How to Prepare Your Home for Winter

How to Winterize Windows

Did you know about one-third of the heat lost in a home finds its way to the outside through doors and windows? That's a huge amount. Inefficient heating and insulation can drive up electric and gas bills just around the time you're pinching pennies to afford Christmas gifts.

Windows are just bound to have gaps around them. The seal around the edges wears down or cracks over time with changing temperatures and a settling house. After a while, these gaps and cracks can let hot air out and cold air in (or vice versa during the summer). Use waterproof caulking or weather stripping to block the gaps and keep the heat inside where it belongs.

For added protection against heat loss, consider investing in storm windows, which are temporary and install easily over your existing windows. According the Natural Resources Defense Council, storm windows can reduce heat loss between 25 and 50 percent. If storm windows aren't in the budget, pick up a window insulator kit, a plastic film that covers your windows to help reduce heat transfer. Drawing heavy drapes across sliding glass doors can also help keep heat inside your home.

Lastly, remove your window screens during the winter and store them in a safe place, like a garage, shed or attic. Storing them protects the screens from damaging cold and wind (and wayward snowballs).

The house itself isn't the only thing that needs to get ready for winter. Your outdoor spaces need a little TLC too. Keep reading to find out what to do with plants and flowers.