Now that the days are getting shorter and frost is starting to form in the morning, it is a good idea to start weatherizing your home. Doing so will help keep the inside warmer, more comfortable and it will also minimize drafts while reducing your overall heating bill.
Replacing all of you windows and reinsulating the walls would dramatically help to reduce the heating bill but it is not something that is attainable for most homeowners. While your first thought may be that this is going to cost a lot of money, that cant be farther from the truth. There are simple and cost effective ways to properly weatherize your home which can be completed in a weekend.
Weatherproof Your Windows
Replace Broken Glass
Start by looking over the windows inside and out and check if there are any broken panes or seal failures. A broken pane of glass is quite obvious and a seal failure will create a foggy appearance that wont go away. Replacing broken glass can take a couple weeks but it is worth it as any sealed glass unit that has had a failure is about as effective as a single pane of glass which isn't very good.
Re-caulk and Re-seal
If the caulking around the frame is starting to show its age, is peeling or has become brittle, it is a good idea to remove it and re-caulk. Choose a colour that either matches the window or the exterior siding and if you are not sure choose clear. Caulk requires a warm day of 10 degrees Celsius/ 50 degrees Fahrenheit outside for it to properly dry. Re-caulking should be enough but there is something else that you can do to better insulate the window.
Pull off interior casings and check if there are any gaps between the window frame and expanding foam. Use a utility knife to cut around the casing which will stop the paint from peeling and remove the casing carefully to reuse it. If there are any gaps refill with a low expansion spray foam, let dry and reapply casing. I would avoid this option unless you know the window isn't insulated properly as it is very time consuming and may require paint touch-ups. There is also the possibility of opening a huge can of worms that you may not yet be ready for if the framing is rotted or the windows are falling apart.
Window Insulation Film
Applying a clear plastic film to the interior of any window can greatly improve its insulating value and energy efficiency. It will help to stop drafts and reduce condensation buildup. These kits can be found at any hardware store, are easy to install and can be removed when the weather warms up.
Word of the Day: Dry Glazing
A form of glazing in which the glass is secured into place by using a dry gasket, wood, vinyl or metal stops instead of a glazing compound.