This spring/summer I need to install a central heating system in my house. My house is over 100 years old and currently has no central heating system. Since I live near the Canadian border, this is something of a nuisance.
In any event, I'm told I have two choices:
1. Pay a contractor $10,000+ to install a furnace and "build" a duct system in my house for forced-air heat. The only benefit to this seems to be that the same duct system can be used for central air conditioning. The drawbacks: have to pay someone to clean out duct system periodically, forced air is dry and, I believe more expensive than baseboard heat because it requires electricity to blow it around.
2. Pay a contractor around $6,000+ to install a boiler and baseboard heating throughout the 1800 sq foot house. The benefit to this seems to be: quiet operation, moist heat, cheaper than forced air. Here is the potential drawback. I don't think my house has any insulation. I'm wondering. . .can the pipes that run through the baseboard heating system actually FREEZE in the winter time? I mean, it gets pretty cold in my house and I'm worried that the baseboards on the outside walls of the house will get so cold that the pipes inside will freeze and burst.
I can't afford to do everything at once and I'm OK with that. But I would like to have a central heating system by NEXT winter. This winter has been challenging. It's a good thing I have a really sunny disposition, even in the face of a Buffalo winter! Your advice is appreciated!