Can you paint vinyl windows in Chicago, a city known for wild winds and brutal Midwestern winters? There’s some disagreement on this topic, as experts constantly argue about whether it's cost-effective to paint vinyl window frames in the Windy City. 

Whether you live along the Red Line or the Blue Line, this article will help you explore the pros and cons of painted vinyl windows in Chicago, and learn how to paint those vinyl window frames if you opt to go ahead. 

Common Painted Vinyl Windows Problems

Vinyl windows can be painted, but that does not mean they should be painted. Generally, home contractors on the North Side and South Side alike will tell you that painting vinyl window frames in Chicago is a viable option, while window manufacturers will contradict them. 

The major drawback is that paint does not adhere well to vinyl, particularly during northern Illinois winters. This results in paint flaking off, leaving you with windows that look worse than the Damen Silos. 

The color you choose can also be a factor. Darker paint colors attract solar heat, which puts additional heat stress on your window frames (particularly during the summer, when Chicago temperatures can exceed 90 degrees). If your current windows are older, the increased heat could cause warping.  

Another important consideration when thinking about painting your window frames is your window warranty. Altering the vinyl window frame may void your warranty. Without a valid warranty, most Chicagoland-area manufacturers won’t fix your windows.  

Some manufacturers in Illinois will only accept certain colors of vinyl paint - sometimes going so far as to ask you to send in the paint chip for verification! If your windows are under warranty, it's worth a phone call to find out what colors, if any, don’t void the warranty. 

Now you understand the risks if you choose to paint the frames. But we live in the age of Pinterest, where DIY is king. Chicagoans continue to paint vinyl window frames because it’s the cheapest and easiest way to change the color of their frames.  

The only other option is window replacement. When you choose to replace your windows, you should work with a company in the Chicagoland area that customizes the windows, including style, size, and color. Here at Window Nation, we offer several vinyl windows colors for you to choose from to suit your specific taste, the style of your home, and your favorite Chicago sports team (go Cubs!). Explore all the vinyl replacement window options available at Window Nation.  

How to Paint Vinyl Window Frames in Chicago

Supply List 

  • 220-grit sandpaper 
  • Primer specifically made to work on vinyl such as an alkyd- based primer 
  • Vinyl safe latex exterior paint 
  • Foam paint brushes of varying size  
  • Painters tape 
  • Drop cloth 
  • Warm water and sponge for ‘goofs’ 

Before you start painting vinyl window frames, clean the windows to remove any dirt. You never want to paint a dirty window, as that will trap all that Chicago dirt beneath the paint.  

You may want to sand the windows using 220-grit sandpaper lightly. Roughing up the frame encourages the primer to bond with the vinyl frames. 

Make sure you cover and tape off your window glass and position newspaper (if you still get the Chicago Tribune) or a drop cloth to help manage drips or paint application sprays.  

After you’ve completed all the prep work, apply a primer that’s formulated to work with vinyl. Primers can soften vinyl, which can decrease material integrity, so one that’s formulated for vinyl is critical. Using a primer is essential because it prepares the vinyl for paint, increasing the odds that your paint will stick to the windows.  

Let the primer dry thoroughly. We recommend exceeding the amount of time directed on the packaging. Once dry, apply a thin coat of paint using a foam paintbrush.  

Ideally, you want to apply several thin coats of paint and allow a long time for it to dry between applications. As with the primer, you should choose a paint formula that’s appropriate for vinyl (which will be noted on the label). 

While you’re saving up to buy replacement windows for your Chicago home, painting is a solid interim solution.  

It’s more important than ever to be cost efficient and save money. The events of the past year have caused financial difficulties for many families, causing homeowners to look for new ways to save money. While some expenses may be out of your control, you can start saving money on your energy bill by making your home more energy efficient. Consider making small changes to your energy consumption to lower your energy bills. Simply unplugging electronics when not in use or replacing your lightbulbs with LED replacements could lower your energy costs. However, for a bigger impact, you might consider upgrading your appliances or your windows for significant savings.

Energy Efficient Windows from Window Nation

Replacement windows from Window Nation are built with premium energy efficiency features to keep your energy bills low. We offer vinyl windows in a variety of styles and colors, so you won’t have to sacrifice curb appeal for energy efficiency. Each of our windows is available in double pane and triple pane glass, so you can choose between windows with the best value or the best energy efficiency.

