Growing up, my handy parents would dedicate an entire weekend to preparing our older, "historic" home for the winter. Our quaint yet endlessly drafty house was transformed into a charming and cozy home in just two days. There is even an official name for this process, "winterizing."    

You winterize your home to help keep the cold and chill out and the warm and toasty inside. Not only is it more comfortable for everyone, it's also a great way to save on energy costs.  

Getting your home ready for winter isn't just for older homes, newer homes can benefit too. And, you don't have to be home improvement aficionados either. Most of these steps are low budget and easy to do.   

Let's do this, weekend warriors!   

Outside:  

Clean your gutters. Breaking out the tall ladder isn't the most convenient thing, but it beats melting snow and ice overflowing from your clogged gutters down the sides of your home. Better yet, install gutter guardsso, you don't have to break out that ladder again.   

Clean and store your yard tools for the winter. Do yourself a favor and take care of your tools. You will save yourself a lot of money by not having to replace them every year. Gardening tools, hoses, and lawnmowers will all benefit from a good wipe down before winter storage. You will help to prevent rust and ensure your tools are safely stored away from the elements. Bonus tip, if you have a gas propelled mower, be sure to drain the gas out before storing it.   

Install storm windows. If you have an older home, this can be a bit of work. But, ultimately, worth it. It's another barrier between your home and the cold air outside. Bonus if you have newer or replacement windows, which don't require much to prepare for winter.  

Eventually, replacing older windows and doors will make this one less winterizing task for the future. Adding double or triple pane windowsinsulated doors, and insulated garage doors will significantly improve the energy efficiency of your home.   

Fill exterior holes. Take a walk around the perimeter of your house. You will notice quite a few openings and areas where things inside your home connect to the outside. Consider your faucets, vents, seams, and cracks around window or door frames. These gaps, cracks, and crevice's can quickly be filled in with a spray foam insulation. The process takes just minutes. Not only will it help with insulation, but it will help keep the creepy crawlers outside where they belong.   

If you have older windows and notice cracks around the frames, you can use putty caulk to seal the entire window. Any crack, even a tiny one, can benefit from the caulk.   

Inside:  

Set your ceiling fans to go in a clockwise direction. Look for a switch right on your fan unit by the motor. Clockwise airflow will ensure the hot air is pushed down where it's needed.   

Plug up the fireplace. If you're not using your fireplace, consider plugging it up with a chimney balloon. These ingenious devices are just more durable balloons that expand to fill in the chamber of your chimney, keeping out drafts and cold air. Just be sure to remove it if you decide you want to use your fireplace.   

Keep your thermostat at is 68ºF. Why 68ºF? It's warm enough to be comfortable, and it won't freeze the pipes. It's also an excellent steady-state temperature. Contrary to popular thought, dropping the thermostat down while you're at work isn't going to help with energy efficiency. Maintaining is better for your system.   

Change your furnace filters. Dirty filters make your system work harder. Aim to change your filters every 6-8 weeks over the winter. While you're at it, have your furnace serviced before winter weather hits to make sure it's ready for the season.   

Pay attention to your water heater. Like your thermostat, there is an optimal temperature for your water heater. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends 120 degrees for most units.    

While you're down there, if your unit is close to an exterior wall, wrap a blanket around it. This extra layer will help your water heater keep the water hot at a tough time of year for heat.   

Door snake your exterior doors. Doors that lead outside are forever drafty and cold areas in our homes. Amp up the seal with a door snake. These genius contraptions slide onto the bottom of your door and help to seal off that under the door cold zone. You can find them at most home improvement stores.   

Winter windows. Check your window locks. It sounds simple, but it's surprising how often we leave a window unlocked. Making sure everything is securely locked also means it's safely sealed and ready to keep that cold air out. Your final step; trade out those gauzy sheers for a more substantial and insulated curtain. Heavier lined fabrics are beneficial in keeping the area around your windows insulated.    

And just like that, you've winterized your home. Reap the rewards with a cup of hot cocoa.

This year, make the home improvement fixes that you have been putting off years. Start off small by adding simple touches, such as new accent furniture or replacing existing lighting fixtures. If you’re looking to make major changes, consider replacing your old, drafty windows with new windows from Window Nation. No matter the project size, following our tips to give your home a shake-up will make your home feel like new again:

  1. Update Paint – Re-paint the rooms in your house for a quick and easy way to make your home feel new again. Popular colors in 2019 include jewel tones, such as rich greens and golds, and muted colors including dusty pinks and blues. If you’re looking for a subtle change, consider adding an accent wall instead of completely repainting.
  2. Bring in More Light – If your rooms feel dark and dingy, consider purchasing new lighting fixtures to bring in additional light. Look for the Energy Star seal on the products you purchase for maximum energy efficiency. If you’re looking for a bigger change, replace your existing windows with double hung windows, perfect for rooms that face porches or decks.
  3. Add Color – Make old furniture feel like new again by adding accent pillows or blankets to add a pop of color to your rooms. Room accents in bright colors will make a splash in drab rooms. Consider pairing bright room accents with black and white furnishings for an extra pop.
  4. Upgrade your Space – If you’re looking to make big changes to your home in 2019, consider replacing your existing windows with new bay windows from Window Nation. Bay windows can change the look and feel of your rooms, creating an inviting reading nook or a unique look into your backyard.
  5. Add a Backsplash – Your kitchen is one of the most-used rooms in your house, so why not make it fun? Replace old, boring tile with a patterned backsplash for a more modern appearance. Geometric patterns are particularly trendy, adding an interesting pop to your space.

