(NewsUSA) - With the average home's energy bill higher than ever before, many people simply turn up the heat without eyeing the potential culprit -; your windows. In many buildings and homes across the country, the windows provide little to no insulation from the outside world, leading to a surprising amount of heat loss. As much as one quarter of the average heating bill is often a result of poorly constructed or insulated windows.

If you have windows that are drafty and cold, the following tips will help you spruce up your windows, keep out the cold and save money on your monthly energy bill:

* Install high-efficiency windows. Many newer windows on the market contain a variety of technological breakthroughs, such as high-performance glass and coatings, which offer more than three times the insulating power of older, single-pane windows -- which are currently found in 50 percent of all U.S. homes.

* Caulk around existing windows. Sealing window frames with caulk will help keep out moisture and stubborn drafts. To see if your existing caulk lines need to be replaced, stick your fingernail into the caulk. If it is soft, the caulk is still functional. If it's hard or brittle, replace with a fresh application.

* Storm windows. This alternative to increasing your energy efficiency is relatively inexpensive and can improve a window's insulating power by up to 50 percent. In the summertime, storm windows may need to be removed to ensure adequate ventilation in your home.

* Cellular shades. You may think replacing your windows is the only real option to save energy, but simply adding insulating, cellular window shades can more than triple the insulating power of your existing windows. Additionally, side-track window shades provide even better insulation by tightening up the sides of the shade, creating a more efficient dead air space and insulating layer.

* Shutters. Not only do shutters have great curb appeal and add resale value to your home, they are also great insulators. While installing exterior shutters is best, interior wood shutters also provide a measurable difference and add an elegant, traditional touch to fine furniture in your home.