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How much it costs to install HVAC and Ducting

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Installing A HVAC system in your home is a big investment – and one that is worth it, if it is done correctly and by a professional. Having climate control in your home is an essential aspect of living a comfortable lifestyle in your abode, and without it – you may find yourself suffering through the heat and humidity of a blistering summer and the cold and freezing temperatures of a bleak winter. 

If this is your first time installing HVAC systems in your home, it will be a significant undertaking – in a sense that you’re actually going to need ducts in order for the heated or cooled air to travel across the different rooms or places where you want them to be used in. For example, if you want climate control in all the rooms of your house, that treated air from the outside condenser unit has to get to the vents in those rooms in the most efficient way, and you’ll need to install ducting in order for that to happen. Without any ducting, you won’t get any consistent cool or warm air in your home, defeating the purpose of installing an HVAC system altogether. 

How HVAC and ducting is installed 

The HVAC unit is installed in a specified place in the home, and this unit can either be a central gas heating unit, furnace heating unit or a central A/C unit. All these different units have different qualities, which we will discuss below. 

In general, ducting works typically take place in your attic areas. The length of ducting required to complete the project will depend on a few factors, such as the layout of your home, and whether there are any complex crawl spaces that need to be navigated by the crew when installing the ductwork. The duct lengths are cut to size, and joined together with special equipment, and are connected to the vents and your HVAC system, completing the circuit. 

Older male with a yellow flashlight examining HVAC ducts in a large square vent. Male technician looking over the air ducts inside a home air intake vent.

Considerations when installing ducting in your home

They are several factors that determine the complexity of the ducting process. One of the biggest factors is the size of your home – typically for larger homes, more ducting is required to connect all the vents in the rooms to the HVAC system. And because you’ll need more ducting, it comes at a higher cost generally. 

Secondly, homes with tricky layouts and without any pre-existing ducting may need to be hacked in spaces like closets or between floors in order to fit the new ducting in – these methods are usually unconventional and will more often than not raise the cost of the entire project significantly. 

The material of your ducting also plays a part in the cost of the entire project. Ducting can come in a variety of materials, from fiberglass, to galvanized steel – and every individual material comes with their own cost per foot, meaning that this variable may affect your project cost in a big way. 

If you’re simply just repairing or upgrading a certain section of ductwork in your home, it won’t be as complicated as fitting in an entirely new ducting system, so that would lower the costs for you. Lastly, an unfinished home gives the contractors more space and leeway to work efficiently, while a finished home has more considerations and may cost slightly higher. 

Different types of HVAC systems

The HVAC system that you choose will also affect the cost of the project. Electric systems such as A/C will cost less upfront, but may cost significantly higher in the future as electricity bills rise. Things such as gas boilers and furnaces may cost more during installation, as it is a little more complex to join these units safely and securely to the gas mains in your home, but the savings come in the form of cheaper bills as gas is cheaper than electricity – for most, if not all areas. 

How much is it to install Ducting and HVAC? 

When it comes to ducting, the standard market rates vary from $35-$55 per linear foot including labor and materials. For a standard sized home, this may work out to about $1000-$5000 for a full installation project, as an average family home requires 30 to 90 feet of ducting in order to have a fully complete HVAC system in your home. 

The different ducting material costs on the market currently are as follows: 

  • Fiberglass $4.50-$6 per linear foot
  • Sheet metal $1.50-$6 per linear foot
  • Lightweight aluminium $1-$4 per linear foot
  • Flexible, non metallic material $1-$2 per linear foot

After installing the HVAC and laying out the ducting, the crew has to also install the connected air vents in your walls – this is where the heated or cooled air can enter the room or area of the home that needs to be climate controlled. The vent itself ranges from about $6-$25 depending on design and size. 

Of course, this is assuming that there are no complicated areas in your house that result in the crew having to provide extra labour and equipment to lay out the ducting. 

When should I replace my ducting? 

For those who already have ducting systems in place, a rule of thumb is to always replace your old ductwork if you see any leaks or cracks on the ducting, or if your ducting looks worn out and is in poor condition. You can also tell if your ducting needs replacement when your HVAC system doesn’t seem to be working as well as it should – it’s a good practice to have it inspected by a HVAC technician at the first sign of malfunction. 

Should I install my HVAC and Ducting myself? 

A large scale HVAC and Ducting installation project is a big task and is not recommended to be done DIY. Qualified HVAC technicians work in crews to effectively complete a successful project that will take usually less than a few days depending on the size of the home and the complexity of the layout of the home. 

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