cost to rebuild hvac return in crawl space

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jthokie4
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Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2016 11:47 am

cost to rebuild hvac return in crawl space

Post by jthokie4 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:04 pm

We have been rennovating a 45-year old house, and have been smelling crawl space air leaking up through the HVAC returns (sloppy, unsealed panned joist system). We want to replace/rebuild the return ductwork in the 4-foot high crawl space to seal it properly. An HVAC company gave us an estimate of $3,000 to do it. We are having a hard time getting other estimates b/c all the other companies say they are all booked! The technician says he can do the job in 1.5 days. $3,000 seems like an awful lot of money to pay for 1.5 days of work ($200/hr after materials??). Is this a rip off? Should we hold off until we can get someone to give us another estimate?

Johnsson
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Re: cost to rebuild hvac return in crawl space

Post by Johnsson » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:09 pm

How about this...? https://www.homedepot.com/p/Water-Based ... /100396973

If the current setup functions, maybe some quality time in the crawl space can seal up the leaks and fix your problem for under $20. I used it to seal some air ducting and it works well.

Rupert
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Re: cost to rebuild hvac return in crawl space

Post by Rupert » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:09 pm

Ductwork is expensive. I paid almost that much a few years ago just to have the trunk lines replaced in my crawlspace. They re-used the existing branch lines. They also sealed everything up nicely. Every HVAC contractor I've talked to since (and I've seen a half-dozen or so different ones because I recently needed quotes for a new HVAC unit) has told me that was a great price for the work.

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Watty
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Re: cost to rebuild hvac return in crawl space

Post by Watty » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:53 pm

I could be that $3,000 is a informal minimum to do projects like that.

I once had to have the ductwork replaced in a crawlspace after a flood. Instead of replacing it metal ducts they use flexible ductwork like this;

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Master-Flow ... /100396936

I am not sure if there are limitations on where that can be used but that could be a lot less expensive than metal ductwork if that is what you were going to use.

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wabbajack
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Location: Indianapolis

Re: cost to rebuild hvac return in crawl space

Post by wabbajack » Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:08 pm

jthokie4 wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:04 pm
We are having a hard time getting other estimates b/c all the other companies say they are all booked! The technician says he can do the job in 1.5 days. $3,000 seems like an awful lot of money to pay for 1.5 days of work ($200/hr after materials??).
Do you want to be working in a freezing crawlspace for $200/hour?
Given that all other companies are booked (or uninterested), this seems like your only option. My only helpful advice is to make sure you're doing the work through a reputable company that will honor complaints/warranties. I had to redo my HVAC return (which goes through my attic) in the middle of summer. I just paid the contractors whatever they asked, as long as the job is done right.

Saving$
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Re: cost to rebuild hvac return in crawl space

Post by Saving$ » Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:17 pm

Do yourself a favor and spend your money to get rid of the musty smell in the crawl space. Crawl space should be sealed and dry and then crawl space air communicates with living area air. That way you have a healthier environment for your entire house.

https://www.energyvanguard.com/crawl-sp ... hod-step-1

adamthesmythe
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Re: cost to rebuild hvac return in crawl space

Post by adamthesmythe » Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:29 pm

Working in a crawl space sucks bigtime.

Maybe all of the contractors- including the one who gave you the estimate- are telling you they would really rather do other jobs.

brianH
Posts: 184
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 12:21 pm

Re: cost to rebuild hvac return in crawl space

Post by brianH » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:41 pm

It really depends on your area, but in much of the country, business for the trades is booming. Between real estate flippers, older houses needing work, economic prosperity, and lack of actual people entering the trades (somehow seen as a bad choice over going to college), many contractors won't bother with sub-$1000 jobs or waste their time giving estimates. Add in the ever increasing cost of doing business (licensing, supplies), and a lot of work can command eye-popping rates.

This doesn't seem like something you need to do right now (e.g. plumbing emergency/no heat), so I'd keep trying to get more estimates. You might be able to catch a slower time of year or a lull in a company's work schedule where they'd be able to fit it in for less of a premium. That said, I don't think the quote is that insane.

jthokie4
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2016 11:47 am

Re: cost to rebuild hvac return in crawl space

Post by jthokie4 » Thu Nov 15, 2018 3:59 pm

OP here. After a neighbor inquiry on Nextdoor.com, I found a guy who was able to do the work for about $500. It pays to shop around :sharebeer :happy :D

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