If you add your general location, that might allow you to go visit a forum member to see up close and personal, a hand fired unit. If funds are tight, believe me you can find a very good unit used to suit your purposes. Please describe the type of unit you have now, and just some general details about your plan. EFM, Keystoker, Leisure Line, Alaska, Patriot Coal, Harman, Hitzer......and a few more, are available right now. DO NOT be afraid of any of the stoves, however do your homework before you spend the cash. Payback should be less than 3 years, and the comfort for you any your family is immediate. My $.02 says to cut the propane usage as much as you can, because the coal cost will be less than 1/2 of the propane cost.
Welcome to the forum, and ask anything you like!