Double Pane Windows

Double pane windows have two panes of energy efficient glass to keep your home comfortable while keeping your energy bills low. Each pane of glass is coated with a Low-E glass coating, reflecting over 80% of the sun’s rays to keep your home from heating. These windows are a popular option for homeowners looking to lower their energy bills without breaking the bank. We recommend double pane windows for homeowners living in moderate climates, like Maryland or Philadelphia.

Triple Pane Windows

Triple pane windows have all the benefits of double pane windows, but with an additional pane of Low-E coated glass for maximum energy efficiency. Window Nation offers two options for those looking for triple pane windows, Ultra Triple Pane and Ultimate Triple Pane. Ultra Triple Pane Windows block nearly 90% of the sun’s UV rays, while Ultimate Triple Pane windows block almost 97%. These windows are best for homeowners living in more extreme climates, like Kansas City.

Each windowpane is glazed with a Low-E glass coating to reduce the amount of sunlight from entering your home, allowing your HVAC system to work smarter, not harder. We also insert Argon gas between each pane of glass to minimize heat transfer in and out of your home. The temperature of your windows will be close to the temperature of your home, making your home feel more comfortable while helping you save money on your energy bills.

Our replacement windows are also installed with an airtight seal to eliminate drafts and keep your home comfortable.

What Else Can I Do to Lower My Energy Bills?

Replacement windows will help you save money you your energy bills; however, for a bigger impact, consider making additional changes to your home:

  • Install a programmable thermostat
  • Purchase Energy Star certified products, including appliances and electronics
  • Turn off electronics, appliances, and lights when not in use
  • Keep your home well insulated, particularly if you live in a colder climate like Boston
  • Weatherize your home before the change of each season
  • Avoid using your appliances in peak times, particularly in the summer
  • Keep your thermostat lower in the cooler months and warmer in the hotter months

Simple changes could help you save big on your energy bills.

Need New Windows?

When you’re ready to start your window replacement project, schedule an estimate with one of our exterior design consultants. Our team will discuss your project with you and go over your options so you can find the best windows for your home. You’ll then receive a quote good for up to six months. Schedule your in-home estimate today at WindowNation.com.  

There’s no place like home for the holidays! After a challenging year, it’s more important than ever to get in the holiday spirit. Your celebrations might look different this year but try to make the holiday season feel as normal as possible by adding festive touches to your home. No matter what you celebrate, adding even a few small decorations will make your home feel cozy for a holiday season unlike any other. If you need some last-minute holiday décor inspiration, our home improvement experts are sharing their best tips for decorating your home in a pinch.

Place Candles in the Window

Putting festive candles in your windows is a simple, yet elegant way to decorate your home for the holidays. You can place candles in every window, or you can select a few windows in your living room or front-facing bedrooms. The candles will give your home a warm glow and a festive feel you’ll enjoy all season long.

Display Your Holiday Cards

You get stacks of holiday cards from friends and family every year. Why not display them in your home? Use clothespins to pin them to strips of ribbon and display them in your living room. Your guests will enjoy seeing their cards on display when they come to visit for holiday celebrations!

Decorate Pinecones

Clean up your yard by collecting pinecones to make festive holiday decorations! Pinecones are versatile and can be used to make everything from Christmas ornaments to centerpieces for your holiday parties. Paint them green to make a mini Christmas tree, or paint them gold for an elegant touch – the possibilities are endless! You can even turn them into a special keepsake by having your kids or grandkids make them when they’re off school for winter break.

Create an Ornament Centerpiece

If you have too many ornaments for your Christmas tree, consider using the leftover balls to create a festive and cost-efficient centerpiece. Place color coordinating ornaments (red and green or silver and gold are recommended) in a large bowl or vase to create an eye-catching decoration. Your home will look more festive in just five minutes or less!

Add Festive Lights

Sometimes classic decorations are the best decorations. While you might not have time to string holiday lights outside, consider adding a few strands throughout your home for a festive touch. Wrap them around your bannister or on your mantels to give your home a festive glow. If you’re feeling creative, you can even use them to outline the shape of a Christmas Tree right on your wall!

