Our old heating system (in our 1400 sq foot single story brick house built in 1950s) was forced oil heat, with the furnace in a little utility basement that is only under about 1/5 of the house. Washer/dryer down there, gas water heater. You enter the basement off a screened porch to the side. The ductwork is uninsulated, and the underside of the house is uninsulated. The rest of the underside of the house is a crawl space, but in the past the ductwork kept everything under the crawl warm and dry. THere is a vapor barrior down there on sand etc but it's not a very open crawl. When we moved in, we had AC/heat pump system put in the attic that uses a totally different vent system. Last year the oil furnace crapped out. Rather than replace it we went with the heat pump (found ourselves cold and it was expensive!), and then we got a wood stove. We have not ditched the furnace down there so it sits idle in case we or somebody else wants to replace the whole thing with a gas or oil unit in the future. The ducts aren't insulated but the guy we talked to said that's OK, they can either be insulated, or a heat outlet can be put into the space where the furnace is. For now, my concern is that the uninsulated underside of the house is much colder than it used to be. There are only a few small vents under the house to outside, but I guess I need to block them/insulate them and I am not sure how. I will also have to get faucet covers for the two hoses, and a jacket for the water heater in the basement. The washer/dryer are in the basement, is there any kind of heater I can put in there just to make sure the little basement stays warm enough for the pipes and etc? It never seems THAT bad down there but I am just trying to anticipate before we have a problem. We had a very cold winter last year and we did OK, but a power outage or if we were away a few days with no woodstove heat might spell disaster. So I am wondering about 1) possibility of some mild inexpensive basement heat? 2) how to block/insulate the under house vents from the outside (it's NOT an easy crawler under there) 3) is it necessary to put heat tape or anything on pipes? 4) anything else I'm not thinking of?