Replacement windows can not only breathe new life into your home's exterior appearance but also can save you a bundle in heating and cooling costs. But with winter well under way, you might be thinking you won't have an opportunity to replace your windows until next spring. However, that's simply not true.

Contrary to popular myth, you can have replacement windows installed regardless of the season. However, there are plenty of precautions that you and your contractor should take if you plan on having your windows replaced during the winter.

Consider the Climate

Keep in mind that wintertime climates can vary throughout the United States. Some regions of the country, such as the Gulf States and the Southwest, have relatively mild winters with little to no snowfall all season. Other areas may experience moderate to heavy snowfall.

As you plan your window-replacement schedule, keep an eye on the weather report and make sure that the installation does not occur during times when heavy snowfall or sleet is expected. In some cases, your contractor may decide to push back the schedule until weather conditions clear up.

Your contractor should also factor in air temperatures when working with certain materials. For instance, certain types of weatherstripping, caulk, and other sealants could potentially become less pliable when subjected to extremely cold temperatures. Steel and other metals can also contract when exposed to these same temperatures, and this could potentially cause fitment issues during installation. To avoid these issues, it's usually best to have your windows installed while temperatures are above freezing.

Replace Each Window One at a Time

Although installing multiple windows at the same time is a common time-saving tactic for summertime window replacement jobs, performing that same tactic during the winter could result in massive heat loss in one or more rooms. For this reason, there should only be one window removed at any given part of the replacement process. It may take a bit longer to complete the job, but this way, the installation process won't turn your home into a freezer by accident.

Use Plastic Barriers to Cover Large Openings

Large openings can also be an open invitation to cold drafts, especially if you're having a bay window or several picture windows installed. To keep the cold out, your contractor should block the opening with a heavy-duty plastic barrier that stretches from the floor to the ceiling. This way, you'll be able to minimize your home's heat losses throughout the installation process.

Keep Those Doors Closed

An open door can also be an open invitation for cold drafts to move throughout your home. If your contractor is installing a window in a particular room, you should have this room sealed off as much as possible during the installation process.

Keeping the door closed can do wonders for blocking cold drafts, but there are still gaps underneath and around the door to consider. Simply blocking the bottom of the door with a towel or a dedicated door-draft stopper can nip most draft cases in the bud. If your home's experiencing particularly heavy drafts, you should also consider covering the door with a floor-to-ceiling plastic barrier.

Keep the Work Site Clean

Nearly every homeowner appreciates a contractor who strives to keep the work site as clean as possible, especially when there's snow cover or slush on the ground. It's all too easy to track snow, slush, and mud into a home, and that is why your contractor should have safeguards in place against this potentially messy situation. That means laying down tarps around the work area and wearing plastic shoe covers to keep tracked mud and debris to a bare minimum.

These tips should provide a stress-free experience when it comes to having replacement windows installed during the winter.