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Question DetailsAsked on 2/27/2016

67 yr old AC duct work is full of holes. Replace or repair?

We are under contract on this house and based on the inspection, the AC ductwork is full of holes. It is original (67 yrs old) and is laying on the ground under the house - not properly bolted/secured to the underneath of the house. We've had 2 AC contractors come out - one said to repair it, and the other said to replace it completely ($8k!). I am nervous about mold/mildew, bugs, etc that could have come in to the duct work not to mention energy efficiency. My inclination is to replace it, but $8k is a lot and the seller is not willing to pay for that since one contractor said he would be able to repair the holes. It seems a waste to repair duct work that is that old. The house is 2400 sq ft, and in Florida if that makes a difference. We'll be getting a 3rd AC person out to evaluate but would love some input. Thank you!

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3 Answers


Why did they say to replace? Reason given?

Ducts can be cleaned with special equipment, on the inside.

Ducts can be sealed by , best way to go, proof of prior and post sealing actual leakage!

Check here for consumer tips as well.


Answered 4 years ago by BayAreaAC


If it is "full of holes" I would replace rather than try to seal because you will have more rustouts over time, though possibly only the part laying on the ground (which is grossly against code BTW) and get it up off the ground in the replacement. My opinion - AeroSeal is fine for sealing duct seams that you can't get at to seal with seam sealer, but just covering over rust throughs does not stop the rusting, so not a long-term fix.

$8000 to replace ducts - unless a real large house and multi-story, that is typically enough to replace all your ducting PLUS the furnace - so I would be looking at getting more bids to get something more reasonable pricewise, and if the holes are due to rust, ask for bids to replace all the ducting and also a second number for replacing only that on the ground and get it up off the ground, to compare. Also, ask the inspector/contractors if they say hoes and rust on all your ducts or only the on-ground portion - that might direct your decision too. Unless your entire ducting is badly rusted (rare except in coastal areas and with very old ducting which was not galvanized metal - like pre-70's probably, so might include yours), just replacing the crawlspace runs is likely more in the $1-2,000 range.

Based on above considerations, unless ducting is totally rusted throughout (in which case I would make the contingency cover total replacement unless you despearately want this house), I would negotiate down to replacement of the crawlspace laterals which should get it into the range the owner can accept.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD


I am a retired HVAC contractor and I definitely agree with LCD's answer. For $8000.00 I would say a legimate contractor would replace the duct work and furnace. Get at least 3 more bids and check out the contractors with the Better Business Board and your state's contractor's license board for legitimacy and past complaints. Also get a signed warranty.

Source: Poppy Ross

Answered 4 years ago by PoppyRoss

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