Spotlight Your Home

You don’t need to cover your home in thousands of twinkle lights like Clark Griswold in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation for it to look festive. You can simply place a wreath on your front door or and use a spotlight to illuminate your home for all to see! Just be careful when using a spotlight: the light can be bright, and you’ll want to make sure it’s not shining directly into your home or a neighbor’s home.

Happy Holidays from Window Nation

Though our celebrations might look different this year, the holiday season is filled with joy and excitement. No matter how you celebrate, be sure to enjoy this time of year and spread the holiday cheer and love through your windows and out into the world.

The holiday season is approaching. All of us here at Window Nation enjoy seeing the festive holiday lights and decorations families have put up in their homes. It’s no surprise that our favorite decoration to see are festive candles in the windows, a simple yet elegant way to celebrate the holidays. Most homeowners might not think twice when putting candles in their windows; however, the small gesture has a rich history that spans centuries and cultures. Naturally, as window replacement experts, we wanted to dig into the history of the tradition to find out where it got its roots.

How Did the Tradition Start?

The tradition of having candles lit in your window during the holidays is different for each culture. The origins differ based on religious beliefs and even regions. No matter where your family comes from or how they celebrate the holidays, the use of lights has become a tradition used by many to brighten up their home and make it feel festive for the holidays. Here in the United States, the tradition of lighting candles in the windows of homes during the Christmas holidays was brought by the Irish.

From the mid-17th through the late 18th century, the British government created oppressive laws in an attempt to restrict the practice of Catholicism in Ireland. During this time of religious suppression, there were no churches allowed. Catholic Priests were forced to hide out in the wilderness in caves.  

The priests would sneak back into town during the night to have mass with fellow believers in their homes. During Christmastime, Catholic families would leave their doors unlocked and a candle burning in the window to let the priest know he was welcome in their home.  

With the many waves of Irish immigration to America, the tradition took root here and continued to evolve. For example, in colonial times, a lit candle in a window let travelers know they had a safe place to stay. The candle also served as a signal amongst neighbors that the home was open to receive visitors and to light the way for returning family members.  

With the many waves of Irish immigration to America, the tradition took root here and continued to evolve. For example, in colonial times, a lit candle in a window let travelers know they had a safe place to stay. The candle also served as a signal amongst neighbors that the home was open to receive visitors and to light the way for returning family members.   

How Do We Honor the Tradition Today?

In modern times, the custom of the candle in the window may have lost its traditional meaning, but the practice lives on. The reasons might be different, but the candle in the window is still a simple and beautiful way to light up your home and make it festive for the holiday season. You can use your candles to direct family and friends to your home to share in new holiday traditions and memories. No matter how you celebrate, be sure to enjoy this time of year and spread the holiday cheer and love through your windows and out into the world. 

Sometimes it feels impossible to save money in the winter. Your holiday shopping list seems never ending, and your energy bills skyrocket as you try to keep your home comfortable despite the cold. While we can’t help you save money on your holiday gifts, we can help you save money on your energy bills. Making small changes, like turning your thermostat down and opening your curtains, could help you save big on your energy bills. For a bigger impact, consider upgrading your windows, doors, and siding with energy efficient replacements from Window Nation. No matter how much you’re looking to save, our home improvement experts have tips on how to keep your home comfortable on a budget this winter.

Upgrade Your Windows

Consider upgrading your old, drafty windows with energy efficient replacement windows from Window Nation. Our windows are built with premium energy efficiency features to eliminate drafts and keep your home comfortable no matter the season. We offer double pane and triple pane windows, so you can choose between windows with the best value or the best energy efficiency. Our windows are also installed with an airtight seal to eliminate drafts and keep your home warm all winter long. The best part? You don’t have to wait until spring to start saving money! Our team is skilled in winter window installations, taking special precautions to keep your home comfortable.

Turn Down Your Thermostat

Much of your energy consumption comes from heating and cooling your home. While cranking your thermostat up will make your home feel nice and toasty, it could cause your energy bills to skyrocket. Save money by turning down your thermostat 7 to 10 degrees while you sleep at night – you could lower your energy bills by nearly 10%! To combat the cold, consider purchasing flannel sheets or adding a few layers to your bed to stay warm while you sleep. You might even consider lowering your thermostat during the day for a bigger impact.

