GIMME SHELTER- Winter's coming: Get your windows ready

Window & Door Pros

 Q. With colder weather ahead and gas prices so high, how do I get my windows and doors ready for winter? How do I repair my glass panes and caulk the doors?

A. First thing to do is check your windows and doors for drafts. Generally you know your house: if certain rooms seem to have severe temperature swings or seem drafty on windy days, then it's likely that there's some leakage in that room. On the next windy day, place your hand around the perimeter of the window or door to see if you feel any obvious drafty areas. If so, you need to assess where the draft is coming from. Sometimes it could be as simple as replacing weather-stripping that has become worn or compressed.

If your windows are about 20 years old or newer and have insulated glass, you may be able to replace the weather-stripping relatively easily. Check to see if the weather-stripping is making contact with the window. If it isn't, you'll feel the draft and may even see daylight. If you feel a draft that seems like it's coming around the trim, you may need to check the exterior and interior trim for gaps in the caulking. If you find any, re-caulk them. Some doors also have adjustable sills that need to be adjusted every now and then to assure contact with the bottom of the door.

If your window or door glass is single-pane and more than 20 years old, you may want to consider upgrading to replacement windows with modern insulated glass with a low-e II coating. Though the cost of replacing is much greater then caulking and weather-stripping, by doing so you'll gain many benefits, such as lower heating and air conditioning bills, a more comfortable and quieter interior environment, ease of cleaning and maintenance and general operation, since most tilt in these days.

By replacing with insulated glass, you'll also eliminate the need for storm windows and the problems associated with them. The newer glass is a tighter fit and will be far more efficient.

Jim White of Window & Door Pros