,000-square-foot home typically has 80 to 120 linear feet of ducts while a 2,000-square-foot home can have up to 300 linear feet. A 4,000-square-foot property can have up to 500 linear feet of ducts. Home size, therefore, has a significant impact on the cost of ductwork.
- Retrofit: A ductwork retrofit in an existing home is the most expensive way to install air ducts. It often requires creating paths through attics, closets, and under stairs as well as opening existing walls and then patching them up later. While installing ductwork in a new 2,000-square-foot home can cost up to $4,000, a retrofit can cost up to $18,000.
- Location: Air ducts may be present in many parts of your home. Ductwork installed in the attic or basement is typically less expensive than that placed in a crawl space. It’s also usually more costly to install ductwork in an old house than in a modern one.
- Labor: In most cases, labor for ductwork installation costs from $5.35 to $7.75 per linear foot. A retrofit can be three times that amount, at $15 to $21 per linear foot. A lot of planning is needed to run ducts while opening joists takes a lot of time and effort. Installing ductwork is generally very labor-intensive.
What Else Affects the Cost of a New HVAC System and Ductwork?
The job isn’t complete when all the ductwork is laid out. Vents must be installed, which cost $6 to $25 apiece (larger ones cost more). Insulating all ducts in your home can add another $2,000 to $4,000 to the project, depending on the type of insulation. Fiberglass is the cheapest, while mineral wool and foil-backed mineral wool are more expensive. The materials and labor required to reroute or relocate ductwork can cost from $35 to $55 per linear foot.
Also, consider the cost of ownership. Ductwork needs to be inspected every few years. Duct cleaning, maintenance, and lining or sealing to stop leaks should be within your budget. And whenever planning installation or significant changes, you’ll also have to pay for a permit.
Contact Sky Heating & Air Conditioning
Contact Sky for AC repair and replacement services in the Portland area. We provide high-quality solutions and financing options when it’s time to replace your HVAC system. Ductwork sealing services are available and can improve efficiency and extend the life of your ducts. But if you’re looking for an alternative, our team can install ductless air conditioning systems. The benefits include simpler installation, a more compact design, and improved efficiency. To learn more, schedule a visit or call 503-673-9083 today.