Windows need to be replaced when they need to be replaced. Of course, it’s easy to ignore that they need replacing when you’re lazing about your cool, shady home in the summertime with no thought of winter’s bitter chill. But then comes fall again, and there’s that draft, and that condensation, and that mildew (and did I mention that draft?), and then finally that groaning resignation: But it’s fall; it’s too late to replace them now! And so, you find yourself entering into another cold season with inadequate windows and astronomical heating bills.

—Time to get the pushpins out and hang up that old blanket across the hallway again!
It’s easy to understand why folks assume they can’t replace their windows in fall or winter: It’s cold! It’s wet! It’s snowing out! They’ll be a giant gaping hole in my house!

—Lo and behold, you can replace your drafty, failing windows during the fall and winter months. Furthermore, it’s not the big deal you might think it is. In fact, the installation process itself goes pretty quickly, and there are actually even benefits to replacing your windows during the colder seasons.

Benefits of Fall and Winter Window Replacement

  • One: You lessen your heating bills.
  • Two: You have a warm, cozy, draft-free home when it’s cold and wet outside.
  • Three: Hardly anyone replaces their windows during the cold season! —Most people assume you shouldn’t, or can’t, do an installation at this time, and so they opt for a late spring or summer installation, effectively guaranteeing they’ll encounter some type of scheduling issue, delay, or unavailability. You, however, can avoid such heavy competition by having your windows replaced during the slow months. Installers’ schedules are much more flexible during late fall and winter, and that makes it easy to find a time that works for you.
  • Four: Because late fall and winter are the slowest seasons for window installers, many offer “off season” specials and discounts. You will find a more affordable price when you replace your windows during the cold seasons.

Fall and Winter Installation: What to Expect

If your contractor is worth a hill of beans, you’re not going to have to worry about a gaping hole sitting in your house for days. Your contractor will do everything they can to minimize your home’s exposure to the cold. In many cases, you may only need to close a door to isolate the cold to one room. (Larger spaces may require draping or sealing off with blankets or plastic sheeting). During the installation process, window openings are exposed only a few minutes while the old window is taken out and the new one put in. When the old window is removed, the opening is cleaned and alterations are made (such as installing a sill pan or replacing rotten wood). The new window is then put in, leveled, and secured. If you are having multiple windows replaced, your installer will do them one at a time, to avoid excessive heat loss.

It should be noted that cold weather complications do arise, which can slow down the installation process (excessive wet, snow, ice, cold, etc.), but these complications are, of course, a fact of life, and we’d recommend you don’t let them thwart you from scheduling window replacements when you need them. After all, putting up with a bit of cold for two or three days will, ultimately, result in a whole lot less cold throughout the rest of the season—and a whole lot less money spent on high energy bills.

Tips and Need-to-Knows for Cold Season Window Replacement

  • Mid-Morning is a good time to schedule your window installation, as it gives materials a chance to warm up and expand. If possible, schedule your contractor for a sunny day (or at least one that isn’t rainy). Many sealants need twenty-four hours to set before they can be exposed to water.
  • Check with your contractor about the type of caulking they’ll be using around the window. Make sure it’s silicone-based and not acrylic or latex. Silicone adheres much more readily in the cold, and is better at weatherization and waterproofing. (Your contractor should know all this, but for your peace of mind, check, just in case).
  • Keep in mind that if painting is involved, such as with cedar trim, it can’t be applied in cold weather because it won’t set properly. Fret not! Pre-primed cedar is an option, but even raw cedar will be fine until spring.
  • Offer your window installer a cup of hot tea, coffee, or cocoa. They will surely appreciate it while working out in that cold weather!

Window Replacement in Any Season: The Best Time is Now

If your windows aren’t doing the job they should be, do yourself a favor and save yourself some serious money: replace them when they need replacing. Any reputable contractor should be able to do the job, whatever the time of year. You really do not have to wait until spring to enjoy the benefits of replacement windows. (And you’ll never have to hang that blanket up in your hallway again).