I have a 930 SF house in Massachusetts that has been a Summer only place, but now we need to convert it to a year round home. We are insulating it to the max but need to add a heating system. Propane and electric are my only fuel options. We are getting quotes on central heat systems but I want more info to be able to decide. Which do you think is better and more affordable... Propane fired boiler with baseboard HW or Propane fired furnace with forced air? The heating contractors say that the furnace is cheaper than a boiler but the air ducting is much more expensive than water baseboard plumbing. We also have a clearance issue, with only about 3 feet of headroom in the crawlspace where the heater needs to go. Putting heater inside the house is NOT an option. Floorspace is critical to us and it must go under....any thoughts on this? I don't want to rely entirely on what the contractors propose as each has an obvious self interest with the systems that they like to install.
Also, any guesses on the approximate payback time period of a Propane fired central heat system as opposed to simple electric baseboard heat, which is very cheap to install but costly to run. I have no idea how to compute electric costs vs Propane costs. Can this be done?