Be Smart About Your Heat Consumption

Understandably, some homeowners might not want to lower the thermostat any more than they already have. For those homeowners, we recommend being smarter about using your heater. Heat only the areas of your home that are used frequently, like your common areas and bedrooms. Be sure all your vents are open and accessible, and shut the doors in your home to trap the heat in the area it belongs. This will reduce the strain on your HVAC system, allowing your heater to work smarter, not harder. For extra savings, consider upgrading your existing thermostat to a smart thermostat for additional control over the temperature of your home.

Insulate Your Home

Nearly one-third of your heating and cooling costs come from energy loss through drafty windows and doors. Take time to inspect your home for drafts and air leaks and seal any drafts you notice with caulk. It’s also important to insulate your home with fiberglass or foam insulation. The biggest culprits for heat loss are in your attic and basement, so take extra care to insulate those areas of your house. You can also keep your floors warm and insulated by adding throw rugs to reduce the number of cold surfaces in your home. You’ll notice an immediate difference in the comfort level of your home!

Interested in Saving Money This Winter?

When you’re ready to start your window replacement project, schedule an estimate with one of our exterior design consultants. Our team will discuss your project with you and go over your options so you can find the best windows for your home. You’ll then receive a quote good for up to six months. Schedule your in-home estimate today at WindowNation.com.  

When it comes time to design your replacement windows, you might be surprised by the amount of choices you’ll have. It isn’t as simple as picking one style and color for every window in your home – some areas of your home have might have different needs. You might want to add character to your living room with a bay window, while your kitchen might need a slider window and your bedroom might need double hung windows. Before meeting with an exterior design consultant, it’s important to assess your home’s needs in order to design the best windows for your home. You want your windows to compliment your home – they shouldn’t stand out for the wrong reasons. So how can you design windows that give your home the curb appeal boost it needs? Our team of window replacement experts share their best tips for designing your windows.

Home Décor

While you might like the fun, colorful windows you saw on Pinterest, it’s important to consider if a pop of color is best for your home. If your home décor is mostly neutral, a colorful window could be a fun statement piece for the room. However, if your home is filled with different colors, it might be best to stick to neutral shades to keep your room from looking too busy. You don’t want your brand-new windows to turn your home into an eyesore!

Room Layout

There’s so much more to window replacement than just double hung windows. You can choose between casement windows, slider windows, or even bays and bows to give your existing windows an upgrade. We even offer specialty windows for homeowners looking for a unique window you can’t find anywhere else. However, before choosing a unique window style, consider the area around the window you’re trying to replace. Bay windows, bow windows, and garden windows extend outwards, so it’s important that you have enough space in your yard around the window. You might need to cut down your trees and bushes in order to accommodate the window. Bay and bow windows are also larger than your typical window, requiring ample space in the room you’re looking to install them in.

Return on Investment

Selling your home might not be on the forefront of your mind right now, but it’s important to consider when designing your replacement windows. Replacement windows can offer a big return on investment when it comes time to move – you could recoup over 70% of the cost of the project. However, it’s important that your windows are done correctly, particularly when it comes to style and color as your taste might not match everyone else’s. Consider this: while you might like brightly colored windows, will potential buyers like the windows you chose for your home? While we encourage creativity when it comes to designing your windows, we also advise homeowners think twice about their decisions when making such a large investment.

Energy Efficiency

Choosing energy efficiency features might not be as glamorous as choosing the style and color of your windows, but it might be the most important decision you make. The features you choose for your windows could significantly impact your energy consumption – and your energy bill. Energy efficiency is particularly important if you live in an area with an extreme climate, like Boston or Kansas City, where it might be harder to keep your home comfortable. Luckily, all replacement windows from Window Nation are built with premium energy efficiency features that you can customize to fit your home’s needs. We offer both double pane and triple pane windows, so you can choose between windows with the best value or the best energy efficiency. Your home will enjoy an energy efficiency boost – and you’ll enjoy lower energy bills for years to come.

Want to Learn More about Window Replacement?

When you’re ready to start your window replacement project, schedule an estimate with one of our exterior design consultants. Our team will discuss your project with you and go over your options so you can find the best windows, doors, and siding for your home. You’ll then receive a quote good for up to six months. Schedule your in-home estimate today at WindowNation.com. 

