How Much Should HVAC Duct Insulation Cost?

Nick P. Cellucci
Written by Nick P. Cellucci
Updated January 18, 2022
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Highlights

  • 1,000 sq. ft. of ductwork insulation is typically $1,000–$2,700.

  • Costs vary depending on the insulation material you choose.

  • HVAC duct insulation costs $1.15–$5.50 per sq. ft.

  • DIY duct insulation is straightforward but labor-intensive.

  • Insulation can increase your home’s efficiency by up to 20%.

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You’ll pay an average of $2,500 to upgrade your insulation, but it can range from $1,000 to $2,700 for 1,000 square feet of ductwork insulation. Whether you’re seeking cool refuge on a hot summer day or a warm and cozy space when the weather gets cold, your home needs proper insulation to keep you and your family comfortable.

Insulating your HVAC system ductwork can help lower your energy bills and make it easier to maintain your home’s temperature.

National Average CostMinimum CostMaximum Cost
$2,500$750$6,000

Cost of Ductwork Insulation Near You

The cost to insulate your HVAC system’s ductwork will vary depending on the cost of labor in your local area. Below is a list of the typical price range for ductwork insulation in several major cities throughout the U.S.

CityPrice Range
Charlotte, NC$930–$1,780
Oklahoma City$960–$1,850
Denver$990–$1,920
Kansas City, MO$1,010–$1,980
Hartford, CT$1,060–$2,100
Chicago$1,110–$2,230
San Francisco$1,180–$2,410
New York$1,260–$2,600
Honolulu$1,300–$2,690

How Much Does Air Duct Sealing Cost by Ductwork Insulation Material?

One of the biggest cost factors when insulating your HVAC system is the type of insulation you choose to use. Insulation comes in many forms, and the cost of each type of insulation can vary based on its thickness and the material from which it’s made. 

The basic types most commonly used to insulate air ducts include the following:

Duct Liner Insulation

If you’re installing a new HVAC system, the most affordable insulation option is to apply duct liner before new sheet metal ducts are installed. It comes in one-half to 2-inch thick flexible blankets or rigid boards of fiberglass or mineral wool. 

The cost to insulate 1,000 square feet of ductwork with duct liner is between $1,950 and $2,200.

Spray Foam Insulation

This material is sprayed into open cracks, gaps, and crevices, then expands up to 100 times its original size to seal those cavities against air leaks. It also won’t sag or lose shape over time. The cost to insulate 1,000 square feet of ductwork with spray foam is between $1,150 and $3,500.

Duct Wrap Insulation

This blanket-like insulation is typically wrapped around the exterior of sheet metal ducts, making it easier to install on round ducts. It can also be applied to rectangular ducts. The cost to insulate 1,000 square feet of ductwork with duct wrap is between $2,250 and $2,500.

Duct Board Insulation

Typically applied to the exterior of HVAC ducts, these 1-, 1 ½-, or 2-inch thick boards are made from either fiberglass or mineral wool with an outer aluminum layer to seal out air and moisture. The cost to insulate 1,000 square feet of ductwork with duct board is between $5,250 and $5,500.

How Much Does It Cost to Insulate Ductwork per Square Foot?

Worker wrapping air duct with mineral wool
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The length or size of your ducts will determine how much material is needed. Ductwork insulation material is typically priced by the board foot, which is equal to one square foot of one-inch thick material. You will need multiple board feet of material per square foot.

Most local building codes are based on requirements set by the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). According to the 2021 IECC, attic ducts greater than three inches in diameter require a minimum of three inches of insulation. As a general rule, plan on installing at least 3 inches of insulation to all HVAC ductwork throughout your home.

Below are the installation costs per square foot for each major type of duct insulation material:

Insulation TypeInstallation Cost per Square Foot
Duct Liner$1.95–$2.20 per sq. ft.
Spray Foam$1.15–$3.50 per sq. ft.
Duct Wrap$2.25–$2.50 per sq. ft.
Duct Board$5.25–$5.50 per sq. ft.

HVAC Duct Insulation Cost Breakdown

Multiple factors contribute to the total cost of your ductwork installation, and every project is different. At a minimum, expect to see both materials and labor included in your final cost.

Materials

The cost of insulation material will depend on the type of material you choose. Material-only costs for the most common insulation materials are below, based on installing 3 inches of material per square foot.

  • Duct liner: $1.70 per sq. ft.

  • Spray foam: $1.94 per sq. ft.

  • Duct wrap: $2 per sq. ft.

  • Duct board: $5 per sq. ft.

Labor

The cost of ductwork insulation labor will vary depending on the type of insulation you choose, the thickness of the insulation, and the location in your home where installation is being done. In general, expect to pay an additional $0.25 to $0.50 per square foot for labor alone.

What Is the Cost to Insulate Ductwork Yourself?

Ductwork insulation tends to be a messy and labor-intensive project that involves accessing hard-to-reach areas of your home. Careful research and preparation are needed to ensure that you’re properly equipped.

Cost to Install Ductwork Insulation Yourself vs. Hiring a Duct Insulation Contractor

You may wish to save time and energy by consulting with a professional insulation contractor in your area to get a project estimate. You should also keep in mind that roof or attic insulation will require specialized equipment that typically only pros will have on hand.

If you are confident in your DIY abilities, you’ll save an average of $0.40 per square foot on labor. You can compare any professional estimates you receive to the cost of materials, tools, and equipment you’ll need to get the job done:

  • Insulation materials: $1.70–$5.00 per square foot

  • Protective dust mask: $13 per pack

  • Hammer: $8–$20

  • Safety glasses: $2–$20

  • Straightedge ruler: $20–$25

  • Utility knife: $7–$10

Ductwork Insulation Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Why should I insulate my ducts?

According to Energy Star, leaky ducts can reduce your HVAC system’s efficiency by as much as 20%. If you’re questioning whether the upfront cost of sealing and insulating your ducts is worth paying, keep in mind that proper insulation can pay for itself in just a few years by lowering your energy bills. That added efficiency also helps lower your home’s carbon footprint.

The other key benefit of an insulated HVAC system is improved air conditioning, which helps to maintain a more consistent and comfortable indoor temperature and mitigate allergy problems that result from poor indoor air quality.

How do I tell if I have enough insulation? 

If you feel as though your energy bills are too high or that your HVAC system is working harder than necessary to maintain the right temperature in your home, you may have an under-insulated home. If you’re unsure, consider having your system’s efficiency assessed by a local independent energy auditor.

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