Winter is Coming. Are Your Windows Ready?

For some of us, winter is a wonderful time to cocoon at home – to stay warm and cozy and comfortable while storms and snows rage outside. For others, winter means drafty windows, cold rooms, walking around in a blanket, and dreading the monthly energy bill; for these folks, winter can’t end soon enough.

No matter how we feel about winter, it’s coming soon and it’s not going to end for several months. If you’ve been dreading the arrival of winter, now is the time to take steps to make your home more comfortable – without having to spend even more to heat your home. You may just discover that you can have a much more comfortable home without spending much time or money to do it. Here are some things just about anyone can do:

Caulk gaps around the windows

Think about this: A tiny gap around the window frame can let in as much cold air as a window that’s opened half an inch. If you wouldn’t leave that window open in the cold, you shouldn’t avoid dealing with drafts. So check around each window in your home. If you find a gap, consider filling it with some inexpensive caulk. Don’t forget to check windows in your basement or attic.

Use cellular shades

Cellular shades are the most energy-efficient window coverings. They employ cells to trap layers of insulating air around your windows, keeping winter air at bay so your room remains warm and cozy. Because cellular shades use air, rather than material, for insulation, they’re able to let through a fair amount of light – a definite plus in winter, when natural light is already in short supply.

Try insulated curtains

Curtains employ material, or even insulation, to trap cold air next to the window. Like cellular shades, heavier curtains can be effective in maintaining warmth. And, like cellular shades, curtains can be a stylish addition to a room. Unlike cellular shades, curtains tend to block out natural light – particularly if they’re insulated.

Consider replacing your windows

If you’re trying to keep warm this winter without breaking the bank, replacing the windows might not be your first option. Even if new windows reduce annual energy costs by several hundred dollars, it would take several years for that savings to equal the investment in new windows.

That said, there are some compelling financial incentives for choosing energy efficient windows. For one, homeowners may be eligible to receive tax credits for qualified, sufficiently energy-efficient windows. Many utility companies also offer rebates to help offset the cost of new windows; these replacement windows from Renewal by Andersen are an example of a rebate-eligible, highly-efficient window.

The biggest financial incentive to replace your windows is the boost that new energy-efficient windows provides to your home’s resale value. Per ISoldMyHouse.com, a $10000 window replacement could increase a home’s value by about $8500 – not bad when you’ve also got beautiful windows, a more comfortable home, and lower energy costs.

Don’t forget your doors

Windows aren’t the only sources of cold winter drafts: Doors can also feature gaps that can let in unwanted cold air. If one or more of your doors are letting in a draft, consider adding a replacement weather-strip to the door’s underside; you’ll find them at your local hardware store, and they’re easy to install. For an even easier solution, try placing a draft snake (or even a rolled-up towel at the base of the door to block cold air.

Get your windows (and doors) ready for the cold, and you just might find that winter’s not so bad after all. Hot chocolate, anyone?