The state of your windows has a huge effect on how well your home maintains a comfortable temperature – and on your energy costs. In the winter, you can lose a great deal of heat through your windows. But while the insulation properties of your window glass are important, there's a lot more to good winter windows than choosing double-glazing.
Older windows, especially those with wood frames, can warp over time. If you live in a humid area, this is likely to happen even more quickly – especially if you haven't been sanding and refinishing your frames regularly to protect them. Ill-fitting frames mean cold drafts and heat loss around windows; they can even lead to moisture getting into your home when snow begins to melt in the spring.
If you can feel drafts around your windows or the frames are visibly ill-fitting, the best thing to do is replace them. It's also possible to seal the area around the frame with caulk, but if your frame has started to warp, this is a temporary solution. It's more difficult to replace windows in winter, so it's better to get it taken care of sooner rather than later.
Curtains and drapes can work very well to increase your windows' insulation. How well a window treatment insulates depends on the material it's made of; sheer fabric, of course, won't do nearly as good a job as a thick set of cotton drapes. It's also possible to purchase specially-made insulating curtains whose fabric has been lined to block heat transfer more effectively.
Whatever type of curtains you have, you can also make a difference by changing how you use them. On sunny days, leave curtains open on sun-facing windows. The sun will help to heat up the rooms in your home. When the sun goes down or the weather is cloudy, keep the curtains closed so that their insulating properties can help hold heat in your house.
If your frames fit well, then most of the heat loss around your windows will be through the glass itself. Older single-pane windows are very inefficient at keeping in heat in the winter, so upgrading to double glazing can make a big difference. If you already have double-glazed windows and are still noticing heat loss, however, there are still a couple of things you can do.
First, you may still benefit from putting plastic film over your windows. Most home improvement stores sell kits for sealing windows for the winter. The area between the plastic film and the window glass provides another layer of insulation against heat loss.
Second, keep an eye on the window panes to make sure the seal on the glazing isn't broken. If you notice condensation within the window (between the two panes of the double glazing), that means the seal has been compromised and you're no longer getting the benefits of your double glazing. The panes of glass will need to be replaced. For more information, visit a professionals website such as http://www.newjerseywindow.com.