How Much Does It Cost to Add Ductwork to Your House?

by Rowan Guthrie
person cutting and installing ductwork

If the summer heat makes you yearn for a cool and comfortable home but your house lacks ductwork, installing an HVAC system with ducts is the solution.

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But what’s the cost? Several factors determine the price tag for an HVAC ductwork installation.

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How Much Does It Cost to Add Ductwork to Your House?

So many factors determine the cost of adding ductwork to a home that giving a range would be unhelpful because the range would be too wide. To answer the question accurately, it’s better to look at influencing factors to narrow down costs, such as square footage. Let’s look at these now.

What Factors Determine the Cost of Adding Ductwork to a Home?

Several key elements influence the overall cost of installing ductwork in your house. 

Size and Layout of Your Home

As with most home improvement projects, square footage plays a major role. Larger homes naturally require more ductwork, translating to a higher cost. The layout of your house also comes into play. Complex layouts with multiple stories, tight corners and existing obstacles, such as beams, necessitate more intricate ductwork designs, driving up the price.

Material Selection

Ductwork comes in various materials, each with its own price point. Galvanized steel is the most common and affordable option and offers good durability. Flexible ducting, typically used for short runs or tight spaces, is generally costlier. High-velocity and insulated ductwork options are pricier, but they can improve efficiency and reduce noise.

Labor Costs

This will depend on your location. The complexity of the job and the experience of the HVAC professional you hire are also significant factors.

Ductwork Length

HVAC professionals often base costs on the linear footage of ductwork needed. The longer the duct runs, the more materials and labor required.

Removal of Existing Systems

If your home has existing ductwork, expect costs to rise. The HVAC professional will need to factor in removal costs, which may include demolition and may need to include size readjustment costs to match the replacement ductwork.

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Alternatives to Traditional Ductwork Installation

In some cases, depending on your specific needs and the layout of your home, there may be more budget-friendly alternatives to traditional ductwork. 

Ductless Mini-Splits

These wall-mounted units don’t need ductwork to cool or heat individual rooms. They can be a good option for smaller homes, additions and rooms with existing heating solutions.

Radiant Heating Systems

These systems radiate heat through the floor or walls to warm your home. While installation can be costly up front, radiant heating is highly efficient, potentially making it a good long-term investment.

High-Velocity HVAC Systems

These systems utilize smaller, more compact ducts that can be easier to conceal or run through tight spaces. However, they may require a higher up-front investment compared to traditional ductwork.

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How Does the Size and Layout of the Home Impact the Cost of Adding Ductwork?

The size and layout of your home are significant cost factors when adding ductwork. Here's a general breakdown according to figures published by HomeGuide:

  • Under 1,500 square feet: For smaller houses, you can expect to spend $1,400 to $3,400 (CAD 1,900 to 4,613).
  • Between 1,500 and 2,500 square feet: In this range, expect costs to fall between $2,000 and $4,500 (CAD 2,714 to 6,105).
  • Over 2,500 square feet: For larger houses with multiple stories or intricate layouts, prices can range from $2,800 to $5,600 (CAD 3,799 to 7,598) or even higher, depending on the project's complexity.

These are ballpark figures. To get an accurate estimate, consult a qualified HVAC professional. They'll provide a figure based on your needs, your home’s layout and the project’s complexity.

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