I am a new homeowner in Alaska and I have a question concerning insulation. I have a home which is built on pilings and has a 3 or 3.5 foot crawlspace which is currently unheated since the previous owners disconnected the electric heaters that are in place in the crawlspace. The ground underneath is bare ground (covered with a visqueen vapor barrier), but there is a concrete skirt around the outside of the base of the house which seems to be fairly well insulated for the most part. Obviously with an uninsulated floor and an unheated crawl space, our heating bill was much higher this month than we would like it. Here are my questions.
1) Is it better to insulate the underside of the floor between the joists, or put down a layer of foam and a layer of insulation on the ground with a vapor barrier underneath? Opinion seems pretty evenly split on this question.
2) Electric heating of the crawlspace doesn't seem to be the most economical way to go, considering that it was 20 below zero for over two weeks where we live recently. Any better suggestions?
3) Would building a platform above the ground level to reduce the heatable volume of the crawlspace be a valid option? Any insights on heater clearances and other code-related issues?
Thanks in advance for the help! Any suggestions are most appreciated.