Shut the windows! It sounds obvious, but you would be surprised how much warmth can be escaping and how much cold air can be creeping in. Many people forget that the lock must be engaged for the window to be pulled in tight. However, periodically open them during the winter to prevent moisture build-up as a result of cooking, showering and other activities.
Inspect the condition of the caulking around your windows and doors for shrinkage or tearing. It is imperative that you also look for chipping paint and exposed wood. Wood should never be exposed to the elements. Once water gets absorbed into wood, you are promoting the settling in of mildew, mold and rot. Check that weather-stripping is in good condition and replace it if it's missing or damaged. All exterior screens should be removed, washed and stored for the winter.
If you find that the condition of your windows are not up to par, there is still time this season to replace them with new maintenance-free, high performing units such as vinyl or vinyl clad wood windows. They make checking the exterior paint a thing of the past. There are a wide selection of vinyl and vinyl clad wood windows in standard and custom colors. They are great looking too -- like fine furniture. Let your windows match your rustic pine kitchen, the formal oak dining room mantel and the maple floor in the study.
But more than anything -- don't let avoidable exterior maintenance put a damper on this fall. Get out there and enjoy it!
CAPTION: Prepare your windows for winter. Vinyl and vinyl clad wood windows make it easy to have low maintenance and high performance windows.