Air Duct Replacement Costs: Guide For Replacing Home AC

Air conditioner ducts are pathways that carry chill air from the air conditioning unit towards the home. The air supply can be either heated or cooled by the HVAC system. AC ducts are usually present within the floor, wall, and ceiling frame.

Since these ducts are present within the basement, they usually get damaged near the exposed areas. Damaged ducts can lead to leakage, which can further cause a severe breakdown in the future. In such cases, replacing them can be lifesaving. Read this article to find out everything relating to the air duct replacement cost.

Air Duct Replacement Cost

How Do Air Conditioner Ducts Work?

Air conditioner ducts contain tubes that are connected to HVAC systems. First, the surrounding air is pulled in through the HVAC systems that is either cooled or heated.

Next, the air is forced outside the vents to cool or heat the house. Air ducts function similarly to capillaries or arteries. If the veins are clean enough, the blood circulates evenly and smoothly throughout the body, providing the nutrition it requires.

Similarly, the HVAC ducts force cold or hot air throughout the vents and into the house. If there is an unclean air supply, the AC ducts might get damaged over time. In addition, polluted air can clog the HVAC ducts, causing them to work harder.

This can impair their durability and push the HVAC system to shut down constantly. In addition, it is imperative to replace your air duct systems once they get damaged, or else they could cause an electricity breakdown and pose a severe risk to your safety.

Types of Ductwork Material & How Much Does It Cost


Aluminum is known to be one of the best materials used in air ducts. This is probably because of the excellent insulation properties it offers.

Moreover, aluminum is affordable, lightweight, and extremely easy to install. Aluminum ductwork can cost around $6 to $12 per linear foot.

Fiberglass Ducts

Fiberglass duct liners are used in several ventilation, heating, and cooling units. They are an excellent material for ducts as they provide thermal insulation, preventing them from losing valuable conditioned air.

Fiberglass ducts are sheet metal ducts with internal and external lining. People usually complain about the loud sounds HVAC systems make, which fiberglass ducts are best known to dampen.

This is why they are primarily used in commercial settings. They cost between $6.50-13.50 per linear foot.

Flexible Ducts

Flexible ducts are a very convenient option for homeowners. These are long ductwork pipe-like tubes that flexibly fit in bizarre home spaces.

In addition, they can be combined with other rigid ductwork to produce a tremendous overall HVAC ductwork.

Moreover, they are pretty inexpensive. They cost between $2 to $5 per linear foot.

What Affects The Cost Of AC Duct Replacement?

Geographic Location

The location of your home is a critical factor in determining the HVAC duct replacement cost. If you avail of the services of duct replacement professionals who are established quite far away from your residence, you will have to pay the delivery and travel fees as well.


The size of the job is also a critical factor in indicating the AC duct replacement cost. Most professionals charge per linear installation foot, while some tell you an estimated cost including the number of ducts used. If you live in a bigger house, your project may require more ductwork, hence, more costs.


The type of ductwork used is a huge factor that impacts the duct replacement cost. Although sheet metal is the most durable duct material, it is also the most expensive to install. On the other hand, flexible ducting is the most convenient and affordable duct material, but it is not widely used because it’s less durable.


If you live in a house with bizarre installation spaces, installing ductwork in your home space will require more effort.

This will eventually increase the cost of installing ductwork. In addition, if your ductwork spaces are located behind walls or inside floors, accessing them will be challenging and require more time and effort.

Your contractors will need to cut through walls and ceilings to access the ductwork, which will increase the project’s overall cost.

Factors Affecting Air Duct Replacement

How Much Is The Average Cost To Replace The AC Duct?

Square Feet Of HouseAverage Cost of Replacement
1000$3,000 – $6,000
1500$4,000 – $7,000
2000$5,000 – $9,000
2500$6,000 – $10,000

Replacing Ductwork In Crawl Space

The price of replacing ductwork in a crawl space usually lies around $12 to $30 per linear foot. If the area is clean and easy to access, the price will be minimal.

If it’s not, additional costs may include cleaning and repairing the crawl space itself. The cleaning and improving the crawl space is around $6000, while installing one will be about $5500.

Crawl spaces are usually a more tough place where ductwork replacement is concerned, thus more costly.

Replacing Ductwork In Attic

The price of replacing ductwork in an attic costs lies around $500 to $2000. This usually depends on the size of your house attic and the HVAC system.