 

If you’re considering a window replacement project, you have many options. Do you replace the windows yourself or use a contractor? Do you use pre-made windows from a box store or do you custom make your windows using a window replacement company? It’s a difficult decision, and each option has its benefits. Pre-made windows are often cheaper and easier to find, while custom-made replacement windows are built to fit your home’s needs. However, when you choose pre-made windows, you might be sacrificing quality and energy efficiency for a lower price.

At Window Nation, all our replacement windows are custom-made to fit your home’s needs. When you schedule a consultation with our team, an exterior design consultant will come to your home to better understand your needs. They will discuss all your options and provide recommendations about which windows are best for your home. Your windows will then be custom-made to meet your needs. Coupled with our expert installation, your windows will be the perfect fit for your home.

When it comes time to replace your windows, learn more about why you should consider custom replacement windows.

Compliment Your Home

Custom-made windows are made specifically for your home. You can build them to compliment your décor or add character to your space. Replacement windows from Window Nation are available in hundreds of styles and colors, so you can find the perfect combination for your home. Your windows can also be customized with add-ons like grids and decorative glass patterns for a unique touch. The options are endless! You can even mix and match your windows to fit different rooms – you might want white vinyl double hung windows for your bedrooms, but you might want a wood bay window for your living room. Regardless of the style you choose, custom-made windows will give your home a much-needed makeover you’ll enjoy for years to come.

Built for Your Climate

Improved energy efficiency is one of the biggest benefits of custom replacement windows. All Window Nation windows are built with premium energy efficiency features to keep your home comfortable no matter the season. We offer double pane and triple pane windows, so you can choose between windows with the best value or the best energy efficiency. If you live in a climate with harsher weather, like Boston or Kansas City, you might consider triple pane windows for an added energy efficiency boost. You’ll also enjoy fewer air leaks because each window is measured to fit each opening, creating an airtight seal. No matter the climate you live in, you’ll enjoy lower energy bills for years to come.

Easy Installation

An airtight seal isn’t the only benefit of custom replacement windows. When you choose custom replacement windows, installation is often quicker and more efficient than DIY window installation. Before your windows are ordered, our team will come to your house and measure each opening down to the millimeter, guaranteeing a perfect fit. On your installation day, your installers will simply remove your old window from the frame and pop the new window in. As a result, most installations are finished in just a day or two. Your home will feel more comfortable in no time!

Want to Learn More About our Custom Replacement Windows?

When you’re ready to start your window replacement project, schedule an estimate with one of our exterior design consultants. Our team will discuss your project with you and go over your options so you can find the best windows, doors, and siding for your home. You’ll then receive a quote good for up to six months. Schedule your in-home estimate today at WindowNation.com. 

 

Older windows can mean a cold, drafty home during the winter months. Many homeowners don’t notice just how bad their windows are until cold weather arrives. Your windows could be letting the warm, comfortable air inside escape, causing strain on your HVAC system – which could result in higher energy bills. Don’t wait until the temperatures warm up to replace your windows – our team of window replacement experts can replace windows in all types of weather conditions, including harsh winter weather. If you’re looking to install replacement windows this winter, learn more about our winter window installation process straight from the experts.

Winter Window Installation Process

Some homeowners might be concerned about the comfort of their home during their window installation. However, our windows are custom-built to fit each opening, allowing for an efficient installation. Our windows are measured down to the millimeter to guarantee a perfect fit. Your new windows simply slide into the opening, creating an airtight seal to keep the cold air outside where it belongs. We also use caulk to insulate your windows for added protection from the cold.

Our team of installers will also take extra precautions to keep your home comfortable. We replace just one window at a time in order to reduce heat loss, so there will only be a small “window” of time when there is an open space in your house. We will also close off the door to the room we’re working in to keep your home as comfortable as possible. If the room can’t be shut off, we will use tarp or protective barriers to keep the cold from spreading throughout your home. Our team will also take steps to keep your home clean, laying down drop cloths to prevent snow, dirt, and mud from tracking through your home.

Why Replace Your Windows in Winter?

