If you want to make your home even more energy efficient for the winter, you should caulk around the existing windows prior to winter. This is not difficult to do and can be done as a weekend project. Simply get a caulk gun and a few tubes of window caulk at the local home improvement store. Begin with the outside of the windows and caulk around the windows to make sure that they are sealed. Many older windows tend to lose the caulk after a certain period of time and need to be caulked again.
When you re-caulk the windows, be sure to scrape away old caulk as this may prevent the new caulk from drying properly. You can do this with a razor blade as you move along. You are better off to do it in sections in case you have to stop for a while and leave the window uncaulked.
Caulking is not a difficult job to do and once you have finished the outside of the windows, you can then do the inside. This will prevent a draft from coming in through the gaps in the wooden frame of the window.
In addition to sealing your windows with caulk around the outside, you can also make it a point to use plastic over the inside of the windows in the winter to seal them from the cold. Plastic is sold at home improvement stores and will keep any drafts out of the window. It can be applied with a heat gun so that it still looks clear from the outside, or you can use plastic that is taped against the inside of the window that will also keep the cold wind outside.
Still another way to make sure that your windows are sealed for the winter is to use thermal curtains or blinds. These add yet another protective insulation layer to the windows in keeping the cold weather out.
By using caulk on the inside and outside of the window joists as well as using a plastic barrier and thermal window treatments, you can effectively eliminate all of the hot air you are losing that is escaping out of the windows in the winter and thus making your home much more energy efficient. Whether or not you have energy efficient windows or not, you should still make it a point to caulk around your windows each year and cover them with heat plastic and thermal window coverings in the winter month to keep any draft from entering the house.
If you do practice any of the above techniques, chances are that you are losing money in heating costs each year by literally throwing it out the window. It takes about two hours to prepare your windows for the cold weather and it is well worth the effort.