Air Ducts Cost Calculator – Estimate Ductwork Installation Prices

Typical Cost Range To Install Central AC Average: $4,270 - $5,930
See costs in your area

If you want central air (AC & Heating) – you need air ducts! This calculator helps estimate cost of installing Air Ducts in existing and new construction homes. Average cost of new ducts as around $1.40 to $1.75 per sq. ft. of lining area of your home. However based on specifics of your home, the actual cost can range from $1 to as much as $3.00+ per sq. ft. of house size!

Use the duct calculator below to get accurate price quote based on your house size, construction type, building height, etc.

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If your home is one story high, then (most cases) all ductwork will be either in the basement/cellar or in the attic. However, in multi-storey homes, depending on the layout, you may have one or more main vertical stacks, with “branch” ducts coming off of the stack(s). Additionally, duct width, type and insulation thickness, will affect on the final cost of the project.

To calculate accurate price, be sure to provide proper details:

Step 1: Provide total square footage of conditioned / living space

Step 2: Provide average ceiling (room) height of each floor

Step 3: Provide number of floors>

Steps 4 & 5: Choose duct type and insulation rating. Keep in mind that while insulated ducts will be more expensive initially, they will greatly reduce heat loss in the ducts. Overtime, insulated ducts will more than pay for themselves in energy cost savings! Therefor it only makes sense to choose insulated ducts. Additionally, in many states, insulated ducts are now required by building code!

Step 6: Select project type. If it is a new construction home, your cost will be lower than any retrofit application, as all walls are open, and easy to access. Also, house has design provisions for ductwork already in plans.

If you are dealing with a gutted existing home, the work will be more complex, but still relatively easy, as your sheet metal contractor will have access to open framing.

If you need your duct installer to open up walls ti install ducts, your total price is likely to double! In this case, you are much better off with a DUCTLESS AC/HEAT PUMP instead of Central Air + new ductwork (see details and cost comparison below).

Step 7 (optional): Removal of old ductwork. If you have a gutted home or have old (nun-functioning) ducts in a finished house, and need to remove them, select one of the available options.

Note – removing flex ducts will cost much less than sheet metal ducts.

Step 8 (optional): Drywall work – breaking up walls to allow access for duct installation in existing homes, and redoing drywall + painting walls, after all work is done. This option is only available of you selected “existing finished home” project type.

Consider DUCTLESS AC / HEAT PUMP option:

As mentioned in Step 6, if you are considering installing ducts in a finished home with no easy way to run duct stacks, and will need to open up walls, and later install drywall, plaster and paint, it is much more economical in terms of both initial investment AND future energy costs to go with a multi-zone Ductless AC / Heating system (also known as “Mini-Split”).

Here are just some of the benefits:

  • DUCTLESS – as name states, there are no ducts! All you need is a lineset (copper refrigerant tubing) and a signal wire running to each zone or “register”. Width of the linesit is a total of 3″, and this can easily fit in cavities like walls, attic, basement, etc, or can be installed on the exterior of your house.
  • EACH ZONE RUNS INDEPENDENTLY – With ductless split system, you only condition (heat / cool) the rooms which are occupied. If you are by yourself in a 3000 sq. ft. home, no need to heat all the empty bedrooms!
  • ENERGY EFFICIENT – mini split AC is on average 50-70% more efficient that common “14 SEER” Central AC and can easily save $500-$1000 each year in operating cost!
  • Mini Splits Can heat your entire home! Split systems are not just for Air Conditioning – they can also heat your house, and are very good at it! Consider that over 50% of all residential heating systems are Ductless (air source) heat pumps! High Heat ductless systems can operate in temperatures BELOW -10°F.


About Leo B

Leo has been a contractor since 2003, specializing in: roofing, siding, general contracting (GC) and residential remodeling. In 2019, Leo has also become a Certified HVAC, Oil & Gas Heating Technician/Installer. In addition to roofing and remodeling, Leo is passionate about Solar, green building and energy conservation, so a lot of my time and energy goes to installing energy efficient heating and cooling systems.


See more about Remodeling Calculator team here


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