If you have old, drafty windows, don’t wait until spring to replace your windows. You’ll enjoy energy savings all winter with our modern replacement windows. Our windows are built with premium energy efficiency features to keep your home comfortable throughout the harsh winter months. We offer double pane and triple pane windows, so you can choose between windows with the best value or the best energy efficiency. No matter the windows you choose, each pane of glass is coated with Low-E and silver oxide to keep your home comfortable all winter long.

Our windows will also give your home the curb appeal boost it needs just in time for the holidays. Available in a variety of style and color options, you’re guaranteed to find the perfect fit for your home. Our replacement windows are available in eight styles, each custom-built to meet your home’s needs. We offer hundreds of interior and exterior color options to complement your home. You can also customize your windows with add-ons including grids and glass patterns to create the windows of your dreams.

Need New Windows This Winter?

When you’re ready to start your window replacement project, schedule an estimate with one of our exterior design consultants. Our team will discuss your project with you and go over your options so you can find the best windows, doors, and siding for your home. You’ll then receive a quote good for up to six months. Schedule your in-home estimate today at WindowNation.com. 

It’s not always easy to determine if it’s time to replace your windows. For most homeowners, it’s clear: your windows might be old and drafty, or they could be original to your home. However, for some homeowners, it might not be as obvious. In fact, your windows might not have any noticeable signs that it’s time for them to be replaced. In that case, how do you know your windows need to be replaced? Our window replacement experts compiled a list of warning signs you need to be aware of before you start your project.

Condensation

If you notice condensation between your windowpanes, we highly recommend replacing your windows. Moisture between the panes of glass is a telltale sign your seals have failed – an issue that isn’t easily fixed. If you notice seal failure, you might be able to replace the panes of glass; however, you’ll need to contact your window manufacturer for more information. In most cases, your windows will need to be replaced to fix the issue. Replacement windows from Window Nation are built with top-of-the-line window glass to ensure your windows remain condensation-free for years to come.

Drafts

Drafts are one of the most noticeable signs it’s time to replace your windows. Your old windows often become drafty over time, allowing the comfortable air from inside your home to escape. You might feel the air from outside in your home when you stand close to your windows, or you might notice higher energy bills. Energy loss through old, drafty windows accounts for nearly one third of your heating and cooling costs – start saving money by upgrading your old, drafty windows with modern replacement windows from Window Nation.

Hot to the Touch in Warmer Weather

Outdated replacement windows are often single pane with little protection from the warm air outside. If you notice your windows are hot to the touch in the summer, your windows are most likely poorly insulated. We recommend upgrading your windows with modern, well-insulated replacement windows to prevent the hot summer air from entering your home.

Cold to the Touch in Colder Weather

Insulation issues only get worse in the winter – if you notice your windows are cold to the touch in cooler weather, you’ll need to upgrade your windows. Modern replacement windows are well-insulated to keep your home comfortable even in the coldest of temperatures. Well-insulated windows are particularly important in colder areas like Boston, Kansas City or Indianapolis – if you notice your windows are cold to the touch, we recommend meeting with an exterior design consultant at Window Nation to discuss our replacement window options.

Cracked or Broken Window Frames

A small crack in your window frame might not be the most urgent issue; however, it’s important to fix the cracks before they spread. If you catch a crack early enough, you might be able to repair the crack with no issues. However, if the crack continues to spread, it might be time to replace the window.

Cracked Windowpanes

Unlike cracked window frames, a crack in your windowpanes is a major issue that needs to be addressed. Cracked windowpanes aren’t just unsightly: they could spread and cause bigger problems for your home’s energy efficiency. You could replace the cracked pane with replacement window glass; however, in some cases, it’s best to replace the entire window. If your windows are more than fifteen years old or original to your home, window replacement could save you money in the long run.

Outdated and Unsightly Windows

Sometimes your windows might function well, but they look old and outdated. If your home needs a curb appeal boost, we recommend replacing your windows with modern replacement windows from Window Nation. Our windows are custom-made to fit your home’s needs. We offer a variety of style and color options, so you can find the perfect fit for your home.

Want to Learn More About our Windows?

When you’re ready to start your window replacement project, schedule an estimate with one of our exterior design consultants. Our team will discuss your project with you and go over your options so you can find the best windows, doors, and siding for your home. You’ll then receive a quote good for up to six months. Schedule your in-home estimate today at WindowNation.com.

