Crawl Space Insulation

I read the insulation discussion from tonite with great interest. Quite frankly, I am tired of writing $250+/month checks to our gas company during winter to heat our 2200 sq. ft. ranch house. We live in Indianapolis in a brick ranch style home built in the 1940's or 50's. It is built on a crawl space and has a gas burning hot water boiler system made by Bryant (its about 14 years old). We love the moist baseboard heat it provides.
The crawlspace is about 4 ft high (3 ft. below ground and 1 foot above.) and is concrete. We have plywood decking with hardwood floors throughout the house.
First, do we need to insulate the crawl space walls? If so, with what?
Second, should we insulate between the joists on the "ceiling" of the crawl space? With what? The pink foam boards? Will I need the "vapor barrier" (what is that, btw?)?
The footprint of the house is about 30 x 75 in a rectangle shape. What's a ballpark figure on how much this will cost us to do each (the crawlspace walls and the crawl space ceiling)?
If we insulate the crawl space ceiling , are we then running the risk of having some of our pipes which are located in the crawl space freeze and burst? Speaking of pipes (especially the ones carrying the hot water/steam to the floor registers) should those all be insulated down there?
Sorry for so many questions, but I am tired of writing checks continually to our Gas Co., as you might guess.
Now, the attic. We have a low-pitched roof...one that makes it almost impossible for me to be up there anywhere other than on the center line plank boards on my hands and knees. There is some fiber-fill (?) insulation up there (about 6 inches deep or so, given that most of the joists show with an inch or two to spare. I would estimate that, since we've been in the house 8 years now and haven't added any insulation that we need to address this now. Also, there are some spots where I'm not sure there is ANY fiberfill at all, but can't tell for sure as it is out on the perimeter of the attic. Obviously, we have electrical fixtures popping up every so often above the fiberfill.
Additionally, the house was retro-fitted about 15-20 years ago with an AC system that is in the attic and deliver the cool air thru flexible tubes covered in foil that are in the attic and let the cool air fall down.
What should I do? Add more fiberfill? How much? How do I get it spread out to the edges if I can't get more than a couple of feet out from that center line? How much will all this cost? How soon (roughly) to cover our expenditures in saving?
Also, what about the under side of the roof? Pink panels?
What about the foil venting tubes?
Thanks, and sorry for the letter length.
Eric Volk
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Having only one foot of open space as a crawl space somewhat limits you to what you can do if only because of the lack of room. You stated you have hardwood floors so that limiting also, no ripping it up! Seriously, since you have more than one insulation issue, I would seek professional help. A reputable, licensed, insulation contractor will probably have all your answers. Get references of previous clients, and if he doesn't want to give you those references, move on to the next one. You can rent machines that will blow in insulation for the attic, but why bother with it when you've got someone doing the crawl space.
Dave
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go to www.getpink.com or call 1-800-get-pink. I'm a residential contractor and Get-Pink is the best free resource that I ever deal with. -B

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I live in a similar home. We have double 6" batts folded into Plastic sheeting, so both sides are covered with vapor barrier. A thermal curtain effect. Our "curtain" extends from the base of the wall to 4' in toward the center on the ground. Then we have the entire crawlspace floor covered with plastic as well. It works great, of course the House floor is also well insulated. I got my idea from a friend who uses a similar crawlspace as the ducting for his heat. A wholehouse plenum. and each room has individual temperature controls.
As for the Ceiling. Our house has about 12" of insulation on the ceiling and nothing at all in the attic space, in fact the soffit vents are open all year for circulation. Closing an attic up improperly can cause ceiling and wall cracks due to unequal expansion/contraction mostly in the winter.
We don't have the benefit of snow for insulation because we have a metal roof so the snow slides off, we don't want any snow staying on the roof or we'd have to hire someone to come and shovel it off every storm ( approx. 160" snowfall.
Our only heat for the house is a fireplace and radiant electric ceiling heat and it does a pretty damn good job.
Later, tHAT

during
a
crawl
and
crawl
a
water/steam
to
insulation
with
often
our
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