If you feel your home is stuck in a rut, consider making changes to your rooms to make your old home feel like new again. Start off small by adding pops of color and patterns to your existing rooms or make larger changes by replacing your existing windows with bay windows from Window Nation.

If you decide 2019 is the year to replace your windows, our exterior design consultants are here to help with all your window replacement needs. Schedule your in-home consultation today!

So you've made the decision to replace the windows in your home. The next step is figuring out what type of window meets your needs and where to purchase your replacement windows. Figuring out where to buy replacement windows can be tricky given that many companies use aggressive marketing to get you to buy from them. Here's how to decide where to buy replacement windows.

Home Improvement Store

Home improvement stores, such as Lowe's or Home Depot, carry several styles of windows. Many people buy replacement windows at their local home improvement store because it's convenient and they may be unaware of other options. Shoppers who like to compare different brands can see and feel windows, read specs, and form an opinion by browsing windows at their local Lowe's or Home Depot.

But are home improvement stores the best places to buy windows?

It depends. Can you trust the workers in the window department to provide knowledgeable, up to date information about different types of windows? While some workers may be highly knowledgeable—thus able to provide trustworthy information and guide you toward the best windows for your home—others know little about the products, unfortunately.

If you have standard-sized windows, the answer to, ‘where can i buy replacement windows?’ may be buying off the shelf. If your windows aren't standard sized, you will have to measure. Given that custom windows are not returnable at major retailers, there is a risk in measuring and ordering your own windows.

Window Replacement Company

Since window replacement companies specialize in replacement windows, they are highly knowledgeable about their products. If you're not sure what you need in a replacement window, you'll get personalized service from working with one of these companies. You will also be able to trust the information provided by the vendor representative more than you can trust the information provided by the worker who happens to be staffing the window department on the day you visit a home improvement store. If you’re also wondering where to buy replacement window screens or any other kind of add on (like glass options for your specific needs), replacement window companies offer a much wider selection to choose from.

How to Find a Good Window Replacement Company

If you decide to go with a window replacement company, how can you find a reliable service provider? There are tons of window replacement companies out there and they're not all created equal. The best windows are only as good as their installation. If your window installer doesn't know what they're doing, it will cost you every month.

If you have friends that have replaced windows, or if you're working with a contractor on a home remodel, ask for their recommendations. Then look into the companies they suggest. See whether the companies are certified with InstallationMasters as this demonstrates a level of professionalism. Check BBB ratings, read consumer reviews on Google or Guild Quality, and look over their websites.

Once you've narrowed down your list of potential installers, get quotes for replacement windows from a short list of companies and make your decision.

Replacement Windows from Window Nation

Your search for where to buy replacement windows can end here. Window Nation offers wood and vinyl replacement windows in a range of styles. Since 2006, we've been here to serve you no matter your replacement window needs. Contact us today and schedule your free in-home estimate to get started.

Do you own a home in Philadelphia? Have you considered doing some improvements? It can be difficult to decide which to do first. Or, which to do at all. Fortunately, some really smart people have gone through the trouble of figuring out all the details for you. You can find their data here, on the 2015 Cost Vs. Value Report. This quick guide will help you target projects that will provide the most return for your money.

Bad Investment
If you’ve been thinking about a home office remodel you might want to consider the cost. Not the cost you’ll pay to have it done, but what it is worth to the equity of your home. The average home office remodel can run $29,066, but at that price point, it will only increase the value of a home by $14,155. That mean $14,911 of your hard-earned money will be lost in the transaction.

How about adding a bathroom? The average bathroom addition in Pennsylvania  will cost $41,708, according to the study. But adding that new bathroom will only increase the value of your home by $19,658. You may gain the convenience of another bathroom, but you’ll lose $22,050 to get it. That is a lot of money to spend on not having to wait for your daughter to finish drying her hair.

Good Investment
So, what is a good investment? A steel entry door. If you look at the national average, it actually pays to put in a new entry door. The average door costs $1,230 to buy and install, and it adds $1,252 to the value of the home. That means 101.8% of the cost is recouped! If you live in Pennsylvania, getting a new entry door is still a far better investment than that home office remodel or bathroom installation. The office remodel would recoup only 38.7% of the investment you put in it, and the bathroom would have only given you a 47.1% return. But installing a new front door can return 88.5% of your investment.

If you’re going to take on a remodeling project, doesn’t make sense to choose one that will add to the value of your home and recoup the money you’ll spend to make it happen? Not only that, a new entry door improves your quality of life in ways you can’t put a dollar figure on. It is like getting a facelift for your home.

Getting a new entry door just makes sense. Give Window Nation a call and see all of the amazing options they have available for your home. Research proves, it is worth every penny.