If you want your HVAC system to be more efficient, installing attic insulation can be a great option. However, the installation will cost around $1700 to $2000.

Moreover, attics can be small and have lots of clutter, so one should ensure it is easy to access if one wants the cost to be lower.

Replacing An Exposed Ductwork

Several homeowners prefer installing AC ductwork that is concealed to prevent external damage.

However, replacing concealed ductwork is pretty expensive. Several people prefer installing a ductwork system that is exposed as it looks more appealing.

In addition, replacing exposed ductwork will cost less as it removes the price of patching walls. Moreover, on average, depending on the home’s size, replacement costs between $1,400-5,600.

Repair Vs. Replacement Cost

A comfortable HVAC system ensures consistent heating and cooling throughout the year. Homeowners often fail to realize how important every part of the HVAC system is. Issues inside the AC duct systems can lead to inefficient functions. A weak HVAC system can lead to a waste of energy and higher bills.

In these cases, it is essential to either repair the ductwork system or have it replaced right away. When replacing or repairing the ductwork, it is vital to consider the costs. Most homeowners think improving the AC duct system is less costly than replacing it.

This may seem beneficial but can be very expensive in the longer run. The price of repairing or replacing your duct system varies. The cost of repairing ductwork lies between $400 to $700. If the tears are more minor, homeowners can do it themselves, but professional help is better.

The cost of replacing ductwork is around $30 to $70 for every linear foot. This highly depends on the condition and size of the space of the installation. If you have more extensive ductwork, replacing it may seem expensive, but it is way more efficient in the longer run. Spending time and money on repairs repeatedly can cost you a fortune. Hence, it is better to invest in an efficient AC duct system once and for all to prevent any further maintenance and repair costs.

Does Professional HVAC Help Make Sense?

Hiring a professional to replace your duct systems can save you a lot of time, money, effort, and the possibility of doing an inadequate job.

Here’s how hiring a professional can be beneficial:

Better Cooling And Heating Longevity

An HVAC expert will ensure the AC duct system is installed correctly and all the parts are functioning perfectly. Hiring a professional will ensure your HVAC system efficiently heating and cooling your homes, eliminating costly repairs. Neglecting the care and maintenance of ductwork can put expensive bills on you. In addition, a professional will guide you on how you can take care of your duct systems to prevent any damage in the future.

Fewer Expenses

Hiring professional help for replacing, repairing, and cleaning Ac duct systems can help you save utility bills in the future. The professionals will carry out a thorough inspection of your HVAC system and discover issues more precisely than you would on your own. As a result, a perfectly installed system will function without problems and ensure a better output with less money.

Pros of Hiring HVAC Professionals

People Also Ask (FAQ)

Should ductwork be replaced every 10, 15, or 20 years?

The condition of your ductwork will determine whether you need to get it replaced or not. If your ductwork is more than ten years old, you may consider replacing it. The maximum lifespan of ductwork is around 20 to 25 years. However, it begins to deteriorate after 10 to 15 years, depending on how well you maintain it.

How do you know if you need new duct work?

Several signs indicate you may need new ductwork, such as:

  • Mold and mildew odor throughout your house
  • Bizarre noise coming from your HVAC system
  • Higher utility bills
  • The HVAC system does not cool or heat efficiently like it used to before
  • Unusual debris around the vents

How do I know if my ducts are leaking?

Turn on your HVAC system and check the connections between each duct. Try touching the metal for any potential leakages. If you feel the air against your hands, there are high chances that the connection is loose, and there may be possible air leakage. Next, inspect the duct joints and see if it has any air leakages as well.

Does it cost more to install ductwork in a very old house?

The cost of installing ductwork highly depends on the home’s condition and its size. For example, if the area you want your duct to be installed at is not clean, it may cost you more to clean the area first and then install the ductwork. Likewise, if a house is ancient with broken and cracked walls, the costs to install ductwork in such areas may be higher.


The costs of replacement and repair may vary depending on several factors. While repairing your ductwork may seem budget-friendly, it will cost you fortunes in the longer run. Hence, you should make the correct decision right now and save yourself from hefty bills and maintenance costs in the future.

Josh Mitchell

Josh Mitchell

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with DIY and improving my family home. HVAC topics can be tricky for homeowners so I decided to share my knowledge on the subject. When I am not working on DIY projects, you can find me at the beach or my local coffee shop.