The weather has turned suddenly across much of the United States. Not all of us saw the 55 degree drop that hit parts of the Rockies in a single day this month, but summer has come to an end and fall is taking over nearly everywhere.

It’s a welcome relief, in many ways. In this year so unlike any other, a break from high temperatures and a return to school for the kids, even if it’s virtual in many places, brings something like normalcy. But it also brings drafts from the windows clogged gutters, and expanding cracks in our sidewalks.

One good weekend of outdoor work in lovely weather can get your home ready for the lower temperatures we know are coming. Here are twelve easy ways to prepare your home for autumn.

Fertilize the Lawn

A brown lawn in spring is caused by neglect in fall. A lush, green lawn in spring is caused by a single hour of effort now. Fertilizing in fall fortifies your lawn’s root system for the winter, so it’s ready to grow come spring’s thaw. The ideal time, experts say, is 3 weeks before the first frost. For most of the country, that means early-to-mid October

Plant Bulbs and Winter Vegetables

While you’re working on beautifying the lawn, why not plant some color that will surprise you in the spring? Bulbs go into the ground in September or October in order to bloom in spring, and there are few more rewarding signs that the cold of winter has faded than the first folds of new lilies and tulips coming through the mulch.

This year, with more Americans stuck at home than ever before, gardening has made a long-delayed comeback. But the wilting of your summer tomato plants doesn’t mean your days of eating what you grow are over. Winter-hardy vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and English peas can tolerate even a hard frost. October is the best time to put them in the ground.

Clean the Gutters

When autumn leaves start falling, gutters start clogging. To avoid water damage from overflowing gutters, and even worse, winter ice dams that can damage your roof, you’ll need to clean the gutters now.

Wash Windows and Repair Screens

Summer rains and splatter have probably left your windows less than clear. This is the perfect time to clean them, while being outside is still so pleasant.

And while you’re working on them, take note of any tears in the screens. Replacing screening material is surprisingly cheap and easy to do, so why let insects into your home when you open the windows to let the glorious early fall air in?

If you’re considering window replacement, autumn is an ideal time – easier than opening the envelope of your home to winter’s cold (though a good window replacement expert can safely do that, as well).

Inspect Siding for Flaws

Speaking of the envelope of your home, you’ll want it to be tight and secure when winter’s cold comes. One of these beautiful fall days is the perfect opportunity to walk around and do a thorough inspection of your siding. Small cracks or displacements can be repaired, or replaced if necessary, to ensure insulation before it’s needed.

Seal Cracks Around Doors and Windows

The second step of weatherproofing your home’s exterior is to reseal around doors and windows. Caulking small openings, or replacing worn weatherstripping, can eliminate drafts that cost you comfort and raise your heating bill.

Clean and Reverse Ceiling Fans

Another way to minimize your heating bill is to ensure that warm air circulates properly around your home. The same ceiling fans that helped cool you in summer can help warm you in winter – reversing the motion of the blades will circulate warm air around the room without producing a downdraft that makes you feel colder. But you’ll want to clean dust from the blades before you do it.

Seal Driveway and Sidewalk Cracks

The repeated heating and cooling of seasonal temperature changes inevitably creates cracks in asphalt and concrete. They’ll expand this fall, as the material cools from a hot summer of expansion. Before neighborhood kids tromp up to your door in costume this October, take a day to fill in the cracks.

Change Furnace Filters

If you have an old-fashioned furnace, you’re probably already changing the filters monthly. But many newer units have annual filters, or other long-life air filtration systems that only need cleaning once a season or so. Since winter will tax the furnace to its fullest, cleaning or changing filters now is essential to keeping your system in shape.

Change Smoke Detector Batteries

While you’re busy doing these home maintenance chores you don’t have to revisit monthly, change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, just to be safe.

Check on Your Winter Equipment

The worst time to find out that your snow shovel has cracked is just after the first snow falls. Before the cold gets here, start the snowblower (if you live where you need one) to ensure it functions after three seasons of rest, check your shovels to make sure they’ll work, and stock up on ice melter before the first forecast snow of the season drives the price up.

Clean Storage Areas

Finally, recognize that we all tend to acquire stuff when we’re stuck inside all winter. Be ready for it by giving away some old stuff. Fall is a great time to sort through your closets and make space.